[This piece is reproduced with permission from Daily Kos. It has been reblogged by “This Week in the War on Women,” “Community Spotlight,” and “House of LIGHTS. It is somewhat lengthy, but the editor highly recommends reading it all the way through. It is one of the most poignant pieces I have run across on this subject.]
“The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters” by de Goya
“The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters.” This seemed like an appropriate image to represent the failed reasoning that basically took a hike when by step-father rationalized that it was OK to have sex with an eleven year old girl.
Today is April 1st. I wish I had a joke to tell or a prank to pull. I was never good at that anyway.
Today would have been my step-father’s birthday. I’m not sure what year he was born–no hate, I was barely sixteen when I left home and, at the time, barely sentient–but I think it was 1954, which would have make him 63 years old. He died of unknown causes sometime on February 22nd or 23rd. For a time, he was the most important person in my life next to my mother.
I was on a plane, heading for Winnipeg at the time he was supposed to be going to the first day of his trial. When he didn’t show up, police were sent to his home, where they found him dead. He’d apparently called his lawyer a couple of days before, asking, “What would happen if I don’t show up? I’m…not feeling well.” He was told to see a doctor and that he’d better be there for his appointment for what was probably going to be the worst day of his life.
I suspect I know something of how he felt–it was going to be the worst day of my life, too.
His family will remember him as a father who cared about his two sons–me and my oldest brother will likely be forgotten, if not hated–and as a man who worked hard to support his family. I’m not sure what other feelings they’ll have, but I’m sure they will be positive and grieving where he is concerned.
As for me, I’ll remember him as my childhood terror, my rapist, the man who treated me as his personal punching bag when his life got to be too frustrating to bear. Seems he was easily frustrated, if the frequency of his abuse of me was any indicator.
Yet, when I was informed of his passing, I broke down into a crying fit the likes of which I’ve never experienced before. So many conflicting emotions, so many explosions of pain, hate, loss, grief, anger at having my vindication and justice-to-be-had ripped away…and even sadness of his fears, wishes that he had actually cared about me, disillusion at having my childhood parent steal what little trust and innocent I had left….
I was his accuser. I was the one who set up the huge amount of stress that could have been survivable, if he had not had so many health problems that I barely knew anything about. He wasn’t a well man, I knew that much. His family blame me for his death, forgetting that he’d been obese, a lifelong smoker with only one working lung, diabetes, an enlarged heart and who knows what else. He likely would have died soon, in any case, even if there had been no accusations of rape to the authorities.
My middle oldest brother (the oldest of my step-father’s two sons) has disowned me over this, angry at me for bringing his father’s crimes to the surface. I think he believes me, that his father really did rape me repeatedly over a period of years, but having it be public? Oh, no, that was the greater crime to him. His father was a rapist, a child-abuser who beat all of us, including my middle brother, and an opportunistic pedophile, but his reputation and that of his side of the family was more important to protect. Who cares about his sister and the life his father all but ruined?
My brother’s wife hates me and thinks I’m a liar who only wanted attention, a bit of a turn-around from her earlier hate-filled opinion that seemed like she believed me, but that I should forgive her father-in-law. Her reaction to my outing the man, and later, his death, is muddled, at best, in my opinion. How could I possibly forgive a man who showed no remorse, who seemed to feel he was justified in doing what he did because my mother had her own problems dealing with her childhood rape and abuse and wouldn’t “put out”? How would my forgiveness help anyone?
I remember a towering presence in the dark halls of my mind. A presence I both feared and cared for, one I desperately wished would love me and protect me. I remember times when we went fishing as golden spots of happiness int he darkness. Catching my first fish. Laughing with my brothers and father–he was “Daddy” then–goofing around int he water while he shouted at us to “Get back here, you wanna drown?”
Colors overlay my memories of my past. The dark, strangely-glittering green from The Matrix comes very close to how some things appear in my memory.
I remember wrestling in the living-room with him and my brothers. My then-youngest brother laughing like a loon…until he fell badly and broke his elbow. No more wresting after that. I missed it. It as how I found out how physically strong I was. Picking up a man who stood five-foot ten inches and weighed 210 pounds was amazing to me. I was only five feet tall, at the time, maybe 110 pounds, and I lifted him off the floor. It was hard, but only because my arms could barely go around him.
