Monday, January 7, 2013


Quite a while ago, I wrote about when I first moved to Okeechobee, Fl  to read meters and met Precious.  Well Precious was not a girl or even a pretty boy. He was a studly cowboy with a cutesy nick name. 

Precious and I worked together for a year when he transferred into the office.
That meant we needed a replacement for him.  John became my new partner.

John was a young lanky black man who constantly wore very dark wrap around sunglasses--inside as well as out, day and night.  No one knew what his eyes looked like.  When asked why he wore them inside, he just said, "I am not comfortable with them off."

Thinking he may have a sensitivity to light or perhaps hiding some severe scaring, I never asked further and just accepted this delightful fellow with no eyes.

One day a strange black man came in our office early in the morning. He had a key  so I thought he might have a message from John who was running late but hadn't called.

Then he grinned bashfully and I saw it was John though I wouldn't have been able to pick him out in a group of three with out his glasses.  Seems he had broken his glasses and had hunted in vain for a spare pair.

As I looked into his now visible eyes,  I realized what he had been hiding. He had the most beautiful eyes I have ever seen on any of God's creatures. They would have made a deer proud but I guess they had made him the butt of too many jokes from macho friends. He had eyes any woman would pay big bucks for.  A  man I guess, not so much.  It was a shame to cover up those beautiful eyes and I told him so but he persisted.  

 John and I became good friends and as we rode around together on those long training routes, we learned a lot about each other.  I was a bit stunned at first when John kept talking about his "wife" Richard Dean who was a school teacher.

I had no problem with John having a wife named Richard Dean, but this was in the late 70's and I had no politically correct guide lines to use.  Gay was not a common word and Okeechobee was a pretty red necked town. It was obvious from his conversations that John loved Richard very much. That was all that mattered to me and I did not questioned further.

Not too long after he came to work, we had our Christmas party for all employees and spouses. Finally I was going to get to meet Richard Dean.

In walked John, still wearing his sun glasses though the sun had long since set, with a really cute, petite black girl on his arm that he proudly introduced as Richard Dean.

There was a moment of shock, then we all burst out laughing with John and Richard Dean doubled over giggling at our shocked expressions. The rascal had deliberately led us to believe RD was a man just to see how we would react.

Yes her name really was Richard Dean and she went by both names. Seems she had 4 older sisters and her father in frustration wanting to have a son to carry on his name said the next child, male or female was going to be called Richard Dean. 

While John concealed his beautiful eyes behind the sun glasses, Richard Dean wore her unusual name with pride and delighted in the confusion it often caused.  Just two different ways for a person to carry a perceived burden.

Richard Dean taught me to just flaunt something you are stuck with dressed in humor and John reminded me that concealing left you always uncomfortable that you will someday be found out.


  1. I love your posts about the people in your life.

  2. A very interesting story, and just goes to show, what you think is something, could be something entirely different. And dont judge! Thanks for a good start to the week.

  3. Wow, great story. A girl named Richard Dean ... almost as surprising as 11 inches of snow in Arkansas!

  4. lol... love this ... did you keep in touch with John? What an interesting person...

    To be black and gay even in the 2000s is quite a todo ... but to be black and thought gay back in the 70s? what fun he had ~ such a sense of humor.

    Need more humor in this world!

  5. What a great story! John seems like somebody I would really enjoy knowing, too. Being gay is becoming less and less of a stigma, but I'm sure there are lots of people who keep it hidden. Funny twist to your story, to find out that RD is a woman! :-)

  6. John must have been a wonderful and interesting co-worker!! And he certainly left an impression!! Good for John

  7. oh my gosh, I enjoyed this soooo much!

  8. Eyes so pretty he kept them covered. You are right, women would pay big bucks for such eyes.

  9. Patti
    I'm so glad I took the time to go back and read about Precious and Helen and all the rest who were connected with the meter reading group. So now I knew exactly what you were referring to and I feel like I know the group already.
    "The eyes have it." Jeepers..... I'd love to see his eyes. I'm an eye person. Ha

  10. OOoh what a fun story. Lots of lessons in this one.

  11. This was one of your best. I love your storytelling way. Oma Linda

  12. Ha! Love it. You have this story telling down to a beautiful science.

  13. I'm so glad you are back with your wonderful stories. There's a lot to be learned from this one. And how cool that back then even people you worked with were so accepting.

  14. RV Vagabonds,
    Thank you so much. I have been lucky in my friends.

    Thank you. I did learn long ago that few things are what they seem to be.

    Tom Sightings,
    Ha ha, you have a good point.

    Thanks, so glad you enjoyed. Sadly, he left town after about 10 years and we lost touch.

    He was a really interesting guy. I have another story about him for another time that was an unfortunate incident.

    He really was and we became very good friends.

    Thank you so much, so glad you liked it.

    They reminded me a bit of Michael Jackson's eyes and Michael did pay big bucks for his.

    I am so glad you read those old posts. It had to make this story more pertinent.Thank you for taking the effort. His eyes were a cross between Michael Jackson's and Liz Taylor's if she had brown eyes.

    turquoise moon,
    I am so glad you liked it and got the message.

