by Stacye Carroll
According to World Book Dictionary, the word nation refers to a community of people sharing a common territory and government, as well as language, race, ethnicity, and/or history. With typical aplomb, Americans have pushed that envelope; we’ve taken the idea a little further, and built the concept a little bigger, making the scholars’ definition appear quaint. From infancy, The United States has been a nation born of amalgamation, and yet we remain one nation, still.
I am not well traveled. I’ve been in the business of raising children since my early twenties, and children insist on eating, even while traveling, necessitating frequent stops in restaurants that seemingly have no qualms about charging $2.00 for a glass of iced tea that cost pennies to brew. No, I haven’t traveled much. But I’ve seen enough to learn that despite surface differences, most of the people populating our nation have in common a belief in- and desire for “American” values.
I’ll use, as an example, the owner of my local convenience store. Some will consider me crass for pointing out that you can probably guess his country of birth. Personally, I have no problem with the truth. He’s Indian, East Indian to be precise; as is his lovely wife, his son, and a daughter who enrolled at Columbia University last fall.
I thought he would burst as he told me. His eyes danced. He bounced on the balls of his feet. His wife smiled at him over yards of colorful silk swaddling her body, newly plumped by her love of Southern-American cuisine.
“She’s going to be a doctor!”
They could have been anybody.
She could have been me. I’ve smiled many a benevolent smile upon witnessing my man love our child.
He could have been my next door neighbor who has been known to chastise his son for bringing home an 87 on an exam. He wants the best for his boy and knows the only way he’ll get there is through excellence.
At the end of the day both of us, she and I, either literally or in the form of a memory from another, younger time, will kiss our babies good-night. We’ll take one last look around the house and, content in our security, end the day each in her own way.
She promised, one day, she’d teach me the art of henna tattoos. I’ll share my recipe for fried green tomatoes.
We are so different.
We are the same.
We are one nation.
Stacye Carroll raises babies, chickens, and assorted fruits and vegetables in a western suburb of Atlanta, Georgia. She also likes to take pictures. And, sometimes she writes…