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Zak and the Grapes
By Jim Wachtendonk
Many years ago, the Madison Chapter of VVAW, in solidarity with Cesar Chavez's hunger strike for better working conditions for migrant workers harvesting grapes, took turns fasting for three days at a time. That Fall I got a gig in La Crosse Wisconsin opening for Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show. Sukie, the kids and I got there by noon of Saturday and I was supposed to go on stage to open at 8pm. As we strolled by vendor and food tents the sky above looked like it was going to rain. All at once the thunder boomers crashed and the rain came in a down pour. We ran into a larger vendor's tent as did many other folks, standing room only. A lady behind a vendors table had a large wooden bowl of grapes, was sharing them and she offered some to our eight-year-old son Zachary. Zachary said, "Oh, no thank you. We don't eat grapes because we are in solidarity with Cesar Chavez and the migrant worker." The tent went quiet and the lady with the bowl of grapes looked completely freaked out. She set the grapes under the table looking uncomfortable, as the rain let up. We were so proud of Zachary. Out of the mouth of babes rings justice and truth.
Making Art Not War, Jim Wachtendonk is a VVAW member of The Zak Wachtendonk Memorial Chapter, Gillingham, Wisconsin.