I still remember his smell, musty and dry from working long shifts at the auto-body shop. He always came home tired and grey with dust, a bright smell of sweat under the grime. My little ginger cat, Khalea, absolutely loved his scent and would steal his shirts to roll and rub her face in the armpits to savour his smell all the more. We kept finding his t-shirts behind the furniture or simply dropped on the floor around the house. She loved his sneakers, too, but stealing them was harder.
My father’s hands: sometimes hurtful, sometimes gentle.
His hands were like rocks, cracked and callused, the crazing of the skin filled black with dirt he could never get out, no matter how often he washed and scrubbed. When I look at photos of dried, cracking earth, or images of Death Valley’s salt pans, it brings to mind his scaly hands, thick and strong, powerful and armoured. He tried so hard to be clean, as if he wanted to leave the signs of his job at his workplace.
I remember these things, but all of them tinged with fear and his odd, whispering voice that could never really get loud after having his neck and vocal chords severed from an accident in his youth. I believe his father remained a sad and bitter man until his own death because he’d been excommunicated from the religion he loved that forbade the blood-transfusions he’d needed to save his son’s life.
I’m sure Grandpa had fun in his life, though, he’d worked many fulfilling years with CN railways and he was so proud of his Santa Claus beard that won him to many first-place prizes at the Festival du Voyageur beard-growing contests. I loved that beard, so neat and full, pure white, just like his hair. I liked my step-father’s beard, too. An interesting, out-of-place red in the centre of the brown-black of the sides. Being half-Japanese made for fascinating genetic legacies.
My step-father probably had sour memories of his own from never being allowed to celebrate his birthday as a kid, or allowed to attend parties with his friends, or a myriad other activities his father’s religion deemed as sinful. Why wouldn’t he hate being made to wear a dreary suit, stand on street-corners holding the religious propaganda of his father’s faith while he’d probably wanted to run and play like any other kid?
I do remember that Christmas was seemingly fun for him. I know he seemed so happy to see the glee of his son opening the gifts he’d gotten him. His attention to my reactions and that of my oldest brother’s though? Muted, at best, not that we ever actually noticed through the joy of getting a new shirt or pair of pants, maybe an orange or two, some candy. I only remember after the fact.
There were good memories as I’d said, small golden, pink, blue or green spots surrounded by the deep gloom of purple-grey, or the red-black of my rage at those rough, well-loved hands on me, lifting me by my hair from the floor, the bright, bloody red of his leather belt whipping me. That creepy, whispering voice calling me stupid, retarded, a cunt, a moron who never seemed to learn…while I screamed, wondering how “talking back,” not doing the dishes, or finishing my homework, or getting yet another D in math was a crime deserving such agony. I know my punishments were sometimes well-deserved, but the scar on my right hand from one beating, and his admonition to lie about where it came from, tells me different….
He was a paler memory later in my life. The soft grey overtaking the dark. He was going greyer, too, salt and pepper replacing the strange red of his beard and the black of his hair. Sad pastels were softening him as he aged, as I aged and drifted away fleeing the soul-eating dark of my family.
My mother was always brown. Nicotine brown, Cree brown, dark brown hair, brown eyes and golden brown skin. Old photo brown. Brown circles under her eyes that she blamed on an allergic reaction to eye-shadow, even though she never wore eye-shadow, let alone under her eyes. Her anger at my failings and insistent strangeness was pink-brown, fast, hot and unpredictable. I never knew when the “rules” would change and she would sentence me to sit on our basement stairs to “wait until your father gets home”. Sometimes the wait was hours, often well past my usual bed-time if it was a school night. Occasionally, my sentence would be delayed because my step-father hadn’t come until two A.M. and I would be sent to bed, my punishment moved to a later time.
Wearing shorts could only invite unpleasant questions about the red-purple bruises running down my legs, so I usually wore pants for the next few weeks after a whipping until they faded–or kept wearing them due to a new set of welts covering the old ones, layers upon layers of “You’ve been bad and you need a spanking.”
I hated skirts, then. They always reminded me of the rape behind the Knox Cathedral when I was six years old. That monster was never caught. Somehow, I could bury that memory. I could easily recall the details of the event, of course, but it didn’t seem to affect me as much as having the same thing happen at home.
