Prayers in Vegas

My mother took my grandmother to Las Vegas for the first time in her life. The interesting aspect of this trip is not so much my grandmother’s amazement of Vegas but more as to what she did to American soldiers in Las Vegas airport on the way back.

In Las Vegas airport, my mother and grandmother were waiting in the flight terminal to board their plane while hundreds of soldiers were getting ready to be deployed to Iraq. My grandmother, who always manages to be a social butterfly even with the little English that she knows, began to tell the soldiers how much she wishes they were not going to war and were able to stay home with their families.

The soldiers found a liking in my grandmother as she attempted to engage in conversations with her broken English and trying to get across her wild conspiracy theories. One of her numerous conspiracy theories went as far as accusing George W. Bush of going to war with Iraq to avoid the public from finding out about his addictions as well as his extramarital affair with none other than his intern.

My grandmother took out her Koran as more and more soldiers began gathering around her to get a laugh as if she was doing a monologue like Jay Leno on the Tonight Show. She starts chanting prayers for the soldiers and decides to walk toward the entrance of the terminal in order to make sure the soldiers walk under the Koran as they board the plane.

It doesn’t get any more wicked than having an old Iranian grandmother, standing in an airport, holding a Koran and making sure that American soldiers walk under it as they are about to go fight in Iraq. Even better, I would have loved to be there to hear her yell to the soldiers, “Please kiss the Koran, please kiss the Koran.” The soldiers were nice enough to make light of the situation and go along with my grandmother’s antics as they are about to undertake a major assignment on the other side of the world.

This incident makes me realize how our planet has turned into a small village where with the help of technology everyone is somehow interconnected whether they like it or not, so why not make the best of it by getting along and learning from one another.

Who would have known, that sixty years ago when my grandmother was being raised in Kermanshah, with a very modest upbringing, she would one day be standing in Las Vegas airport cheering the soldier’s spirits as they are taking on a massive challenge on the other side of the world.

The father of the late ‘Meet the Press’ moderator Tim Russert often repeated the phrase: “What a country, what a country!”

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