Addendum…

There’s still such a rumble out there about Simone Biles’ supposed “dereliction of duty,” I’m posting another story that deserves to be remembered. Simone Biles stands as the Greatest Of All Time in gymnastics, and owes the world precisely nothing. That she’s being dissed for declining to risk life and limb for people she’ll never know and who will never attempt to rise to the greatest heights of anything whatsoever, is sublimely ridiculous, end of story.

🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

The woman on the left is Elena Mukhina, the 1978 women’s gymnastics World Champion. She broke her leg and was not permitted the appropriate time to heal. Soviet gymnastics coaches pressured doctors to remove her cast early so she could start training for the 1980 Olympics. She protested heavily, as she knew her leg was not properly healed and would not withstand the grueling training regimen typical of her sport. Trainers and coaches dismissed her concerns and forced her to continue her training.

While practicing the Thomas Salto (since banned for being so dangerous), she under-rotated due to her newly weakened leg, and she landed on her chin. She broke her neck, which rendered her quadriplegic for the rest of her life. She was 20 years old at the time and died at 46.

Reports from Tokyo are that Simone Biles does not trust her own mind and body right now. Given the high level of difficulty (and danger) of the skills she performs, it is asking A LOT to expect her to continue to perform before that self-trust is restored. By pulling out of the team finals, she is listening to her body and her mind and giving herself enough time to heal so she can continue being the badass Queen she was meant to be.

Simone is doing what Elena was not permitted to do – be a voice for her own body and mental health. Anybody who would malign Simone for pulling out of the team final (and daring them to settle for the silver medal) should consider how they’d feel if, instead of reading the headline “Simone Biles pulls out of team final,” they were greeted with “Simone Biles paralyzed during dismount.”

And if you asked the rest of Team USA if they’d rather have a healthy Simone Biles or a gold medal, you know damn well what they’d answer, and they wouldn’t have to think for a second.

Angie Woodson – 7/27/2021

Image

But did you die?

Things… they change. Having taken a step back from the abyss lately, I’ve been dragging my psyche into fewer angst-ridden areas of life, but I’m nevertheless acutely aware of the controversy swirling around Simone Biles and other Million Dollar Babies of the sports world this year, and particularly this week. Apparently some round-headed pretender who likely couldn’t pull the trigger on a chin-up has called Simone Biles “a selfish sociopath” and “a shame to the country” for putting her health and well-being ahead of gold medals. According to Charlie Kirk “We are raising a generation of weak people like Simone Biles.” She’s so embarrassingly weak she does death-defying gymnastic moves nobody else in the world has ever thought of. What a taker.

So hey, if you live through it, no harm done, right? Everything for Mother America. That sounds a little 3rd Reich to me, so I’m giving Byron Heath a guest-essay spot this morning…

*****

This realization I had about Simone Biles is gonna make some people mad, but oh well.

Yesterday I was excited to show my daughters Kerri Strug’s famous one-leg vault. It was a defining Olympic moment that I watched live as a kid, and my girls watched raptly as Strug fell, and then limped back to leap again.

But for some reason I wasn’t as inspired watching it this time. In fact, I felt a little sick. Maybe being a father and teacher has made me soft, but all I could see was how Kerri Strug looked at her coach, Bela Karolyi, with pleading, terrified eyes, while he shouted back “You can do it!” over and over again.

My daughters didn’t cheer when Strug landed her second vault. Instead they frowned in concern as she collapsed in agony and frantic tears.

“Why did she jump again if she was hurt?” one of my girls asked. I made some inane reply about the heart of a champion or Olympic spirit, but in the back of my mind a thought was festering:

*She shouldn’t have jumped again*

The more the thought echoed, the stronger my realization became. Coach Karolyi should have gotten his visibly injured athlete medical help immediately! Now that I have two young daughters in gymnastics, I expect their safety to be the coach’s number one priority. Instead, Bela Karolyi told Strug to vault again. And he got what he wanted; a gold medal that was more important to him than his athlete’s health.

