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.

Stillness

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March 15, 2020-

This is the midpoint of  Women’s History Month, the alleged date on which Julius Caesar was assassinated and another day in the continuing collective human response to Coronavirus 19.  Once one gets past the toilet paper hoarders, the nonsensical pandemic deniers claiming this is just a hoax by “the Liberals” (or Bill Gates, et al), and those who think closing the borders will, in and of itself, stop the virus in its tracks, it’s easy to see the big picture.

It is not hard to stay home, if that’s what it will take for the human race to recover.  It is not  too hard to conduct lessons for children, in small neighbourhood groups, if schools are closed (and I will be among those offering such a service, especially if the school where I am working now is closed).  It is not impossible to share what one has, in the way of food, cleaning supplies, etc., if others ask.  My grandparents’ generation raised families and kept their lives together, under far worse conditions, during the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl and World War Ii.

It begins with becoming still, with focusing and remembering just who we are and of what we are made.  Baha’u’llah, Whose life and Whose family’s lives were excruciating at times, calls the process being “dry in the ocean”.  I have sometimes been viewed as being too sanguine, but this is exactly what got my family through Penny’s long illness and her passing. It is what got my parents, long before that, through my youngest brother’s very long struggle and decline in health-and got our family through the passing of my father.

Those who stick together are the survivors of each crisis and the teachers, come the next subsequent calamity.

I’ve posted this song before, but it seems apropos once again.

Cost and Effect

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February 25, 2020-

It is evident that, the more people become accustomed to finery, wealth and relative comfort, the harder it is for many to accept when misfortune hits.  We in the “developed” nations are now being asked to sacrifice a fair amount of our wealth, and possibly some of our comfort, as several countries,  of both advanced and aspiring economies, deal with possibly the worst epidemic of disease since the Influenza of 1918-19.  This is no random panic over who Tweeted what about whom.  This is a phenomenon that is closing factories and schools, and keeping people isolated, in the affected areas.

There is a cost to any progress, to any advance, in any given realm, whether material or spiritual.  This is the latest assessment made on a civilization that has experienced a goodly amount of growth, in the past ten years, but especially in the most recent three.

Yet after the cost is paid, there is a recovery. There will be growth and prosperity again.  The world recovered from the Spanish Influenza, though there was an over-exuberance, coupled with unequal treatment of nations that had been vanquished in World War I, that largely contributed to the Great Depression.  It is well that safeguards implemented, upon the recovery from that Depression, will serve to both temper any rush to exuberance, following the end of the current pandemic and to mitigate any long-term economic ill effects of the phenomenon.  Add to this, the very fresh memory of the economic crisis of 2008-10, and it is likely that many have either set aside a sum of money they could afford to lose, temporarily,  to a Bear Market or have established a network, on which people may tide one another over, in times of sacrifice.

So, we will learn, and re-learn, our true priorities;  refresh our consciences about what truly matters, in a well-lived life.  We will survive and thrive.