I broke up the lull by asking what the men thought of the mikveh, the bathhouse the Jews had converted from a two-car garage next to Eldo Kugel's house on Williams Street. But as soon as the words tumbled out of my mouth, the men seemed dumbstruck.
"A bathhouse? For men and women?"
"What do they need that for?"
"And where's that bathhouse located, again?" asked one man.
I realized that I had hit these guys with a double whammy. Not only did they not know why in the good Lord's name the Jewish women would have to take this special kind of bath once a month, but they had no idea that the Jews had built a bathhouse in Postville. In this town - where everybody knew everyone else and everything anyone did, said, or thought - that the Jews had managed to convert an old garage to a brand-new bathhouse by extending underground plumbing lines, remodeling the inside and outside, and building a tub into the ground, right under the noses of the locals without their knowing it, well, this was too much for the oldtimers at Ginger's. The Jews had slipped another fast one by everyone. And for an outsider to let them in on the secret!
Еще соображения местных:
- They don't want us poking our noses into their business. You talk to the average man on the street in Postville, and he'd tell them, 'Get the hell out!'
"They need to follow same rules as we follow. If they don't like the rules, let 'em go and change 'em. We can't have two sets of rules. A local woman wanted to have a beauty parlor in her house and we said no. But then the Jewish people go ahead and start a bakery. No permit, no application - nothing. We send out a zoning person to the bakery, and when we finally get an answer a couple of months later, they tell us they aren't selling but giving bread away. If we say anything, they say it's anti-Semitic. They can use anti-Semitic all they want. If they need a Jewish bakery, why not do it legally? Why not rent a storefront downtown and open it up to the public? Why should they be allowed to do what someone else isn't?"
Конечно, отдельно доставляет то, что евреи тут выступают как анархокапиталисты, а коренные американцы из глубинки - как адепты колхозного строя.