July Road Notes, Day 21: What Matters Most

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July 25, 2021, Fairmont, MN- The passing driver fairly screamed at me, through a closed car window, as I stood on the grassy median of the quiet secondary road, waiting for the traffic light to turn in my favour, as I brought breakfast back to my motel room. I could see his scrunched up face, long after his car had passed by. An old veteran, sitting outside the motel, witnessed the whole thing and muttered something about some people not having enough to do with themselves. Such was the morning in Hudson, Wisconsin, where “morning people” seemed to consist of the energetic truck stop counterman, the cheerful motel owners, said old veteran and yours truly. Everyone else I met was either strung out about something, or just not ready to wake up fully.

Once I got on the road again, it was with a plan to visit the Minnesota State Capitol, in St. Paul, then go to George Floyd Square, in Minneapolis, and connect with a second cousin who lives in the area. I drove to the Capitol area, finding Minnesota has kept pace with its eastern neighbour, in terms of the majesty of its seat of government.

The Minnesota State Capitol, St. Paul
The Quadriga, or Progress of the State

https://www.mnhs.org/capitol/learn/art/8857

The above link describes the gilded copper figures shown above, and called The Quadriga. The four-horse chariot is driven by the male figure, who represents the State. The female figures represent Minnesota’s agriculture and industry. The four horses represent earth, fire, water and wind.

“Winter” garden, east side of Minnesota State Capitol
Minnesota State Capitol, viewed from State Veteran’s Memorial
Cathedral of St. Paul

It was upon driving to the majestic Cathedral of St. Paul, some six blocks southeast of the Capitol, that I got a call from my cousin. She and family live on the St. Paul side of the Twin Cities, so my visit with them was moved up. What a delightful group! They met me at an area coffee house and spent about thirty-five minutes, before we all had to move on with our days. I’m ever grateful to be able to connect with far-flung family. D and her mate have each done well in life. Their daughters will follow suit, from all I noted this morning. Teenagers often go through periods of self-doubt (as do the rest of us), and their feelings deserve to be taken seriously, yet I see a very solid drive in both girls. This little unit is going to be just fine.

Gathering at a Caribou Coffee Shop (above and below)

From family reunion of sorts to honouring sacrifice, I drove to George Floyd Square, on Minneapolis’ south side. Parking well away from the square, I spent about an hour in prayer, listening and carefully contemplating the faces and descriptions of each shooting victim whose death is commemorated there. There was only concern and compassion being shown, by both those visiting and those who are tending the site.

The late John Lewis called for “Good trouble”.
Amanda Gorman had it nailed.

George Floyd Square, Minneapolis

Call it untidy, messy, or even inconvenient, if you will. I would say the events that led to this site’s establishment were very untidy, extremely messy and most inconvenient-for the people who have suffered, and, ultimately, for those who brought about their suffering.

Say Their Names Memorial Cemetery, 37th Street, south of Chicago Avenue, Minneapolis

A dedicated crew of volunteers was busy, at this collective memorial for African-American people of colour killed, under questionable or objectionable circumstances, over the past sixty-six years. One of the earliest such victims, Emmett Till, would have turned eighty years of age today. When he was killed, I was four years old, and he was fourteen. I barely remember, the very next day, one of my cousins mentioned that a “coloured boy”, not much older than he, had been killed by “some crazy people” in a place called Mississippi. I didn’t know who coloured people were, nor where Mississippi even was, but I knew it was wrong for one person to kill another. It was also strange to me that a child should have died. Death was for old people, like my paternal grandfather, who had recently passed away-and he was not all that old.

It is still strange, and I still regard such atrocities as crazy. It would be the same, were any group of people to be subjected to such treatment-regardless of age, or of “race”.

July Road Notes, Day 20: Majestic

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July 24, 2021, Hudson, WI- The clerk sighed as she noted that the bar code on the tag of the book had faded. The bookstore had been physically closed for nearly fifteen months, before the Baha’i House of Worship, Wilmette, re-opened on July 1. The staff are re-tagging items, as time allows, but I was buying one of the outliers.