    Aww gee thank you so much. I love telling them.

    Thanks big guy. I sure enjoy the heck out of reliving them.

    You have been around to read them all. Thank you so much for that.

    Considering the type of town it was, I was also impressed with them for accepting a black possibly gay man. It never outwardly ruffled any feathers.

    You would have enjoyed them. They were a really fun and favorite couple.

  15. I love how you embrace the people in your life and share about them with such insight and deft word pictures.

  16. Well ... since my dear husband who died in 1990 actually was RICHARD DEAN it was very strange to read your post.
    But, since he was neither a black man or a female I guess I'll keep my memory of him as it was !

  17. Great story about John and Richard Dean. I made assumptions of my own while reading. Bad habit of mine!

  18. Patti, this is an amazing story. I don't know what would have been more shocking at that time and place: an african american gay man or a cute girl named Richard.

  19. Another great story, Patti! I hope they are still as happy today as they were back then!

  20. What a great story - and two life lessons to go with it!

  21. Patti I love reading your stories about your earlier years. Too funny that he led you guys on about his girl friend. Isn't it something that he felt he should hide something so beautiful.
    Great story.

  22. Delightful read, and moral certainly true.

  23. LC
    Wow, that was a cool compliment. Thank you so much. Hope you give that book a look.

    Ha ha, that had to have been an interesting read for you.

    I know, I did in the beginning also. Kind of a natural reaction.

    Throw in the fact that this was a red necked town makes it all the more strange. I was amazed at my fellow employee's (who were not known to be at all liberal) acceptance.

    I should lie and say all is still well but in fact they did later get a divorce.

    Thanks so much. I know I learned from them.

    It is the old "eye of the beholder" thing. To me they were beautiful-- to him they were a deformity.

    Thanks so much. Hope you are still doing well with the rehab. Take care.

  24. A secret loses all it's power when it is no longer a secret!

    Love this story, they sound like fun people...

  25. Reminds me of the song by Johnny Cash, a boy named Sue; great story, hope you are doing well and the weather isn't too bad up there this winter.

  26. Oh my what a great and positive story... thanks.

  27. I wonder if there was more to him hiding his eyes behind shades than meets the eye. Pardon the pun.

    Lovely story, and proof that you never really know anyone.

  28. This is such a wonderfully written story, Patti. You have such a gift for story telling. I sure wish you had a photo of John though. This was so much fun!

  29. RMW,
    As Edith Ann would say, "And that's the truth."

    Linda Starr,
    Ha, I almost referenced that song.It might not have made her tough but it sure gave her a sense of humor to deal with it.

    Thank you so much. Glad you enjoyed.

    LL Cool Joe,
    I am sure he had other reasons but think they surfaced after he started hiding his "doe eyes" as the guys called them.
    And, yes, it always pays to dig a little.

    Thank you for the great compliment. I wish I had a picture of him but it seems the one I had failed to make my last move.

  30. This is a great story. I love the way this man tried to fool you. Patti, you are the BEST storyteller. I love to read your blog. Thanks for this one.

  31. He sounds like quite the character. What a fun memory!

  32. You are SUCH a good story-teller!!

  33. Such a great story held me captured 'til the end. So missed your tales.
    I have been out of the loop longer than I meant ...5 grandsons and a lap top placed on the floor = disaster = unexpected bill.
    Happy New Year ... nearly two weeks gone already. xx

  34. Retired English Teacher,
    Thank you so much Sally. That means a lot.

    I have a lot of John stories and do have one for later. Thanks.

    Aw thanks so much Judy. You have been here for them all like robin. Thank you so much.

    Oh no, someone killed your laptop?? Sure hope you are back in business again.
    Thank you for hanging in.

  35. Are you a bit surprised to seem me showing up???
    I would like to believe this tale of yours BUT!!! come now, it's just too weird.
    There is a lady i work with, whose name is Ricky, so maybe there could be a thread of truth to your story. BUT!!!.....Do you think I should ask Ricky if her name is really Richard? I'm not doing it!! Don't try to make me. As for the sun glasses. I think John had a drinking problem and was just trying to hide it unless of coarse John used to be Joanne.

  36. That is a very enjoyable story. Thank you for sharing it.

  37. Deb,
    Thanks, I felt that too.

    Ah, my cynical friend, every word is true. Unless he had an Adam's apple surgically installed, pretty sure he was John and he didn't drink. Sorry. Hay, you don't suppose your "Ricky" is actually Richard Dean? I have lost track of them.

    Amber Star,
    Thanks so much.Glad you enjoyed.

  38. I really enjoyed this post sweet Patti. Had I met John and seen his beautiful eyes I would have had to tell him how beautiful they were.

    Several years ago at a mall in LR I was paying for my food order and next to me was a man that had gorgeous eyes. I could not refrain from telling him how beautiful his eyes were. He smiled and thanked me. I had never seen eyes so beautiful before nor have I seen any since. Hugs

  39. Maggie,
    I did the same thing with John but I think if I had used the term "sexy" instead of "pretty" he might have felt better about it. The fellow you saw obviously was secure enough to be flattered.