April 2017

O is for Oh!

I know many of you are okay with a little or a lot of Mary Beth’s writing. We aren’t having a crisis here, but I know I will be mostly not be here for the next week. I thought I would mention it in case you were wondering.

N is for Anne Hutchinson

Yes, I know Anne Hutchinson doesn’t start with N – but look at that name! There are FOUR N’s in it! That has to count … also; one can definitely say she was nervy, noble, nonconformist, nonplussed, noteworthy, and inspiringly noncompliant.

“As I understand it, laws, commands, rules and edicts are for those who have not the light which makes plain the pathway.” Anne Hutchinson

So who was Anne Hutchinson? This woman was strong, smart, and fascinating!

M is for Massive

M is for the massive freight trains that rumble through my neighborhood dozens of times per day. Our house is in the very middle of a long block. Up at the east end of this street is a wide boulevard laid out a hundred years ago, on which there still big, graceful Victorian mansions. That is the direction we go when we want to walk to Carroll University to hear a concert. Up the hill takes us to chatty old neighborhoods with gardens, leafy trees shading quiet streets, ivy on retaining walls, people walking toddlers and dogs.

At the west end of our block is the train tracks.

L is for Lincoln – responding to the bombing of Homs

Last night the United States shot 60 missiles from two ships in the Mediterranean Sea to the Shayrat Airfield at Homs, Syria. This was, as you know, in retaliation for the horrendous chemical bombing earlier this week that wounded 350 people and children, killing at least 75 of them.

We are waking up this morning wondering what this means. If this is the only attack, if this cripples Bashar al-Assad’s military ability to attack his own people, maybe this is good. Dear God we hope so.

K is for Kiboshed - What happens when we are laid low

It wasn’t like I had huge plans for how I was going to accomplish March this year. Anyone who lives in a grey city in the Midwest knows better than to plan too hard or too big in March.

Do your job. Get to the places you need to get. Laugh with your friends. Maybe drink some wine. That was the plan.

Then, as I have mentioned before, my ingrown toenail in-grew further. So I pulled up my big girl pants and called a podiatrist and went to her office and she did what they do. Not unremittingly awful. What I didn’t expect was how long it would take to “get back to normal”.

J is for Jail

Sometimes I think the reason I no longer yearn for big adventures to far-flung places – is because I had that. I worked in a jail for ten years. I saw ordinary and extraordinary things; I met amazing and awful people; I heard stories to make my hair curl and then more stories to make it go straight again.

Most of all, I met people who were smart, kind, ordinary, and precious, caught in systems of poverty and addiction.

Strong Day - Part #2

I went to the session on Transitional Jobs for people coming out of prison. After 10 years coordinating the Employment Skills program for qualified inmates of Racine County Jail, well, you can see why I’d choose this.

Three people more or less led Transitional Jobs group. Rev. Willie Brisco is this year’s president of WISDOM. Rev. Joseph Ellwanger was one of the coordinators. Conner (sp?) Williams is a policy person in the city of Milwaukee, who works/ed with and knows a great deal about the history of and current situation of the Transitional Jobs program in Wisconsin.