Amidst Armand’s struggles and prizes, he had not lost his quirky sense of humor. In 1959, when Fidel Castro’s beard and fat stogie were much in the news, Armand’s beard had taken on a rather unpopular look here at home. One day he went for a drive with his railroad buddy Hank Becker. They traveled to Zeeland, Michigan, an area settled by a colony of conservative Dutch Calvinists where, according to rumor, some folks hid their TV antennas in their attics to avoid the judging eyes of other church members who considered watching TV morally questionable. Strangers were uncommon sights in those parts, bearded strangers decidedly less common. Armand and Hank stopped for coffee at a small storefront café and noticed a slight aloofness in the atmosphere as they chatted. It being Armand’s turn to pay, Hank went to the car and waited while Armand laid his dollar on the counter. The cashier made change, then looking over this unusual looking visitor, stated off-handedly, “You’re not from around here, are you?” Armand looked at her gravely, then leaned over and whispered in a confidential tone, “Don’t tell anybody, but I’m Castro’s brother!”
When he got back in the car, he said to Hank, “Watch this,” and gestured toward the window as he started the car. As they drove away, he burst out in one of his belly laughs. Lined up against the front window were the whole staff and clientele of the café, watching this Dutch “Cuban” make his getaway (VanderMey, 2012).