Saturday, February 5, 2005

Boom Boom and Bam Bam

Almost every small neighborhood I've walked through has a small store that supplies the neighborhood folks with ice, coke, gas, and little snacks. My neighborhood has two (I've just discovered they're fierce competitors, too). A couple in their late 60's runs the store where I buy my water. Sometimes, when I go by, Khun Yaiee has her younger sister with her. "Boom Boom", as she asks me to call her, worked for a GI durning the Vietnam War ... when Thailand had military camps scattered all over the place. Every time I see her, Boom Boom says, "I was best house girl. GI give me fruit. He puts everything in the fridge. We eat apples and oranges everyday." It's crazy to me that that one job, however long it lasted, put Boom Boom in a different "class" for the rest of her life. My supervisor met GI's, too, when he was very young. He said they gave him chocolate candy he had never before seen. It was the best he ever had, and when he talks about it, he's (really!) misty-eyed. Amazing. Last weekend, I talked with a Vietnamese kid who travels back-and-forth from Vietnam to Thailand. He said he wants to bring his American buddy home to visit Vietnam, but his parents won't let them. Even now, it's dangerous for USers there. The Vietnamese people are scarred. The soldiers who were there during the "Conflict" are scarred. I wonder what kind of memories our soldiers are creating today? Good and Bad. Bad and Good.

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