Hi,

I’m now sending these missives to a few more than three hundred people, about the same number as when I began nearly ten years ago. A few of you regularly share your own thoughts on the topic of the day; a number of you comment every now and again, and every once in awhile a new correspondent crops up. What you’ve written over the years is sometimes revealing and often touching. Not infrequently what you have to say opens the way to some new insight for me. Frequently what you write is amusing. (That, my friends, may be the single characteristic that all 300+ of you share: you’re pretty funny.)

I often regret that I’m the only one who benefits from your emailed replies.

Over the years I’ve posted every single one of my original missives to the El Otro WA blog, where I suppose that they still sporadically please some plucky person drifting the backwater of the Internets. Perhaps you’ve never looked at the blog site: www.elotrowa.com, but you too can wax publicly profound in the comments section for every missive therein…

Recently, my posts introducing Nuris and touching on the issue of race in the United States prompted some doozy replies–the first before I ever mentioned the word “race.”

A friend, a white woman, wrote back to note that I had twice referred to Nuris as “brown,” observing that the first use of the term was information, but that she found the second reference a little off-putting. Upon due reflection (and re-reflection) I think she’s right. And so the version of the story now on the El Otro WA blog refers to her color once, which is more than enough, really. Probably many of you had a similar reaction upon reading the original. I know that I did, when writing it. So thanks to my pal who stood up and addressed the point, reminding me of that which I know so well: words are important.

Another very prompt and direct response to my musing about race came from a bridge-painting friend (white, male). He directly said that I was reading too much into it, pointing out that it’s now 2014; I like Nuris, she likes me and, oh yeah–fuck what other people think. He went on to suggest that I get over myself and get on with it. This is why I love bridge painters. By and large, they’re decisive, direct, and prepared to live with the consequences of their actions.

Many of the replies that I received were written by persons of color, most of whom are women and many of whom shared something of their experience surviving and thriving despite the penumbra of racism through which we move in America. Their stories were illuminative, ranging from being forced to lodge in segregated hotels in the nation’s capital when traveling with a white dude in the 1950’s to being ignored at the counter at Macy’s just last week. To a person, these replies were supportive of Nuris and each one assured me she’ll do just fine when visiting the United States. Thank-you. I’m sure you’re right.

Anyway, I’m now back in the Nearly Paradise that is Las Galeras and am focussed on practical matters: where can I find #6 2+G UF cable, what does it take to successfully apply for a US Visitors Visa from the RD, and what is a really good recipe for curried chivo? (Damned chivo–into the yucca again.)

Hope that you all are enjoying the bounty that autumn provides in much of the US, and that you’re generally impervious to the incessant and sensationalist yammering that passes for journalism these days.

Best,

Bill

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