“How in the world do you know how to say that in French?” I asked my hostess, in French. The reason for that was simple — we were in France and she was French. In fact, she was my closest friend at that time and in that place. As I look back, she was one of the best friends I have ever had, in a basically friendless world where I have received few favors. She told me — as we stood in front of a cranberry display on the Market of the Rue Mouffetard, in Paris — that she had learned the word when she had been on the team that discovered that DNA (and not protein) was the hereditary material. Afterward she had a year of sabbatical in Cleveland, Ohio at the Case Western University, and they grew cranberries somewhere around there. Her friends had known that this strange little fruit did not exist in France, so they showed it to her, and somehow they had tested and exchanged vocabulary, just as I had with her.
Although I had been born in suburban Boston, I had not seen cranberries growing in a bog until a high school road trip. My class had traveled to see Plymouth Rock, and the reproduction of the Mayflower (so tiny — they must have been really cramped) and other such things I had been told existed no other place on God’s green Earth except for Cape Cod. I was glad I had my French friend to help me break such myths of chauvinistic rubbish. How strong the myth had felt, how deeply I had believed it, and for so long. Read more on Canneberges?…
I am a veteran.
Military. American. U.S. Army. Medical Corps.
This is truth.
Along with being a fairly knowledgeable physician with over 30 years experience, it still seems incredible and unbelievable to at least some of my patients. It is not in their experience to know women who appear on the surface to be feminine and attractive who have been in the military. Admittedly, these things were never brought up until I lost a massive amount of weight (half my body weight) but there they are.
Every time I get a chance, I thank a veteran with a handshake for defending – in these very words — “this great nation.” This seems to be a custom that has crested, for I have not met anyone else who does this lately.
Even though I tell people I am a veteran, too, almost nobody thanks me back.
Thanksgiving day parade. Patriotism. Christmas spirit. Since I was a very little girl, I noticed a sort of hypocrisy in all these things. Troops coming home? Yeah, sure. Try this — try shaking hands with a veteran, thanking him or her for putting on the green monkey suit and submitting to the arbitrary hierarchy that makes a military function. Read more on Keep The Holiday Spirit — Please!…
FINE — so I am home spending a quiet Christmas eve at home with my dear husband, and reliving the time in extreme youth — would you believe before I started school, meaning not over four or so — when I told my parents that this Santa was a rip off, because there were people in all these suits at the couple of different stores they shopped, nobody could fly like that, lots of folks had no chimneys. Also there was nothing on our roof to designate us as Jewish but he wouldn’t come and whatever.
Often in our house, especially when my grandmother of blessed memory was alive, several things, including Santa, were simply dismissed as things necessary to “goyim,” (non-Jews) and therefore somehow for the inferior or those who were somehow mentally or socially challenged.
One self-styled parenting expert on the net has raised the question whether the Santa Claus myth is good or bad for kids.