Footsteps

4

August 9, 2019-

Footsteps moving forward,

attached to a body

carrying a glass half-full.

Footsteps moving backward,

in search of the Good Old Days

that never were.

Footsteps moving sideways,

trying to avoid taking a stand.

Footsteps jumping up and down,

feigning anger over things

which could be fixed,

if only the body

to which they are attached,

took action.

Feet standing still,

neither stepping,

nor shuffling,

just waiting for

the cavalry to arrive.

Not A Day For Hate

14

August 8, 2019-

A few days ago, in the wake of last weekend’s shootings, a  minor pundit posed the idea that the eighth day of August was being anticipated, by alt-right adherents, as a day to call attention to their views, it being 8/8, or “Double H”-the extended premise, in turn, being “Heil Hitler”.  I find that premise ludicrous, but worthy of being countered.

Thus far today, there has been a report of the stabbing of four people, in Santa Ana and an apparent gas leak-explosion in Tampa, neither of which is being in any way tied to right wing extremists.  Political radicals, with mad agendas are, however, an ongoing security threat-whether of the Right,or the Left.  In addition, COINTELPRO* (Counter Intelligence Program), a Federal government operation that operated, full tilt, from the late 1920’s until at least 1985, is still being linked to Antifa (“Anti-Fascism”) and to certain Alt-Right organizations that have caused widespread death and injury.

With all that, the vast majority of people in this country are “sick and tired of being sick and tired”.  We get up each day, dress up and show up, for what is, by and large, a day to day process of fulfilling our responsibilities to family, friends, employers and community.  Whether we work for wages or as volunteers, we go about our days with integrity and a modicum of self-discipline.  None of this makes us saints, but it does, on average, make society better, little by little.

Hate, for most of us, is something we need like another orifice.  No matter who the hatemonger is-and I have seen instigators both of  the Far Right and Far Left, he/she is doing little to bring about the world that is said to be desired.  While, again, I do not claim to sit on the moral High Horse, I have done far more that is positive by showing love and respect, even to my critics and opponents.  Mom said, throughout our childhoods, “You get more with honey than with salt.”

8/8 is not a day for hate-nor is any other day.

*https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/COINTELPRO

 

What About This?

6

August 7, 2019-

The pain and suffering experienced by anyone, who has lost one or more loved ones in an event of mass violence, has to be of seismic proportions.  I can’t imagine the horror they endure, though my family has had its share of loss and suffering.  Mass murder of strangers, once upon a time solely a result of warfare, has now become de rigeur.

So, too, has become the stridency of reaction.  Among political extremists on both ends of the spectrum, there is a knee-jerk tendency to deride any opposing points of view, almost as if the very existence of the reactor depends upon extinguishing “the other”.  It has long been thus.  The difference now is that, in order to score points with his perceived base, each of the last two presidents has seen fit to offer inflammatory comments about perceived enemies, within our nation’s borders.  The last president backed off, walked back his unfortunate “one size fits all” comments and made some overtures to his perceived betes-noires.  The current president seems to be taking initial steps in the same direction.

There is a long way to go.  We saw two political extremists, one Alt-Right, the other Far Left, engage in extreme acts of terror, at the end of a week that had already seen unstable people kill others, almost on whim.  It may be the end of the bloodshed, but that is unlikely.  It has not been the end of obfuscation, deflection and gaslighting, by a long shot.

One of the favourite mantras of the deflecting class is “What about Chicago?”  The tendency to conflate an ongoing series of neighbourhood turf wars, as horrific as these are, with the random slaughter of people by those with high-level mental health issues, which have given birth to wild agendas.  To be sure, one set of events is as mad as the others.  The specific cures, however, are different.

A thoughtful writer, yesterday, noted that ALL of the underlying causes of mass shootings are relevant, and all are solvable.  Yes, and yes.  There are several laws, Federal, state and local, already on the books, just about everywhere.  These need to be collated, publicized widely and consistently enforced.  Next, as my wise parents consistently told us, throughout our formative years- Recognize that everyone is a child of God.  We must defend ourselves from those who wish us harm, but to go further, and try to exterminate them, (either figuratively or literally), on an individual or collective basis, is ungodly.  Everyone, in the end, is part of the mix.