I’m sure people will say “Kerri Strug was a competitor–she WANTED to push through the injury.” That’s probably true. But since the last Olympics we’ve also learned these athletes were put into positions where they could be systematically abused both emotionally and physically, all while being inundated with “win at all costs” messaging. A teenager under those conditions should have been protected, and told “No medal is worth the risk of permanent injury.” In fact, we now know that Strug’s vault wasn’t even necessary to clinch the gold; the U.S. already had an insurmountable lead. Nevertheless, Bela Karolyi told her to vault again according to his own recounting of their conversation:

“I can’t feel my leg,” Strug told Karolyi.

“We got to go one more time,” Karolyi said. “Shake it out.”

“Do I have to do this again?” Strug asked.

“Can you, can you?” Karolyi wanted to know.

“I don’t know yet,” said Strug. “I will do it. I will, I will.”

The injury forced Strug’s retirement at 18 years old. Dominique Moceanu, a generational talent, also retired from injuries shortly after. They were top gymnasts literally pushed to the breaking point, and then put out to pasture. Coach Karolyi and Larry Nassar (the serial sexual abuser) continued their long careers, while the athletes were treated as a disposable resource.

Today Simone Biles–the greatest gymnast of all time–chose to step back from the competition, citing concerns for mental and physical health. I’ve already seen comments and posts about how Biles “failed her country,” “quit on us,” or “can’t be the greatest if she can’t handle the pressure.” Those statements are no different than Coach Karolyi telling an injured teen with wide, frightened eyes: “We got to go one more time. Shake it out.”

The subtext here is: “Our gold medal is more important than your well-being.”

Our athletes shouldn’t have to destroy themselves to meet our standards. If giving empathetic, authentic support to our Olympians means we’ll earn fewer gold medals, I’m happy to make that trade.

Here’s the message I hope we can send to Simone Biles: You are an outstanding athlete, a true role model, and a powerful woman. Nothing will change that. Please don’t sacrifice your emotional or physical well-being for our entertainment or national pride. We are proud of you for being brave enough to compete, and proud of you for having the wisdom to know when to step back. Your choice makes you an even better example to our daughters than you were before. WE’RE STILL ROOTING FOR YOU!

Byron Heath 07/27/2021

*****

I have excruciating memories of Kerri Strug’s sacrifice for those farging bastidges. No one should ever ask that of any athlete.

*****

Image

The Temptation of Truth

********************

The Lie said to the Truth, “Let’s take a bath together, the well water is very nice. The Truth, suspicious, tested the water and found it was indeed nice. So they got naked and bathed. But suddenly, the Lie leapt out of the water and fled, wearing the clothes of the Truth.

The Truth, furious, climbed out of the well to get her clothes back. But the World, upon seeing the naked Truth, looked away with anger and contempt. Poor Truth returned to the well and disappeared forever, hiding her shame. Since then the Lie runs around the world dressed as the Truth, and society is very happy…

Because the world has no desire to know the naked Truth.

*19th Century legend

**Painting: Truth Coming Out Of The Well, Jean-Léon Gérome, 1896

*************************

*************************

Despite hopeful movement toward restoration, the upheaval we hoped would end when the former guy left isn’t over at all. The people who want America to have an authoritarian form of government want it BAD, and they never give up on that ideal nor its methods, so the battle for recovery will be uphill all the way. Our consolation is that the adults are running the shop again and a fair-to-middling MAJORITY of us want to stick with democratic rule. Joe Biden, the first American president to say it out loud, told us the other day that “Democracy is in peril in America,” and that’s clear to anybody paying attention.

Encouragingly, while we’re fighting to hang onto our very way of life, things are happening on all fronts, much of it positive. One wee problem that does need lots of work…

Ongoing stress and turmoil notwithstanding, the world turns. Every day. And life is about more than just surviving… we still want what we want, need what we need, and those things are all wrapped up in the freedom to be.

