Simply ordinary observations from an ordinary person - sometimes having to do with health care issues, sometimes not. Topics will change as my attention wanders. Yours probably will too....

Monday, May 26, 2008

Not Working Chair

During WWII, my father was helping the US Army build temporary air strips throughout the South Pacific, at war with Japan. He came home with a Japanese sword, a silk kimono, and malaria in his bloodstream. Sixty years later, his daughter is working for a small CA company which is owned by a large Japanese corporation and working side-by-side with grandchildren of the Japanese he was fighting against. We never speak of the war in our break room, especially not on Pearl Harbor Day or the days the bombs dropped on Hiroshima or Nagasaki.

When I entered high school, my oldest brother was US Marine Corps infantry, patrolling jungles outside Danang, Vietnam. He came home with fungal infections in his feet, unresolved anger towards his government, and an extra 100 years behind his 20 year old face. He never talks of the 12 months he spent there and, although I know a few details, I won't write of them here. Those are his stories and he chooses not to tell.

Forty years later, his sister gets bi-weekly pedicures at one of several Vietnamese nail salons in town. That's where I was on Saturday a.m., watching a young Vietnamese woman paint "Smell the Roses" pink across the tips of my toes. No fungal infection, no drops of blood following me out the door. There's no trace of the war here - these girls are young enough to have been born in the U.S. and I suspect most of them have never been to Vietnam.

In 12 months, one of my young nephews may leave for Afghanistan or Iraq, depending on where his National Guard unit is needed. It's difficult to imagine how this particular conflict will ever be resolved and I can't picture the types of U.S.-Iraqi partnerships which may or may not result. This war, to me, seems much more like the out-of commission pedi-spa I sat next to on Saturday. The one where a "Not Working Chair" sign was hanging.

Memorial Day, 2008

2 comments:

SeaSpray said...

great post!

spynster57 said...

Thank you. You're always so nice to leave me a comment - it feels strange sometimes to be posting to the huge internet void! Thanks again.....