Liberty Muses about Her Job

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From the Flickr collection of Yiannis Theologos Michellis offered as public doman. https://www.flickr.com/photos/zoonyzoozoodazoo/

 

They knew from the very first
this would be a job
only a woman would do.
Standing through the seasons
in this harbor over a hundred years
offering what we French call hospitalité.
This wasn’t for haute cuisine and wine.

I was put here, an immigrant myself,
to welcome refugees
from famine and oppression,
asking only that they do their part
to protect the ideals and way of life
that moved always
in the direction of freedom.

Sometimes my presence
served to remind this
congregation of immigrants
that only a few can call
this their native land – and they never
owned the land so much as respected it
and kept it friendly to all creatures.

History knit us together in community
when natives and newcomers rose up,
fought together and died to remove
dictators from power –
declared enemies of liberty.

I don’t know if I can bear
this flame much longer.
He makes his home here now,
and would build a wall,
cage the children who would
give us the next generation of freedom.

For all I have seen from here,
watching the towers in flames,
seeing the bodies falling –
none of it drove me to fits of crying.
But lately, seeing the dream of democracy
reduced to a cruel
farce staged by and for one vain man –
I am so alone out here.

And I weep for you.

A Quiet Spring Day in Lake Jackson

I went out with the camera today to grab some shots of a couple of LJ sites that townies need to know about if they are coming to LJ for a visit. One is Shy Pond on That Way Street. Passing by on That Way you see some playground equipment, a large pond and a fountain spraying water into the air in the middle of the pond. But if you park and get a little closer you can get a view like this one.

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On hot summer days, the ducks and geese who live at Shy Pond like to rest in the shade of trees on the bank but will go for a swim when a paparazzo arrives.

If you continue south on That Way you will enter the old downtown area of Lake Jackson. And there you will come across a restaurant called The Local. It operates in the finest tradition of an American neighborhood dining place. The owner, Gaye Linford, maintains high standards of quality and service. She has made it part of her mission to provide employment opportunities for young people on their way to college. Under her leadership, they receive some excellent guidance in how to provide good customer service and, even better, how to be good citizens.

This is the place you will be looking for in downtown LJ.

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The Local will be found at the corner of That Way and Circle Way in old downtown Lake Jackson.

There is also a patio for outdoor dining when the weather and temperature permits. The area is shaded and cooled by fans. Granted, most days in July and August you will want to go inside and enjoy the air conditioning and neighborhood ambience.

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Depicted here in cool black and white, outdoor dining is available on the patio at The Local.

So come on down and enjoy the slightly slower, healthier pace of life in the exurbs. And if you go to The Local, be sure and try their Riverside Burger with the grilled chicken option, topped with bleu cheese, grilled onions and a little mayo. Very good and good for you. They pretty well know to make it when they see me coming.

How to Welcome a Texas Hurricane

The still and heavy heat of Texas grows
like mythic rivers sent to drown out life.
But life won’t stop – nor laughing, so it goes.
We celebrate the summer as if strife
were far from towns that dot our coastal plain,
ignoring warnings recommending flight
from angry winds, and days of constant rain
with rising floods and lost electric light.
We fish; we swim; we bathe in cancerous rays.
We mow the lawn and slather barbecue
with sweetened sauces, then slug IPAs
until we see a storm come into view.
Then off we go with Grandpa in the back.
We head for Austin far from Harvey’s track.

Wokeness? What’s That?

David Brooks taught me a new word, or at least a new usage, yesterday: woke.

I do a terrible job keeping up with popular culture and modern usages that spring from it. I have seen the word “woke” popping up a lot lately but haven’t paid it much attention. I get along fine without comprehending most popular culture. It doesn’t bother me that I have seen none of the “best of” television series or movies. I take in a good one now and then but generally assume the worst about them and don’t tune in. Is that a form of wokeness?

Maybe it is; maybe it isn’t. But I know with certainty that I am woke to Donald Trump. I don’t try to understand or tolerate him. It should be clear to any observer that everything he does is in his own and not the nation’s interest. Plus, he is rude, given to alternate realities, tasteless, not very smart, lies a lot and is far too materialistic for my value system. I could go on.

Brooks says there is a problem with my attitude and I yield to his wisdom. Brooks sums up the problem with wokeness in this way:

The greatest danger of extreme wokeness is that it makes it harder to practice the necessary skill of public life, the ability to see two contradictory truths at the same time.

