Monday, December 23, 2013

An Innocent Inquiry

It's amazing what you can learn by asking a simple question.
I stopped by the World Wide Market on Williamson Road this morning. It was open with no one inside. The owner hadn't even finished turning the lights on. This market has all kinds of cool far east foods. Some seem to have been on the shelves for years.

I struck up a conversation with the owner and found her to be reflective and sad. Her son hadn't come home for Thanksgiving and she wondered if he would come home for Christmas. What compounded her forlorn feelings, I think, was her past.

In our conversation, she kept mentioning her "country" but didn't name it. So I innocently asked her where she was from. She told me that she grew up in Cambodia.

When she was 14, the Khmer Rouge took her away from her family and placed her in a government workplace. She toiled there for several years while they systematically killed all of her family. She told me amazing snippets of what life was like there in the late 1970' and said that the movie, "The Killing Fields," didn't capture the true horror. I watched that movie and it was horrific. I can't imagine what she endured.

Then she told of how the Vietnamese invaded forcing her to flee toward the mountains on the Thai border. She lived without shelter in the mountains for two years with the Thai government attacking the refugees at every opportunity. I was amazed by her story. Sobered. I never even got to ask her how she ended up in America.

Sa-Von [Sp], you won my respect and heart today. 

You are amazing.