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Story ID:5482
Written by:Frederick William Wickert (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:Oneonta New York USA
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I live in a small rural community where we don’t even have a village. Everybody knows everybody else and, unfortunately, many think they know everyone else’s business.

Where we live is a remote area in the mountains and there are no nearby places to shop. My wife and I have a large number of cats. They are feral cats we have provided a home for, with one exception. He is not feral. I have a friend who provides a home for even more feral cats than we do (see “Tracy’s Cat House”). Every week I make a trip with my pickup truck to a city called Oneonta for supplies for our household including the cats, and cat supplies for Tracy, our friend with more cats.

When I am in Oneonta on my supply trip, usually by myself, it is my habit to go to a Japanese cuisine restaurant owned by a man I know, who is the brother of a good friend of ours. I like to give him my business. The restaurant employs three Chinese girls as waitresses. It is my habit to go out of my way to be nice to and befriend these waitresses.

Over time these girls and I have become good friends. Bear in mind that these girls are between 24 and 26 years of age on average. I am 76 years old. Sometimes the girls are wives of chefs employed at the same restaurant. When I arrive at the restaurant, it is usually past the regular lunchtime busy part of the day.

The girls often sit in my booth when they are not busy and talk to me. Sometimes they seek my advice. I have a digital camera I carry with me wherever I go, and I like to use it. Sometimes, especially if there is a new girl whose picture I don’t have, I take out my camera and take pictures of the girls. Sometimes they want to take my camera and take pictures of me together with the girls. When they do this, I put my arm around them. It feels like a natural thing to do.

When this happens, it is only for the duration of the picture taking. There is no thought of any untoward behavior or hanky panky. These girls are young enough to be my grandchildren and I am fat, and until recently, bald. My hair for reasons unknown has begun to grow back in. I am certainly not one who could attract young girls.

On a few occasions, the girls have asked for me to transport one of them to the store to pick up a few items for them to cook at their apartment after they get off from work. I have obliged them, they having no transportation of their own.

My wife has seen these pictures of me with my arm around the girls. She has been told by people who have called her and told her they saw her husband in the restaurant enjoying and taking pictures with these girls, and that they had seen one of the waitresses get in my truck.

Fortunately I had already informed my wife of these times I had taken the girls to the store and she already knew about it. She has been approached away from home in small town stores, telling her that they and their spouses had thought we must be divorced or my wife had died because of what they had seen. Others have told my wife’s girlfriend all about seeing me with these young girls, and they have all jumped to the worst kind of conclusions.

To my mind, when I have talked with these girls, and taken pictures with them, and helped them out by giving them a ride to go to the store for something, I was just being a good friend. The girls themselves took it the same way, and the visits with the girls at the restaurant were always in full view of the husbands of those who were married, and the girls were provided copies of the pictures which were in turn shown to their husbands. In some cases pictures were taken of them with their husbands and with me. It was all in the open. Nothing was hidden. Even so, it has caused a stir in the community and with my wife.

One day my wife and I took her girlfriend with us and went to a town 35 miles away. We went to a popular buffet restaurant for lunch. My wife’s friend and I had each returned to the table with our food. My wife was still getting her food from the buffet. A friend of my wife’s friend came up to the table and demanded to know if my wife knew she and I were having lunch together. Of course, she was instantly satisfied when my wife arrived with her food and sat down at the table. We all had a good laugh over it. But what if my wife had asked me to take her friend to town for some reason, and we had lunch while we there? Why must it be immediately assumed we are doing something wrong?

It bothers me no end. There was never any wrongdoing going on and, in the minds of the participants, it was all just fun among friends. In the case of the trip to the store, it was just helping a friend out with transportation.

My wife is now incensed because it “looked bad to other people.” It is certainly true it has set the tongues of other people wagging, which brought undue embarrassment to my wife, which has in turn put me in the dog house. I often think I have it coming because I have jumped to the wrong conclusions myself in the past (see “Judge Ye Not”).

On the other hand, appalling things are going on in Washington, D.C. And it seems to me that anyone with a brain can see the corruption and unethical behavior. They can see that the elected representatives are not listening to the people, are not representing the people with their actions, but are instead doing everything in their own best interests rather than in the best interests of the nation and of the people they are supposed to be representing.

All of that being true, there are millions of us who continue to support this fraud and corruption, refusing to see anything wrong with it. They like the people in office and are reluctant to admit the politicians might be doing wrong.

I don’t understand how innocent behavior of friendship can be instantly construed to be bad and unfaithful behavior, while at the same time truly bad, fraudulent and corrupt behavior by those in elected office is brushed off as not being anything wrong. I don’t understand how human nature is to condemn that which is innocent while at the same time accepting that which should be condemned.


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