The thing was, the previous week I'd make plans with my daughter Theresa and her wife, Callie, to visit them in Cincinnati for the day, go out out for lunch, maybe do some shopping.
Funny thing: before Donald Trump's election, though I know that Callie has sometimes felt some trepidation going into public places, I never felt any concern while being out in public with Callie. I felt proud of her and my daughter and I celebrated their happiness and I always looked forward to our get-togethers.
But yesterday was different. Yesterday I wondered if some newly-empowered bigot would make a mean or threatening remark to Theresa and Callie in the restaurant or in a store, or maybe even try something worse than just a remark. Or what if we were accosted by a group? What would I do, what could I do to protect daughter and her wife? If they were physically or verbally harassed or insulted how would I hide my own anger and hurt and what would I say to try and alleviate theirs?
All these uneasy thoughts swirled around my brain while I drove from Columbus to Cincinnati. I wondered if these were the same thoughts that have always gone through the minds of African-American mothers.
While I didn't want to infect Callie and Theresa with my own anxieties about the Trump Effect since they didn't seem overly worried about it, on the way to the restaurant I did casually mention that I hoped we wouldn't run into anybody who felt like being a jerk since the election. My daughter-in-law assured me that we wouldn't have to worry about that happening at the place we were going to. I also reminded her, as I always do, that I'd go with her to the Ladies' Room. Again she chuckled that that wouldn't be necessary where we were going. I wondered what place we could be going to that was so indubitably friendly.
That place turned out to be The Al-Amir Cafe, a small, charming Middle Eastern restaurant in Blue Ash, a suburb of Cincinnati,
Nor was his ability to make a fantastic gyro.
All three of us ordered the gyro platter.
Callie and Theresa suggested we next walk around Jungle Jim's, a massive international supermarket located nearby.
There are two Jungle Jim's stores in Cincinnati, one of which I'd visited a couple of years ago (see post from 8/11/2014), and this one, the larger of the two,
There was one moment, though, in the India aisle, when I noticed a man looking right at Callie and heading right up behind her. I quickly, deftly positioned myself between the man and Callie, cutting him off then sort of herding Callie down the aisle away from the man. However I felt kind of sheepish when I realized that the guy was just trying to get to the same spice that Callie'd been looking at. He must have thought me one rude old lady.
There was another moment when we were perusing the vast bakery department in all its wonderfulness,
When Callie approached the man and started explaining to him what a chess pie was I began mentally beseeching her not to engage this man, as I had profiled him based on his looks and verbal inflection as the very type who might, just might, not take well to Callie's existence. I stood close by, though, ready to spring into I knew not what action.
A moment later a second middle-aged, middle-American-looking man sidled up to the first man and asked him what he was looking at. Then the two men walked off together and I watched them for a few moments as they continued chatting and shopping.
"Do you think those two guys are partners?" I asked Callie after they were out of ear shot.
"I'm sure they are," Callie responded, "I saw them holding hands earlier."
In the veggie aisle a saleslady called us over to sample some marinated green beans. While we stood over the green bean samples I could see out of the corner of my eye a woman staring at us. When I glanced over she caught my eye and gave me a big, open engaging smile, which I returned.
She's an ally, I thought.
As Theresa, Callie and I were saying our good-byes before I left for Columbus I joked - or rather half-joked - that I have to stop being so paranoid. Callie agreed and pointed out that after all, people aren't going to change for the worse overnight.
Though it would be nice if some of them would change for the better.