Telling Stories in Everyday Ramblings

  • Jan. 5, 2024, 8:34 a.m.
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  • Public

I am struggling a bit to get contemporary photos to share with the current weather wet and cold and dark. This is from yesterday. I had hopped on an early bus to meet with the coffee guys and was wandering around the neighborhood that is in transition next to the upscale coffee shop, lounge, hostel we were meeting at. Walt hadn’t booked the church for us this week.

The leaded glass window on the porch is of interest and the use of bamboo here. Not only is there bamboo growing in the front yard, but it is also a feature at the top of the fence. These old houses are going, being replaced by huge boxy condos with lots of glass. But at the same time the streets are full of homeless, and the graffiti is everywhere. Much of it quite artful. It makes for an uneasy mix.

When I got home, I read that the building we have been meeting in, the hostel, lounge, coffeeshop, so useful in good weather to help mitigate Covid risk with comfortable roof seating has been sold to a consortium of the city and county governments for transitional housing and addiction treatment. Wow.

Walt was in good form yesterday. He asked us all to share an adventure we had had. It wasn’t a large group. Nine of us with the inclusion of a vibrant younger woman meeting there with friends to start a support group about menopause who joined us briefly and told us of an adventure with her Peace Corp member father in South America.

The stories were compelling. An attempt to start an orphanage in Sierra Leon, a harrowing slide in a car in sudden snowstorm on a mountain and a frozen solid beard, a solo cross state bike trip and the moment of recognition that it was the journey that mattered, not the destination involving a ripe plum pulled off a tree. There was a first attempt (and last) at mountain climbing and a mistake with the rope by a more experienced climber and a fall that in retrospect was significantly more dangerous than at first apprehended.

A teenager being arrested for nonviolent civil disobedience and her 11-year-old younger brother finding the keys left in the paddy wagon having been placed in the front seat and passing them back through the grill to his sister. A joy ride in a stolen van around a graveyard in Hollywood, a somewhat drunken encounter that involved fisticuffs in the wild lands of northern Calgary with a native man that involved meeting his chief and the recitation of a Robert Burns poem, “A Man’s a Man for A’ That”.

A teenager planning to run away to The Grand Canyon to meet her boyfriend that had been transplanted to Arizona to separate them, ratted out by her brother and in a turn taken there to meet him by her father and brother and after hiking (with said brother) all the way down to the river to find him, not finding him and hiking back up to see her father waiting on the rim and figuring out later the boyfriend had the date he put in the letter wrong and went down a different day.

And last the taking on of the starring role in the longest play in the English language that lasted 23 hours, produced three times in London. The story of learning the lines. One of the other people there was at the production as well, he said he slept through a good part of it and sometime the audience was mostly made up of the 40 or so actors in the production.

As you can imagine there was lots of laughter. And how cool to be able to ask questions and make observations as opposed to being a passive audience.

This is the heart of what Walt is trying to do with the group and he is pleased with how it is working. We had a long board meeting on Wednesday. We talked about how hard it is to raise money from funders for something so vital and soul nourishing as sitting around eating bagels and leftover Christmas chocolate and telling stories to each other.

Tomorrow afternoon, we have a big showing of the film at “my” Unitarian church.

The new year has most definitely begun.

(and because I know you will ask, the Grand Canyon story was mine)

Last updated January 05, 2024

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