My church in Memphis was also the Vietnamese church. Father Joe, the pastor there, did our pre-marital counseling - he advised us that if I have a head-aitch, Primo should not say, "'You have head-aitch? Why you no get aspirin?' No! If wife have head-aitch, husband should to say, 'Oh! You have head-aitch? Here. I get you Tylenol.' That how husband supposed to act when wife have head-aitch."
This was not specifically a campaign event, but it was a way for Scott to mingle with voters in his district. I met Scott's parents, Jim and Josie, at the party last week. Jim used to be in the legislature and apparently still has some pull around here. "I need him," Primo said. "He can introduce me to people who can help me."
All I remembered from Jim was that the Hmong get immediate citizenship upon arriving in the US, so they are a better campaign bang for the buck than Hispanics.
You didn't know politics was so calculated, did you?
Neither did I.
So Primo and I went, which was fine because who doesn't want a big bowl of pho made by Vietnamese and Hmong church ladies?
When I asked one of the servers where I could find the dessert that I saw on the tables in front of some of the other diners, she told me she would get me some. Primo and I sat at our table and a minute later, I saw the Hmong lady go over to a Hmong man who had three unopened desserts - some kind of tapioca, I think - in front of him. She spoke sharply to him until he reluctantly handed over one of the cups. She then marched triumphantly to our table and set the dessert down in front of me. "You try!" she commanded. "You like! I make!"
I tried to protest - "He didn't need to give up his dessert!" I said. But she would have none of it. And I'm glad, because it was good.
Jim, Josie and Scott showed up, along with Scott's girlfriend. The men sat on one end of the table and I was at the other end with the women. I wanted to hear what the men were talking about. I wanted to be part of that conversation. But I couldn't. Because I was sitting with the ladyfolk. Again.