I’ve been going every month to the Swedish Club in Seattle for their Sunday Swedish pancake breakfasts. It’s $9 a person and you get a lot of food for your money. There’s live music usually and Leo gets to run around and have fun. On nice days, there’s a good view of Lake Union.
It’s a good bike ride from our house, a good way to start your Sunday morning. The Cascade Bike Club often does a morning bike ride and you see riders come in spandex and florescent jackets. These days Leo can’t ride my bike so we drive, though I hope he’ll take to wearing his helmet in the spring.
You all sit in communal tables and get a good spot if you’re lucky. The best spot, for kids, is near the stage. There’s dancers but more often than not there are kids running around. It’s usually polka standards, though this time of year it’s Christmas music, sung in Swedish anyway.
A good portion of the table are retired folk. (They dress surprisingly well for the occasion and I feel a bit under dressed.) Having a baby is a good conversation starter, so I usually chat with a few of them about how old “she” is (he looks like a girl) and other things.
One old nice guy, asked about my heritage. I listed off the places I knew. He said he was an immigrant from Norway in the 1950’s, he talked about how he came to work in Seattle and Alaska as a fisherman. As it turned out, post World War II pretty much killed the Scandinavian economy and thus began the wave of immigration to the U.S. and places such as Seattle. But he said his father had to have a sponsor; prove he could get work.
But things turned a bit sour, as he claimed that he met a Russian who came to the U.S. without sponsorship (under what sort of visa?) and was not working and was on welfare. And thus was the beginning of the end of American prosperity, so he claimed. The unsaid assumption was immigration got too lax. Is that really true?
It’s certainly possible he was talking to a green card lottery winner. Every year, about 50,000 immigrants earn permanent residence, out of about 10-15 million applicants who apply. Still, most people who come here do so to work. They work really hard and send money home.