Miami to Mayville

Here is a great story from the Miami Herald on four Miami football players who came to Mayville State to play football. 

When I taught some college classes at Crookston, I had in class several players from the inner city who were recruited to play sports at the college. I have always wondered about the ethics of bringing young players to the forlorn prairie where they are an obvious minority and as such, will generate interest, plus stares at the grocery store. I tried to emphasize that the stares weren't hostile, just curious! And the weather...the bleakness...the quiet. Wow. We may love our prairie, but it is an acquired taste. 

In the case in this article, the guys had a coach who had undergone the exact transition and could serve as a mentor. 

In my history class, I'll never forget the effervescent personality of Antione, who was from Los Angeles. He sat in the front row, called me Mr. B. and was full of conversation every day. One day he was silent. I asked what was the matter. He had just gotten a call before class that one of his buddies back in LA had been shot to death on the street. 

Different worlds. 

I had a similar "the worlds collide" experience last night. I made my weekly visit to the Guatemalan restaurant downtown Maya Quatzal. Last time I was there, the ladies gave me a care package of Guatemalan tamales (with raisins and green olives!) which served as two complete meals. But last night, the waitress (I am ashamed I haven't learned their names yet), was quiet.

The older woman, the owner and cook came out and sat down to talk. She asked what I did for Christmas. I told her about the Nelson Mandela movie. I asked what she did for Christmas. 

"Slept!" she said. She looked a little grayer than usual. 

The two work their tales off. They are the only workers unless somebody else stops by to help. 

When I got up to leave, I told the younger woman she needed to go home and rest. 

"Oh, I do," she said. She explained that she had major surgery last Monday. Removal of an ovarian cyst, and treatment of a pelvic infection. The incision was all across her abdomen. And here she was on Saturday night, waiting tables. 

"I need to be tough!" she said. "But I think it was a mistake."

However, they have no replacements. 

In the car on the way back to the house, I thought, good grief, I could wait tables in that tiny place for a day. However, I don't know all the dishes and there would be a bit of a language barrier. I looked online and to my relief, they are closed Sundays, so the woman will get a rest. 

But I might stop by there tomorrow. 

What different realities exist right under our privileged noses!