I could have sat and talked with my friend, Val, and her husband, Mark, had he returned from his morning exercise, but there was the re-visit to the House of Worship, and crossing the city of Chicago en route, so I left Mishawaka around 9 a.m., crossed into Central Time, and found that, mostly, Chicago had relatively light traffic. In the Windy City, that means the traffic flows at 15 MPH, there are few horns blaring and any complete stops are limited to twenty seconds or less.

I got to Wilmette at 11 a.m., a first! That left time for lunch, in the village center, for which I chose a lovely little brunch establishment called Hot Cakes Cafe. Many stand alone eateries in Wilmette are cash-only, as is Hot Cakes, so I stopped at an ATM first.

The House of Worship and Visitor Center were very popular, as usual, and there was a wedding photo shoot in progress, outside, which is not uncommon. I had to wait a bit for the bookstore to open, as it was still lunchtime when I arrived. Then came the finding, regarding the bar code, which simply led to the clerk punching in the number manually. That would not be a sustainable practice, over time, so the staff will have their work cut out for them, over the next few weeks.

The Temple, or Mashriqu’l-adhkar, as it is properly called, remains as stately as ever, and is increasingly a place of pride for the North Shore of Chicagoland. I have posted many photos of this sublime treasure, in the past, but here are a few from today’s pilgrimage.

Baha’i House of Worship, Wilmette, South Face
Courtyard, outside Visitor Center, Baha’i House of Worship, Wilmette (above and below)

After praying a while, in the temple itself, it was time to head north and west, into and across Wisconsin. The rolling hills and glacial moraines of the “Dairy State” passed easily by, until I came to the state capital, Madison. There are several people, in Wisconsin and across the Midwest, whom I could call on and see if they are up for a visit-and that was the original plan. Then came my medical appointment on July 29, and thus, the week shaved off this jaunt. The Wisconsin State Capitol, though, is majestic in its way. So, when I stopped at a convenient Panera Bread, for dinner, and saw the edifice shimmering in the late afternoon glow, it was time for another walkaround.

Wisconsin State Capitol, Madison, north view
Wisconsin State Capitol, Madison, east view

I walked completely around the structure and its grounds, then determined it was time to head as far west as possible, before calling it a night. As it is a Saturday night in July, I found motels were booked pretty solidly-until I got here, on the Minnesota state line, and at Regency Inn and Suites was the perfect room.

Sunday’s business is to pay my respects to those who were killed in confrontations between police and civilians, over the past several years. In my case, I include both parties-as whoever misuses firepower, to get their own way, is at fault. Law and order are important-and being necessary for a society to function, must be based on equanimity of justice. So, I will go to the George Floyd Global Memorial-not because George lived a saintly life (he didn’t), but because his transgressions did not warrant his death.

I saw majestic sights today- the Chicago skyline, the Baha’i House of Worship and the Wisconsin State Capitol. Can we not strive towards being majestic in character?

July Road Notes, Day 19: Slow Slogs and A Road Mis-taken

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July 23, 2021, Mishawaka- There is something about ending up in a state that was not on the itinerary. One learns, anew, that basic goodness transcends any physical boundary. Another lesson is that, by turning off and restarting one’s phone, the annoying “You’re offline!” message from GPS disappears, and the more sensible Google map (or WAZE) pops up and gets the job done.

I enjoyed a comfortable shower, at Du Bois Manor, then a simple, delightful breakfast at the Hitching Post, one of two dining establishments on Du Bois’ east side. It is comforting to be among locals, at a morning meal in a small city.

The road west, through Ohio, was fairly straightforward, but very slow in places. One Service Area, just west of the Pennsylvania state line, appeared to be a work in progress. There were none of the usual restaurants, and no WiFi. I kept on going, and thankfully did not run into REALLY slow traffic, until just shy of the Indiana state line. We sat, about 200 in number, for almost an hour, though we did inch forward-usually at about the time my GPS tried to kick in, for directions to my friends’ house in Mishawaka.