Home is supposed to be a haven filled with love, sharing dinners, birthdays, holidays, illnesses gentled away by a mother’s hands and kisses, the bright greens and golds of happy families. To have dreams only made the realities every more painful, re-enforcing the fact that I didn’t have that, didn’t deserve that, would never get it, no matter how I tried to fit in and conform to my parent’s expectations. I fought hard to do what they wanted, to shoe-horn myself into the boxes other people kept insisting were the proper containers for a little girl who wanted to be so much more. I never could, try or no. Why couldn’t I have an octagonal “box,” a round one, even a free form blob to curl up in and fill with soft nesting materials gathered by a fuzzy wee rodent?
Why wasn’t I allowed to be safe?
I was worthless. A strange little brown person who constantly refused to be “normal,” whatever that was. I wanted distinction, not attention, individuality, a self not controlled or molded by others. I knew, deep-down, that it was impossible. Their molding always happened, would always shade the colours of purple, green and cobalt that shifted and moved in a lava-lamp flow of hues and ideas, dreams and my need to create.
My love for books and art were my escape. And holy HECK, I want this bookshelf!
No matter my sorrows, no matter my furies, I could somehow create with whatever came to hand: pieces of leather, fabric or clothing I found in garbage cans, feathers found by the roadside, old pens and lined notebook paper. I was always drawing, always painting or writing (when I finally learned how to read when I was 11 or 12–now, I devour whole libraries of books), always weaving string and ribbons I took from packages. I would collect rocks, shells and the bones of dead things. I drew massive, complicated scenes on my walls in pencil, knowing I may have to erase them later, but needing to put the images populating my mind somewhere.
Everything I did was tinged by my past. I kept attempting to shed it like an old snake-skin, changing my clothes, dying my hair, evening discarding my birth names and creating new ones in the hopes of being a me I could stand and be proud of. I put it in my art, my journals (lots of whining there–you wouldn’t want to read it. ;-D), and what I wore or did. I thought, “If I get out, it won’t eat my soul.”
But he was always there, somewhere, hiding in the wrinkles of may brain, infesting my memory, or showing up unwanted in my dreams and nightmares. I’d see him hiding around the corners of my apartment, feel his presence looming over me like he’d done when I was a little girl, and hear that dry, rustling beetle-shell whisper of his voice, “Who do you think you are? You’re nothing. You’ll always be nothing. You were the closes thing at hand. You only exist because someone let you live to serve them. How can you believe you’re anything but a retard with fairy dreams for a life? Why do you think you can be anything other than a bum mooching off the world?” I was stupid. I was ugly. I was too weird for anyone to love.
Those were never his words–they were mine. Interpretations of so many ancient accusations thrown at me to inform me of my low status and keep me there. All of them, except the phrase “You were the closest thing at hand”, were constructs of my insecurities fed by the constant and painful events of my childhood. That was the sentence that would haunt me for years after my demand for him to tell me why he did what he’d done to me. They became the foundation of my next series of nightmares and broken-glass whispers in the back of my mind.
Whispers in my darkness.
So Goth, ain’t it? Such a silly pretension. A ridiculous, self-indulgent continuance of the self-hate, my hand permanently stapled to my forehead, “Oh, woe is me!”….
The trial was supposed to have been on the days of February 27th to around March 8th, depending on how long the jury would take to render a verdict. I was supposed to have spent several hours, of probably one day, telling my story of the abuse from over thirty-five years ago, and I could then go home March 1st after my testimony was done. My birthday is three days later. The rest of the trial would finish after I was back in California. I would learn the verdict through email or a phone call from my court liaison.
I was terrified, heart-sick, and yet, a growing calm was slowly filtering into me. I would be over. I’d be able to move on as my middle brother, my step-father’s first real son, had so callously told me twenty years before. Maybe my step-father could also finally shed the guilt he’d only admitted to one person, ever: my mother.
Maybe it was his guilt that killed him. Maybe it was knowing that our secret was out at last. He’d had almost four years to face what he’d done after my revelation of his crimes. Roughly three after being formally charged with rape and child abuse and put on the sex-offender’s list. I remember how his hands trembled as he held his bottle of water during the pre-trial as he listened to the questions the lawyers put to me to find out if there was enough evidence to send his case to a full trial. Was the shaking because of fear? I don’t know.
But, really, he’d had thirty-five or more years to face me, face what he’d done, take responsibility for it, and accept that my original demands for a simple, honest, remorseful, apology–all I’d actually wanted for so long–were both necessary, and hopefully healing, for the both of us.
