Sunday, December 11, 2011

Amigo

He said he was a lucky man to have "the blood of Spain, the heart of Mexico and the freedom of America." Born Luis Antonio Dámaso de Alonso on December 11, 1905 in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico, the world knew him as Gilbert Roland.

In a former entertainment climate Roland's onscreen presence exuded a measure of masculinity, class and dignity that has all but disappeared for the appreciation of modern moviegoers. Today, he, as well as his body of work, are just about lost to memory, except perhaps by me in this little South Texas pueblito of Benavides; it too, forgotten by the world. Since I was a kid Gilbert Roland always reminded me of my dad's persona.

Long ago Roland penned his signature on a wooden column of La Perla restaurant in Acapulco's El Mirador Hotel. A local artisan then carefully carved it into the wood for posterity. Only God knows how long it had been there before I happened on it in the summer of 1985. I traced it with my index finger and that was the closest I ever came to Gilbert Roland. Happy birthday, Amigo.

Luis Antonio Dámaso de Alonso died in Beverly Hills, California on May 15, 1994 at age 88. His remains were cremated and the ashes scattered at sea.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Real Meat

He says one day to Melba and me as we're sitting down to supper... "I don't like your meat." (carne picada) "I like steak... T-bone... the kind that Grandpa makes." This evening the boy sat down to a plate of steak and was very grateful.