By the time I reached the Mishawaka exit, the GPS had decided to call it a day. Heading somewhat blindly north, it was not long before I found myself at a corner gas station-in Niles, Michigan. As that little town was not on the itinerary, I got re-oriented southbound, with help from a very detail-oriented local resident. Calling my friends, the rest of the route came through, very clearly. By now, though, I was in downtown South Bend, and was not accepting the “You’re offline!” nonsense- in a Free WiFi zone, no less. So, restart the phone, it was- and a scant two minutes later, I was en route, directly, to Mishawaka.

Val and Sparky are always gracious hosts, cordially waiting for my arrival, before dinner became a fait accompli. A summer salad is always welcome, even at a later hour than usual. So, here I am, enjoying the last scheduled visit with friends, as my trip westward will gear towards the Baha’i House of Worship, in Wilmette, newly re-opened, after a year’s pandemic protocol.

There is always a positive lesson, even when it looks as if misfortune chuckles.

July Road Notes, Day 18: Raging Cascades and A Thriving Work Ethic

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July 22, 2021, Du Bois, PA– The earnest young lady seemed not to take more than a moment’s rest, as the crowd in D’s Diner enjoyed their somewhat late Thursday evening dinners. I got there around 7:30, having decided to take I-80 West, instead of New York’s Southern Tier-as it was getting towards dusk-and familiarity counts for something, at night. I enjoyed a dish I have not eaten in 35 years: Chicken croquettes-and they were every bit as good as I recall. The AC issue has been fixed, and both of the owners were in the dining room, reminding me of my friends at Zeke’s. The hostess/all trades person, whom I mentioned at the top, was also making sure that the operation was top shelf. She has “cover girl” good looks, but it is always personality and ingenuity that stay in my mind, when encountering a new person, anymore. That young woman is going to go places; initiative matters.

The day started in Concord, NH, with a walk around the Capitol District. The seat of government is undergoing some renovation, as you will note.

New Hampshire State Library
New Hampshire State Capitol, from an alley.
New Hampshire’s pre-eminent statesman
New Hampshire State Capitol, Concord

After leaving Concord, it was time to head towards Vermont. I made a drive through Hanover, NH and Dartmouth College, briefly noting the Ivy League institution’s architecture.

Summer classes ar ein swing, Dartmouth College
Main Chapel, Dartmouth College

Then, I stopped in the small towns of Springfield and Bellows Falls, as it was around lunch time. I went into Flying Crow Coffee Shop, complimented the owner on the touch of class that her shop brings to Springfield, and shared her joy at the lovely park, behind the shop, that celebrates the Cascades of the Black River.

Comtu Cascades, Black River, Springfield, VT
Flying Crow Coffee Company, Springfield, VT

As there was no food being served at Flying Crow, and since none of the restaurants she mentioned were open, I headed to Bellows Falls, and came upon Little Lisai’s Corner Deli. It is a smaller operation of the Lisai family, who have been in Bellows for several years, and who once had a larger market. Brent Lisai and his small crew offer top notch salads, soups and sandwiches, in the tradition of the great delicatessens of New England and Upstate New York mill towns. Yes, I grew up in such a town, and this deli passes muster.

Crossing southern Vermont and into the TriCities of the Hudson Valley, I made note that Albany, although the butt of many hipster jokes, is full of exquisite architecture, and would be a great place to spend a day or two, in the near future. Maybe it can be on the return leg of an anticipated Cross-Canada & northern states jaunt, next May and June.

After the aforementioned dinner, I drove across Pennsylvania’s northern tier, and ended up at Du Bois Mansion Motel. The titular mansion is seen below, a remnant of Du Bois’s paper mill days.

Du Bois Mansion

July Road Notes, Day 12: One Home after Another

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July 16, 2021, Oley- One of the things Penny used to say was that, wherever we went, someone would “adopt” me. This has been a nice feature of travel, all along, especially since I’ve been back on my own. Most people who befriend me in that way have been sincere. Of course, there are those with a “victim” mentality, who couple their expressions of “brotherhood” with pleas for money, but that is a story best set aside, for now.

The Village Inn, where I stayed last night, is a gem on Harrisonburg’s southern edge. A full breakfast buffet awaited, this morning. I brought my face mask, just in case, and there were gloves to use, but few people took the hint. The meal was hearty, and the grandmotherly attendant kept everyone well-supplied with coffee, tea, juice and cool water. I was barely out the door to my room by check-out time.

