To My Reader in China – Part 1

Most of my readers come by way of a handful of Georgia newspapers which are gracious enough to carry my column. A few, however, read it on my blog at An interesting aspect of the blog is that it shows the country where views originate.

America is the source of almost every view, but there are occasional readers from various nations. China is frequently listed but with only one view per day. China is apparently a tough market for unknown authors based in rural Georgia. Today’s column is intended to thank my lone reader in China for his or her support, and to mention a few other things that are on my mind.

Growing Georgia, an online agricultural publication, carried a story on October 19th titled “China Purchases More U.S. Corn.” According to the article China is buying millions of tons of corn from America this year. I want you and the people of China to know we appreciate your purchases, and we hope you’ll think of us first for other products you may need.

Please be assured we’re trying to be fair about trading goods between us. The day after that article was published, I helped my son put up a digital antenna that was made in China. The instruction manual listed the company as Pingbingding. I know that sounds like a name I made up, but I checked the spelling twice to be sure. For a $50 purchase he now gets 15 television channels. That’s such a good deal I am inclined to send you an extra bushel of corn.

For the sake of honest conversation, I need to confess that in the second grade my good friend Rudy Maples made me laugh quite often with his repertoire of “Confucius Say” lines. That’s probably not politically correct humor, but I assure you neither of us meant to be disrespectful of Confucius or your fine country. If amends need to be made feel free to tell some jokes about Southern folks. The ones about Alabama are the funniest, but I hope you’ll refrain from using punch lines about their small gene pool. They are quite sensitive about that subject and understandably so.

COVID-19 is a tough problem for all of us. It reportedly started at an outdoor food market in your country where bats were being sold. Maybe Chinese bats are different from American bats, but I believe you would do well to take them off the menu. If there’s a shortage of meat, try raising rabbits. You can start with a single pair and before the wok gets hot you’ll have more drumsticks than chopsticks. I’ve never had a bite of bat, but I’m confident rabbit has a better taste and feel certain they are easier to catch.

Speaking of Chinese food, I want to thank you for adding such wonderful diversity to our American tables. We have an excellent Chinese restaurant in our small town of Vienna, Georgia. The hard-working family who owns it does an exceptional job of serving delicious food at reasonable prices. My favorite fare is General Tso’s Chicken with vegetable fried rice. Your General Tso and our Colonel Sanders would no doubt have enjoyed comparing secret herbs and spices.

When I attended Valdosta State College in the early 1970s, there was an exchange student from China named Robin Kwong who lived on our dorm hall for a while. Robin was a very pleasant fellow and was the first person from China I’d ever been around for a substantial amount of time.

The most distinct memory I have of Robin is when he brought his guitar into my dorm room one night. He sang a popular Glen Campbell song, “Galveston,” for my roommate and me. It was an impromptu lesson in why the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow called music the universal language.

Robin confidently belted out a soulful rendition of that challenging tune. My roommate, Don, and I awarded him with hearty applause. And I realized something about Robin in that moment which I never shared with him. I knew beyond any doubt his destiny did not lie in country music. If you see Robin, tell him I’m just kidding about his singing, and let him know I hope life has been good to him.          

There’s one thing that’s weighing heavily on my mind. It’s a little embarrassing to have only one reader in a country of 1.4 billion people. If you can help me get a dozen or so more that would be great, but if you can’t, I will still appreciate your solo views.

On a serious note, I do hope you’re enjoying the corn. In case you’ve never tried it, cornmeal hoecakes go splendidly with fried rabbit. You may want to bat that idea around.

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5 Responses to To My Reader in China – Part 1

  1. Judy says:

    Good one Neil! Now maybe I can get my Friday morning started with a smile on my face.


  2. Ellen Hunsucker says:

    Very cute, especially the last line!


  3. Mary Jo says:

    This one cracks me up!!
    If I see any Chinese people visiting around these parts, I will encourage them to give JoinersCorner a read. They will surely learn a thing or two!
    Good one, Neil!


  4. Fran says:

    This one had me laughing out loud! Keep up the good work!


  5. Joyce J Wilkes says:



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