I was eating Sunday dinner with my aging parents (who recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary) in a little restaurant up the road in Lawrence County yesterday afternoon. I saw something for the first time in that little Arby’s restaurant: a young woman wearing a hijab. She was with a much older, normally dressed white man. Though her head and neck were covered in traditional Middle Eastern style, she was wearing pants and had a smart phone tucked in a back pocket, as do most white girls around here. She also seemed to speak perfect English. Her complexion was indeterminate; she could have been a light skin Middle Easterner or a 50/50 ME and Euro mix. I wondered if she was a Muslim faith, ½ Euro college girl out with her very white grandfather. He seemed unfazed to be sitting there with her in a public place.
To be sure, if I were to drive an hour north of the homestead to Bloomington, Indiana (the home campus of Indiana University) I would be able to see women in hijabs, and sometimes even burkas –and also large numbers of East Asians. But a hijab at an Arby’s in rural southern Indiana –a small town Arby’s literally bordering a cornfield? That was a first. I wonder if this girl believes in the “proposition nation” fantasy, or was perhaps an open and conscious enemy of traditional American culture.
For a moment lay aside whether or not this girl’s bloodline goes exclusively to the equatorial sands or was mixed with one from Europe. This girl is in a country settled almost exclusively by Christians and still predominantly (professing) Christian. Yet she wears the emblem of the Muslims that have raged against Europe for over 1,000 years. The emblem of those who are now flooding Europe’s borders, the emblem of those launching terror attacks on Europe –like the recent truck slaughter in Sweden.
I was very polite. I did not speak to her. There was no purpose in making a scene. To ask her why she wore that in a country founded by European Christians would have only made me look a hayseed bigot, or maybe even a Nazi. I would rather people not put up rainbow neighbor signs against me like they did here in Orange County against Parrott and Heimbach. I just sat there while one more piece of my country faded away before my eyes.
© Copyright 2017 by Joseph Charles Putnam or Orange County, Indiana. All rights reserved.