His family grieves, and strangely, so do I.
Rest in Peace, Step-father, whatever peace you can find, as I’m still searching for. But, maybe it’s not as far away as I’d feared. There’s a small, golden light shining in the distance. Green-gold, softly glinting, as if in warm Spring sunlight. Perhaps I can finally reach it.
Living in the Williamette Valley is truly a foodie’s paradise. Everywhere you turn there is some food or beverage being grown or produced. In my interaction with local farmers I met Chrissie Manion Zaerpoor a few years ago and recently became aware she was been busy with a big project!—- Those of us who remember our Beowulf readings from high school English class merrily purchased our first cup of mead at Renaissance Festivals and were rewarded with a sweet drink. Perhaps we were young and that was palatable. But it was the last time I drank mead until I moved to Oregon’s Williamette Valley about three and a half years ago.
Living in the middle of wine country is a joy in many ways. Not only does it offer a lot in terms of oenophile enjoyment, but the countryside is beautiful. And twice a year (Thanksgiving weekend and Memorial Day weekend) almost all the wineries open their doors, even if they normally do not have tasting rooms. It was our first Thanksgiving here and avoiding a popular location with the Portland crowd, we headed up Highway 47 north of McMinnville. When we got to Yamhill we stopped, on a whim, at a meadery at Kookoolan Farms.
Chrissie Manion Zaerpoor and her husband Koorosh met as engineers for Intel and purchased a farm in Yamhill. Kookoolan Farms has evolved over time to work with other nearby farms to offer vegetables and meat to consumers throughout the region and its reputation for quality is well-known. To find out more about the farm and all they do check out their website and their Facebook page.
Like me, Chrissie remembered her Beowulf and started making mead from local honey. She perfected her craft, moving well beyond the sticky sweet stuff so many of us experienced at those Ren Fairs. In her question, she started gathering mead from other places in the United States and from around the world. This is when I met her. We visited her mead tasting room and were amazed at the variety of tastes offered.
a display of meads
And why not, when you really think about it? Beer, which has the same basic components, has amazing variety. Wine, of course, varies not only by the type of grape but, as I have learned first hand, by the weather, the terroir, and the skill of the winemaker. Why not discover the same breadth and depth with mead?
Mead has been enjoyed by people for thousands and thousands of year. It seemed to be found often in monasteries which produced honey for the beeswax to make candles. The mead was a fortunate by product of that task. Today, home brewing shops throughout the country can attest to an upsurge in interest and currently there are over 400 commercially licensed meaderies in 46 states, up from 30 in 1997! Mead is considered to be the fastest growing beverage business.
Many meaderies, like Kookoolan, are very small with only limited and local distribution. However, there are many that have larger production and a number of bottle shops are expanding into a wider selection.
As interest grows, so do the number of books available on the subject. So far, however, most recent books about mead have been in the “how to” genre. Home brewing is highly popular and there are plenty of tips and lessons available to ease the learning curve.
However, as mead started becoming more popular, Chrissie realized there was something missing. Her clues came from the visitors to the tasting room. Not only “Where can I find mead besides your tasting room?” but “What would be a good dish to pair with this mead?”
She realized she had a definite advantage over just about everyone else in the field. When she went to make her lunch in her kitchen, it was fun to grab a small pour, or two or three in the adjacent tasting room and see what tasted good with the dish she had prepared for her meal. As she kept her notes, the light bulb started to burn brightly and the book concept was born. The Art of Mead Tasting and Food Paring took three years to produce. It is a joy to read…and even better to work through by cooking and tasting. Chrissie has not only explained the various kinds of meads that are available, but offered well-tested recipes to pair with the various kinds. Imagine, if you will, you have a pretty terrific chicken pot pie you have made, either from your own recipe or the one in the book. You might be tempted to pair it with a white wine for upper, but your enjoyment can be enhanced with the right kind of mead pairing.
From spicy (check out the shrimp gumbo!) to sweet there is something in here for every palate.
The book is divided into regions of the world, as mead is produced everywhere there is honey. One photograph really caught my eye; it showed an archaeological find at Tel Rehov, Israel with a multitude of preserved hives. This discovery proves that ancient civilizations, this one dating back to 900 CE, had a great appreciation for bees, honey and its byproducts.
