What I love and take for granted in my community

In the last two weeks, I have conversed with an international consortium of dance enthusiasts.

Our conversations took place in a dance studio in the town of Madison, the county of Madison, the state of Alabama, the United States of America, Earth.

Countries of origin included the Philippines, Italy, Germany, France, Russia, Mexico and the United States, of the ones specifically stated; heritage included unspecified European, African and Southeast Asian countries.

In some conversations, I was the “American” toward whom the comparison was made about ethnic/national meal preparation — I agreed that some cultures were known for watering down or making bland the spicy foods of other cultures, such that a Mexican or Italian restaurant in the U.S. was not “authentic”.

[this blog entry was interrupted so my wife and I could watch an episode of “SNAPPED” about the murder of a high school mate of mine, Jeffrey Freeman, one of the funniest guys I knew, an impersonator who was great at portraying Carnac the Magnificent, both Jeffrey and Johnny an inspiration for my humour then and now — my thought trail has been shifted as a result]

What I heard from every one of the people with whom I talked was their love for the variety of foods available from countries all over the world here in the U.S. — if there wasn’t a restaurant serving their favourite dishes, there was almost always a grocery store that carried the spices, fruits and vegetables of their home country with which they could cook their family secret recipes and share with friends/family.

Millions of people travel around the world, settling down in new places, rediscovering themselves and their subcultures.

In fact, it’s the story of the billions of us who’ve lived and wandered this planet to make a better life for ourselves.

I have learned a lot about myself in preparation for a dance showcase — rediscovering the joy of living with people of many different backgrounds just as important.

How people outside the state of Alabama see the people inside the state is a perception I don’t control.  What I see is the thriving community around the Marshall Space Flight Center and Redstone Arsenal responsible for moon landings and solar system exploration, with all the ancillary occupations that give the community’s residents a healthy lifestyle.

I have taken my fulfilling life in Huntsville for granted.  For that alone, I am thankful this beautiful autumn day, leaves falling on the driveway, and chipmunks, their cheeks filled with winter food, hopping across the flagstones surrounding the backyard pond.

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