Saturday, October 30, 2021

the last book I ever read (The Undocumented Americans by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio, excerpt eleven)

from The Undocumented Americans by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio:

A couple of months later, I travel to Willard, Ohio to meet them. Willard is the most rural place I have ever been to, and on the long drive there I pass through vast stretches of farmland where my cheap cell phone loses service completely. Willard is known for its rich, fertile soil—people call it “the muck”—and its agricultural industry is booming, which means that temporary workers from Mexico come in seasonally to help plant, weed, and harvest. Before I visited Willard, there was a huge battle over a welcome-home party that the chamber of commerce was throwing the migrant workers. A Vietnam War vet threw a tantrum in a letter to the editor of the local newspaper, writing, “Myself and a lot of other Vietnam veterans and also Korean veterans are still waiting on our welcome-home party. Where does the Willard City Chamber of Commerce think that it is right to give the migrant workers a welcome back party?” At a city meeting dedicated to planning the party, a woman stormed out of the room with her husband, saying, “I’m a compassionate person. I believe people who come here have to come here the right way. It makes me angry when I hear people talking about harboring illegals.” The city has a population of approximately six thousand people, 94 percent of whom are white. This is where the boys live.

I come armed with the cutest pictures of my dog back when he was a puppy because I assume all children like puppies. When I arrive, I find out three of the four children are scared of dogs. (There are three boys and an even smaller child, a girl.) And clowns. I could not have arrived at a better time. They want to discuss their fear of clowns.

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