Dangerous Compassions



On this road trip, we’ve passed a few VFW meeting places in little towns.  They seem a big deal for social connection, something besides church.  The old men meeting there are glad to have something to come together about, I imagine.  Staying connected through their shared pasts.

The VFW sign on each building can be simple or fancier.

“Veterans of foreign wars,” I said.  “As opposed to veterans of domestic wars…”

“Is a civil war a domestic war?” Ming asked.

We were in Idaho, driving through an old downtown, just passing through.

“Yes,” I said, thinking of the US’s civil war.  “Those people are all ghosts, who fought in the civil war.  They can meet informally.  They don’t need a building.  No body–no building.”

We laughed.  Yes, the ghosts can meet outdoors.

“Or the veterans of domestic wars are the cops and the Black people,” I said, thinking of all that violence, cops killing Black people for a long time.  Sort of like a war.  “Not sure they need a building either…”


Speaking of race and ethnicity, power, and violence as we travel is how we roll.  Also I started thinking about things that happened a long time ago with my ex-husband.  Ming and I might head to Minnesota after Montana; I haven’t been there since around the year 2000, meeting my former in-laws who never accepted me.

I told Ming stories from a long time ago.  A sister’s bariatric surgery and dramatic weight loss, a wedding, a ride out to the house in a taxicab, horses, alliances, rich people stuff I don’t understand.  Power in families, like what you can get if you do what they say.  The sister’s power from being white with money, then becoming thin, to have more sway in a world where that really matters.

I like to sway as I dance.  That’s the main kind of sway I have, right?  How about you?

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *