Biscuits and Gravy: Family Ties
We all have family ties of many different arrangements. From all walks of life, corners of the globe and of course the ever-elusive, ever-hidden skeleton in the closet each family holds different ties to places or events that can astound even the most complex of person. My family, being the typical American mutt, is no different and far from an exception to the rule. As a matter of fact, if you haven’t figured it out already, my family is one of those cases when the usual meets the exceptional in just about every way imaginable.
One such example of this dates back to the end of the Second World War. At that time, with the world engulfed in chaos, two young ladies spent each day with a couple of hours of special training each morning as part of a special government program. You see, they were told that an invasion was surely coming and that as both citizens and women they had a duty and personal obligation to defend their homeland. So, each day, they practiced with spears and other improvised weapons in preparation for the upcoming onslaught. The populace was sure to be ready.
Then, the day came and a brilliant flash grew in the distance. These two young women from different families watched as their country fell and surrendered from the war. As the surrender documents’ ink dried, two men came as part of the occupation force and Yoshiko and Hisako, having lived all their lives in the Tokyo area, fell in love with these dashing Americans. You see, Yoshiko and Hisako had lived all their lives in Japan, and as these two men from the back hills of North Carolina swooned them with their Southern charm, they were whisked away to the United States, a country they had been brainwashed to hate with all their hearts. Granted, the two Mason boys had to convert to Buddhism in order to win the favor of the family before they were allowed to marry the young girls, but their hearts were determined.
Years later, I would run off to Aunt Yoshiko’s house for lunch. Mom and dad would notice me gone for hours; mind you I was about three at the time, and would call Yoshiko to see if I was there. Right as rain I was, sittin’ at the lunch table, eatin’ Yoshiko’s famous butterfly shrimp.
For me, she was family. It might have seemed odd to some, family ties of a white Southerner linking to the shores of Japan, but to me they were just that, family ties.