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Are We There Yet? vol. 39 Thumbnail

Are We There Yet? vol. 39

My wife and I are currently watching the Netflix series, The Queen’s Gambit.   The story is about a chess prodigy, Beth Harmon, who was orphaned at a young age and scarred from the mistreatment she receives at the orphanage.  Those early experiences fuel her anger, competitiveness, passion and addiction as she begins competing, winning tournaments and gaining fame in the world of chess.  I never played chess but the series makes me want to learn and it has brought a level of excitement about the game.

In October, a client of mine who lives in South America was visiting the DC area for his regular doctors’ visits and we decided to have a socially distanced meeting in DC.  He is an economist by trade and has served at international organizations among other institutions.  Our discussion was very interesting and beyond my amazement that he does not own a cell phone, I also learned that he is a poet.  He goes by the pseudonym Tusiltala which in Samoan means “Writer of Stories.”  It also is the nickname that Robert Louis Stevenson was called by his Samoan friends.   The other fact that I learned about my client, Tusiltala, is that he, like Beth Harmon, is an orphan.  He sent me a poem called An Orphan’s Saga which I want to share with you.

I am grateful that we took the time to let the conversation flow and that Tusiltala was open to sharing his story with me.  Once again, unexpected treasures are found when we take the time to listen and explore.

No man on earth,

Loves his sons more, 

than an orphan father does.

What he missed at birth,

He must restore

In the sons he adores

The hidden pain, 

the silent search

the lonely nights

Were not in vain,

He kept his pledge, 

he has his knights

As he fakes away,

some gracious day.

He smiles in peace,

... his boys were his.

This week’s selection is:


The Queen’s Gambit

Set during the Cold War era, orphaned chess prodigy Beth Harmon struggles with addiction in a quest to become the greatest chess player in the world.