I was at Food 4 Less, our local, low-budget grocery store that caters to the Hispanic and Southern military community, buying collards and other odds and ends when a black man in line behind me, pointed at the bag of collards asked with a smile, "Now what do you know about those?"
I smiled back and gave him my plans for the greens. Instead of using ham hocks as the seasoning meat, this time I was going to use tasso, a kind of spiced ham. I told him there wouldn't be any turnips in the pot, but that was another standard ingredient for me. He grinned and that started a conversation.
I dropped into my fake Southern drawl and he asked me if I was from Dixie. Nah, just another Air Force brat having fun. It turned out he'd been an Air Force brat, too. We hadn't lived in the same places, but we had the bond that comes with kids from military families. I told him he needed to come over for dinner, but he said he was a vegetarian and couldn't eat the ham. I let him know that meat was just plants that had spent a little more time getting delicious. He laughed.
When we parted, I added my customary, "God bless you, sir." When he replied in kind, we exchanged knowing looks and saw that we had one more thing in common.
Ain't that America?
1 Samuel 16:7 - But the Lord said to Samuel: Do not judge from his appearance or from his lofty stature, because I have rejected him. God does not see as a mortal, who sees the appearance. The Lord looks into the heart.