A white supremacist is living in a false reality.  I have never, once, been injured by a person of colour.  I have been physically attacked and injured, by other white people.  Does this, therefore, mean I should eschew all fellowship with those who look like me? Hardly; and likewise, those who are of different levels of melanin are inherently no more of a threat to white people than we, again inherently, are to one another.

There are a lot of social cues, which I am actively working to cast aside from my own being, which serve to separate.  The order of the day is to unite.  I see the various acts of violence as alarm bells, telling us that it’s time to unite.

In practical, day-to-day terms. I will not refuse to listen to Ben Shapiro or to Rachel Maddow,  If I go to San Antonio, I will not boycott Bill Miller BarBQ, as  along with Poblanos on Main, it is a favourite of mine.  I will not boycott Chik-Fil-A, until the day comes that its owner goes out and commits an act of violence against a gay  or bisexual person, which he is very unlikely to do.  Even then, he would not be acting on behalf of his company.

What about Chicago?  I was there, not long ago. It is a roiling, severely crowded city, with packed neighbourhoods, some narrow streets and air conditioning problems, putting it in company with New York, Boston, Philadelphia and over a thousand cities in countries with emerging economies.  It is also a majestic city, like New York, Boston, Philadelphia and over a thousand cities in all parts of the planet.  It is a city which can serve as a living laboratory for unity.  Simply put, because I’ve gone on for a bit and we’re all busy, I’d love to see a five part conference in Chicago:  1.Put a moratorium on killing, by any mean necessary, for five days;   2.  Identify, clearly, the roots of the violence and make them universally understandable, to one and all; 3.  Brainstorm, again, the solutions to the violence, and leave nothing out; 4.  Winnow these solutions to those which are of greatest benefit to the largest number of people, in all parts of the city; 5.  This is the hard part, IMPLEMENT the solutions, one at a time, and do not be deterred by those forces which are inconvenienced in the short or intermediate term.

Could this work?  It’s preferable to the ongoing heartache that is endemic in Chicago now.  Now that I think of it, could it work in other communities?  The deflectors may, unwittingly, unintentionally, be onto something.  # One America.

 

Mindfulness, Murals and A Milestone

8

July 22-27, 2019, Carson City-

In my life since 2011, there have been a few constants:  My community in Prescott, wherever my son is,  Birth Family on the East Coast, friends all over the country and my northern Nevada family, here and in Reno.

I have made at least one stop here, each year since 2012, when  I joined Michele and Tom on a road trip to the Bay Area, for a Baha’i commemorative.  He passed on, a year later, making a visit with Michele, like a sister to me, that much more urgent.  The kids are always a good part of the mix, to say the least.  So, when V was given a part in a community theater’s rendition of “The Little Mermaid”, I set aside this week for my annual jaunt.

After a veritable pit stop in Prescott, I drove up to Kingman, on Sunday evening.  That cut three hours off Monday’s drive which, other than slow traffic stemming from an accident, just shy of the state line.  I noted that Rosie’s Den, a place in White Hills, where I had stopped a few times, to and from Nevada, had closed.  Iron Horse Cafe, in Henderson, was my first stop.  Being still the morning commute rush, as I passed through Las Vegas, no stops were made there.

That meant lunch was in Beatty, about 3/8 of the way north.  This old mining town has its funky side- the huge Death Valley Nut and Candy Store and, until last year, a motel in an old trailer park.  Then, there is Sourdough Saloon, where one enters-finds an empty bar (before noon, anyway) and goes in the back, where a lone waitress is glad to see anyone.

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The fare at Sourdough is simple, but on par with road food I’ve found anywhere. For some reason, Pastrami Cheeseburgers are a fairly big thing in western Nevada.  Sourdough’s is tender and moist.

I hadn’t noticed on earlier passes through town, but looking at the ridge north of Beatty, it seems a Teddy bear is keeping watch.

