The city where we live, Portland, a northwest bubble, in the larger bubble, Oregon, is sunny and crisp today. Summer seems to have taken time off; we wear light jackets. We're sorry to have left high heat to our New York family. We have also moved into an ethnically-challenged environment where all the women are white and the men are not bad looking and white also--to badly paraphrase Garrison Keillor.
Why a bubble? Another glorious Saturday Farmers Market can distract from events that seem far away. Issues with much traction here revolve around the land and the environment--important, but what about threats to democracy?
Terrible trouble is being brewed on the other coast by uneducated people blindly following a crazy fool whose cause is stoked by a woman who perverts feminism with every breath she takes. I choose not to speak their names on this site. Two blogs I read regularly for their insights Darlene's Hodgepodge from Arizona and Citizen K from the state of Washingon enlighten readers on the dangers seeping from this execrable duo. I thank them for doing the work.
To celebrate the possibilities of diversity which might expand my own new city's bubble, I offer a children's book I'm about to mail to granddaughter Roxie in New York. Each of my grandkids has been indoctrinated into my love of hens. When they are older, I'll try to explain the reason behind this obsession. I believe my maternal great grandmother in Poland must have raised chickens; this is an invention since no one was kind enough to share any of my ancestor story.
Ron, however, brings chickens closer to me via his paternal grandfather, the one who was brought to America from Bialystok, Poland by his sons who'd come before World War One. The Blooms love to tell how this ultraorthodox Jewish gentleman, a ritual slaughterer (mostly chickens I assume) and scholar, arrived on the boat at Ellis Island with an explanation. Wind had blown his professional certificate out of his hands and into the sea. Now he could devote himself to religious study and be supported by his three American sons.
[Aside: My sister-in-law, M.M., who reads my blog, is older than spouse Ron, will--I hope-- correct inaccuracies in this story.]
Yetta, Jewish Chicken, entered my life through NPR. Scott Simon of Weekend Edition Saturday has a long-running friendship with the writer, Daniel Pinkwater. They entertain themselves and listeners by reading children's books together laughing as they go. With four grandchildren (and on my own for suggestions), I decided it was time to track down Pinkwater's books of which there are many. Yetta is the most recent, a treasure even if you are not a chicken aficionado--lovable illustrations by Jill Pinkwater. The text mostly in kids' book English plus much Yiddish, and a little Spanish too!
Beautiful Yetta The Yiddish Chicken seems a timely addition to Roxie's (laundry helper on her June visit) poultry collection in New York; her family is about to move from the only home she has known for her first four years. Tucked into its quirky, child oriented text about a lost chicken who lands in an unknown place is a message. The book's flap, explains:
"Moving from city to country...appearing different from others, or adjusting to change...Jewish tradition teaches how we are to treat newcomers....From the Torah, 'The strangers who sojourn with you shall be to you as the natives among you and you shall love them as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.' "
Yetta, Roxie, and I want you to join us in hope that rises above and beyond what happens today. I close my eyes and remember a conference in 1964. Martin Luther King speaks of his dream to New York City teachers. We rise to our feet; we are true believers.