In the fall of 2003, my husband, Earl, my friend, Margaret and I went to Spain with Untours. We stayed in the big (4 bedroom/2 bath) house adjacent to Maria’s house in an olive grove outside of the town of Fuente Tójar.
One Sunday, Margaret wanted to go to Mass in the little church in town. Earl and I decided to enjoy exploring the town’s plaza while she was in Mass. Local people were enjoying the sunny day, too. This little girl and her father posed for me.
Also in the plaza were a few kiosks and tables where vegetables, fruit, magazines and books were being sold. I said “buenos dias” to the lady in the magazine stand and she returned my greeting. But when she continued the conversation I was in language trouble. (Margaret was our Spanish speaker) With a little bit of Spanish and a lot of gestures, the lady understood that I was interested in taking photos of the town and especially, the church. She told me (I think) to go inside the church to take pictures. But, not wanting to offend the parishioners, I declined because Mass was about to start. She insisted that it was OK and led me by the arm into the church. I looked back at Earl for help, and he glanced away.
As she steered me down the aisle, I saw Margaret sitting in a pew with some elderly ladies, but I was led to the front of the church where my “guide” said I would have a good view for photos. She encouraged me to walk around while photographing. Trying not to insult her, I tried to discreetly take a few while hiding my camera from view. Then she again took my arm and sat me down in the front row with the Sunday School class, and quickly departed. That’s when the Priest came out and Mass started. I was stuck! How embarrassing. Especially, when everyone rose from their seats and there I was with my blond head towering over the dark haired children. (Margaret later told me that I was the talk of all the ladies, and that she denied knowing me.)
The Priest’s sermon was directed at the children and he was looking in my direction most of the time, or so it seemed. As soon as Mass was over, I bolted for the back door.
A few days later we were in Cordoba when I heard someone calling to me in Spanish, “Señora, Señora”. It was the Priest from Fuente Tójar. My luck! Margaret told me that he said he was glad to see again the lady who looked so lost at Sunday Mass.