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Another constant on my drives north is a stop at Beans and Brews, a small coffee house inside Three Deserts 76 gas station, in Tonopah.  The shop is run by high school and college students, who never drop the ball when it comes to congenial service and generous portions of iced coffee, espresso and lattes.  (Photo, courtesy of  http://www.beans andbrews.com)

 

1403-OUT

The rest of the drive was made easier by the stop at B & B.  I noted that Walker Lake is higher, this year, than in the past seven.  The word is that the flow from Walker River has been increased.

Much of Michele’s focus, and mine, is on the little family of four:  V, her parents and infant brother.  Father is a multifaceted artist, whose work includes murals.

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The week included many long conversations about mindfulness and holistic health (always a concern with us Boomers), the efficacy of  fairy tales (specifically the message presented by some Disney versions) to child development, and how best to approach the welter of social movements in our time.  Chess with V was actually more challenging than one would think it would be, with a 7-year-old opponent.  She has a fine analytical mind. We each won a match.

The play, Friday night, featured V as one of the Starfish.  They appeared in one scene, dancing to the song, “Under the Sea”.  It was heartening to see the turnout- a packed house for opening night.  As with any child, I leave it to V’s parents to determine whether to share photos from the occasion.

Here, though, is a video clip of the song.

 

It’s been another good week, which I hope augurs well for Fall up here.  I know that my own autumn will be a full one.

 

 

 

The Cost of Anonymity

2

July 19-21-

I am back in my salubrious Home Base, for three days, give or take.  No one knew I was back, until I announced my presence- such is the anonymous state of being that proceeds from apartment living, in a community that relishes independence.

I went down to one of the local coffee houses, on Friday morning.  For most of the time, I was the only patron sitting inside. The barrista, a recent graduate of our community’s high school, was bored out of her skull.  Too shy to talk to this old guy, she busied herself with grinding coffee beans, swiping her phone and otherwise staring into space.  I’ve learned to respect personal space, and so focused on my simple oatmeal breakfast.

Towards lunch, a visit to Ms. Natural’s, one of my favourite hangouts, revealed a different atmosphere.  The proprietor, C, was delighted that I was back, even if only for a few days.  One of the waitresses, C2, engaged me in a lengthy comparison of summer adventures:  Mine, on the road and hers. locally-based, but no less interesting.  After C2’s boyfriend showed up, they left and I talked with C and another waitress for a few more minutes, feeling that I belonged here.

Much of the modern West thrives on anonymity.  People don’t monitor a person’s actions, all that much.  Some of my contemporaries make it look as if they are watching what’s going on, but an old white guy staring at others, and not saying much, isn’t doing anything to deter either loneliness or miscreance.  I have chosen involvement in community activities, as an antidote to both.  It’s a fine line that needs to be trod-one can not force oneself on others, nor can one just turn a blind eye to incidents, large and small, that impact a community.

So, I went to a couple of meetings, Friday evening and Saturday afternoon, and joined several comrades for breakfast at the Legion Post, Sunday morning. I was apprised of all that had gone on, drama and the rest, over the last six weeks.  There was a fair amount of planning and the scene for Autumn looks to be fulfilling.  The cost of anonymity can only be paid by breaking out of the chrysalis.

Now, I look forward to a week with my Carson City family.

Back Along A Golden Road

0

July 17-18, 2019-

It had been three years, since I was last in Colorado. In the words of a waitress at one of my favoured spots, Del’s Diner, in Fort Garland, “That’s just too long!”  Del’s had been a bit of a dive, but had remodeled and was doing just fine.  The food was every bit as good as I remember.

U.S. 160 is one of those roads that make me feel at home, regardless of where I am, along its passage.  The same thing is true of Old 66; Highway 1, along the Pacific Coast; U. S. 30, through the Midwest,; and MOST of U.S. 1.

So, I took the road, from Ulysses, Kansas to its western terminus, in Tuba City, AZ.  A side hop was necessary, for me to take in Sand Creek National Monument.  From La Junta, though, I zipped down to Trinidad, then back up I-25 to Walsenburg, from which I could re-visit my favourite part of 160:  Colorado’s southern tier.  Thus came dinner at Del’s and a long search for a place to stay that wouldn’t mean my budget would need a budget.  Colorado seems to be even more popular than usual, this summer.  That does my heart good.

