Anita and her sons

Remember that burger, fries and milkshake I posted yesterday? Well, in that restaurant I got talking to one of the waitresses. Her name was Anita and she was rocking a t-shirt that said Tribune Jackrabbits (probably the name of the high school football team). My dad usually says that he never found Kansas boring on his ride across the country because ever few miles he’d see a jackrabbit pop up by the side of the road. I haven’t seen many, but there must be some since that’s what the team is called.

Anyway – Anita carried a heavy story with her. Her father had Alport syndrome (a kidney disease) and died at age 31. Alport Syndrome is apparently carried over from men to their daughters and from mothers to their sons. This meant that Anita had Alport Syndrome as well. She had had her kidney replaced once and seemed to be doing OK. However, both her sons had also gotten the disease. One of them had just had his liver replaced for the third time, and the other had died from it at age 30 in October of 1983 (just a few months after my friend Norma from a few days ago had been in Sweden). That son had lived in Georgia together with his wife and three little children. He worked in a ball bearing factory and was doing very well for himself and his family.

He died, obviously, a few months before the christmas of 1983. His company, which Anita couldn’t remember the name of, had stayed in close touch with the family after his death. Right before christmas, they called his wife up and asked her what she and the kids wanted for christmas. She told them that they really shouldn’t worry about that – but they persisted. “Your husband would have bought you all presents, wouldn’t he?”, they said.

On that christmas day, the colleagues of Anita’s son ( I can’t remember his name) backed up a big pickup truck in the driveway of their house. In the back they had presents for his wife and for his kids, as well as food for the whole family.

I thought it was a sad but great story because it says a lot about the mentality of the southern parts of the US. People here don’t believe in socialism in the political sense, but instead they look out for each other on the smaller, more personal scale. The sense of community is, as I’m sure you understand, very strong in many of the towns I’m passing through. It’s almost as if people do believe in spreading wealth around, but they want to do it themselves – they don’t want the state to be deciding who gets what.

Over n Out. Hitting the pool right about… NOW!

1 thought on “Anita and her sons

  1. Thank you dear son for telling us stories about people you meet on your way. You are like a social worker, or a psychologist, on wheels telling us what life can be like and helping people healing their wounds.

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