Friday, July 14, 2006

Mississippi Burning

It's a bit late to talk about it, but the 4th went pretty well... we had a few people, drank a few beers, blew some things up, just a typical happened-all-over-the-country type thing.
For the number of kids we had over for two days, a remarkably few amount of tears too. Just your average moments of freaking out. Just one strange moment to mention though - my friend Ken came a bit late, after some of the crowd had already disappeared, but was able to hang out for a few hours. Sam knows him a bit - we used to work together from time to time on some catering gigs, and a few times Ken caught an hour or two of sleep between gigs in our spare bedroom. Now that Ken took a full time job as head chef of a restaurant in Philly, we don't see him as much (and hardly ever work together) but he is still around every once in a while.
Anyway, Ken and I were outside cooking shrimp and watching Sam scout for insects, having a fine old time. Ken is one of those guys that Sam is totally cool with, and just slips right into conversations with him... "hey Kenny, what are you eating? Hey Kenny, I picked up a bee at school and it stung me right there (holds up ring finger). Hey Kenny, do you like yogurt? I could go inside and get everyone yogurts that have pictures from Disney's hit film Cars on them..." You get the idea. At some point though, Sam went inside to get some ketchup and said to Sara, "hey mom, that brown guy wants some ketchup".
Out of nowhere.
That brown guy.
She told me while we were packing everyone into the car to see the fireworks, and I was blown away. What do you say? He didn't mean anything by it, and obviously likes Ken. Plus, Ken is brown, so it wasn't like he was saying something completely nuts. Have to nip it in the bud though... While I was still mulling it over, Sara found just the thing to say.... "Sam, remember when you said 'that brown guy wants some ketchup'? Its not really nice to call people things that aren't their name. You know Ken's name, you should call him Ken. If you don't know someone's name, you can ask them, because sometimes when you call people something other than their name, you can hurt their feelings". I'm paraphrasing a bit, but not bad right? Sound like a good reason to call people by their name. I like the way this is going...
Without missing a beat, Sam says, "why?".
"Well, your name is Sam, but you wouldn't like it too much if people called you something else, like 'the white guy', would you?"
"Sure," says my bi-racial three year old, "I'd like that. I'm going to change my name to Sam The White Guy."
(moment of stunned silence in the car)
After a few blocks he agreed to call people by their names, but seemed to still like the "Sam the White Guy" moniker.
So it begins... a young mind yearning to be molded... in some mighty white suburbs... with me as a parent... something tells me we're in for a long rollercoaster ride....

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