The Spanish Peaks are a fine greeter, just east of Walsenburg.

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The San Juan Mountains, between Del Norte and Pagosa Springs, are a reminder that snow regards the Rocky Mountain State as its summer home. (I’ve been in Colorado, at some point, each month of the year, and seen it snow, each and every month.)

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I stopped briefly in South Park, just west of the formidable Wolf Creek Pass, and found a Cal King was the only bed available.  Since I’m not part of a package deal, up and over the Pass I went.  Going through the pricey resorts of Pagosa Springs and Durango, the night drive came to an end at Mesa Verde Motel, Mancos.  There, I was generously offered a room at discount.  It is a “dog room”, the owners being pet lovers, but there was no sign of dog hair anywhere in the room.  Mesa Verde’s owners are just gentle, laid back people, and I  recommend the place for anyone finding themselves tired and on the west side of heaven.

The home stretch began with a stop at Mc Elmo Creek Flume, an irrigation channel, built in 1921.

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Seeking to stretch my legs a bit, before lunch, I walked around the City Park, in downtown Cortez.  A laid-back Ute gent, seeking to impress some ladies in his company, started to mock me, while I was walking up the hill. When that had no effect, he asked if i were a veteran. “Yes, I am, and you? ” “You know it, Bro….. Devil Dogs!”  He had the tattoo of a Marine, and though I recall the name being used specifically for those in the Corps, who fought at Belleau Wood, during World War I, I gave him a pass on that.  Everyone deserves a semblance of dignity and respect.

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Lunch time was here.  I sadly noted that my go-to place, Jack and Janelle’s, had gone belly up.  A walk downtown showed that there was someplace fairly new:  The Farm Bistro.  I gave it a shot, and am glad of it.  Alex and crew are spot-on, with great cuisine and set a spunky, welcoming ambiance.  Each party selects a plastic animal for its table, as a cue to the server.

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My visit to Cortez came to a close, and shortly, thereafter, I was back in Arizona.  Along the drive down the Navajo Nation, I noted that two once grocery-deprived communities, Red Mesa and Dennehotso, now have local markets.  One place that has nothing is Baby Rocks, yet this little village, east of Kayenta, could easily be the next big outdoors thing.

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This little wonderland is close enough to tourist-mecca Monument Valley, that a Dineh entrepreneur could easily remove the “Best Kept Secret” label from Baby Rocks.

Going onward, for four more hours, I brought this phase of Summer, 2019, to a peaceful conclusion.  Carson City, and my  Nevada extended family, await next week, after a few days of meetings here at Home Base.  My eyes and heart are always open, to what counts most in life:  Love of humanity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Honour and Hubris at Sand Creek

0

July 17, 2019, Eads, CO-

The sign clearly stated “Walk in silence and respect”, as I approached the ridge, overlooking a valley of hallowed ground, where 230 Cheyenne and Arapaho people,  mostly women and children, were killed by a regiment of U.S. soldiers, on November 29, 1864.  John Chivington, a colonel in the U. S. Army, orchestrated and led the attacks, turning a blind eye to atrocities committed by many of the men under his command.  Some white settlers who had befriended the First Nations people were also beaten or killed, by garrison troops at Fort Lyon who were in league with Chivington’s forces.  Several men in the garrison refused to participate in the slaughter.  Two of them wrote to higher authorities about the incident.  One of these, Silas Soule, was assassinated by other soldiers, on the streets of Denver, after he testified to a Commission of Inquiry about the massacre.

