In the 1960’s back in Iowa, family reunions started happening around this time of year. We would make long treks to distant parts like Spencer, Iowa or Coralville, Iowa to meet with cousins by the dozens, with Great Aunts and their great families… people we looked somewhat like and were actually related to, but usually didn’t see more than twice in any given year. And there were some who lived in far off Cleveland, Ohio that you only saw twice in the entire decade. And it isn’t real easy to play with the kids you are related to but don’t see every day. Squabbles happen more often than not. What was the solution to that kind of warfare? According to Great Aunt Marie, the solution was a nice piece of peach pie. The offending cousin and I would each get a slice of the solution to eat side by side. Aunt Marie always had peach pie for family gatherings. She learned to make them exquisitely when they lived in Texas in the 1940’s.
Now that I live in Texas myself, and the governor of Texas, the heir to Emperor Rick Perry, the estimable Republican Prince Gregg Abbott, has declared that we can’t risk letting Syrian refugees into our State because, out of the thousands seeking refuge from violence and murder, one or two might be terrorists, I am reminded of the way Aunt Marie taught peace with a piece of peach pie. The alliteration was glorious, and the sweetness lingered long after you had eaten your share. Why can’t we offer the Syrians a little peach pie?
The Syrians (actually less than one percent of them, ISIS is not a majority of Syrians or Muslims either one) hate Texans for the same reason they hate the French in Paris. We are dropping bombs on their homes. Texans went out of their way to insult the Prophet Mohammed by hosting a hate cartoon contest and exhibition in Garland, at the event center next door to the high school where I used to teach. You have to expect squabbles from people you treat like that. And I am not saying that we don’t need to fear folks like the two terrorists who died in a shootout with Garland police as they tried to attack the insult-the-prophet event with guns. But those two guys were not from Syria. They came from Arizona. By rights, we should have Governor Abbott refusing to allow refugees of any kind from Arizona to enter our State. Especially since he is a vocal advocate of their right to openly carry firearms even into restaurants.
I want to give a piece of peach pie to each of the little refugee kids with big, brown, terror-filled eyes. They haunt my dreams. Their only desire is to escape the people trying to kill them and blowing up their homes. Peach pie makes it better. Aunt Marie is in heaven now, but if you could ask her, she’d tell you, “You should teach to each peace with a piece of peach pie.”