Monday, August 3, 2009

Shhh...Don't tell them you speak Spanish... just yet!

My father, Daniel A. Leonard the 4th, was quite a handsome man when he was young; the Clark Gabel type. Of course, being a girl, I always thought my daddy was a looker and could totally understand why my mother at a her young age decided he was the guy for her. Remember, that was back in the day when a couple met and fell in love all in one day.

I think that if you're blessed with looks, somehow, even if you are humble, you know you're blessed. My dad never came out and said he thought he was good looking, except when he talked about his feet; he loved to annoy us by telling us he had beautiful feet which is another story altogether. On several occasions I recall him telling the story of a time when he, a young service man, was making his way back home to see my mother.

He was in the army, in his early 20's and on a short leave. He'd taken a train about as far as he could and then started hoofing it. Walking along an agricultural area it soon began to sprinkle. When the light sprinkle turned into a heavy rain he quickly decided it was time to hitch a ride. Walking backward he stuck out his thumb and prayed his ride would quickly come along. He caught glimpse of a bus approaching and hoped it might be his lucky break; he was right. The bus stopped and opened its doors directly in front of him. By this time it was raining so hard he'd held his head in a downward position to keep the water from getting into his eyes. He had no idea what kind of bus he was boarding or what the passengers inside were like.

Seconds after he hit the top step he wiped his eyes and looked up to find before him a bus full of woman who had been picking in the fields. Since all the seats were full he kept his place at the front of the bus holding on to a pole and front seat guard. The snickers began almost immediately and it took little time for him to realize that the women spoke only Spanish.

As you can see by his photo, my father was quite fair. Our family's background is an interesting one. Our last name Leonard has been spelled a number of ways through the years, as my brother Rusty (Daniel A. Leonard the 5th) found while researching our genealogy . We're still not sure where exactly but it seems our family is from Europe somewhere, thus the less then Mexican looks and the fair skin.

So, my father finds himself in an interesting position. He knows he could immediately respond to their chatter by simply saying "Buenos Dias" but of course that might prove to put an end to the fun. You see, these women who are sure a, excuse the expression, "white boy" has just climbed on board are very interested and expressive about what they think of him. It begins by "hay, ese es para mi", "que bello", "las cosas que puedo hacer yo, con el" and "que lastima que no soy mas jovencita", meaning: "that one is for me", "he's beautiful", "the things I could do with him" and "what a shame I'm not younger" for starters.

As dad told it, it took every ounce of him to keep from smiling or laughing out loud. But I suppose a young man in his twenties would find all this talk more than amusing. This here ladies is a boost to the male ego. Can you imagine? Women of every shape, size and age giggling and talking dreams of having you? It was a little piece of heaven for him....well, maybe not the heaven we know...but a mans heaven.

Well, the talk and giggling went on until dad reached his stop and time to say his farewell. The bus stopped, my father turned to leave and then as the thought occured to him he paused and said "quien me quiere primero?", "who wants me first?". He waited long enough to see the look of surprise turn the entire bus into hysterics and then turned and departed his little piece of heaven. He said that as the bus drove away he could hear the laughing and screaming until the bus was far down the road.

So next time someone begins to speak of you in a language they've assumed you don't understand, you might want to wait just a little. Who knows what you'll find out.


Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

THAT WAS PRECIOUS! I had to take a copy of that picture and I tucked it away in my family files...he always was a handsome man, my uncle. That was a great, great story! I remember the foot thing...faintly, but he too was a great story teller! I could see him turning to them at the end and sockin' it to them; they got the surprise of their lives!!!! Oh please, give us more family ones of your daddy! He was bigger than life for me when I was little. I wait for more....Anita

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

I just came from reading Rusty's geneology blog. It is fascinating to read about your dad; this was such a wonderful walk down a part of my past that is so precious to me. I remember well some of your uncles and certainly your aunties---Aunt ALice, Patsy--wow! The photos of your mom and dad are amazing!!! I was also thinking that you have a gem of a story here with your dad. I am sure that you have already thought of this, but you should really develop it...not add or subtract from it because it is perfect the way it is, but give us more images (what he saw, what he heard). It is so rich, but I think it is the perfect canvas for a little more. I want to see more!!! I so enjoyed it. Bisous, Anita

Bunny Missbrenner said...

That soooo sounds like your dad. That happens to me sometimes and I don't know why. I'm not fluent in Spanish, but I can pick up a word or 10. I have been called a "Poche" (sp?) most of my

Anywho, we are back and I


ps. My feet are nice looking too!
Wish I could say more about other body parts ~ said...

Ooooh Marie, what a sweet story. Your daddy was definitely a looker ... but your mom was a beauty! My daddy was a looker too, except I don't think my dad could pass for a white boy, though he is pretty fair, he sure was handsome though. Like a Mexican movie star!

Marie said...

Deb, I'd love to see some pictures of your dad. Why don't you post some?

Debbie said...

I'll have to do that - scan them or something. He really was EXTREMELY handsome. I have one here at home but there is one particular picture of my dad and my nino having beers in a bar. A beautiful black and white photo. My nino was gorgeous too. Huero, with dark blonde hair and beautiful blue/green eyes.

Marie said...

Well give us the story. I'm excited to see the pic.