Thursday, January 28, 2010

History Sometimes Rings True

One of my joys currently is spending time with the kids in my church. More specifically, I sometimes teach Bible stories to the kids aged 3-8. A lot of the 7 and 8 year olds are in second grade, as is one of my granddaughters.

Recently, they had a holiday for Martin Luther King Day. Now, this is a small community, primarily Anglo, and I had no idea what the schools taught about this holiday. The kids are all in different classes, so it is not as if they all heard the same teacher. But over the last couple of weeks, they have all talked to me about something they thought was important.

"There used to be a time," they have told me with eyes wide, "when people with brown skins and white skins didn't even go to school together." Another chimed in. "They didn't even drink at the same water fountains." Another said, "If a white person wanted their seat, they had to get up and give it to them and go sit somewhere else."

"But," one said, "Martin Luther King changed that. He brought us together. And it isn't like that anymore."

They were telling me something they learned that was very important to them. They actually valued the man for their holiday from school.

And I smiled and told them, "this was a good thing, wasn't it?" And they nodded, agreeing it was. One of them is very black, from another country. The history was as strange to her as to them.

They are in second grade. And they have learned, through public school, something I think is really important in American history. I never attended a segregated school, nor saw separate water fountains until I was 16. In this part of the country, there were segregated schools and separate water fountains. That I didn't know about it doesn't excuse it. And they will learn some of the deeper lessons of surface prejudice as they grow older.

I was in college in 1963 when King gave his "I have a dream" speech. It moved me then as it moves me still.

To these children, it was ages ago. Probably before my lifetime in their minds, which is why they told me. But it wasn't. No, King didn't end it. But he started a good thing, and I am glad school children today are being taught about why we honor him. We are not finished yet, but he started something good that continues.

Sometimes, it is very good to remember.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Requiem for Robert B. Parker

Heard on the news that Robert B. Parker died today. Heard it was unexpected, that he was found sprawled over his computer. Made me smile. He was 77. The man had a lot of juice left for his age.... This man gave me hours and hours of enterainment. I shamefacedly admit my first reaction was self-centered--I had hoped for a number more books.

Told my younger son, just 30, a while ago. He liked the Spencers, but was really getting into Jessie Stone. He decided he would call his dad. As extended family, we put some dollars and a lot of time into this author.

I always heard a good party is one that ends befoe the guests have had enough. Maybe that goes for a good life, too. A ton of us weren't ready for Robert Parker to be over. I bet he wasn't either. Doesn't get much better. I'll lift a toast to that.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Love with inflexible standards

It has been a busy month. I notice it has been the same with others who are among my favorite sites. For one thing, life keeps changing, and sometimes we would rather live it than write about it. And when so much is going on, and I am noticing so much, it is hard to focus on a single topic. I decided a long time ago not to journal, per se, in my blog. So it has been difficult to write.

And I seem to be in a period of life where I feel hugely, but seldom strongly in opposition or in anger. Is this a natural process of aging? or where I am going in maturity and spirituality? I hope both. That will make aging a more pleasant process, I think.

I was surprised on Sunday to have my family tell me I am anal. How can that be? I'm sloppy, have to work at organizing. Like to work hard in spurts, then loll around reading books and maybe eating sandwiches because I'm too lazy to cook. But when I cook, and increasingly I do again, I mostly like to start from scratch. Today I will make a white sauce for a chicken pot pie, for instance, instead of using canned soup. Which I sometimes do. But this time I want to flavor the white sauce with sage and poultry seasoning for just the right taste... just the right....hmmm. Anal is inflexible, isn't it? Yes, I can be particular. But I don't wear makeup. I have wash and go hair. I buy a few pair of good shoes, then wear them for years.

When my sons popped the A-word, with much laughter, I appealed to my oldest granddaughter. She smiled sweetly and demurely looked down. She might be agreeing, or choosing not to be involved, but still. And then I looked at my youngest granddaughter, who is carefree and often mussed. Sooner or later, when I come in the door, she knows I am going to say, "Brush your hair." It is very fine, thick and beautiful, and tangles easily. Hopefully that will be something she will remember about me someday and smile. Currently, she rolls her eyes. But she does it. Her father once said I told him to tie his shoes more often than I told him I loved him. But he still knows I love him. Maybe I'm anal about that, too. Can anal be another word for steadfast?

Huh. A peek at how others see me, and an unexpected picture. Maybe I really WAS a good bureaucrat.