Friday, June 23, 2006

Kabul, KY

Over Asian fusion dinner last night with my parents and young Rapha - who played underneath the table throughout the meal with his new Superman action figure purchased at a third of the price it would've gone for back in Holy Land Central (HLC) - my father discussed work with my mother. They're both in the healthcare industry.

My pa's a "country doctor". He has a private practice in a small Kentucky town where people pack pistols in their purses and glove compartments 'cause you just never know when 'ol Grady or that troublemaker L. Ray might need a little straightening up, if ya know what I mean. My dad doesn't mind and he doesn't carry a gun but he also doesn't publicly spout Old Testament passages in his spare time.

He fixes up the Viola's, Ova's (pronounced "Oh Vee") and Bonnie Jean's of this world mid-week, sometimes getting paid in home grown green beans or sweet peas like the ones on our kitchen table at this very moment, then drives up north of the Mason Dixon Line to Cincinnati - former residence of Uncle Tom's Cabin author Harriet Beecher Stowe and a pit stop along the Underground Railroad route - on the weekends.

As an aside, to those who covered the 1982 Lebanon War/Invasion/Call it What You Like & joked about using the codename "Dixie" for clandestinely moving videotape out of Lebanon and into Israel, this is where the term comes from. Right here along the Ohio River. I digress.

Over his chicken dumplings and egg drop soup, dad is re-counting patient woes he sometimes encounters: bruises, cuts and general abuse at the hands of husbands.

"Why don't they dump the guys?" I ask.
Down there women are taught to stand by their men. Besides, they're isolated. No public transportation, husbands don't let them drive the cars, family in another county or no family to speak of
What about social services?
Social what? And there aren't any shelters. They're sort of trapped

Between bites of spicy tuna roll, I ask: Why in the hell is the U.S. off in other countries "liberating" women and offering up supposed modernization when you've got women prisoners living right here? Might as well get these women fitted for a burqas and send them off to Hijab Etiquette school...

I know my dad says. I'm with you. Pass the Kikkoman.

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