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This campaign of  slaughter, of course rooted in ignorance and greed, would result in the resignation of Colonel Chivington from the U. S. Army, whilst he and many of his men were regarded as local heroes, by the more conservative settlers of Colorado Territory, particularly in Denver and Colorado City (now Colorado Springs).  To be fair, there were constant attacks and depredations by both Whites and First Nations people, prior to Sand Creek-and afterward, but none were carried out by women and children.  The matter of ownership of land has resulted in far too much death and destruction.  In the end, no one has ownership of land, in perpetuity.  Indeed, it’s a dark irony, and a fitting one, that Bill Dawson, who owned the land on which the masacre took place, returned it to the Cheyenne and Arapaho Nations, in 1999.  The National Park Service would compensate Mr. Dawson and his family for the land, but there was none of the acrimony among area residents that their predecessors had shown, throughout the remainder of the Nineteenth Century.  There was a consensus that this was hallowed, sacred ground, and that justice was finally being served, to the extent still possible.

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To me, there was no choice, but to sit in reverence and prayer, overlooking the massacre site.  As I was leaving, a pair of photojournalists arrived, preparing to make a brief video on the Massacre.  We were all startled when a car  pulled up, a door slammed and a perky Ranger loudly greeted the men and inquired about their prior visit to Bent’s Old Fort, another NPS Historic Site that is associated with Sand Creek.  It had been a still, solemn visit, and was now turning into business as usual.

I walked back to the Visitor’s Center, waited for the 1:00 presentation, and left at 1:30, when it was clear that I was the only lay visitor, and there would be no presentation.  I know the spirits were grateful for my visit.  A hawk feather had been laying on the ground, just off the first part of the trail between the Visitor’s Center and the massacre overlook.  The sight of  a circling eagle or hawk, or of a raptor feather on the ground is a sign, to many First Nations people, that one’s presence is acceptable to the Spirits. I circled the feather, clockwise, and silently prayed.

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Leaving the National Historic Site,  my route took me past the now-deserted railroad town of Chivington, its buildings mostly looking to fall over, with the next keening wind.  Eads, some twenty miles west, is a more thriving town, whose residents approve of the National Historic Site.

I will long be mindful of the continuing need to remember atrocities, such as Sand Creek, as examples of what happens when people fail to honour, respect and listen to one another, over a period of months, years, decades.

NEXT:  The Way Back to Home Base

 

Wilbert’s Fantasy and World Class ‘Q’

2

July 15-16, 2019, Kansas City (MO) (and Olathe, KS )-

In 1959, Wilbert Harrison, a rhythm and blues singer from Charlotte, delivered the signature rendition of the whimsical tune, “Kansas City”- imagining a visit there would bring him romance, which would change his life.

Of course, it was pure fancy and the real Mr. Harrison probably spent no more time in KC than anyone else who didn’t live there.  He did have a good idea, though.  Kansas City has long been a place through which I have driven, en route to somewhere else.  I visited the Truman Presidential Library, in nearby Independence, in 2011, but the big city eluded me-until today.

KCMO, simply put, has the most welcoming hostel in which I’ve yet stayed.  Considering that I have had great experiences in all but one of the hostels I’ve visited in the past four years, that’s saying a volume.  Honeycomb, and its owner/host, Elsa, make every guest feel like family.  This is a woman who has lived a full life, most recently having made an interesting attempt to climb Mt. Everest, which she says will NOT be her last attempt.  Then, there is Max, the house dog, who has his own skateboard, on which he can barely fit.

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Max does his skateboard trick, for a piece of cheddar cheese.

There is much to see and do in Kansas City, so this will not be my last time stopping here.  There were two immediate goals for this trip, though:  Finding signature barbecue and getting a handle on downtown.

The first goal was achieved when,courtesy of Elsa, I headed towards Q 39, a medium-sized barbecue palace, in mid-town, and in a strip mall,yet.  There are more stately-sounding barbecue restaurants, recommended by Lonely Planet and Fodor’s, but I’d come back here again, in a flash.  Burnt tips have become this steak lover’s favourite, and no one does them better than Q 39’s kitchen staff.

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Upon my return, the conversation with Elsa and three other guests, young men who are here for an extended work-visit, left me thinking that a need to slow the cross-country engine down, and actually spend 2-3 days, or more, in a place like KC, as I do in Massachusetts and Carson City-Reno.  Family is as much in the mind and heart, as it is on a tree of ancestry.  No, I’m not implying following Wilbert’s whimsical example; most women I encounter on the road are perfectly content with the men who are already in their lives.  I am seeing the wisdom in matching my intensive mode of exploration with an actual time frame that fits.

