He was playing the watermelons like bongo drums and we smiled and wished him well on his selection. So of course we nodded in greeting when saw him in the cheese section commenting with affirmation on the contents of his cart – watermelon, fresh snapper and a bottle of wine.
That simple opening turned into a 30 minute conversation with this engaging 69 year old African American high school history teacher. He despaired the limited education of white Pacific Northwest young people when he mentioned the anniversary of Bloody Sunday and my 30 year old daughter didn’t know what he was talking about. I felt awful for feeling I failed in my daughter’s upbringing, my daughter felt bad for not listening more to her history-buff dad. We went on to talk more history – Jim Crow, Vietnam, references to the middle east where he has a daughter serving in the army and ended with him summarizing his upcoming lessons to his class on WW1.