Image

Plausible invisibility…

For my niece KG, my friend VP, et al

We walk among people every day whose physical lives are defined and confined by invisible illnesses of the immune system. They know it, we don’t. They feel it, we can’t. Lacking a cure or effective treatment protocols for something called fibromyalgia, for instance, doctors have traditionally preferred to suss out other “causes” they know how to prescribe for. As research is turning up clues and avenues for possible treatment, the wheelbarrow load of symptoms that’s been newly-labeled as ME/CFS (myalgic encephalomyelitis chronic fatigue syndrome) may finally be coming into favor enough for medical professionals to seriously address it. That would be nice. My friends-and-family circle is dotted with immunocompromised individuals who live quietly inside bodies full of pain and perpetual exhaustion, so an intentional focus by the medical community would be as welcome as rain… says the girl who loves rain. A truly frustrating part of autoimmune disorders is their capricious nature – they flit around in the body, inflicting bits of torture here and there, feinting, withdrawing, teasing, tormenting. And then they all take a powder somewhere and HEY! A GOOD DAY!! Blessed be if it happens on a day when you really, really, really want to do something.

Some autoimmune disorders eventually leave markers that become visible to the casual observer, but some don’t, staying hidden at cell level, disrupting the daily peace of the carrier at will. Talking to someone who’s never experienced anything like it is generally not very helpful. And complaining just… well, we all know where that gets us in life. We humans believe what we can see, touch, taste, smell, and hear. We don’t do well with “phantom” illnesses, in ourselves or others – “You’re up walking around, taking nourishment, so show us the medical report or you’re a lazy piker.” America has little patience with those who can’t or won’t tote that barge, lift that bale. Who ever said life was fair, right?

Someone you know has an illness you can’t see, so a few things…

1) That person is fighting every day just to be able to participate in life

2) It likely never occurred to them that one day they’d wake up sick and never get better

3) Trying to be stronger than one feels is exhausting – be patient

As for the curious claim that people with invisible illnesses are “faking it,” what can we even say? What would they gain from that? Being in pain, unable to move freely, medicated, in and out of doctors’ offices, spending thousands on medical expenses, experiencing the gamut of emotions that accompanies chronic illness, missing most of what people call life because they can’t “get there.” Easy to fake and totally cool, right? We all wish we could find a sweet deal like that and coast.

Everyone you know, every human you’ll never know, deserves personal dignity and at least a pinch of understanding, so if empathy isn’t really your thing, at least give them that much. Leave them that tiny place inside that believes they’ll be better someday. And never forget that they miss their old carefree smiling selves, too.

This has been a PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT on behalf of hurting people everywhere. Thank you for your support.

Image

Oh hello, Monday…

Since commenting wisely on the personal bravery and sacrifice that have delivered us to this point in history is above my pay grade, I spent the Memorial Weekend in TV sports, online games, and quietude. We’re living in momentous times that continually threaten to overwhelm us, and sometimes ya’ have to check out for a while.

This morning I’m clearing my desktop and sharing a few things from the past week that got my attention, made me smile, laugh, cry, think. You’re welcome.

********************

********************

********************

********************

********************

********************

********************

********************

Cara Brown, American watercolorist
“Blush” 2013
watercolour on paper

Image

Feelin’ froggy…

Much happened in the past week, but with little outward change to show for it. The partisan divide that we hoped would begin to resolve after the former guy left only continues to intensify, making agreement on any matter a bridge too far for Congress. This week’s most heinous example: Benghazi somehow required ten investigations and thirty-three hearings, but the assault on our Capitol and democratic rule doesn’t merit even a second look by some of the very people who were under direct threat. Those senators who voted against sanity haven’t succeeded in concealing anything, most especially their own cowardice, and shamefully two of those people “represent” Kansas, which makes me want to hop a bus and flee the state.

Dan, never my type, is my late-life crush… I love him for his mind.

As usual, though, the week’s haul of good stuff has weighed more AND been worth its weight in gold… and when it comes to good news, the small things are the big things…

1.) Douglas County has brought COVID case numbers down to near zero, so protocols are being relaxed. At SPL the announcement was made on Thursday “NO MASKS REQUIRED” (for the fully vaccinated) and those old PickleBallers were celebrating.

2.) The Royals have been fun to watch and are playing some really good baseball, looking more and more like the cohesive team they’ve shown they can be.

3.) Food is a friend again, both good and bad news but definitely more fun – I polished off a hot beef sandwich at Kelley’s again on Thursday like I’d been chopping firewood all morning, and then snacked all afternoon. Um, yikes.