Tuesday morning I left Honeycomb around 11 a.m. and headed to Union Station, far more than a place to catch a train.

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As the skeleton implies, here is a top-notch Science City, which is offering a Stonehenge exhibit.  Having been in Carnac and to Cahokia Mounds, I passed this one up, but for the small children going in with their parents, it had to have been a blast.

The interior lobby, though, gives Grand Central a run for its money.

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The lobby has a couple of nice little food nooks, so I got a sandwich from Harvey’s, following up with a fine latte and fresh scone from Parisi.  That set me back on the road, for a forty-five minute auto tour of downtown.   Following this excursion, KC’s nice system of boulevards and parkways made wrestling with the construction zones at I-70’s on ramps completely unnecessary.  I was past Kansas City, KS within a half-hour.

Continuing notes to self:  Kansas is making a concerted effort at increasing its foliage.  I make it a point to record all such scenes as I encounter.

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NEXT:  Solemnity and Noise in Eastern Colorado

 

Father of Waters and His Diligent Children

6

July 14-15, 2019, Wapello, IA-

Almost as essential as a visit to the Baha’i House of Worship, when crossing the country, is some time spent in the vicinity of the Mississippi River.  Its residents, whether north or south, have a temperament, a work ethic, and a resilience, all their own.

My meeting with a steadfast and inspiring friend lasted about forty-five minutes. Afterward, I prayed in the House of Worship for a half hour further, then made my way out of Chicagoland, stopping for lunch and to do laundry, in Bolingbrook, on the Metropolitan area’s southern edge. A horrific accident, coupled with ongoing roadwork,  had left I-59 backed up, on the northbound side, for at least four miles.  I would have felt fine, had we southbounders shared part of our road with our hapless fellow-travelers.  The heat, this afternoon, was back, with a vengeance, after two days of fairly mild temperatures.

On we went, though, and my necessaries were done, after two hours.  Bolingbrook is a cosmopolitan little place, the type in which I am quite comfortable.  The genial, but imposing, laundromat manager kept order by circulating among the families, stopping to comfort a boy of about ten or eleven, who was crying after having somehow disappointed his mother.  She wasn’t acting angry nor was she scolding him. It was just that love which a child has for a parent, in which feeling like the parent has been let down, is the worst feeling in the world.  Mr. D. seemed to know this, and had the boy calmed down, by quietly getting to ht heart of the matter.

I stopped, briefly, in Peoria, to say prayers for the memory and soul’s progress of a native of that town, who had been a friend of ours in Dinetah, for several years.  Nancy went back to Peoria for her final year or so, before passing on, earlier this year.  The Clock Tower was about the only part of the River District  that wasn’t blocked by construction, so it serves as a stand-in for the historic downtown area.

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From Peoria, it was on to the Mississippi, in its northern segment.  Crossing into Iowa, I found my first Riverside encounter in Bettendorf, the northwest quarter of the Quad Cities. (The other three being Moline and Rock Island, IL and Davenport, IA.)

The playground at Leach Park looks like it would engage a variety of child age groups.

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Having had a childhood fascination with conical roofs, I would have gravitated towards that building, had it been in my local playground, way back when.

The Mississippi, though, remains the main draw.

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This lodge-type structure is on Rock Island Arsenal, an island on the Illinois side, just west of the city of Rock Island.  From the looks of things, it seems to have a role in flood control.

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I was getting tired, as I passed through Davenport and Muscatine.  When little Wapello appeared, I was grateful to see Roy-El Motel, just off the highway.  As  tourist traffic is light in these parts, the owners were glad to see me, too.  This is a view of downtown Wapello.  The town is named for a mild-mannered chief of the Meskwaki people, who led them to this area and enjoyed harmonious relations with the white settlers of the  river front. I had a light breakfast at Chief Brew, where local farmers and retired folks gather, “three days a week, so we don’t get tired of one another.”  The men were surprised to see someone from Arizona.  I explained that I enjoy stopping along the River, to which one man said- “Bet you’d change your mind, after seeing one flood stage.”

