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A Funny thing Happened on the Way to Church

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.

Views: 192

Comment by Marilee Taussig on July 13, 2007 at 8:56pm
Wow...this has got to be the best"only on an Untour" story" yet. BRAVO!!! Louise. I hope I meet you some day.
Comment by Marlene Hench on July 16, 2007 at 3:22am
Great story Louise! You did a great job on postring it too with photos. I don't think the pictures look too big. They seem the right size to me that you can enjoy the features of each one.

You mentioned that you use pictures as your journal. I do the same thing. Works great doesn't it!
Comment by Brian on July 16, 2007 at 12:44pm
Great story, Louise. I guess those friendly Andalusians can be a bit *too* friendly at times. Having spent a marvelous two weeks there with my family I can easily imagine how this happened.
Comment by Jean and Fred Agneta on July 25, 2007 at 6:46pm
Loved your funny story, thanks for sharing it.
Comment by Jean and Fred Agneta on July 25, 2007 at 6:46pm
Loved your funny story, thanks for sharing it.
Your pictures really captured the moment.
Comment by Sara and Christopher on September 4, 2007 at 4:53pm
That's a great story....and I like the photos too. I have found it's often a year or two after such an event that I can see the humor in it; while it is happening, I am embarrassed or feel totally out of place....but it makes a funny story to tell later.

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