06. Leaving Indiantown Gap
October 2, 1975 — a date I will never forget.
It’s because I was in the last batch of refugees.
The American Red Cross lady met me at the bus stop;
She was the one who found me the busboy job.
The Greyhound bus was here at the Gap.
Waving goodbye to her as I got on the bus,
I tucked in the seat by the window, holding on to my bag.
No matter where it went, as long as I got to Somerset.
I had only a plastic bag with me:
Two old books and paperwork, and the clothes on my body.
The lady kept reminding me:
“Hold on to the folder” that had my sponsor’s information.
Late that afternoon, the bus arrived in Somerset;
It looked like my sponsor waiting for me in the car.
As I was getting off the bus
The minister walked over asking, “Are you Lay Van Huynh?”
“I’m Pastor Jim Meyers.
This is my wife, Mary.
Welcome to Somerset.”
“I’m happy to be here,” I said
I followed them to their car,
To go to the Oakhurst Tea Room, not too far, they said.
Wow! This place was huge,
So fancy it made me both apprehensive and thrilled.
I saw two people walking toward us,
They shook hands with Pastor Jim and his wife Mary first.
Then turned to welcome me with a handshake:
His name was Fred, and she Jean. Spangler was their last.
After greetings and exchanging pleasantries
Pastor Jim and his wife were already in the line.
Seeing me still standing there grinning,
He came over and told me to get in line.
I saw people pick up their plates,
A plate in one hand, the other picking up food.
The buffet filled with delicious items ready for a feast,
People all had their plates – some were full of meat.
Though I was scared, looking so clumsy,
I was hungry but I yielded to everyone humbly.
There was chicken, baked ham, steamy hot roast beef,
I only filled my plate a tiny amount, but inside I wanted plenty.
What a pathetic refugee like me acting like a gentleman,
Starving to death but acting like a high-class guest.
People returned to the buffet back to back,
Following my sponsor, I came back for a third.
But later that night, I was still hungry, like a starving ghost,
In my motel room, my stomach grumbling what a fool I was.
I had to drink water from the sink,
To soothe myself into sleep for the job tomorrow morning.
I stayed in a motel across the road from the restaurant,
The room was rather small, good enough for overnight stay.
A queen-size bed taking up the entire room,
Next to it was a shower stall, sink, and toilet.