I mentioned the matter of “U.S.-affiliated Iraqis” — Iraqis who helped us in various ways during the war (as interpreters, security guards, etc.). Many are trying to come to the U.S., because they are in danger where they live. This is on account of their assistance to us. I first wrote about this issue in 2015: “A Question of Honor.” We have been admitting several thousand Iraqis per year. But this year, the number is 51. Yesterday, the Associated Press had a story about one family affected. Father and sons are in Lincoln, Neb.; mother has been unable to join them. Of interest.
Also on Thursday, I brought up something lighter: favorite meals, last meals, what I sometimes call “Death Row meals.” Mine, I said — at least one of them — was in Milwaukee (involving custard). That column included pictures, snapped around the Milwaukee area. A longtime reader and correspondent from San Francisco sent an e-mail, with the heading “Instead of a Death Row meal, can I have a field trip?”
I know I am being something of a killjoy if I say I am not sure I would feel like eating, but the photos accompanying your column reminded me that if I were given a last opportunity to see something, Lake Michigan from Milwaukee would get serious consideration.
My father was born in Milwaukee. The family moved West in 1930. My wife and I have been to Milwaukee six times. We have corresponded with a number of the Sisters of St. Francis, whose motherhouse is right across the road from the Lake.
Briefly, we had received a solicitation from the order and wrote back asking whether any of the sisters would like to correspond. That was passed on to a sister who did that sort of thing. In her first letter she wrote that she was about to turn 90. We figured we wouldn’t be writing to her for long. And she died two days short of what would have been her 107th birthday.
The last time we saw her was five weeks before she died. The last thing she said to us was, “Come again.”
Speaking of 107, there was an article in yesterday’s New York Times — fantastic. It’s about the oldest working barber in the world, Anthony Mancinelli, of New Windsor, N.Y. He is 107. Works full time. I think my favorite comment of his concerns his diet: “I eat thin spaghetti, so I don’t get fat.”