What better time for a three-day weekend, especially when I’ll have two in a row? Susie and I are going to be touring her new high school, The Graham School, at 11 a.m. Monday (this) morning, so I took the occasion to take the day off from work, and Susie will be taking the day off from school. After her recent bullying incident, and her middle school’s unwillingness and/or ineffectiveness in dealing with it, I decided that The Graham School, with its much lower teacher-student ratio, and the fact that everyone in its student body seems to be an oddball in one way or another, would be a much better place for her than Whetstone High School.
Steph leaves for Florida, this time for good, on Friday morning. She took another step toward making this happen on Saturday morning. She already has her Greyhound ticket in hand, and on Saturday she shipped several boxes of clothing to Florida via UPS. When I came home from a long overdue haircut and beard trim Friday, she was sitting in the living room with a Sharpie in her hand, addressing these boxes.
The thought that stayed in my mind was a poem by Mary Oliver. I’ve heard it many times, but hadn’t given it much consideration until recently. One night I jotted it in my pocket notebook, and I glance at it almost daily lately, much the way a 12-Stepper contemplates the Serenity Prayer.
The passage is from “In Blackwater Woods” and reads:
To live in this world
you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it
against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.
I spent Saturday morning in Westerville with Steve and Kittie at the monthly Builders of the Adytum meeting at the Blendon Masonic Lodge. After lunch, there was a longer meeting, but I walked to Cleveland Ave., so I could catch a 1 bus back into Columbus. I happened by a yard sale, and the only item that interested me was a Symphonic combination VCR/DVD player/recorder, on sale for $5. The Magnavox model that became mine when my mother died is about shot, so I was happy to buy this. (Symphonic was the model of the first VCR I bought new. I bought it at Golden Bear in 1988. Golden Bear was Jack Nicklaus’ short-lived chain of electronic appliance stores.)
I bought the VCR/DVD by the Otterbein campus, and had to eat at Dairy Queen beforehand to break a $20 bill. While eating there, I found the tray liner amusing. They definitely need to change or update the tray liners. It featured the Presidents of the United States, from George Washington to George W. Bush. It was also printed before 2004, because there was no death date listed for Ronald Reagan. (It made me think of a calendar hanging on the wall of a carryout in Marietta when I was in grade school. The calendar featured pictures of all the Presidents–Washington to Nixon at the time. Someone had taken a ballpoint pen and doodled a glowing halo above JFK’s head, and drawn a forelock and square mustache on Nixon.)
After the (former) owner and I walked to his apartment to get the remote control, I had a good workout, hiking from N. West St. to W. County Line Rd. to Cleveland Ave., so I could catch the 1 bus back to Columbus. I was totally exhausted when I made it home.
During the night, I was curious about whether the planned block party on Chittenden Ave., ChittShow, would careen out of control. The party was in the 100 block of Chittenden, about a 15-minute walk from my place. It was also a week after a block party on E. Woodruff Ave. that resulted in three arrests, many airborne beer bottles and cans, and police using tear gas and pepper spray. I wanted to record images for posterity on Saturday night.
And when I got to Chittenden, yes there were partiers clogging the sidewalks and standing shoulder-to-shoulder on every porch and every lawn. There were also many Columbus police officers, many on foot, some on horseback, making sure the street stayed clear. I overheard many people complaining about why all the police presence, what made them think there’d be trouble? (Search me. Lots of alcohol, lots of people drinking it–many of them underage, all of them living in an area whose population density is comparable to Calcutta or Tokyo, of course they’ll all act like civilized human beings.) People wandered from party to party, and many of them were sensible enough to travel in groups. The yards were littered with plastic cups and beer cans before 11:30, but I didn’t see anyone throwing bottles. (Of course, I went to O.U., where the parties make ChittShow look like a church picnic.) When the clock struck 2, the crowds in the block began thinning out, although they did need some prodding from the police, but without the use of billy clubs or tear gas.
I’m glad there was no riot, but for the wrong reason. Once I was in the thick of Chittenden Ave., I reached into my pants pocket for my cell phone, so I could use its camera if anything happened, and found I hadn’t brought the phone. The bulge in my pocket was my microcassette recorder. Despite all the beer available, and all the offers I declined, all I drank Saturday night was Sun Drop, which a woman in a parking lot was giving away free from a small cart. (I had never had it before. It’s a Dr. Pepper product, best described as a cross between 7-Up and Mountain Dew.)
Buckeye Real Estate, one of the major landlords on Chittenden Ave. decided to head off any trouble before it started. They taped this notice on their tenants’ doors. I took one with me to scan here into the blog. It was the only one I could find that wasn’t totally wet or covered with footprints:
The combined choirs at church performed the Spring Concert, “Make Love, Not War” this evening. Susie sang as part of Rising Voices. The whole performance was fantastic, and I noticed a light rain was falling at the same time as the sun was starting to drop into the western sky. I guess I would have seen a rainbow if I had gone outside, but I wanted to hear every single note of the concert.
To compensate for this entry, which I realize has strayed all over the map, I will share with you a video of the Rising Voices (Susie is visible on the risers, on the left) singing with the Spirit of Life choir (the 9:15 a.m. service choir) and the Chalice Choir (the 11 a.m. choir). They’re singing “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” from Hair.