Saturday, October 25, 2008

How You Going To Get Your Nourishment In New York?

Another line from another song, of course, representing the anguish of mothers when offspring leave home to venture into the clutches of the outside world, where it will be impossible to get proper food.

Well, we are off to America tomorrow, via Gerona in Spain and a couple of days in UK. Rather than New York – the first city I visited in USA, more than 50 years ago, and several times since, we are heading to Evansville in Indiana, via Chicago and Nashville.

I don’t think we shall have any trouble with nourishment. Lorenzo, who together with his wife Jane, is our host, is a baker and former proprietor of an Italian-style restaurant. He loves to cook, he is good at it, and has no trouble matching our dietary requirements. Jane and Lorenzo are pictured above.

No, it’s not the availability of the nourishment, it is the quality and quantity of it. It is hard to resist good food, especially when living in the home of a food connoisseur, enthusiast and chef. If you wake up in the morning to the aroma of specially-baked muffins, bread, and other goodies, it would take a strong will and a degree of churlishness to say nay. Similar smells at lunchtime and dinner, accompanied by us having witnessed the effort going into the next meal, make it impossible to refrain.

The problem is counteracting this bounty, not to mention just keeping up some of our normal degree of fitness. In other words, how are we going to get enough exercise? It is out of the question, both because we shall be in an urban environment, and because of good manners, to disappear for 3, 4 or 5 hour walks. And we would be missing such good company!

I have asked Lorenzo to plan out a walk of 6 kilometres or so which I could do before the household is awake and functioning. Also, there are the famous “Lorenzo’s Ropes” (famous to us, anyway, and instrumental in our meeting this very good friend) to be used (more about that in a later post). We also have Masterclasses scheduled, from Lorenzo, in his dungeon, in the use of another form of exercise equipment new to us, or at least to me.

Our reason for going to America at this particular time is so that we can experience a presidential election at first hand. This is an interest of mine anyway, but this time the election will be historic, not only in seeing the end of the frightening Dubya era, but because, whoever wins, there will be either a black man as President, or a woman as Vice President.

Much as we would like to see Obama win, I have severe doubts about the willingness of Americans to put someone of his race in the White House. It is only just over a hundred years since Theodore Roosevelt lost the South, and a great deal of social and political clout, because he, the President, had invited a very distinguished black man - Booker T Washington - to dinner and discussion. Senator Benjamin R Tillman uttered this:
"The action of President Roosevelt in entertaining that nigger will necessitate our killing a thousand niggers in the South before they will learn their place again."
Newspapers carried lurid headlines such as:
Roosevelt had to back off. He never repeated his "rash" actions.
All this happened in the year my father was born. A week may be a long time in politics, but a hundred years is a short time in history and in the changing of entrenched views. In my lifetime, lynching of black people has been a not very rare occurrence.

I am sure the US nation has moved on from there. But how far? We shall see.

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