“I’ll tell you one day. Many, like my friends, had to go to night school to learn how to speak and write English. Before that, others helped them shop. They became citizens as soon as they knew English.”
“Want to see me make a clown?” the granddaughter says, working her cookie dough many times over.
Her grandmother praised her work. She knew her friends would eat her cookies anyway.
Lately, many artists and engineers came to America to get better jobs. Some never thought to become citizens.
“Why not, Daddy?” a daughter of a digital engineer says.
“I’ll explain sometime,” he says. “It’s not that easy.”
“But my third-grade class is making certificates for families who came here and took the oath of loyalty. You’re loyal, aren’t you?”
He coughs. “I try to be.”
“Well, then, I don’t understand.”
“I’m also loyal to my native country.”
“I doubt you’d have to give that up. We’ve been studying that. You just don’t want to study for the test, that’s all. And you always tell me to study.”
Father leaves the room. When he goes to file for his citizenship papers, he takes his daughter with him.
Shirley Ramsey, a retired professor of journalism, lives in Norman.