George Worthy

It’s been over a year since we have been locked into our homes and out of our schools and restaurants. I hope by now you are armored up by the vaccine. Do you feel any safer? I don’t seem to feel any better as the harbingers of doom have pointed out there are new strains around the corner. One thing I can tell you, there are changes occurring almost everywhere I go. 

The other day Sweet Lo and I went into town to buy flowers for our latest project. The strangest thing started happening — now you might not find it strange, but I assure you it was noticeable to us. It seemed that everywhere we went we were greeted by the nicest people. I’m not kidding. Boys and girls working part time to the older folks that had been working for years. Again, the attention that we were given was noticeable. 

Questions we had were given serious thought, not just “Yeah, we got that, it’s probably in some back room.” The clerk would actually go to the back room, everything was volunteered. Because of this attitude, it was actually fun to go shopping. 

I recently read about some morons who are actually hurting some of our population because they are from Asia. Apparently they equate that with their hard times. We are a diversified population and no one group of people. In our population, there are folks that came from all over the world to help America grow. I refuse to blame anyone about this occasion.

Of course, there are still folks that make it harder on me because of my age, but I choose to meet any challenge with a smile. I must be the only person who jumps out of the car to enter a store without a mask on a regular basis, I usually see the sign on the door, mutter to myself and go back to my car and mask up. When I re-enter the store, I can always tell the young people who were taught good manners for they can tell my frustration and I tell them the trip back and forth is my only form of exercise. That usually gets a laugh. 

They live in California where the fields, stores and restaurants are owned, staffed and run by many folks that were not born here and yet are the most patriotic people I know. They are from Japan, the Philippines, Mexico, China, Europe … well you get the idea. They started from almost every country in the world and brought their families and energy and work ethic to our little part of heaven. 

There was a time in my life when my family moved to Arkansas to start again after my Dad lost his farm. I’m sure there were folks who lived near me who weren’t born in the United States, but I can’t remember even one. When we returned to California, my Dad got a job on the night shift of a sewer plant. During the summer I would often go to work with him. I was supposed to keep him company during the morning hours when it was hard to stay awake, but I often fell asleep after he did his first walkthrough. I won’t bore you with his duties, but it was educational to say the least. 

Bill, an African American, was a great storyteller and a veteran of World War II, and Willy was a strong guy from Samoa. They were the guards who would make sure no miscreants would stir up trouble. I was just a little guy who watched and listened to them as they would talk to my Dad and tell stories of where they had been and what they had done. It was more interesting than school. 

Dad taught me how the sewer worked and what happens after you flush. This was a long time ago and I’m sure those duties no longer exist. This was a time when almost all labor was done by hand. This was the only time my Dad worked anywhere other than a farm. My friends at school soon found out where he worked, told me to hold my tongue and say “My daddy works in a shipyard.” I tell you this history because I don’t remember a time where I wasn’t working or playing with people from another country. 

Normally I wouldn’t think it was important or that you would be interested. From school, to the army, to the sheriff’s department, I always worked with interesting people who told me about their home country. Here is the real confession that this column refers to: When I used to meet a person who wasn’t white, I would always tell myself that I don’t see color of other people. But then I experienced a story that had me floored, then I realized how stupid for the guy saying it that it changed my thought process. 

I don’t care where you come from, or what color your skin is, I’m proud to be an American and I don’t treat anyone different.

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Gonzales columnist George Worthy may be reached at [email protected].


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