Last day of the fair

Yesterday, I mentioned something about having a religiously diverse family — Catholic, Jewish, evangelical and mainline protestant — but added "no Muslims yet, though."

That wasn’t exactly right. I had forgotten about the Bantu.

My wife was, before going up to Pennsylvania for the past year, the leader of our church’s team that worked with the Somali Bantu family that St. Peter’s sponsors. In those days, she spent a huge amount of time becoming as close to them as though they were family. Others took up that mantle while she was away, but she has started helping out again, tutoring one of the children during the week.

This morning, she and some other members of the volunteer team took several of the children to the Fair. I joined them in the afternoon, after Mass (my wife had gone to an earlier service).

After rides and pizza, I proposed we go check out the livestock. I thought they would get into that, because I knew how much their mother prized goat as an cherished part of their diet (my wife used to regularly score them a goat from a local butcher) — and there were some big ones to be seen. I thought vaguely that it would be an echo of their people’s pastoral past — which is another way of saying I wasn’t thinking. America changes immigrants, and in any case, these kids were far too young to remember any semblance of normal life before the refugee camps. You know what they seemed to dig the most? The heavy machinery from Joe Blanchard’s company that was on display out toward the horse show arena. The little boys especially, but also the one young girl in her robes and headscarf, really enjoyed climbing up and pretending to operate them.

For my part, I got what I go to the Fair for — Fiske fries, and a bag of cotton candy. Not exactly health food, but it only comes round once a year.

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