I believe in the goodness of ordinary people. My family’s life has never been an easy one. My parents always struggled financially only until recent years. My father worked as a car salesman most of my life and his commission was never steady. Although I was too young to remember, I remember hearing from my father years later that my Mom and Dad sometimes had to put my sister and I to bed early just so that we would not want for food at dinnertime. As a child, my parents would give my sister and I a small allowance, but I always knew that they could not afford it. So I would save it up and offer it back to them when I thought they were having an especially difficult time. We ate ramen and spaghetti a lot in my house. And, I can tell you, my mother can cook chicken in so many different ways with few ingredients, it’s really rather incredible. My Mom and Dad always made it seem okay though. Spaghetti night became a night my sister and I cherished. Even today my mother will occasionally cook up a pot of her spaghetti and we all love it. Somehow, with all the struggle my parents endured, they did not want my sister and I to see just how bad it was at times. It seems what got us through those times were the good people in our lives. I remember people like Mrs. Robison who used to come to our door with a feast of food cooked for my entire family without us even asking. She would pretend like she just did it because she liked to cook and didn’t have anything better to do. She wouldn’t even take “thank you’s” because she just did it out of the kindness of her heart. Or Mrs. Mukumoto, a woman in the Buddhist community my family is a part of, who would show up unannounced at our door to pray with my father when he was battling cancer. These ladies would spend their own free time making homemade Christmas gifts for my sister and I so that we had something under the tree. Although these Japanese war brides are of no blood relation to me, they are like family in my eyes. I have no living grandmother, but I would say that I have more grandmothers in my life than many people do. These women are just as much family as my father or my aunt. They did what they did because they cared so deeply for our family and wanted to see us make it to the next day. On countless occasions, these women instilled hope and encourage into my parents’ lives when they had none. And they made damn good rice balls as well! These are ordinary women who, in my eyes, are extraordinary because of the goodness in their hearts. In this I believe.
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