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Never An American When You Need One!Posted Monday, June 30, 2008, at 8:11 AM
In a recent on-line posted response to one of these blog thingees of mine someone accused me of not being "a true-blooded all-American". Exactly what a true-blooded American is, or how to be one, I have no idea. Yes, I am old enough to remember when the expression still meant "white, with British ancestors." But that's been awhile.
In my early 20s it was common to mail a resumè to a "blind" box number at the newspaper. Help wanted advertisements requiring such a response also requested "a recent photo." You'd have to be Black and of a certain age to know the intent of the photo was to eliminate those who were Black and of a certain age. I cannot honestly say I did anything to advance the Civil Rights Movement, but I think our generation can be proud of any steps forward which were made. There have been enormous changes in our culture since 1960, but melting down the melting pot that is American is one change I appreciate. For the most part our children's generation does not understand a world in which one is judged by any criteria other than "the content of their character."
We've traveled a long way since I last mailed my photo with a resumè. We even have a true African-American running for President of the United States of America. African because, as I understand it, African is who his father was and how Barak Obama got that self-described weird name.
So, what am I? My skin tans easily (for reasons I'll explain), but I have no pigmentation which would have labeled me as Asian or African in those obligatory photos. I was born in north St. Louis Missouri (according to local lore it is only south St Louis which is in another country, north St Louis stayed loyal to the Union during the Civil War).
So, what am I? After due and diligent study, I am prepared to say I am a Christian - more of the Calvinist persuasion than any other, but that's my problem. In America it is possible, even acceptable to mark "Christian" on the hospital entry form simply because you're not something else (they never list atheist or nudist as religions, anyhow). But, having had occasion to give it some thought, do believe I could be convicted of being a Christian.
So, what am I? My maternal grandparents were born in Scotland and Ireland, respectively. Out of my great love for my grandmother I always celebrate St Patrick's Day. My father's father could trace his paternal genealogy back only two generations to Wales. A linguistic expert once told me Lewis is a Welsh name. [If your surname is Lewis we probably have common ancestries if you live anywhere between Fort Wayne IN and northern Kentucky, or Fort Wayne and southern Missouri.] My paternal grandmother was a direct descendant of the great Sioux chief Sitting Bull (a true American original). According to my mother this explains why I easily tan.
So what am I? Apparently I'm all-American who may or may not be "true-blooded". I am here if you need me.
Oh, and by the way, happy 4th of July, paleface.
David L. Lewis is an observer of and sometimes commentator on life who may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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