But there are other people I feel rather possessive of. Millions of them. I will explain.
As I put my carry-on in the overhead compartment of a plane that will cross the Atlantic to my Patria, I hear numerous loud conversations going on. This guy is telling his neighbor about a show he saw in Las Vegas, that lady is explaining to a man about a rude person she met while on vacation. Over there a man is laughing boisterously as he tells a story about a family member. It's a bit of an overload for me. I didn't really want or need to hear any of that. It almost seems rude to bombard strangers with personal stories, loudly told, and yet I sit down, listen, and smile broadly. I love these people. They are Americans.
***As we unload our luggage in a hotel parking lot two young men come walking from the other end of the lot. When they are still quite far away I tell Ev, "those guys are Americans". I can tell because of how they look and. . . seem. They are casually dressed and seem happy and laid back. I cannot fully describe it. Soon we see they are coming toward us, and that they are former missionaries back in Poland for a visit. They are Americans.
***Walking down the crowded streets of beautiful Krakow I come face to face with a woman and we do the side-to-side trying-to-get-out-of-each-other's-way dance. She makes eye contact, smiles and then we pass each other, without speaking a word. I lean to Greg and we say at the same time, "that was an American".
***I meet people and within the first few sentences I speak to them I, out of habit, utilize verbal irony. They laugh, or smile or keep a straight face and respond with irony as well. They are Americans.
We've had mission presidents' wives from South Africa and then Denmark for the last six years. (I love and admire them both). But now we have a new one and after our first few minutes of conversation I feel like we've been friends for years. She is an American.
I get these people and they get me. That (obviously) makes them mine.