"Mama, why do we have to come here each Thanksgiving?" The girl asks the same question every year. "I mean, we fly halfway around the globe on one of the busiest holidays of the year. We climb the side of a mountain to get here and then stay for just the afternoon." She picked at her cuticles. "I'm exhausted! Plus, we miss out on Gramma's apple pie and Dad's jokes." As she did when she was a small child, she pouts to punctuate her dismay.Her mother smiles patiently. "This is my heritage. I won't leave it behind, just because I am a citizen of a different land now." She takes a breath. "I come on Thanksgiving because I know that my near relatives won't come in November. It is not the time for paying respects."The girl raises one eyebrow and glances at the statue. "So, that was your dad? Why doesn't he have a regular shrine?""As I've told you before -- he was not favored by many in this country." She lowers her head. "Why do you think all the relatives on my side of the family have different last names? The Konoe name is forbidden."
I don't know who the statue in this week's SCPP represents, but the idea of a secret shrine for Fumimaro Konoe, former prime minister, seemed fitting. I also don't know if the Konoe name is forbidden in Japan, but the story of his rise and fall made me think it could be. If it is not, I hope these 198 words do not offend. The idea is that a Japanese mother, who married and lives in the West, comes with her daughter each Thanksgiving to pay respects to her father, despite the odds. Click the image to visit the prompt and add your own thoughts.