The book explains mead history as part of the Paleo world, in Africa, Asia, the Mediterranean region, northern Europe, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and in Latin America. Recipes and pairing suggestions are offered to get your exploration rolling.
And, through it all, gorgeous photography. Even a simple photo of the collection of meads Chrissie obtained from meaderies around the world in the research for the book is beautiful, even as it began to overtake the floor space in their dining room.
My hope is in your own life adventures you make room for new challenges. Part of exploration may be of new places, but some new learning may take place in the known and safe nest of your own. Open your willingness to try not only new foods, but new beverages too. Perhaps this concept of mead pairings will get you thinking and not only check out the book, but start checking out the shelves in a local bottle shop. At a recent visit to a local grocery story yesterday, I found this.
And now I get to figure out what food will go well with it. Ahhhh, time to reread the book!
[Beth and Graham Rankin live in the Williamette Valley of Oregon. Beth is a entrepreneur, adventurer, writer, blogger (goingplaceslivinglife), “foodie,” crafter, “jack-of-all-trades” and the master of many!]
I figured out the solution for the potential hazard caused by all the coconuts hanging over streets and sidewalks. There are street vendors with piles of coconuts on every corner in Colaba. One can buy a coconut opened with a machete and a straw to drink the juice for 20 rupees. They come from somewhere. In my mind’s eye, I see young men climbing trees at night to harvest them before they are ripe enough to fall into the street.
COCONUT TREES LINE SOME OF THE STREETS
The banks have a plan for India. My earlier assessment of the reasons for demonetization were only partly correct. I have no talent for dishonesty or greed. I learned today that there will be a two and a half percent fee charged by the banks on every transaction, meaning that after 40 transactions of 100 rupees each the bank has earned the entire amount in fees. I just don’t think big enough when it comes to crime. Driving squatters out of their slums is but a cherry on a very rich cake.
Speaking rich cake, my dentists presented one to me before I left. We took photos and exchanged hugs. They will provide transport to the airport so I had to tell day driver to cancel on night driver. I gave him a 2000 rupee note for taking such good care of me.
As I returned from my final visit to the dentist, we stopped for traffic near the hotel. The young woman with the child that I met when I first arrived and provided with formula for her baby was walking by. She recognized me and smiled with a wave. That is the only thank you that is needed. I know that my small gift was appreciated because she remembered me.
The mystery of the red tree nut is solved. I have seen several of the trees in the area. When I arrived the fruits were bright red and sat high in the tree.
CASHEWS IN STAGES OF DEVELOPMENT
When they are red, the husks contain the same allergen as poison oak. I noticed during my hike yesterday that many of the trees contain fruit that is black. After it turns black, it splits open revealing the nuts much like the burr on chestnut splits. The nuts are still green because they have not been roasted. They are cashews.
My thoughts about my next to last ride in the traffic of Mumbai is that humans can accomplish things through mutual assistance and cooperation. Drive here requires it. There are too few traffic control devices and too many vehicles moving on sometimes very narrow streets designed for horse drawn vehicles. But, the traffic keeps moving because one driver willingly yields to the needs of another. Indians are very social and cooperative with one another and they live in harmony with their neighbors to reach common goals.
CROWDED STREETS IN MUMBAI
Indian society has had its divisions and there is still much tension with Pakistan. That aside, Indians cooperate and work well together in teams. There is no bullshit rugged individualism here.
It is 7:45 am on Thursday in Mumbai. My bags are packed. My driver will be here at 10:15. The airport is about an hour away. I should be there by 11:30 pm and my plane doesn’t leave until 2:15 am, but I’ll need to swing by British Air, check my bags and pick up my boarding passes, sell my rupees back tot he Bank of India, then go to immigration and report that I am exiting the country and go through security. It is a long walk to the gates. I packed my checked-through bag heavy so that I wouldn’t need to lug it all around with me. I hope I’m not overweight with it. I’ll go to the departure lounge and start a copy of “To Kill a Mockingbird.” I found one on the street for 100 rupees. Although that book helped determine the course of my life in so many ways, I haven’t read it in at least forty years. It is the reason that I went to law school. I think that I am a better lawyer than Atticus. I wouldn’t have let Mayella leave the stand until I had broken her!
