Catherine Onyemelukwe

Author, Blogger, Speaker

A Day Late and a Dollar Short

Mohegan Sun

My sister Beth has been visiting for the past twelve days. She’s flying home to Cincinnati as I write.

We’re alike in some ways, different in others, like most siblings.

She loves to gamble, so nearly every time she comes we go to Mohegan Sun, one of Connecticut’s casinos. I enjoy the slot machines too, and like her, can sit in front of a machine for hours.

She would happily be there all day; I can take a couple of hours at a time.

When you win, it is such fun!

Don’t you love the charging rhinos?

She paid for our dinner with her winnings, before losing again. On this visit we lost about $150 between us, after being up, down, up and down again!

We had lots of fun and laughter, plenty of people-watching, and excitement when we had Free Spins!

And my blog is a day late!

Change the Channel?

Dan Woog wrote an outstanding piece today in his blog, Where Westport meets the World. 

He loves living in Westport, my town and his. He grew up here. I came a couple of decades ago.

In his post Life in the Westport Bubble he contrasts the lives we lead with the lives of so many others in the U.S.

His worry today? Will it be cloudy or a good day for the beach?

“I do not worry that I will be shot . . . ” he says.

Nor does he worry daily about discrimination or being stereotyped.

He sees the depressing news of the last few days and weeks happening too frequently around our country.

“In the comfort of my home, I watch the news on my flat-screen TV. If the images get too depressing, I can change the channel. I can order up a movie on demand, go for a walk in beautiful Winslow Park next door, or do anything else I please. If the political rhetoric gets too heated, the voices too shrill or the idiocy and hypocrisy too dismal, I can read a book on one of my many devices. Or even a real one.

“But — because I am an American, and a global citizen of the world — I do not change the channel. I do not watch a movie, go for a walk or read a book. Instead — fascinated, horrified, frightened, angry, sad — I stay tuned to the latest episode of the reality show that is ‘America.’”

I commented on his blog to thank him for his ‘sermon’ for my Sunday morning. I read other thoughtful comments, many from people I know, in Westport.

Like Dan and others, I have to stay engaged. I cannot close my eyes to the world around me. I speak up when I can.

And Yet . . .

Despite our best intentions to avoid stereotypes, we can so easily fall prey. Sometimes our misplaced perceptions are fairly innocent, like today at the airport. But it was a good lesson!

Beth and I were seated at Au Bon Pain at La Guardia Airport, eating our delicious Napa Chicken Wrap sandwich halves. I was waiting with her before she went through security.

Mohegan Sun wall decoration. Does it honor Native America?

Mohegan Sun wall decoration. Does it honor Native American tradition in its decor? It is on an Indian Reservation.

I was watching a young man and woman at a nearby table fondly embracing for a couple of minutes.

Beth’s back was to them. I commented to her on how they seemed to be preparing for a long separation.

She said, “Is he wearing an army uniform?”

I looked as the couple stood up. I said, “No, he isn’t. She is!”

Adichie in The New York Times Review of Books

A week or so ago a friend told me about Adichie’s story in The New York Times Review of Books. I nearly missed it, but saved the book review to read later. Then my sister came and I didn’t read it.

I knew it was a story for this campaign time.

I knew Adichie had been invited to write it. They will apparently ask others for pieces as well during this political season.

When I saw a reference again in Aidoro’s blog Brittle Paper I finally read it and decided to share it. Here it is for you too, illustration and all.

U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria on Buhari

Nigeria’s online Premium Times reports on the remarks by outgoing U.S. Ambassador Entwistle.

“He told a select group of media representatives, including PREMIUM TIMES, on Friday that considering the very difficult situation Mr. Buhari inherited, the president did well in his first one year in office.

“The envoy, who drew a parallel between President Obama and President Buhari, said although it was understandable for Nigerians to have high expectations of change, they, like the American people, should be patient with the administration.”

U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria hails Buhari on economy, corruption war

Usually when I copy the url of an article to share with you, I don’t get the picture too! But it came along, so you can see the ambassador. His career in the foreign service spanned more than 35 years.

“He said the experience he would never forget was last year’s presidential election process, which brought President Buhari to power, saying it was the most inspirational thing he was proud to be associated with in his over 35 years career.

“’The way the Nigerian people made clear that this time they wanted their votes to count and would accept nothing less. I felt very proud. That’s something I will carry in my heart for ever. It’s up to Nigerians to ensure that 2019 is even better,’ he said.”

I’m glad that the U.S. ambassador carries such pleasant associations with the country as he departs at the end of the month.

Author: Catherine Onyemelukwe

Author, blogger, speaker. Born in New York, grew up in mid west United States, lived in Nigeria for 24 years, back in U.S. since 1986. Advocate for racial justice.


  1. Hey Catherine,

    I enjoyed reading your reflections today, especially your stories about you and your sister … We can all relate. I smiled at the piece on Nigeria.