And I don’t think he means alternative facts in the way DJT’s minions have attempted to cloak his lies. He gives the example of racism. Our dominant society was built on it and continues to be deep into it. At the same time, we have made some progress in learning to make a racist culture a little kinder to everyone since the days of legal slavery, total denial of citizen rights, and the open veneration of seditious defenders of – I yield to the cause as they prefer to describe it – states’ rights. We have done it by making some uncomfortable compromises along the way.

So what are we to do about this woke old southern white man who is a member of the very demographic that is credited with putting Trump in office? How should I deal with my wokeness problem?

Continue reading “Wokeness? What’s That?”

76 Trombones: The Music Man Tickets Are Now Available

The summer musical is always the big event for Brazosport Center Stages. This year it is Meredith Willson’s The Music Man and tickets are now available to members and the general public for the July 13 opening in the Freeport LNG venue in Clute.

Brazosport Center Stages last presented The Music Man in 1990. Director Wes Copeland thought it was time to do it again and proposed it to the Center Stages season committee and they agreed. It is now in rehearsal.

The Music Man is one of America’s favorite musicals with lots of kids, marching bands, patriotic tableaus and colorful costumes. Six performances are scheduled in the Freeport LNG large theater venue:

  • Friday, July 13, 7:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, July 14, 7:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, July 15, 2:30 p.m. (matinee)
  • Friday, July 20, 7:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, July 21, 7:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, July 22, 2:30 p.m. (matinee)

I suggest getting your reservations as soon as you can. Summer shows at BCS typically sell out and this show has a lot of kids on stage which means lots of grandparents in the audience. ACT NOW.

If you come from Houston, head south on Highway 288 and take the Oyster Creek exit in Lake Jackson. Turn left (east) and proceed three miles on Oyster Creek (which becomes College Drive) and The Center will be on the left in front of the Brazosport College campus.

My son played Tommy Djilas in 1990. He is now 46 with three kids of his own. His oldest son could play Tommy Djilas now. Cheryl costumed the show for director Maureen Denver and is assisting Tina Gray in costuming the current edition. Those costumes have been carefully stored and preserved from 1990 and are ready to use again – if anyone will fit them.

See you at The Center.

Fifty Years Ago

I was drafted on April 9, 1968. As a graduate student and never much of an athlete, I was older than most of the other trainees in my basic training unit by six or seven years and not ready for the kind of physical exertion my DS was demanding of me. After checking in for sick call with blood in my urine around the fifth week of our eight week training period, I was hospitalized for treatment of what they thought was a kidney condition but was more likely, now I think, exertional rhabdomyolosis.

The California Democratic Primary had been held June 4. National news was not easy to come by in the William Beaumont General Hospital and I was only vaguely aware of the result of the primary and that Robert F. Kennedy had been wounded and survived an assassination attempt. There was a single television set on the ward and it was usually tuned to sports or sitcoms. We had no news the following day to help us understand how serious Kennedy’s condition was.

I was happy for Kennedy’s win as he seemed the most likely candidate to help us bring the war to an end and maybe even save me from a trip over there. By this time, most young Americans were pretty well hardened to the politics of violence but found it difficult to believe that a brother of JFK would die as he did or that it could happen just a matter of weeks after the murder of Martin Luther King, Jr. I had gone to bed hopeful he would survive and the war could be brought to an end.

On the morning of June 6, my new and all-too-constant friend the phlebotomist, who had come to do his daily invasion of my vein, shook me by the shoulder and said to me, “He died, you know.”

In my sleepy stupor I was confused by what he was telling me. Then he said in a very sad, quiet voice, “Bobby died this morning.”

 

Another Day of News in Sonnet Form

The day’s news was largely concerned with the evolving U.S. / North Korea summit, The president met in the Oval Office with DPRK’s former chief spy. I could not help but imagine the possibilities.  Today’s News in Sonnet Form is partly true and partly imagined, like many of the official releases issued from the White House lately.

 

News Sonnet II (Only Some Of It Imagined)

Dear Leader sends his most respected spy,
that’s me, to help assure your Twitter feed
is safe from Deep State hackers’ constant pry
to check if you’ve been compromised. Indeed,
allow insertion of this tiny card
in ancient Chinese flip phone you adore.
Your Deep State guys will find it much too hard
to intercept our plans for Singapore.
But, until then, [aside] we get to haul
in data not sent out in daily tweet –
the names and numbers, texts and every call
to baby-cakes and lady friends so sweet.
Perhaps your calls to tough guy Michael Cohen
will help us get negotiations goin’.