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‘Papa, what can I be when I grow up?’

‘Anything you want, my son. But please do not be a preacher, or a lawyer, or a politician.’

‘Why Papa?’

‘Because I don’t want you to think you’re better than others, and I don’t want you to lie, and I don’t want you to have enemies.’

‘So you don’t like preachers, or lawyers, or politicians.’

‘I like them,  I just think they talk too much.’

‘So what can I be?’

‘You can be a creator and you will help people with your work. You can be a teacher and you will teach people something new. You can be an artist and you will make people happy with your art.’

‘So creators and teachers and artists are better than preachers, and lawyers and politicians?’

‘No, I didn’t say they’re better. But their work is more helpful, and they talk less.’

‘Papa, I’m confused.’

‘Ok, just remember this.  Work, not words, keeps life going.’

When the spiced kulfi of India, becomes the fragrant bastani of Persia, becomes the aromatic bouza of Levant, becomes the fruity gelato of Italy, becomes the tangy sorbet of France, becomes the creamy ice cream of England.

Become one big bowl of frozen desserts with different flavors, colors, aromas and textures.

Just like us people.

 

Right this moment, inside a home in a faraway land, sits a man with his eyes shut.  He daydreams.  He listens to the sugar almond rain over the roof of his home – celebrating sweet love and sweet life.

While inside a home in another faraway land, a man sits with his eyes open in front of the television screen.  He watches the grey pellets rain over the other man’s home – celebrating bitter hatred and bitter death.

In an abundant kitchen, of a fine home, in a magnificent city, of a prosperous country, a mother hides the leftover cake from the children.  They had too much cake.

In a bare kitchen, of a frail home, in a dusty village, of an unfortunate country, a mother stirs the empty pot until the children fall asleep.  They never tasted cake.

In this world there is the American and there is the Americana Aficionado.

One wears the stars and stripes, the other wishes to wear it.  One speaks the twang, the other excruciatingly attempts it.  One devours the frosted cupcake, the other ogles the falling crumbs.

And one lives the dream, the other secretly dreams it.

Is it the bordered land and sea?  Is it the structured government and books?  Is it the branded flag and anthem?  Is it the practiced language and religion?  Is it the inherited foods and arts?  Is it the categorized race and color?

Or, is it people coming together.  Despite the different lands and seas they come from.  Despite the different languages they speak.   Despite the different religions they follow.  Despite the different foods they eat.  Despite the different arts they appreciate. Despite the different races they belong to.  Despite the different colors of their skins.

They come together to live with each other, love each other, and learn from each other.

What is your country?