4.) The best thing this week was a text convo with John and this shot of him wearing a t-shirt brought to him from Ghana by a co-worker he mentored. The map and trim are made from kente, Ghana’s national fabric.

The guy in the t-shirt looks to have weathered a year-plus of COVID by getting younger, a nice bonus I wasn’t expecting for him, all things considered. We last hugged him, in Atlanta, in the spring of 2017, which my remaining math skilz tell me was four years ago. I was thinking it had been two or maybe three years, so the realization that four years have passed is putting me in a time warp. Life has intervened since 2017 – broken bones, illness, schedules, commitments, and COVID have all combined to keep us hug-less – but love and trust and silliness and blessed technology have made up the difference in sweet welcome ways and all is well. Life is life, we’re all adults here, it goes on. Still, universe… a hug would be nice.

It’s a chilly Saturday but people have been going back and forth to Farmer’s Market all morning so there’s life in the neighborhood. The pulse of #lfk is quickening, week by week, as people crawl out of their caves and shelters and venture forth again, and I’m here for it even when it’s just from my 4th-floor perch. In retrospect, the past year seems like a Dark Age with only the ghost light left on for guidance… and coming through and out of it feels like winning. No victory comes without loss, but it’s sweet nonetheless – humans are designed for progress and positivity, it’s our bread and water and we move on. I’m deeply grateful on this gray weekend that everyone whose love and caring I depend on, everyone whom I love beyond telling… has survived the pandemic. That’s something 600,000 American families can’t say this morning and my heart breaks that it’s true… so I’m inexpressibly grateful. We’ll still get a chance for those hugs one of these days…

Image

Wade in the water, children…

We both left the workforce ten years ago but the word *weekend* still holds allure, and we’ve kept it that way on purpose. The already glacial pace slows imperceptibly, the menu changes, sportsing is prime, the bed stays rumpled ’til Monday, and there are always spa soaks involved. On this Saturday morning it’s pouring rain… again, some more… and this sort of thing is predicted to go on for the foreseeable future, so the Royals/Tigers game may not happen this afternoon. Welp, there goes sportsing… except for golf. (Is it raining on the Outer Banks today?) And the Monaco Grand Prix, which I don’t really get into much, like most car racing in general, except in this case for dizzying glimpses of the principality.

So on this ridiculously lonely-looking Saturday, with a shortage of productive or not-so-productive things I have the energy to deal with, it’s on me to come up with whatever keeps me from losing more brain cells, and whine-writing is always a start. This week’s Hot Topic inside my head… the new masking advice from the CDC, which presumes all humans feel equally responsible for each other’s safety. Yeah, I know, I laughed too, but there it is and here they come.

A percentage of people are sick of the whole thing, and the rest of us are sick and tired of being tired and sick. Everything’s relative… I’m hearing Kansas people say they’re sick of the rain, and I understand. But if you grew up farming in a part of the state with a shortage of water and trees, that hits like blasphemy.

America is Freedom, I know that too… but the question always comes back around to “Whose freedom?”

Something to add to the equation:

Sorry, frontline workers, whom we “love with all our hearts” and whose “bravery is awesome,” your asses will be on the line forever, it seems. But hey, thanks, you’ve been just super.

COVID-19 is a subject America’s done with, finished, let it die, along with everything else we lack the cojones to face up to. The unvaccinated will ride our coattails to the end, and be pissed if something nasty catches up to them. But science denial isn’t our only problem here, nor likely our greatest – reform is required in every area of life if we’re ever to become a civilized society. The issues are all-encompassing and they’re killing us.

That’s from me to the universe this morning, thrown out there, guts and all, and Pollyanna certainly feels better, hope it helped somebody else’s day!! And I’ve temporarily written the sky dry, so who’s to say a terminal case of the morbs won’t be improved by a soupçon of sunshine? Kimmers is getting his weekend on with some heavy-duty cleaning of the environs, I see happy people walking back and forth down on the street, the coffee is stellar, and life is good.