My downtown visit took in several areas on the Near South Side that had gone overlooked in the past-as my earlier focuses were Artful Dodger CafĂ© (now defunct) and James Madison University. The cafe’s site is now occupied by a similarly-themed Duke’s Restaurant and Bar. The place is every bit as welcoming as Artful was, and it is nice to have new friends as my northwest Virginia “anchor”.

Here are some scenes of this Harrisonburg stopover.

Harrisonburg City Hall, on the east entrance
Same building, on the south entrance
Even the local Parts Association has a festive mien!
Pendleton Community Bank has inherited quite a fortress.
Here is Duke’s, where Artful’s friendly people have been succeeded by new friendly people. It still feels like home.
As with any community, all has not been fun and games in Harrisonburg. The people here own up to the truth, though, and this dark incident in “H’burg’s” past will never be swept under the rug.

I left Harrisonburg, after getting a takeout lunch item, to be savoured at my next stop up the Spine of Virginia: Winchester. My first stop there was at a city park, to enjoy lunch in the shade.

Jim Barnett Park, Winchester, VA

Old Town Winchester is a marvel of a place, including a Pedestrian Mall along Loudoun Street. It has plenty of shops and historical markers, and a spacious Splash Pad for kids of all ages to enjoy.

This law office building is an example of mid-Nineteenth Century Winchester’s edifices.
Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church added to its property, as the congregation grew. Thus, it is a “two-tone” parish.
The Handley Library affirms Winchester’s commitment to learning for all. The South has come a long way out of the darkness, and there will, in the long term, be no going back, in any real sense.
Winchester’s Civil War Museum places the full story in an institution of learning, where it belongs.
Winchester’s Rouss City Hall is named for Charles Broadway Rouss, an entrepreneur who donated half of the funds needed to build the edifice. https://www.winchesterva.gov/rouss-city-hall-history

After passing the delightful Splash Pad (not shown here, as there were several children at play in the spot), I headed out of Winchester and up through West Virginia’s “Pot Handle”, a small nub of central Maryland and across Pennsylvania, to yet another home: Glick’s Greenhouse, which is in the process of getting newer and better. More on that, in the next post.

Unicorns will always have a place in my heart, and I’m not concerned about the colours. Rainbows belong to everyone,

July Road Notes, Day 11: Alone in A Small Fort

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July 15, 2021, Harrisonburg- Every so often, I encounter a soul who tosses out a corner of the truth, even as the greater arc of history escapes him. Such was my visit to James White’s Fort, in Knoxville, this afternoon.

I bid farewell to my stalwart friends in Crossville, around 10:30 CDT, then headed to northeast Tennessee’s cultural and commercial hub, with the intent of getting Elantra serviced, though nothing is amiss with my trusted steed, at this point. A pair of slowdowns, which were mainly pre-emptive reactions by a few commercial rigs to warnings about “construction”, (there was none in progress), added nearly an hour to the fifty-minute drive. Thus, the decision was made to wait until I get to Saugus, to have the oil & lube done. Friends in Knoxville were also not available to visit, so my stop there consisted of lunch, a walk around the Court District and a visit to the above- mentioned fort.

The Court District includes, among its amenities, a fine little establishment called Yasmin’s Kitchen. It’s a Kosher Moroccan restaurant, and the “plates” are filled with delectable Mediterranean staples, sufficient for two meals. The cheerful young ladies running the place made everyone in the busy lunch crowd feel at home. Yes, that’s what cheerful people tend to do, and it was a much-needed break from the late morning’s road grind. It also saved me from a dinner stop, as plenty was left over, in the falafel plate.

The Knox County Courthouse includes a spacious yard, where a few people were whiling away their lunch hour. Here are a few scenes of the Court District.

Knox County Courthouse
Courthouse Garden
“Beloved Woman of Justice”, by Audrey Flack

The area also has a couple of churches, of architectural note.

First Baptist Church, downtown Knoxville
St. John’s Cathedral, downtown Knoxville

Then, there is this memento of the 1982 Knoxville World’s Fair (Knoxville International Energy Exposition).

