it is such a beautiful morning in wyoming i can't keep driving without stopping at one of my favorite wyoming rest stops - it has a path straight up the side of the mountain - great for cardiovascular stimulation & for views of stunning wyoming! only one other person is at the stop when i arrive. i climb up & down the hill for 20 minutes, as the parking lot starts slowly filling up. a woman spreads out beautiful silver & torquise jewelry she's made to sell. a young man is talking into his cellphone as he paces up and down; a white family pulls in next to my truck & a white woman stands, hands on hips, reading the imprision bush side of my truck.
i talk with the womon selling jewelry - she tells me times are so hard now, since the hurricane. no one hardly stops to buy jewelry. i ask her if she thinks the war in iraq has anything to do with it. she peers intently at me & says her people have never supported this war or any war the white men of this country have thrown us into. she says she doesn't personally know one individual who is in favor of bush or this war. she says folks are struggling so terribly hard to survive, worse then she can ever remember. she is probably in her 70's altho she looks much younger.
the white womon is still reading my truck so i hurry over to talk with her. as i approach, she stops reading & turns to glare at me. she doesn't bother to ask if this is my truck, but hisses 'you're a disgrace to our country'. i'm startled - i had assumed her lengthy appraisal of my truck indicated support. i guess she wanted to read all the bumper stickers that other folks had attached to that side of the truck - the 'christians for bush', etc. (i save the last few inches beneath my grandmother's words for people to place the bumper stickers they want me to have - ones that are on the same page of course).
i respond 'how am i a disgrace to my country'. 'this isn't your country' she's really angry now. 'love it or leave it' she spits. hmmmmm i don't believe i've heard these words since the official bombing began march 03, but today visions of viet nam protests begin reeling thru my brain. 'go live in another country, go live in iraq' she continues as her young daughter approaches our vehicles. i glance at the young woman as her mother continues 'you don't deserve to live her, you're a communist, you're evil'. i tune out the rest as i turn to the young woman, assessing her age to be fightin' fodder age and ask her 'do you see things the same way?'
she apologizes & says, to my horror, 'yes i do, i agree with my mother.' i ask her how many of her friends are in danger of being recruited or are already in danger of loosing their lives, their limbs. she nods her head slowly & says 'not yet but they are willing to fight for our country.'
the mother's tirade continues, louder, angrier, if that's possible. i want to point out to her that i love my country enuf to stop my life to work toward ending this war & dedicating our resources to taking care of us, not making haliburton rich. my words stick in my throat as i look at her contorted face. suddenly her mother appears, mirroring a face even more full of hate, if that's possible. she takes over for her daughter, as the grand-daughter steps back. this matriarch actually sticks her tongue out at me as she slides into the back seat. i turn to her granddaughter & beg her to protect herself & tell her friends not to go. i tell her she is the one who is in grave danger, she & her buddies. the grandmother has her ugliest face plastered against the window - i have to laugh & ask her if i can take her picture. she turns her head as if she doesn't hear.
an 18 wheeler drives slowly by, the driver blowing his horn - i'm afraid to look in case he's going to give me the finger - he doesn't - in fact he's waving and smiling and making a triumphant fist! the 3 generational white family is not paying attention - they load into the car & take off.
i smile & wave at them as if i've enjoyed our interaction. peace, sam