Tag Archives: neighbors

My SwS Project: from there to here

My blogger-buddy Anna visited Las Cruces, New Mexico for the first time a few weeks ago and posted a few photos and thoughts on the desert.  What a treat to see the familiar through her newbie eyes.

How serendipitous!

Mama Goat, Tater & Kids

Final Goat Family Portrait: Larry, Terry Scape, Mama Goat and Tater

I’ve been immersed in that period of time during our between homes journey lovingly referred to as living ‘on the compound in the desert outside Las Cruces, New Mexico’.  Place where my Goat Suite Saga was born.

In less than two weeks portions of my Swimming with Swans project are going to be presented for the first time to the general public. MamaGoat, Tater, TerryScape and little Larry along with all of us humans and critters of the compound will be introduced to a group of locals as far away from life in the desert as one in the US can get. I often joke that we came from a Mile High here to the Swamplands…but we also came by way of the High Dry Desert.

Most readers of this blog know that I received a Puffin Foundation Grant for the recording of my Swimming with Swans: the music. One of the requirements for gaining the grant involved the pre-securing of a venue in which to present completed grant-proposal material.

Here’s the thing, The Goodwill Cultural Center found me.

Goodwill Parochial School with restoration sign

Goodwill Parochial School becomes The Goodwill Cultural Center

If not for Camden Writer and author, Brenda Bevan Remmes, I would have never known of this special spot nestled within an isolated area between Mayesville and Sumter, South Carolina*. Steeped in a long history of struggle, nurture, and yes, healing – The Goodwill Cultural Center aka The Goodwill Parochial School was recently restored to serve as a local heritage and arts center – offering historical, cultural and educational events to the public.

Brenda introduced me to this gem in the swamp about two years ago when the GCC held one of their first sponsored events by the Magnolia Singers from Charleston – shortly after the Emanuel AME Church shootings. I was amazed at the group’s desire to reach out in their hurt and offer insights into their culture while spreading a healing balm through their talented singing.Goodwill Cultural Center logo

WINDOW TO THE WORLD

REFLECTING ON OUR PAST AND ENVISIONING OUR FUTURE, WE AFFIRM THE RICH HERITAGE OF THE GOODWILL SCHOOL THAT OPENED DOORS OF OPPORTUNITY IN 1870, AND THAT IS A WINDOW TO THE WORLD TODAY THROUGH THE GOODWILL CULTURAL CENTER.
(mission statement)

I don’t pretend to understand the South. However, I have found a slice of something I like to call the ‘true spirit of a southern community’ in the Goodwill Cultural Center.

Over the course of these two years in attending various events at the GCC, I’ve observed the interactions between the locals. It’s obvious to this outsider the love and commitment these individuals have towards each other and towards working through its own healing-path. A sort of living reconciliation rooted in historical interconnectedness which touches me deeply.

This is a slice of the South I admire; a slice of the South not often seen by outsiders.

As such, I am both humbled and honored to be a small part in the GCC’s continuing legacy as a featured guest on Saturday, June 3rd.

 *about a 45 minute drive SW of FloTown

3 Quotes, 3 Days – the first

Clementa Pinckney quote Huff Post

South Carolina state senator, the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, one of 9 slain at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC

“Could we not argue that America is about freedom…” South Carolina state senator, the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, one of 9 slain at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC.

I’ve been nominated by Geralyn of Where My Feet Are to take part in the 3 days, 3 quotes challenge. This is my first ever nomination for anything ‘blog’ related, so I’m tickled pink to participate. And also sobered by its timing. Thank you Geralyn.

The rules of the challenge are:

1) Thank the person who nominated you.
2) Post a quote each day for 3 days.
3) Each day nominate 3 new bloggers to take part.

My nominees are:

Anna

L.Marie

Jayne

(Hope you can participate but no worries if you can’t)

The Lady of Arles (Poem)

The Lady of Arles

The Lady of Arles

 

Echoes of Edith
Chanteuse of a certain age.
Je ne regrette rien

Forty years from Barcelona
Playing her life in Arles.
No regrets. No regrets at all.

 

 

 

 

note: my sister-friend Susan and her husband are playing gypsies traipsing throughout Spain and southern France this month. She keeps my e-mail inbox filled with wordy treats describing eats and events of their day, including occasional photos that wow my (he)artistically starved eyes.  This photo is posted here with her permission.