About that trip home. I left the hotel at 9:30 with a driver who was forty-five minutes early. He spoke no English, but managed to get me to the right terminal at the right point. Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport has two enormous terminals, one for domestic and one for international flights. I was delivered to Terminal 2. Some of you may have noticed that my favorite museum has the name Chhatrapati Shivaji in it, as well. Shivaji Bhonsle was a warrior king who lived in the 17th Century. He became known as Chhatrapati Shivaji, Chhatrapati being a title. There was no queue at the British Airways counter and I was able to quickly collect my boarding pass and check my big bag through to Charleston.
The airport was really not crowded when I arrived so I was able to quickly clear immigration. They want to make sure that those who arrive also leave according to the terms of a visa issued to you. The clerk at the hotel notifies immigration when you check out and leave. Visitors are photographed when arriving and leaving. Fingerprints were also collected by immigration enforcement when I arrived although I don’t think that mine are easy to print. My skin has thinned to the point that mine are no longer visible. There were no lines at security either so I quickly entered the departure area, sold my rupees back to the Bank of India for less than I paid. They get you for a total of abut 5% if you buy them and sell them. I made my way to the nearly empty departure lounge for a long wait. I couldn’t log onto CSIA WiFi because I had no Indian phone number so I spent my time watching the other passengers, reading or watching some stupid Bollywood movie on a huge TV, which was directly in front of me. Bollywood movies are the worst, but I find them hilarious when they are meant to be serious dramas. All Indian actors are light-skinned. The “drama” situations were comedic. Dialogue is Hindi but I could understand the plots anyway. The one being shown was their version of General Hospital, but I doubt if the hospital scenes were realistic since admissions and treatments happen in the same room!
The lounge filled up, and we boarded the plane about forty minutes before departure. I found my exit row seat and we departed on time. The plane was a newer version of the Boeing 777. It has nine seats across in groups of three divided by aisles on either side and four sections. I always fly tourist so I always sit in the last section and there were about 180 of us crammed into it. I flew in an Airbus 300 from London to Charlotte. I had an aisle seat but it became uncomfortable after five hours.
SEATING IN A LARGE, MODERN AIRLINER
The A330 has only eight passengers with two on each side of the fuselage and four in the center. I was in the center section. The seats on the 777 are just a bit narrower than the ones on the A330. I fell asleep for awhile when we departed since I hadn’t slept any since Wednesday night. I declined the first meal offered so I was hungry eight hours later when breakfast was served. I could have had an Indian breakfast or an English breakfast. I chose poorly…in heaven, the Italians are the cooks and in hell the English are the cooks! One tray contained two lumps of a thing recognizable as having once been a potato and something stewed that was once a tomato. There were two other lumps that were unrecognizable, although I ate them both. What did Mick Dundee say? “You can survive on it but it tastes like shit.” Two biscuits (crackers to us), cream cheese, some kind of bad pastry and soggy watermelon and cantaloupe along with some plain yogurt which I don’t care for. I prefer my yogurt flavored with fruit in it. I saw “Girl on a Train” during the flight. It is a really good movie and I recommend it to those who have missed it. We arrived at BA Terminal 5 at Heathrow on time after nine hours. It takes an hour longer coming back because of the headwinds.
Everyone who is there to board a connecting flight is herded through security again and directed to the lower level to board a bus for the other terminals. American uses Terminal 3. We were subjected to what I can only describe as interrogation by airline employees before boarding the bus, and it didn’t end with the origin of the trip and the reason for being there. They wanted to know how I made my living, what kind of law I practiced, where my office was, my home address and so forth.
I became irritated by the invasion and told the employee that I had a boarding pass that entitled me to a seat on the airplane and that I had a passport which entitled me to return to the United States and that I was done playing twenty questions. He decided that he had gathered enough “intelligence” for whomever had directed this interrogation, which likely was recorded by Big Brother as I was waved through. I have never been asked these questions by the airline before.
When I arrived in Charlotte, immigration officers there only asked me where I had been and whether I had any prohibited material, things like produce, soil plants, etc., and customs only inquired about items subject to the luxury tax. What the hell!
[Thanks to Gina Stanley for sharing her recent adventure to and from Mumbai, India. It’s probably obvious that Gina went to Mumbai to have extensive dental work. I’ve seen her since she came home, and she looks wonderful! Gina is a practicing attorney in Huntington, WV. She is a gifted writer, sharing interesting details, pungent personal opinion, and an accurate look at a place most of us will never see.]