I never knew my father-in-law. He passed away before I even met my wife. I did spend a lot of time with his brothers and sisters, my wife’s uncles, aunts, and her cousins. These are the Spanish-Moroccans.
At some point in time, the family left Spain, crossed the Straits of Gibraltar, and settled in Tangiers. There are stories told, about the family patriarch, my wife’s grandfather, who died long before she was born. Rumors abound that he may not be who he claimed to be. It is told, around a table, that offers Chicken Tagine and couscous, that he was a foundling, roaming around the Moroccan desert, where he was taken in by a man, who having no children of his own raised him like a son, and gave him his name. No one knows why he was wandering in the desert, or what his name really was. It gets weirder. After marrying and spawning 9 children, he died after being kicked in the head by a horse. No one can explain what he was doing to the horse at the time, but I have my suspicions.
One by one, this family left Morocco, with most coming to North America and settling in Buffalo, which, when they tell the story, and they often do, makes me laugh out loud. Of all of the places in The United States, they chose Buffalo. Any way, as they were all uneducated, with not one finishing high school, they took jobs as factory or warehouse workers. 2 of my wife’s uncles, became house painters. I was informed that they were the best, No body could paint a house like they could. I was shown their work, and it is true, they nailed the green paint in the living room!
As life went on, they all married, and had hoards of children. It was at the wedding of one of these offspring, a cousin to my wife, that I began to understand these people. Now bear with me, as the tale gets quite confusing. It will be difficult to tell the relatives apart, as all of my wife’s male cousins are named Michael and David, and the female cousins are called Lisa or Coty. It is their tradition to name everyone after their parents and grandparents. Even with a program, it is difficult to tell the players apart. I will therefor label them with numerical suffixes.
So, at this wedding, I was able to meet a myriad of dysfunctional Spanish-Moroccans, all related to my wife. David 1, a successful and prominent financial planner, was not able to attend the wedding, as he was living somewhere in Latin America, after having been charged with extorting several millions of dollars of his clients’ money. When caught, he packed up and vanished. Without a trace. It is worth noting, that he also absconded with monies belonging to his siblings and cousins. He was found guilty of fraud and embezzlement in absentia, and has never been heard from again.
David 2, operated a window sales and installation business. He actually lived just around the corner from me. He had 2 trucks, and what appeared to be a thriving business. While at the wedding, he approached me and informed me that if I ever needed anything, like a TV, or camera, or jewellery, or fur coat, or stereo, or perhaps a refrigerator, I should let him know. He could get me a great deal. A few weeks later, as my wife’s birthday was approaching, I went to see him at his home, to see what he could get and at what price. He took me downstairs, to the basement to show me his wares. There were closets filled with fur coats, and suitcases crammed with assorted jewelry. There were cases of watches, and bins filled with cameras, and video. There were televisions, still in boxes, lined up against the wall. As you probably guessed, David 2 had never installed or sold a window in his life. He sold stolen goods. I don’t know if he was the thief, but he knew where to get stuff. Several years later, he left the country without warning. Rumor has it that he went to prison, but the romantic in me likes to think that he fucked off to Latin America, and is enjoying the sun and surf with his cousin.
Michael 1, a dimwitted insurance salesman, who had been under the care of a psychiatrist for a personality disorder, had just branched out and opened his own brokerage, specialising in group benefits and accident insurance. During his sales pitch to me, he began making incredibly rude and provocative comments and gestures towards my wife. It is quite fortuitous that he sold accident insurance, as the ensuing misadventure of my fist striking his face, required him to be under the care of another doctor. I apologised to my wife, and we left he wedding, amid Spanish squawking.
Joseph, a cousin in law, was insanely wealthy. He was in the clothing business, manufacturing a line of women’s fashion and wholesaling it out to major, upscale retail outlets across North America. My wife took me to his house once. it was approximately 10,000 sq, ft., with an indoor swimming pool. I actually got lost on my way to use the bathroom. Their dog, who has been trained to locate and retrieve lost and injured travellers, brought me back to the living room, after giving me some water so I could re-hydrate. About 5 years later, we had heard that Joseph had lost his business, boycotted by his customers for violating several labour and human rights laws in the manufacturing of his products., Seems the putz had factories in the Philippines, and was operating sweat shops. Now he dabbles in the sales of assorted items he imports from China.
Michael 2, one of the house painters, had retired from painting due to back issues. We would go visit them on Saturday afternoons, and he would fall asleep in his chair while talking. His wife, who was 15 years his junior, would often expose herself to me. Everytime she bent over, leaned over, or crossed her legs, I saw things I shouldn’t have seen. It was a regular occurrence, this dinner and a show routine she performed, and I often felt obligated to give her the $20 for the performance. My informed that it was not necessary, unless a lap dance was involved.
So, these 2 had opened a prepared food business with both a retail location, and a catering operation. My wife and I went down to the store to visit and to wish them well. My wife never fully believed my tales of Peeler Pearl, but all of that changed when Pearl called me into the kitchen area to see the operation. I went in, with my wife following, and there was Pearl, blouse unbottoned to her navel, no bra, and a view of the Blue Ridge Mountains there for the taking. I kind of felt sorry for Uncle Michael, the poor bastard, but he was a mean S.O.B. anyway.
And then there was Aunt Coty, the family witch. The purveyor of potions and spells. The story goes that her husband had upset her by not permitting her to purchase something quite expensive. She put a curse on him, the hex of hexes, and turned him catatonic. The man never moved, or spoke again. He was tube fed, and had round the clock nursing. The official story is that he suffered a massive stroke, and never recovered. The family still talks, in clandestine gatherings, and whispered voices, about Coty’s ability to weave magic. Shortly after my wedding, my wife informed me that Coty had advised her to have a curse put on me that would have me remain in love with my wife forever. All that was required was a pair of my wife’s panties. Ya, pretty weird.
My mother-in-law, who is not Spanish-Moroccan. adores me. To the rest of my wife;s family, I am an outsider. I cant begin to tell you how pleased I am with this. They do not speak English when I am nearby. I wish I could tell them that their conversations, entirely in Spanish, are of no interest to me. My wife, however, insists that I be nice. They are her family. We have been invited to some Spanish-Moroccan event in April, although we are not sure exactly what it is celebrating. I have suggested that it is either the extradition hearing of David 1, or the installation of a stripper’s pole in Michael 2 and Pearl’s retail outlet. Either way, I am not looking forward to it. I have promised not to kick the crap out of Michael 1, provided he abstains from trying to get his hand down my wife’s pants. It is a moot promise at best, I mean, I don’t think he can help himself. And me, well I have been working out on the heavy bag, just in case.