She worked for a Brooklyn cultural institution. Her given name sounded like “Deema.” She explained that her father was Palestinian, and he had given her a name from his homeland. Her mother is of Italian and Irish extraction. She had named Deema’s sister Sarah. Sarah is a lesbian and did not use gendered pronouns. Deema likes Irish soda bread slathered in good butter, but she prefers pita bread for its versatility. Her mother is Roman Catholic. Deema, like her father, is a Muslim, although she is not a practicing one. She is an American. Hers is an American family.

 

The newsletter highlighted the part of the distinguished academic’s speech during which she said, “At this moment in time, we lawyers and educators of lawyers-to-be need to be building other bridges as well.” I thought that it was bad enough that the academic had redundantly said, “At this moment in time” without having some editor drawing special attention to it.

 

“Never part with a fact unless you’ve no choice.” Jennifer Egan, Manhattan Beach.

 

The server in the Hilton Head restaurant was from Jamaica. I asked her what foods she missed from the island. She said that there were not many because Orlando had a good Jamaican store, and when she visited her sister in Florida she brought a cooler to bring back the foods she missed, such as goatfish. She continued, however, that she missed the KFC from Jamaica. She maintained that it was better than any in the United States. She waxed ecstatic about the taste of Jamaican KFC. Her fiancée was coming to visit her soon, and she was happy that he was going to bring some for her. I wondered if there were others like him carrying that chicken from Jamaica and what the flight would smell like.

 

He was a few tables away in the restaurant—a large man, somewhat disheveled, maybe sixty. Perhaps his loud voice was necessary because he was sitting across from two women older than he, but it seemed as if it was his normal tone.  He was talking incessantly, and I could hear him say, “Dick Powell was a very good-looking man.” Then a few beats of silence. He continued, somewhat nervously, “I meant that as a moviegoer. Not as a man.”

 

“’You know the expression,’ Eddie said. ‘Don’t write if you can talk, and don’t talk if you can nod.’” Jennifer Egan, Manhattan Beach.

 

As soon as the doctor came into the examining room, I said the carpal tunnel surgery he had performed on me was as good as it could be. I continued, “I have never had a better outcome from surgery.” He beamed and responded, “Thank you.” Then he paused for a moment or two and asked, “You have had other surgeries, haven’t you?”

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