For better or for worse, I was at a CLE on Friday afternoon. It was one of the Hennepin County Bar Association's Law and Literature series - really excellent CLEs, by the way. We were discussing Pearl S. Buck's story John John Chinaman, which tells the story of John Lim, the son of Chinese immigrants living in a small midwestern town immediately prior to WWII. John lives with his pregnant wife, a recent immigrant from China, and his father. His conflicts are much what you might expect - he was born in the U.S. and is American, but isn't accepted as a "real American" by the town. He was teased as a boy, and continues to be teased and looked down on as an adult. His father worries about him, and he worries about his unborn child.
In the story, the mayor of the town is a WWI veteran who lived through some real horrors fighting in France. When he gets word of a draft, he is appalled by the thought that the young men of his town may have to live through something similar to what he had to endure.
I won't give away anything else in case anyone wants to read the story (because I don't know how to do hidden text in blogger). It's a great short story; if anyone wants to read it, let me know. I can email you the pdf we got for the CLE.
Anyway, so the CLE was for "elimination of bias" credits, so those are the issues we discussed - what John, his wife, and his father faced in their town, not being accepted as "real Americans," and to what degree those biases are still present today. But the theme that really hit home for me was how everyone was struggling to keep their loved ones safe. John's father tries to protect John; John tries to protect his wife and unborn child; the mayor tries to protect the young men in his town. But despite these efforts, John and his wife were teased and harassed, and young men were sent off to war. Ultimately, there's very little we can do, to keep our loved ones safe.
On Friday afternoon... this was not a great theme for me. I kept starting to cry, and having to leave the room, then pulling myself together to go back in for another round. So glad I only needed one hour's worth of credit - I left at the mid-afternoon break.
So anyway. After all that, I felt like we needed something fun and a little indulgent, with no TVs around, so we went to the Global Market. Apparently we weren't the only ones with that thought, because the Family Friday was super crowded.
|Maisie gets ALL the beverages|
|Cream cheese wontons from Pham's Deli|
|Mushroom pizza from Jakeeno's... yum!|
We ate wontons and pizza, and danced to the wonderful Roe Family Singers. It was a good way to end an awful day.