A friend of mine and I went out last evening photographing. We thought we would go to a particular well known neighborhood but first I wanted to check out the Buddhist Temple south of our house on Boulevard. One never knows and little did we know there had been a celebration there which ended just before we arrived. There were people everywhere in a place I had only seen as dormant in passing. We’ve lived in Grant Park for 40 years and, although I knew the temple was there, I had never wandered in. I walked through the gate and asked the first person I saw if it was alright for us to come in, immediate yes and the answer to the “May we photograph?” question was positive as well. It didn’t take long until we realized that we were among the friendly people I remembered from my tour in The Republic of Vietnam… all Vietnamese. There was food. We were handed water, watermelon, oranges, apple slices, Vietnamese “Jello,” and peaches, some to eat, some to take home.
Then there was an “event.” My friend got stung by a wasp. He is allergic to stings. Fortunately he had benedryl with him. As soon as I asked we had ice, a place to relax and the offer of an “epi” pen. We stayed quite a while, he got better and meanwhile we were educated about the routine of the temple. I gave TraMy Nguyen my email so that we could begin to keep up with the goings on there. She is the President of VAC USA and President of VAC GA (Vietnamese American Community). Everyone was so nice to us… just as I remembered. In the conflict in Viet Nam we were in their country, really messing it up and I never saw resentment on the part of our Vietnamese neighbors. I left in a melancholy state wondering what would happen to all of them. I hope some of them found the happy place the people we visited Sunday have found.
I made mostly snapshots. That was fine. I’m just glad everybody got back to normal. Believe me, we’ll see the folks at the temple again.