Strolling down the Alley

I wanted to wish all veterans a Happy Veterans Day. As someone who served,  I understand most of the sacrifice and toils of choosing to serve your country.

I speak to other vets often,  and I was moved by a  story I heard about service in Vietnam.  That conflict came at a time when the country itself was transitioning towards being true to its own values. Like the debates in social society of 21st century America over public servants relationship with the body it serves,  this 20th century was smokin ‘ just as long. The civil rights movement was at its peak when the conflict in Vietnam began and soldiers, many of whom were drafted in service,  had to face the reality of not only loss of potentially life, but also any comforts of home they knew.  Remember,  home is where the heart is.

Among the smorgasbord of issues in the pot were questions of patriotism,  racism and injustice at home, self segregation in the military and fighting in a war thousands of miles away. Some  African-American soldiers found an oasis in this desert of conflict.  Soul Alley was an area in Khanh Hoi, Vietnam,  where restaurants such as L&M’s and the C.M.G guest house, had an environment where you could get soul food,  turnips,  greens, barbecue and chitterlings.

Some soldiers deserted to this paradise.  Others just visited.  That is what comfort food is like–a refuge from the pains of your reality, a change to go home, to that place where family welcomes you in, no matter what.

Food is not always about calorie counts, cholesterol and fat. Depending on what is going on in your life,  it may be just the thing that keeps you going for another moment in time.  For all veterans, wherever “your” Soul Alley is, my personal wish is that you get there safely and that you ease on down the road,  with a good taste in your mouth!


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