Before I leave for Warsaw tonight, I want to share this anecdote. My mom went to the bank yesterday to return the zlottys that she ordered for her aborted trip. The teller was a young woman whose face lit up when she saw the transaction. "Oh, I'm Polish!" she said. "Why were you going to Poland? Do you have family there?"

"I did until they were killed in the Holocaust," my mom replied.

The woman's smile crumpled. "Oh."

From my mother I learned my tactic and social grace, no doubt.

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