My Turn-Key Americano Husband
By Maruchy Ramos-Lachance
I met my husband 25-years-ago in Westchester, an area of Miami. He was beginning his senior year at St. John Vianney College Seminary. He had learned español through immersion, living for four years with Cubans, Columbians and Puerto Ricans.
Basically, he was a ‘turn-key’ Americano. Which is to say, I didn’t have to teach him Spanish to be able to survive in my crazy Cuban family.
Within two years we were married and had our son. Through the years since he has grown more Cuban. A few weeks ago he even made a culturally-smart joke: I told him my niece had a horse when she was younger and he asked me, “What was it’s name, Tasajo?” (If you don’t know, tasajo is “horse meat” in Spanish.)
The thing I find the most enchanting about this wonderful Americanito of mine is his willingness to participate in our insane traditions and superstitions. It won’t surprise you that he has attended his share of Cuban funerals. One would think he would be glued to me, but no, he always goes to the coffin, kneels and says a prayer. He then mingles.
At one recent funeral my mother was overcome with sadness over the loss of her brother. She called us over and said, “I need you to do something.” Without skipping a beat he goes, “I am not touching the body.” My frail mother hands him a photo of my uncle and tells him to put it in the casket. He shrugs his shoulders, grabs the photo and discreetly tucks into the coffin. My mother looks at me and says, “Ese se presta para todo.”
And he does.
Even at home he has learned to humor me. The other day we were cleaning the house for the holidays and on his way to the front of the house he says, “I’ll wash the front porch and do the “despojo chant.”
I am blessed to have found someone that not only tolerates, but completely enjoys, the mixed bag that is our Spanish culture. It is because of him and his genuine love of all things Spanish that I’ve been able to not just live my culture, but celebrate it daily.
Maruchy Ramos-Lachance lives in Jupiter, Florida with her “Americano” husband and son. She runs, writes and oversees the family business, Running Ninja! a lifestyle brand for runners.
To read more tiki tiki on gringo husbands check out this fun past essay and video, How I Met My Gringo Husband.