“And all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.” -Julian of Norwich

“All I’ve ever wanted from life is perfection, is that too much to ask?” -Judy of Lawrence

Image

Beautiful Saturday…

Kim Smith – 05/13/2021

Five months into the year, change and upheaval were again the rule this week, including developments that could eventually lead to prison time for some current and former government entities. A monumental change came just yesterday when the CDC said that fully-vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks in public. That feels like a positive indicator, and I’ll be happy to leave mine off in most situations once my governor ends the state mandate… but I won’t be getting rid of my colorful mask wardrobe any time soon, because we’ll now have to “trust” people who’ve acted dishonorably throughout the pandemic to follow the honor system and either get vaccinated or keep masking and distancing. With about 37% of the people we encounter refusing to do either one, we’ll be swimming with the sharks again, and the extra exposure, with variants multiplying, will strain these new baby vaccines to the max. Television personality Bill Maher, tolerate him or hate him, has contracted COVID-19 after having been fully vaccinated, so it’s hubris to think it can’t happen, and after flailing for months under the effects of the virus, the thought of getting it AGAIN, just when things might be improving here, is hellish. That’s my take on what, if I’m being honest, seems like a concession to selfishness. I get it… people are restless to go back to what they knew and loved, and who can blame them. I’m just not sure they’ll find life unchanged when they get there…

If anyone’s yoked to tradition, though, it’s me, despite a certain unwillingness to buy into some of it, so it’s a big deal to have pro baseball to follow again… and golf… and soon more tennis. That may all be bread & circuses, but I’m not proud – it gets surreal when nobody’s doing anything entertaining in the world! Life starts closing in when all the stages go dark at once, so this burst of energy on the horizon is as welcome as this morning’s rain. America’s athletes, Broadway personnel, administration officials, and others have done it right, gotten vaccinated, followed protocols… so there IS an “after.” They have my gratitude and respect.

The cards have been dealt, so hop back on the merry go-round, boys and girls… says Pollyanna, with a pained smile.

Image

And now it’s Monday…

It was a windy, rainy Sunday but happy and cozy all up in here, and I heard from my claim to motherhood first thing, working the holiday to help cover for all the moms, sons, and daughters who called out for the day. There was a perfect omelet and a spa soak… a Royals-White Sox game (we lost, but baseball is Zen even on a bad day)… peach malt smoothies… veggie lasagna for dinner… and I’m seeing a definite festive food pattern here.

A belated Happy Mom’s Day to all who signed up in any way.

Speaking of parenthood… the concept has somehow worked, after a fashion, down through the millenia, without improving massively during that time. It’s still a nebulous proposition, given that the scenario is always an original. First-time Mother Human meets new Baby Human, and neither has a clue, so they do the best they can with what they know at the time. Later, they realize they could have done better with more knowledge and experience… but since it doesn’t work that way, we’re all golden if we live through it and end up friends. I call that a win, and my job is to care for the relationship.

Nurturing each other, from inside or outside the confines of family, requires a compassion that takes in the whole picture, isn’t easily come by, and is always costly in some way.

My first instinct is to try to understand where someone’s coming from, in the interest of real communication, but after 25 years, I’m admitting defeat in the face of fascism’s propaganda arm, whose steady onslaught of conspiracy theories and general nonsense has been unrelenting and stops intelligent conversation in its tracks. Its presence in the world is an oppressive gray curtain, masking and obscuring clarity and truth, seemingly impenetrable after a quarter-century. It astounds me that they’re still in business… until I remember the 71 million keeping them there.

The Pro Wrestling of news…

There are clearly limits and roadblocks to human understanding, but given even half a chance I’ve been known to try for it anyway. It’s the Pollyanna in me that won’t quit, and in the face of pandemics and upheavals… no apologies.

Image

The ties that bind…

Kim Smith – 05/01/2021

Yesterday Rita and I talked about writing, which we agreed journaling isn’t, not really – saying what we think and feel doesn’t make us writers. But we also agreed that we’re grateful we can both put words down in a way that lessens the angst, clears the view, and starts loosening some of the knots. Her journal is REO – Rita’s Eyes Only, whereas I throw my thoughts to the four winds in case another human might be encouraged by my bad example. Also, I’m past the statute of limitations on caring about perceptions, which is intoxicating, so someone stumbling onto my site on any given day might come face-to-face with most anything, from politics to nostalgia, usually a heavy mix of both.

