While at home for Christmas this year, my mother was excited to I'd be there to attend the holiday luncheons with the various groups she belongs to, guilds she serves on, etc. My mother is very involved. I learned a lot from her involvement. My mother belongs to a women's group at my parent's local country club. My whole life I've known my mother is a bit of a feminist. Many have assumed I'm the same. Not quite. I don't sit back and accept things the way they are, but I'm definitely not some outspoken, women should rule the world kind of a person. The room, it was mostly full of wealthy older women who just look for causes to throw their money at. Each month someone comes and speaks at their luncheons. I learned from the women I sat near, that in November, the special guest was the music director of the Portland Gay Men's Choir. Though one of the women quickly pointed out, "There are also some women who sing with the group." I bit my tongue instead of cheekily responding..."Then why are they called the Gay Men's Choir?" I knew the answer of course. Because it is cool to be gay these days. And you are cool by association if you attend their events, if you support their cause in any way.
Now mind you, I have a number of gay friends, always have. I have no issue there. But I sat at my lunch table with these women as they described the concert as the most amazingly uplifting event they've ever attended. What?!?
But this is what I've been raised around, I know to be courteous, not to cause conflict. I behaved myself quite well if I do say so myself. My mother is the only member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the group. She's actually been a great example to the group, they are much more accepting of the LDS community, which has always been a struggle for us in my home town. The women were all super nice to me, all excited to meet me. All a little too anxious to know what school I was home from and what my major was. ("um, well, I graduated from high school and college in the 90s... I studied English and Spanish though..." And tongue biting again ensued instead of asking the last time they had the prescription for their eye glasses checked.)
So, all that being said, the group's leader announced the first book club book for the next year. "Running the Rift." The author was going to be speaking to them at the January meeting, and I have to admit, I wish I were flying home to attend. I'm always looking for another book to read. When the book was announced, I grabbed my phone and reserved this book from the library. What a great story. Though it deal with a lot of tough issues, a tough time regarding the conflict in Rwanda, I feel it was very well presented. And part of the story is about running, so of course I loved that.
When I started in on the book and was figuring out what the story was about, I was hesitant to continue. I was fearful that this would be just the type of book the women at the country club would like. A book that exploits a topic, that pulls at your heart strings, that makes you want to pour your money into another cause without truly investigating and knowing the truth (like Three Cups of Tea, this group introduced my mother to that book as well and we know how that ended up.) But I was pleasantly surprised. I definitely recommend this book (though please remember, it is pure fiction.)
(And the ironic thing about the comments above, is that just like the people in the story, I judged the women at the luncheon without knowing them, but because of a label like feminist. Just as the characters in the book are judged because their nose was a different shape, they were from a different tribe, so carried a different label.)