Knoxville Sunsphere

Whilst looking for a Riverwalk, of sorts, I found the Holston River was fairly surrounded by private enterprise: A well-guarded Marina, a branch of Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse and an outfitter called Outdoor Knoxville Adventure Center. Giving up, at least for now, on the riverbank hike, I spotted James White’s Fort.

The docent was chatty, if flinty-eyed, and gave me a well-practiced primer on early Knoxville. He then sent me off, on the short but jam-packed walk around the compound. It is quite similar, in terms of household goods and furniture, to other historical sites of the late Eighteenth Century, particularly those of the Appalachian frontier. Nonetheless, this is the beginning of Knoxville’s story. https://knoxheritage.org/our-work/neighborhood-tours/historic-downtown-knoxville-walking-tour/james-whites-fort/

James White’s Fort-Courtyard, Main House (left) and kitchen (right)
Outside storage, kitchen area

As an indication of my mildly fatigued state, I was puzzled by this sight. It looked, to my mind’s eye, like the cover of a land mine. I later showed the photo to the docent, whose flinty eyes just got a bit flintier. “That is an upside-down kitchen pot”, though he acknowledged the land mine cover as a possible interpretation.

Dogtrot, so named because it was a place to sit, during the Dog Days of summer.
Main kitchen
Hearth and study, Main House
Sleeping area, Main House
Salt bin, outdoor grill and secondary pantry
Loom, in artifacts building
Mr. White’s tool room (I’ll bet he wished for such relief, as the modern air conditioner shown above!)
Forge and bellows, Blacksmith Shop
Courtyard, James White’s Fort

After my walk-around, the docent asked me a rather simple question: “Since you’re from Massachusetts originally, where was the first per European settlement, in these United States?” My overloaded, foggy brain heard “Massachusetts” and replied, “Plymouth”. AAAIIT! Wrong answer! “Nope, it was Jamestown, 1607”. Turns out, though, we were both wrong, at that point. I remembered, later, about St. Augustine (1565), the real first permanent European settlement in what is now the United States. He then made other comments, that suggested he may be in for some surprises, in the months and years ahead.

No harm, no foul-and on I went on my way- up the road to this Shenandoah

July Road Notes, Day 8: Reconciliation

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July 12, 2021, Memphis- Over the years, I’ve been in places which have shaken my conscience and sense of justice: Wounded Knee, Silver Creek, Bosque Redondo, the Holocaust Museum of Jerusalem, Donjon de Jeanne d’Arc, the Concentration Camp at Berga. This morning’s visit to Greenwood District, on Tulsa’s North Side, had a very similar effect.

I began the morning in the Cathedral District, on the south side of Tulsa’s downtown. It is majestic, in a physical sense, with spires abounding-and not so much competing, as complementing one another. I present a few of these:

First United Methodist Church, Tulsa
Holy Family Cathedral, Tulsa
First Presbyterian Church, Tulsa
No spires, but still impressive: Church of Christ, Scientist, Tulsa

One must eat and drink, so I looked a bit, in the Cathedral District, and found this gem:

Foolish Things Coffee House!

Interior of Foolish Things Coffee House

After giving downtown its due, I headed to the sacred area that drew me to Tulsa, in the first place: Greenwood Historic District.

The signature mural of Greenwood District
Greenwood Cultural Center

The whole point of Greenwood’s emergence, in the early Twentieth Century, was to promote the very self-sufficiency, among Black Americans, that capitalists claimed to want. Yet, Oklahoma Governor Robertson, and his minions, including the commander of the Oklahoma National Guard, were complicit in the plan to put an end to “Black Wall Street”. All they needed was a spark. On May 31, 1921, it was reported that a black shoe shine man had brushed up against a white elevator operator, leading to allegations of attempted rape. Further, the founder of the Greenwood Chamber of Commerce, seeing a chance to destroy his competition, accused the Mann Brothers, who operated a highly successful grocery store, of fomenting a riot, when a group of black businessmen went to the Courthouse, to seek the shoe shine man’s release. The allegations of D.W. Gurley led to a white mob’s attack on black-owned businesses. These allegations were later shown to be false, and Gurley fled to California. Ironically, the Mann family had come to Greenwood from Sherman, Texas, which later itself endured an assault on black-owned businesses. National Guard General Charles Barrett, as well as the editor-in-chief of the Tulsa Tribune, stoked white anger from behind the scenes. It is not verified, but there is circumstantial evidence that Barrett gave the go-ahead for the use of airplanes, which did fire on blacks who were trying to flee Greenwood.