Nostalgia is uppermost today, with thoughts of the big ol’ family I once knew claiming my attention. Grandpa was the head of the clan, but Grandma was the Queen Bee, and we all wondered how cohesive the family would be once they were both gone. Turns out, unsurprisingly, that without Grandma especially, it was a bridge too far and our diaspora across the country and the planet… illness and death… partisan politics… other life factors… have proven too much for the bonds that once held us. We’re scattered, but also divided, which was inevitable since blood is only ONE of the ties that bind humans together, and on its own isn’t enough. There are generations of cousins I don’t know and never will, a circumstance every family experiences in our move-anywhere world… but difficult news this morning about a family member I did know well has set the memory machine in motion. I’m the one who preaches about life being all ABOUT change, but some of it is incredibly hard to absorb when it gets here. My generation is second in line for family seniority, though, so absorb we will.

********************

It helps to know something that Grandma & Grandpa instinctively understood…

Enough has always meant: A place to belong, a reason to BE, the requirements for survival, and family. The past year has imbedded a lot of lessons and among them is this… we have to be enough, in ourselves, alone, in order to survive this life. The good news is… it’s doable.

Image

Milestones…

We’re celebrating the first 100 days of the Biden administration, and the collective sigh of relief from the watching world is nearly audible. The refuseniks are sighing for their own reasons, but I remind myself every day that they’re outnumbered and on the wrong side of history, and then keep on keepin’ on while my thoughts range all over in the face of progress and good change…

First things first…

COVID… which is sticking with me like an octopus on my face… is one thing. The racial inequities are deeply embedded and not so readily addressed.

********************

The past year has been rough on everybody as we’ve each tried to meet and deal with it a day at a time, with mixed results. It’s taken a toll on our psyches, our confidence, our health, and our relationships, and I’m sure none of us want to ever see another one like it.

But giving in to ennui and depression is no way to end a year or a lifetime, so my attitude needs work. The days are beautiful and we have another errand to run today, out in the sunshine. Kim’s playing PickleBall now over in Lyons Park, bless his athletic soul, so he gets a double dose. It’s all good. Life is wonderful and we’ll survive it ’til we don’t.

Image

Working it out…

Born into and raised in the Christian tradition, I took most of it for granted until after college when I latched onto an evangelical mindset and spent the next thirty years thinking I knew something. In the ’90s and after, as events near and far started rattling my self-assured psyche, I began to consider that I may have gotten it wrong about some of the important stuff… and nothing’s been the same since. Today, ten years after walking away from organized religion, communal faith practices, and corporate worship, I’m taking a socially-distanced look at the transformation of “the church” through the eyes of people who once loved it… and the number one sentiment I see is this:

********************

********************

… and are notoriously unkind to LGBTQ people.

********************

“I keep wondering why so many Christians still think another human being’s relationship or marriage or body is any of their business.” – John Pavlovitz

********************

And there’s that thing where helping another human is somehow wrong now, even in the eyes of a lot of church factions. Organized Christianity having lost the plot so overwhelmingly that one can scarcely find the biblical Jesus in any of it, I can’t see going back for more condemnation and butt-whippin’s from people who struggle on a daily basis to deal with life in any cohesive way. Their “help” in the past has left me with permanent scars.

Fear and selfishness are turning the world on its ear, just when we’re on the cusp of new knowledge and technology that will change it for the better if we can keep humanity alive long enough. A stunted mindset doesn’t keep the boogeymen away, it just makes them trickier to deal with when they get here, and there’s so much that makes me glad I’m still around – the next decade is going to be on fire with advances, we’re going to learn amazing things, and I don’t want to miss it. Fear of change has the power to shut that all down… too sad for words.

I no longer think I know who or what might be out there running the show, or where this all goes from here… but I’m on a first-name basis with Karma, and I know from a lifetime of hit-or-miss attempts at being worthy of breath that these things are real and true:

And when I know better, I’ll do better. Amen.

