The 113th Congress is on vacation now, part of a 239-day vacation package they worked out for themselves for 2013. I'll leave the math to you, but there's only 365 days in a year. Even GW, our most-vacationed president in history only took 1,020 days off over his 8-year tenure.
Vacations are a good time to rejuvenate, to reflect both on accomplishments and goals yet to be accomplished. You're in good company if you're scratching your head and wondering from what and for what are these self-satisfied, lazy fools taking a vacation?
As the least productive legislature in 60 years-maybe EVER-Congress has secured for itself premium health care insurance and insider trading. The Republican-controlled House took 40 unsuccessful runs at repealing the Affordable Health Care Act, something they feel they need to do before their constituents realize that it's a good thing.
A couple of the major things they didn't accomplish are passing any kind of budget or any kind of immigration reform. Which brings me to my Sunday morning breakfast at Eggsperience, my favorite place for omelettes.
I dropped my wife in front of the restaurant and sought out parking in the crowded lot. By the time I joined my wife at the table, she was already enjoying a cappucino. When the waitress returned and asked if I would like anything to drink, I glibbly asked for a Bloody Mary.
She stared at me for a moment and then leaned closer, apologizing that she had not heard me. It was a little awkward, even for me, but I smiled and said that my request had been for a Bloody Mary, which I knew not to be available at this particular eatery. Our waitress, a beautiful young black woman with a disarming smile continued to stare at me and finally admitted that she had no idea what I was talking about.
When asked her age, she told me she was 18. I told her I was glad she didn't know what a Bloody Mary was, then conspiratorially asked her what cocktail she might order if our roles were reversed. Evelyn, as her name turned out to be told us that she never had an alcoholic drink. She further surprised us, in perfect English with the news that she was from Ghana and had only been in this country for 6 months.
If you're wondering, I did feel a little foolish, but at the same time enchanted, listening to this wonderful young lady talk about her travels, her experience here in America and her plans to find a school that she could afford. Without a doubt that young lady from Ghana made our day.
As we were leaving, our friend Filipe rushed over to say goodbye. We've known Filipe for 12 or 15 years, first meeting him at his bussing job at our friends restaurant near Ravinia. Always happy to see us, Filipe has the graciousness of character to allow me to think that I'm actually speaking Spanish when I ask him about his family. It got to the point that we were no longer sure if we frequented that restaurant to visit with our friend or with Filipe.
A hard-working father of 4, Flilipe apologetically told us a few months ago that he had to leave our friend's employ because she could not pay him enough to keep him on. He was working until 3:00 PM this particular afternoon, after which he had 2 hours to rest, take a shower and get to another restaurant by 5:00.
I don't know anything about Filipe's or Evelyn's immigration statuses. I do know that they have both added something to my life with their smiles and their strong sense of accomplishment and family. Socially and economically, they add value to our nation, not something I can say about the 113th Congress.
On the way home, my wife half-jokingly said that we should adopt Evelyn. It didn't seem like such a bad idea, although I didn't see how it would benefit Evelyn. Unfortunately, we've already squandered her inheritance.
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