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Dolores Huerta

from The Reeducation of a Turd Peddler
by John Henry Peabody

I HAVE COMPLETELY forgotten to mention Dolores. Dolores Huerta. She works at the historical society. “Volunteers” is the more appropriate term. Lo comes in a few times a week, runs the paperwork on the place, and, well, pretty much runs the place.
  She’s my Miss Moneypenny
is cute—I mean, she’s no Janet—but she is cute in a Marry A Mexican Wife Be Happy All Your Life kind of way. Janet likes her, too. I know they go out to lunch and talk. All I can do is wonder.
  It would be fair to describe Dolores as sturdy, even tempered and well put together. Her skin is chestnut brown and warm. She has great hands. And a good nose. Although she went to El Fornio High, like me, she was younger and we must have missed each other by a few years.
  One day I asked, “Are you Fornay Indian?”
  She looked me over. “You low life racist,” she said, half jokingly. “I’m half Mexican and half Moor, Hank. Out of San Joaquin Valley. Those cowboys out there, that’s where my grandfather came from. The left over Spanish horsemen. Did you ever read any of Rojas’ California vaqueros books? You’re one of those researchy academic types, right, Hank?”
  She’s a mocker, that’s for sure, I thought. And generally right. I just figured she was half this or half that, Indian or Mexican. But Moorish was not on the radar.
  “Like the old spur you found out in the mud last week. Those are my grandfather’s people, on my dad’s side.”
  “Yeah, the old converted Moors that came over with their horses” I ran a couple of fingers across my forehead and began to see.
  “That’s right. They may have converted to Catholicism to survive in the old country, but they were still outsiders.”
  I looked at Lo, holding her clipboard.
  “I have things to do,” she began to turn.
  “Thanks,” I said, trying to touch her shoulder, but she had already headed for the office with all the bits of paper that made up her time here.
  “You’re welcome,” she let as the door closed behind her.
  My cel phone rang. “Hello?”
  It was Janet.

READ A Follow Up Story with Dolores
called The Ikea Story


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