It happens in every relationship that is to stand the test of time — introducing your love to your blood. Chuan and I did the post-nuptial tour to Fort Myers, Florida — the heart of Trump’s America. It’s the bible belt, sun belt and Sansabelt all rolled into one waddling package. My family, though, is the outlier liberal family, an oasis of sanity and civility in the new pussy-grabbing paradigm of America.
Each day, Mom and Dad have tea and cookies on their back porch. We discuss all things from their world travels to hemorrhoids to the nightmarish election. Our family has its share of drama, but this time, it was not centered on me. Chuan, as my husband, was welcomed with open arms as their first son-in-law. The contrast of progressive values on their porch to the porches nearby is great. In fact I remember our across the street neighbor, George Kendig, calling black people “porch ponkeys” and “jigaboos.” Something always seemed wrong about him and frankly, this place. Even as a kid I knew it and longed for the day to get out. At 21 I left for New York and never returned.
Fort Myers is a town as adorable as can be with gorgeous early and mid 20th century architecture. But it’s a place where you simply don’t want to know your neighbors. Such is the setting every time I make the familial pilgrimage to see the ‘rents and the bro. On the plane to Fort Myers we overheard some woman with her hair in bangs (and teased back a few generations) say, “Oh we don’t want us another Clinton. She’s a liar!” What do you say to that? Her little shitsu dog escaped out of her bag and sat under my seat.
Anyway, it’s a shame that my family is all so rooted in a place so philosophically embattled. As a result we limit our visits to one or two times a year. Tucson by comparison seems a breath of fresh desert air.
I’m very grateful for all that my parents have done to welcome Chuan and embrace him as their own. And for Chuan, it’s a one-sided experience. He won’t get that — I won’t get that — in turn from Malaysia where it’s not just frowned upon, it’s illegal. I’ve already met the outlaws and they don’t embrace me. So we stay rooted in the place, in spite of the ogre-to-be in the Oval Office, in the place that granted us the right to marry.
Here’s the trip in video and pictures….