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  • It's weird how I was just about to write my cowbird story, but wanted to check my e-mail first, and in doing so, I came across a cowbird message for me to read a story that Tracy wrote called "Beautiful Distinction". My story is very similar to hers. That's why I am amazed at the timing of posting my very first cowbird story today. I was to write my cowbird story because I have an assignment due for class but Tracy posted her story because she stumbled upon an old picture and assigned herself a cowbird story to write. By the way Tracy, you told a beautiful story in a beautiful way. Here's mine...
    As Tracy says in her story, "my family was not color blind..." I find that I can say the same thing about my family. From the time my husband Russ and I met in college up to now, we have made friends and have acquaintances that have a myriad of different ethnic backgrounds. Our niece has two bi-racial children, so I guess we can say we have ethnicity in our extended family as well. We've read about, heard about, and been witness to several instances of racism throughout our lives together, but never experienced it firsthand where we were the ones discriminated against for the color of our skin.
    Russ and I went on a family-reunion cruise with about 20 members from my Dad's side of the family in June of 2006. The Navigator was a huge cruiseliner with two swimming pools and two jacuzzis on the main deck- level of the ship. The first day there, with almost 3,200 other guests on board, my husband went into one of the vast vessel's bars and struck up a conversation with none other than the Captain's wife. The very next day, when I answered whoever knocked on our cabin's door, there stood a young ship officer in full-dress uniform with his white-gloved hands holding a silver platter. On the fancy, scalloped, platter was a small white envelope. It was an invitation actually. Russ and I had been cordially and formally invited to dine at the Captain and his wife the following night for dinner! Holy Crap! We were told we would also be dining with tennis player Andre Agassi's mother and a Russian Ambassador and his family. Wow, what an honor! How lucky too. It's a good thing my husband has this girl's gift of gab or he would have never even met Mrs. Navigator Captain.
    The afternoon of the dinner, Russ and I went swimming with our family. My two brothers, their wives, and I eased down into the hot, steamy water of the largest of the two jacuzzis on deck. We all had those drinks with the little umbrellas and skewered fruit in them. It was heaven on water on earth! Russ, however, opted out claiming that the drinks were too sweet and the water too hot. So Husband Goldilocks set off to test the water tempature in the smaller jacuzzi on the other side of the ship. He came back about 15 minutes later with a strange look on his face. He said, "I just had the weirdest experience of my life. I think those people pulled the race card on me!" When he sauntered up to the tub, he didn't even notice that he was the only one 'not of color' as they say. My husband, with his Irish-ivory-freckled-sun-burnt skin slipped into the bubbling jacuzzi water and said hello to the gentleman-soaker next to him. The bather was one of twelve in a family of ebony-skinned soakers sitting in the tepid water. The guy ignored him. Russ thought nothing of it until, one by one; they all got out of the tub. It was subtle at first but it soon became obvious to Russ what was happening. Russ retold the story with laughter but I could tell that the experience hurt him deeply.
    There is a sweet end to this sour story though. That night, as we followed the Captain into the three-tiered dining room, Russ spied the jacuzzi rats that had abandoned him earlier already seated at their table. When we walked by, they recognized my husband as he took his place between the famous and the filthy rich. Russ held out Betty Agassi's chair for her, then helped the Captain's wife into hers and as he sat himself down in his own seat, he looked straight at the offending family and gave them a little wave of the hand and a gigantic smile. The look on their collective face was PRICELESS!
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