Friday, April 17, 2009

Easter Dinner with the World

My daughter and I went to a Chinese buffet for Easter dinner. We've been there before. I'm not sure that all-you-can-eat buffets are the best for one's health but this one has very good food and a lot of different sea food dishes. Filling my plate with shrimp diablo, braised baby octopus, and poached salmon, I sat down and after looking around, realized that I was the only Caucasian in the establishment.

Evidently, many others were enjoying an Easter feast and the majority of them appeared to be from a different land. There were blacks obviously from Africa, the men dressed in natty suits and the ladies in satin and lace dresses and head pieces that made them appear like giant orchids. There were Asians of various groups, Viet Namese, Hmong, and Chinese, Maybe others as well. And there was a Latin presence that could have originated anywhere from across the street to Tierra del Fuego. These were just the ones that I could identify by their appearance or language. The place had to be similar to a UN cafeteria.

My second plate piled with more seafood, I couldn't help but wonder at a world and a time where all these people from so many distant places had arrived at the same location, thousands of miles from their birth place, eating Chinese food in a Midwestern strip mall on a Christian holiday. Imagine a large globe with a red line from each of the diner's original homes to this spot. Perhaps several hundred red lines from all over the world converging on one address in Minnesota. Why? Because, at least up until now, life in the US has been much better than it's been in the places these people came from. They were happy to be there, sharing a great meal with their families, in a place where economic opportunity and an improvement in their life was a real possibility, rather than a hopeless dream.

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