Scene of Greenwood destruction, June 1, 1921

Dozens of Greenwood residents were killed, and most of the rest were rendered homeless, by the destruction. The bottom line, though, in all this is: Greenwood is coming back. The block which earned the title Black Wall Street is small, but vibrant.

Fountain, on grounds of Greenwood Cultural Center

The Vernon African Methodist Evangelical Church was a key gathering place in Greenwood, and is so again.

Mural, on south wall of Greenwood Open Air gathering space

Wanda J’s Restaurant is also a gathering place for the Greenwood community. It was closed for renovation today, but the sign says it’ll reopen tomorrow.

Mural on berm of overpass, Greenwood District

After walking around Greenwood District, I paused to watch several children who had climbed up the overpass berm, and were now helping each other down, flip-flops and all, under their father’s watchful eyes. When the kids had descended, I noted this mural, of jazz musicians.

Tulsa, and Greenwood, are still here and the city is making amends. Reparations for the families of the victims are actually being discussed. Reconciliation Park, and Street, are set aside, to remind everyone that, when one group prospers, all may prosper.

July Road Notes, Day 7

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July 11, 20201, Tulsa- All good things come to a pause, to be continued later. After a leisurely breakfast and final survey of my items, I bid farewell to son and daughter-in-law, with the common knowledge that we are always welcome in one another’s homes-as it should be with family.

My first stop, north of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, was in the city of Sherman, southern gateway to the Lake Texoma area. Sherman is important to me for two reasons: A riot of white tenant farmers and townspeople occurred on May 9, 1930-in reaction to a black labourer’s having attacked and raped the white wife of a man who owed him money. The labourer, one George Hughes, freely admitted his misdeeds and was initially subjected to due process of law. A mob soon gathered, and succeeded in breaching the Grayson County Courthouse, chasing everyone except Hughes out of the building and cutting into a vault, in which he was hiding, then killing the man and treating his corpse atrociously. https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/sherman-riot-of-1930

This occurred nine years after the Greenwood Massacre that took place in Tulsa (1921), and the Sherman rioters took a page from those in Tulsa, and burned the business district in Sherman’s Black neighbourhood to the ground. The Sherman case, however exacerbated by conditions resulting from the Great Depression, stained the good name of the town for several years. To be fair, it was only one of nearly two dozen such riots, in every part of the country-not just in the South. Modern Sherman has largely moved past the nightmare, but there are remnants of the past two centuries, including the Confederate Monument outside the present Grayson County Courthouse. My personal hope is that such monuments serve as reminders of where we went wrong, as a people, and that no person, of any racial or ethnic group, ever again seeks to circumvent the law-even in, or especially in, cases of personal injustice. Vengeance always claims a great deal of innocent lives.

Grayson County Courthouse, Sherman, TX

The second reason for my stopping in Sherman was that, ten years ago, a young woman from the town had moved to Prescott, and became a friend-whom I advised on several occasions, whilst she worked as a server in a couple of area restaurants. With encouragement from me and others, she moved to Tempe and entered Arizona State University. I have lost contact with Summer, but have never forgotten her gentle spirit and determined drive. In her honour, I stopped in for lunch, at Old Iron Post, which appears to be Sherman’s answer to Raven Cafe. The ambiance, and the fare, did not disappoint,

Old Iron Post Restaurant and Bar, Sherman, TX

There was one more stop for me, before leaving Texas: The Birthplace of Dwight D. Eisenhower, in Denison. The small, unassuming town, near the Oklahoma state line, helped form the character of one of America’s greatest generals, who became a fairly good president.

The building itself was closed, but as with the Birthplace of Harry S. Truman, in May, I was able to get a few photos of the exterior and the grounds.