Image

Sunny Saturday…

Flighty spring is giving us temps in the 60s today, with high 80s by Monday, so it stays interesting. Kim’s been playing PickleBall whenever and wherever he can, always a toss-up as to whether it’s outside or in – but I don’t know what today holds yet, beyond the regenerative breakfast we just scarfed down.

I’m going on autopilot for the foreseeable… golf… Royals baseball… so here are a few random saves from the past week…

********************

White Privilege is all the things we never even notice.

********************

Sainthood isn’t the bar for living.
Where it started… where we’re going.

Talk to me in Comments…

Image

Wow, it’s Wonderful Wednesday…

Kim Smith 04/11/2020

It’s a beautiful day and Kim’s on his way to Menard’s on his e-bike to research a project – he wasn’t made for indoors so spring is especially timely this year. Just when I think I couldn’t love him more it’s another good day, and yesterday was one of those. After a morning meeting, we had lunch at a Bar & Grille new to us and got our socks blown off – wow. The menu is amazing, and we weren’t surprised that they were nearly at COVID-restriction full-capacity before we left. The specials were meatloaf, chicken enchiladas, and pot roast, the last of which we glommed onto before the waitress could walk away, and it was… OMG, so good. Fall-apart roast beef cooked with carrots, brown gravy, mashed potatoes, and cornbread… with real corn in it… and a bit of streusel on top. Felt like coming home to a big Sunday dinner and we couldn’t stop grinning at each other. We had no room for any one of the four desserts listed, but there’s always next time.

It’s been a heartbreaking week, and with more deaths and assaults of young Black men, I lack the stomach for watching the defense of George Floyd’s murderer. It pains everything I’ve got when people tell us we didn’t see what we saw, nor hear what we heard, nor do we recognize the evil that wears the killer’s skinsuit. It’s too much, all of it. Why do all the “accidents, mistakes, and errors in judgment” happen to Black people? A taser (8 oz.)… a gun (2 lbs.)… all same difference unless it’s a white person in the line of fire – then it matters. The anguish of Black mothers is gut-ripping, and even loving Anthony like I do I cannot register the depths of his mother’s love for him and his brothers and sisters, nor know her sleepless hours. It’s too much.

“I need to drive my two-year-old to daycare tomorrow morning. To ensure we arrive alive, we won’t take public transit (Oscar Grant). I removed all air fresheners from the vehicle and double-checked my registration status (Daunte Wright), and ensured my license plates were visible (Lt. Caron Nazario). I will be careful to follow all traffic rules (Philando Castille), signal every turn (Sandra Bland), keep the radio volume low (Jordan Davis), and I won’t stop at a fast food chain for a meal (Rayshard Brooks). I’m too afraid to pray (Rev. Clementa C. Pickney) so I just hope the car won’t break down (Corey Jones). When my wife picks him up at the end of the day, I’ll remind her not to dance (Elijah McClain), stop to play in a park (Tamir Rice), patronize the local convenience store for snacks (Trayvon Martin), or walk around the neighborhood (Mike Brown). Once they are home, we won’t stand in our backyard (Stephon Clark), eat ice cream on the couch (Botham Jean), or play any video games (Atatiana Jefferson). After my wife and I tuck him into bed around 7:30pm, neither of us will leave the house to go to Walmart (John Crawford) or to the gym (Tshyrand Oates) or on a jog (Ahmaud Arbery). We won’t even walk to see the birds (Christian Cooper). We’ll just sit and try not to breathe (George Floyd) and not to sleep (Breonna Taylor). These are things white people simply do not have to think about.”David Gray

“Today’s policing is nothing more than modern slave patrols.” -Bishop Talbert Swan

It’s.Too.Much.

********************

********************

I read this morning that Lawrence still has some 200 people living outside, sleeping rough, and that efforts are being made to alleviate that, in keeping with the tent city already operating in “midtown.” Living here heals us in ways we could never have asked for.

Safe shelter for those who have none.

********************

Image

On into spring…

Kim Smith – Liberty Hall, Mass Street, Lawrence, KS 03/28/2021

One weekend wrapped up and another came and went since I last sat down with myself to write. Every day being what it is, it feels more like a year than ten days, and my head has been in a year’s worth of spaces in that time.

