What If

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April 10, 2018, Prescott-

We went over to the local YMCA,

this morning,

and the students did several elements

of gymnastics.

I confined myself to the trampoline pad,

doing five rounds of three minutes each

and a rest in between each.

Cardiovascular is critical to good health.

What if I had hung from the high rings

and jumped into the foam pad pit?

I have thought, quite a bit,

of through-hiking,

when I am about 74 or so,

perhaps the Pacific Crest,

or the East Coast Continental,

which subsumes the AT

and Florida Trail.

Maybe, I will get really

ambitious, and walk

from Nordkap to Gibraltar.

A veteran through-hiker

says it takes lots of money

to do any of  this.

I suppose one could argue

that it takes lots of money

to do anything worthwhile.

What if I did it on a shoestring?

These are random thoughts,

on a languid Tuesday.

 

Sixty-Six, for Sixty Six, Part LI: Twisters and Turns

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July 11, 2017, Van Wert, OH-   My drive from Elkhart and Goshen was uneventful, until I reached the Ohio state line.  I had an idea, that I might stay in Lima, a northwest Ohio town, with a Baha’i connection (one of the early American Baha’i teachers was from there.)  That went out the window, as soon as I reached the first Ohio highway rest area.  Rain began falling, copiously, to say the least.  Thunder and lightning were, of course, a huge part of the mix.

I then and there decided to make my way to the closest town, Van Wert.  It was the right move.  No sooner had I checked into downtown Van Wert’s only motel, than a tornado alert came on the cellphone, and the motel manager began the process of evacuating her family, and all of us tenants, to the YMCA tornado shelter, across the street.

We spent about forty minutes in the Y’s basement, before the all-clear was sounded.  The twister had struck a town just north of Van Wert, but left us alone.  The night, after that, was peaceful.

Here is the undisturbed scene, the next morning, at Fountain Inn and at the Y.

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By now, Van Wert had grown on me, so a little exploration was in order.  There are two fine breakfast places in town.  I chose Truly Divine Bakery, figuring a little hubris is merited by people who have to live under the threat of tornadoes.  The other place, Balyeat’s, lists itself as “nationally known”, so I also thought Divine needed a boost.  The place has exemplary pastries, and marvelous breakfast sandwiches, so it was the right choice.  A group of A.M. Lions was having their meeting at Divine, so that was another good sign.

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Midwest towns are, on the whole, homey, clean and standard.  There are often one or two surprises, though.  Van Wert has an impressive Courthouse.

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It also boasts Brumback Library, the first county public library in the U.S.

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Finally, there is the Marsh Foundation for Children and Families, serving the needs of high-risk children, since 1922, when George and Herlinda Marsh, a prominent Van Wert couple, saw the need for such a center in northwest Ohio.  The spacious campus  now tends to the needs of young people, from all over the country.

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So, Van Wert is a solid community, and well worth the time taken.  I stayed on U.S. 30, driving through Lima, but continuing on, in the interests of time, and of not knowing when another storm would present itself.  The highway did take me to two other appealing cities:  Mansfield and Canton, subjects of the next two posts.

The Road to 65, Mile 243: Film Festival

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June 29, 2015, Prescott-  Wednesdays are days for me to look back at the week to date, and recall what I have missed yacking about. The Prescott Film Festival took place for five days, last week.  Like other such gatherings, the PFF presents the works of budding cinematographers and veteran producers, alike.  Sometimes, there is a theme to a Festival.  This year, I noticed a fair number of entries dealing with social trauma, and positive ways to face the issue.

I attended Sunday afternoon’s presentation:  “The Starfish Throwers”.  It featured three very different souls, who dealt with the needs of the destitute, in their respective cities.  A young man in Madurai, India, despite resistance from his family, focused on feeding and grooming the residents of his city’s sidewalks and roadsides.  A retired teacher in Minneapolis, using some of his own resources, and donations from food banks, prepared several freezers full of sandwiches to give to that city’s homeless.  He spent his nights, year-round, checking on the men and women, and making sure they were in a shelter, on the worst of the winter nights.  A young girl, with her family’s steadfast help, grew vegetables and fruit, on some garden plots around Summerville, SC, and prepared the food to give to that area’s needy.

In each case, there were the naysayers, whose position was, essentially, “Hey, we’ve got ours.  Let the lazy ones work for theirs.”  In each case, the naysayers were roundly ignored.  In Madurai, a housing shelter, with skills training and modern hygienic facilities, was built by the young man’s foundation.  In Minneapolis, growing numbers of people, from residents of retirement homes to school children, became involved in the food preparation and distribution efforts.  When the retired teacher needed time off to take care of his health needs, the director of the YMCA stepped up and covered for him.  When the girl was confronted by a critic, she expanded her efforts to include feeding elderly cancer patients, who, in turn, gave her unequivocal support.

This film didn’t win the Festival’s “Best Picture” vote, but it reminded me, again, of the potpourri of ways we can help those less well-off than us.  Few of us have unlimited funds that we can just donate to whoever asks.  Each of us, though, can throw a starfish back in the sea, in our own way.