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There was no such deluge, this Monday morning, though.

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The Father of Waters was enjoying his siesta.  I headed on west, with the destination being Kansas City.

NEXT:  Wilbert Harrison had it right.

 

 

A Temple and Its Concentric Circles

5

July 13-14, 2019, Wilmette-

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I have made it a practice, when going back and forth across North America, to stop at least once at the Baha’i House of Worship, in this leafy North Shore suburb of Chicago.  Often, it is only for two or three hours, before I’m off again, to whatever awaits.  This time, though, I took an Airbnb room, near Wilmette’s Village Center, the better to meet with a trusted friend at her convenience.

The House of Worship is, rightfully, a point of pride for Wilmette’s residents, regardless of their faith, or lack thereof.  The town has a full complement of Christian denominations and an active Jewish temple, as well as several Muslims.  My host, an Iranian-American, who is not a Baha’i, spoke well of our Faith and of the Temple.

My day started, in Wrigleyville, with my helping the most vibrant of the group of hostelers, whom I mentioned yesterday, to charge her phone.  The Hostel’s breakfast master whipped up some incredible pancakes and waffles. Then came the navigation from the parking garage I used, to curbside near the hostel.  A distance of two blocks required me to go around Cape Horn, figuratively speaking.  At one point, I stopped, twice, at the same STOP sign, then inched forward, only to be chastised by a traffic control officer for not stopping a THIRD time.  No ticket ensued, after his partner rolled her eyes at him and signaled me to turn.  That’s Chicago traffic, though, and never anything personal.  A police officer at another spot let me turn onto Sheffield, and I found the perfect spot for loading my car back up.

No freeway was necessary, going to Wilmette.  U.S. 41 North gives one a  nice slice of Chicago’s northwest side, at a leisurely pace, without a humongous amount of traffic, of a Saturday morning.  A fine lunch at Potbelly Sandwich Shop, amongst an eclectic crowd, set a fine mood for the rest of the drive to my evening’s abode.  The ambiance is as important to me as the food itself.  Listening to Ella Fitzgerald’s rendition of “Sunshine of Your Love” was a bonus.

Above a Persian carpet shop sits a modest apartment.  There, I took the spare room, and headed up to the House of Worship.  My focus, after prayers and meditation, is always on the gardens, which surround the Temple, on each of its nine sides.  I have shown these, in detail, in earlier posts.  Here, though, is a small sample.

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This is the North Shore Channel, which empties into Wilmette Harbor, between the House of Worship and Gillson Park, which has the village’s lovely beach.

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I availed myself of two restaurants here in Wilmette: Ridgeview Grill, which I visited last summer, gave the same excellent fare and service on Saturday night; Walker Brothers Pancake House offered the finest of Sunday breakfasts. (Yes, San Diegans, your very own Richard Walker is a member of this family, and his superb Pancake House is a West Coast extension of the Wilmette establishment, which also has six other branches around Chicagoland’s North Shore.).Suffice it to say, I am getting spoiled by two days in a row of great pancakes.

With breakfast done, and 10 a.m. rolling around, I bid farewell to my host, J., and headed over  to the House of Worship, to meet my friend. On the way, I encountered a crew fixing a broken water main, so prayers were offered for that situation as well.  The Baha’i House of Worship in Wilmette (1953) was the second such Temple ever built, the first being in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan (1908). (It was confiscated by the Soviets, in the 1920’s, then was destroyed by an earthquake.  The property remains vacant, under Turkmenistan government control.)  There are now seven other Baha’i Houses of Worship – one for each continuously-inhabited continent, plus one in Samoa and one in Panama.  National and Regional Baha’i Temples are being built, in several places around the globe.  Each House of Worship is open to all, regardless of Faith.

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Wilmette, this time, felt a lot more like home.  The ripples of love and acceptance are radiating outward from this truly divine edifice.