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Monday, November 14, 2016

Those Who Can Say, "Give Him A Chance."

Ida Fink's spare and powerful novel, The Journey, begins on a golden, gorgeous autumn morning, the day that typically, the author and her family would harvest apples from a tree that adjoins both properties.  

But on this morning, the father has left his girls in hiding, watching as their neighbors harvest all the apples. They are Jewish and their neighbors are not, and it's Poland in 1939, and the Nazis have just told every Jew in town to come to the town square to be shipped off to an "internment camp." So, the sisters, terrified, listen to the screams coming from the town square, while their neighbors move the ladder and pick bushels of apples from the tree.

I've been thinking about apple-picking as we enjoy these extraordinary, golden, unusually warm days of autumn and recover from the shock of the election. I keep thinking of those apples every time someone says to me, "I'm just going to trust it will be okay and enjoy this gorgeous day." Because those people, like the Ida Fink's neighbors, can do that. Not from any ill-will, not because they're evil, but because they can go on picking apples while others fear that they will be shot, or harassed or rounded up in the town square or shipped off to some unknown location, or go into hiding, their identities stripped from them as they scurry from place to place, terrified.

After all, I'm sure that on many days, during many raffles, (what the Germans called the roundup of Jews,) many decent people longed to hope for the best, to enjoy the beautiful weather, to pick those apples and try to believe that it would all be all right. Maybe it will be all right. As long you're not one of the targets and you're willing to pick apples while others are targeted.

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