Rowboat Book Club #99

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

by Jamie Ford

In 1986, Henry Lee joins a crowd outside the Panama Hotel, once the gateway to Seattle’s Japantown. It has been boarded up for decades, but now the new owner has discovered the belongings of Japanese families who were sent to internment camps during World War II. As the owner displays and unfurls a Japanese parasol, Henry, a Chinese American, remembers a young Japanese American girl from his childhood in the 1940s—Keiko Okabe, with whom he forged a bond of friendship and innocent love that transcended the prejudices of their Old World ancestors. After Keiko and her family were evacuated to the internment camps, she and Henry could only hope that their promise to each other would be kept. Now, forty years later, Henry explores the hotel’s basement for the Okabe family’s belongings and for a long-lost object whose value he cannot even begin to measure. His search will take him on a journey to revisit the sacrifices he has made for family, for love, for country.

Happy New Year? Is Trump Gone Yet???

I’m supposed to be skiing. Or sledding. Or sipping on Hot Cocoa while wearing a new Christmas sweater. None of that is going to happen. Oh well.

Happy New Year Batfans! I am not going to be doing much. I plan on cooking. I will most likely watch the Ball Drop or Biscuit Toss, or Virtual concerts until Midnight. I might make it to 10:30pm. I’m old. The kids want a small party. We can do that. They like to sip Cherry 7UP and act like they are grown ups. They pretend to be me or Sarah. No one wants to be Lynn. She gets a stern look on her face. They like the smiling people. I would usually have already posted my End of the Year post with highlights of memorable moments but all it would be this year is a photo of me wearing a mask. Why bother? Those are already on my Instagram.

So here’s to all acquaintances not forgot and always brought to mind, when you are singing Auld Lang Syne this year, be a little more hopeful. Maybe a little more grateful. We are about to start a brand new year.

What could possibly be worse than 2020?