I cried through the first three days of eye-witness testimony in the trial of the male person who asphyxiated George Floyd during a nine-and-a-half minute knee-mail over a bogus $20 bill and sits in court like he’s large and in charge. And I’ve watched a large sampling of the proceedings since.

So… Mr. Floyd, on a sunny day in May, goes to the corner store with what he may or may not have known was a counterfeit twenty to buy cigarettes, and ends up summarily executed in the street for same. Not sure why there’s a full-fledged trial because we can watch what happened from every angle and our hearts and brains know what we’re seeing – the most cold-blooded of murders in broad daylight. The inadequate human who did this obviously saw George Floyd as a nothing, a nobody, a throwaway about whom nobody gave a shit… but the string of eye-witnesses and friends at trial told the opposite story. They showed us a vital young guy with an unfortunate opioid addiction that he and his girlfriend of three years were trying to break. He worked out every day, ran, played football and basketball, held steady jobs until COVID, was loved by the kids in his neighborhood because he played ball with them, a mama’s boy who changed after his mother died… and who kept girlfriend Courtney’s name in his phone as “Mama.”

Yesterday, Minneapolis Chief of Police Medaria Arradondo testified all day, never getting ruffled nor showing anything but mature professionalism, and the takeaway was that not one thing the accused did that day in May of 2020 fell within policy guidelines for the Minneapolis Police Department, nor presumably any other. The Chief, a fifth-generation Minnesotan who rose through the ranks from Cadet to Police Chief in under thirty years, said under oath that there is *no excuse* for what the killer did, end of story. Like a worm, the accused nonchalantly snuffed out a life, with no change of posture or expression, simply making sure George Floyd didn’t draw another breath. Justice for unarmed Black people is painfully hard to come by in America, but if we don’t see it happen in this trial we’ll be finished as a society and it would be well-deserved… because we will have become what we thought we abhorred.

Or maybe we already have…

Eddie Izzard, you called it – Cake or Death, man.

Yeah… the more I think of it… if we’re not there yet, we can see it from here.

Park Cannon, an elected Georgia Representative, may be facing seven years for knocking on a door she had a legislative right to access. The fine Americans on the right, taking the Capitol by force, will likely face nothing dire.

But… life goes on for most of us, we fortunate few. Kimmers and I enjoyed our Easter eggs this year as omelets, and celebrated the beautiful weather.

Image

Previous Older Entries

Mitch Teemley

The Power of Story

John Wreford Photographer

Words and Pictures from the Middle East & Balkans

Live Life, Be Happy

Welcome to my weekly blog on life's happiness. We are all human and we all deserve to smile. Click a blog title or scroll down. Thanks for stopping by.

Wild Like the Flowers

Rhymes and Reasons

The Last Nightowl

Just the journal of an aging man looking at the world

Jenna Prosceno

Permission to be Human

Flora Fiction

Creative Space + Literary Magazine

tonysbologna : Honest. Satirical. Observations

Honest. Satirical. Observations.

ipledgeafallegiance

When will we ever learn?: Common sense and nonsense about today's public schools in America.

The Alchemist's Studio

Raku pottery, vases, and gifts

Russel Ray Photos

Life from Southern California, mostly San Diego County

Phicklephilly

Dating, Relationships & Stories from my Life

Going Medieval

Medieval History, Pop Culture, Swearing

It Takes Two.

twinning with the Eichmans

Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature: over 400,000 monthly users

rarasaur

frightfully wondrous things happen here.

FranklyWrite

Live Life Write

Social Justice For All

Working towards global equity and equality

Drinking Tips for Teens

Creative humour, satire and other bad ideas by Ross Murray, an author living in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada. Is it truth or fiction? Only his hairdresser knows for sure.

john pavlovitz

Stuff That Needs To Be Said

Drifting Through

Welcome to the inner workings of my mind

KenRobert.com

random thoughts and scattered poems

Margaret and Helen

Best Friends for Sixty Years and Counting...

WordPress.com News

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

Musings of a Penpusher

A Taurean suffering from cacoethes scribendi - an incurable itch to write.

Ned's Blog

Humor at the Speed of Life

Funnier In Writing

A Humor Blog for Horrible People

%d bloggers like this: