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I hadn’t realized how white Bend was until this waitress smiled at me. That’s her in the picture, and as you can see, she’s African-American.

I drove back from Bend over Friday and Saturday, and on Saturday morning I stopped at the Black Bear Diner in Tacoma. The hostess at the front of the restaurant was African-American. I thought, oh my God, an actual face that isn’t white!

My waitress was African-American. When she smiled at me and asked if I wanted coffee or orange juice or anything, I knew it was a professional smile, but I smiled back, thinking, you have no idea how few diverse faces I’ve seen for the past three months. Of course, I know she doesn’t exist for my sake, but over the years of my marriage I’ve gotten used to being around at least one person who isn’t white.

Sometimes, you don’t know what you’ve been missing until you see it again.

I think that was one thing that was driving me nuts about Bend. So little diversity, and so few people who noticed how little diversity there was.

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