Peace Post: Happy (Grand)Mother’s Day

HAPPY (GRAND)MOTHER’S DAY

(Welcome Home: A Tiny House, Huge Purpose)
LA, the City of Angels…
…at least one angel, shown here caring for his neighbor…

Giving Voice (first wind-down)

This post marks the closing of what I consider to be the first part of my Giving Voice series.  While I have several more relevant articles in various stage of readiness to post, I think it’s time to take a break.  Because Giving Voice is an ongoing series, I intend to resume its ‘focus’ after an undetermined period of time.

Instead of composing some sort of summary post, I thought I’d ‘re-post’ a Swimming with Swans vignette I presented here on the blog in 2013.  Written at the close of our first stay in Las Cruces during our between homes journey, I think it speaks to the issue of ‘street people’ stereotypes in a positive and personal manner.

In doing this, I am also engaging in a blog experiment that I’m not sure will work!  Please bear with me.  Both this wind-down post and the archived vignette-post are presented in ‘sticky note’ fashion.  Theoretically, this first time published post will be ‘sticky-ed’ first and The Prophet and the Gift should follow without changing its original blog posting date.  We’ll see.  ;-)

Thank you for the many responses I’ve received during this first part of my Giving Voice series via personal e-mail, face-to-face discussions, and of course in the comments section.

Tattered and Torn, Loved and Worn

One day, years ago, Amy-next-door came to call. She often came to visit with her two little girls in tow to play with my youngest two kiddos as they were all around the same age. This time, she stood holding two paper grocery bags.

“Look what I found!” Amy said as she thrust the two bags into my arms.

Feeling light as a feather for all their fullness, I immediately knew they were filled to the brim with fabrics.

“I found these at a garage sale for $0.75 and I thought you might like to use them.”

More than just neighbors, Amy-next-door and I were enablers…always on the look-out for each other’s vices: she and her buttons, I and my fabrics.

As I began rummaging through the brown paper bags, I noticed they contained more than just scraps or random cuts of material.  There was a huge piece of white cotton flannel, a stack of pre-cut 10 ½ x 10 ½ flannel squares, a handful of 3 ½ x 3 ½ ones and miles of uncut flannel fabrics of varying designs and colors.

This was someone’s UFO (quiltspeak for ‘UnFinished Object’). Continue reading

Homeless & Jobless Americans: Breaking the Stereotypes

Quote symbolSomeone once said that we all, each and every one of us are at most only two tragedies from homelessness.   It could be a family illness coupled with a job loss or any number of similar situations, including fire, earthquake, storm, abandonment, death of loved one, mental illness, service in war, or simply a landlord deciding to use his property in a different manner as the Beamans found out.   Also we all know that foreclosure is forcing hundreds of thousands out of their homes.   Couple that with another unfortunate event and many of these will be homeless.  Unexpectedly and unwillingly homeless through no fault of their own.

Combinations of these unexpected events can push almost anyone into homelessness at any time.   Not drugs, not alcohol, not laziness, not gambling, not any of those things.  Think about it.  Many of the homeless in the woods near your neighborhood are just plain people like yourself that have hit a couple of speed bumps in their life too many.

Homelessness, and by association Joblessness, has become the biggest non-discriminatory segment within the American population.  While this group has always encompassed fringe members of our population, its reach has expanded considerably to include veterans, families, all ethnic & racial groups, spanning multiple generations and social spheres and as many slices of diversity in mainstream society as one can imagine. To further complicate the stereotypical profile, a full 25% of the homeless are actually employed, and 44% have done some sort of paid work during the past month.

In short – this ever-growing community encompasses: Everyday Americans…living a Third World existence in the land of freedom, opportunity and great wealth. Continue reading

It was only a loaf of bread (poem)

One loaf
out of four.
(baked to imperfection)

My 'easy' sourdough bread

My ‘easy’ sourdough bread

One loaf
chosen.
(the one most round; least browned)

Bridging our door
to theirs.
(some 30 steps away)

Three of five
arrive next morning.
(from their door to ours)

Hand-delivering
note of thanks.
(smiling faces all around)

One loaf
out of four.
(baked warmth shared)