Statue of Dwight D. Eisenhower, Denison, TX
Birthplace of Dwight D. Eisenhower, Denison, TX
Mimosa trees, Eisenhower Birthplace State Monument, Denison, TX

That was it for meandering for the day. I continued on towards this fascinating, and often troubled, industrial and commercial center of northeast Oklahoma, and locus of the Greenwood Massacre of 1921. It is to Greenwood that my own focus will be drawn, tomorrow morning.

July Road Notes, Day 6: In Good Repair

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July 10, 2021, Grapevine- Today started off undefined, which is suitable for a summer Saturday. We opted for a short walk along the paved trails of Heritage Park, in nearby Flower Mound. There were wildflowers aplenty, and a large number of families about. The water slides, practice fields and disc golf courses were very popular, as they should be. The northern suburbs of Dallas seem to take good care of their public, recreation-wise. Disc golf, for the unitiated, is a sport that involves throwing a disc at a wire basket. The rules are similar to those of golf, but it reminds me somewhat of horseshoes. It takes serious focus, in any case.

The day turned, after a fashion, towards attending to the inside of Elantra. The Galloping Gray One was looking a lot shabbier than I have cared to admit, so Aram and I set about wiping the dashboard, doors, compartments and rear ledge. The windows got treated, as well, and Son vacuumed the seats and carpeting. The day concluded with a round of online trivia games and a trip over to an East Asian shopping center, with a variety of ethnic cafes, stores and restaurants. We chose a place called Too Thai Street Eats. The food hold its own, in quality and portion size.

I am in good repair, other than the bump on my face-which has a limited time left. I did a plank for a minute, and could have gone longer-but this was a trial run. I know that some parts of this septuagenarian frame need more individual work, and will do better by them, as the year progresses.

Tomorrow, this family time will come to an end, and I will head north, to Tulsa-for an homage to those who tried to embrace the American Dream and found that those around them were far from ready to embrace them.

July Road Notes, Day 5: Radiant Energy

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July 9, 2021, Grapevine- Al-Bab, the Herald of Baha’u’llah, was executed by firing squad, in Tabriz, Iran, 131 years ago today. It took two tries, for the deed to be done-simply because it was God’s will, in my view, that the Blessed Herald complete certain business, before His time on Earth was to end. Once that business was completed, Man, in his ignorance, was permitted to have his way. The same thing was true, with regard to Jesus the Christ, to Moses, to Muhammad, to Krishna, to Gautama Siddhartha-and to Baha’u’llah Himself. Each Messenger of the Creator -and a good number of His followers, has endured indignities and suffering, at the hands of those who don’t understand the reason for His appearance.

Each time such a Messenger appears, radiant energy is set in motion. Those with eyes to see and ears to hear will pick up on this energy, and become the Messenger’s most fervent followers. Those who oppose the Messenger also sense the energy, and are alarmed at what they know is the threat to their positions, their privilege and their preconceived notions of how the world should unfold.

Nonetheless, the radiant energy will spread-and its effects have always been two-pronged. In the cases of both the crucifixion of Christ and the execution of al-Bab, there were severe earthquakes, within three days of the events. In addition, those soldiers who participated in the second firing squad, which killed al-Bab, were subjected to a terrible earthquake, within a year of His execution and 250 of them died. Later that year, the remaining 500 members of the regiment mutinied and were summarily executed by order of the Army Commander.

The positive radiant energy plays out, in both long and short-term effects. In each spiritual dispensation, advances in knowledge, in a wide variety of areas, occur at a very fast pace. We saw this in the Greek Golden Age, which followed the Dispensations of both Moses and Buddha-as did the first Golden Age in India. Pax Romana was contemporary with the Ministry of Christ. The appearance of Muhammad led to a period of High Civilization around the Mediterranean region, which later spread across western Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa, in what we know as the Renaissance. Following the Declaration of al-Bab, advances in technology began to outpace all that had occurred in the previous 500 years. This has only been magnified 100-fold, since the Ministry of Baha’u’llah, though I invite each of you to investigate these matters for yourself.

The presence of radiant energy is something that bears careful watching.