The Report ... the red shoes, racism and Kool-Aid
They were sitting on top of a trash can outside the entrance to a supermarket we frequent. A pair of red shoes. Women's slip-on loafers, worn but still wearable. Take us if you need us.
You couldn't miss seeing them as you entered the store. They were obviously not trash because they could have just been tossed into the bin on which they were resting. No, they were ... a gift. If they had a card attached it might have said: "Times are tough. I don't need these any more. Save your money for food. And water, if they have any inside."
But there was no card. Just the shoes, speaking silently. If the shoes fit, please take them. Do not be too proud. They have served me well. Wear them in good health.
There's a lot of pain and anger in the world right now. Also, fear, frustration, impatience, confusion and resentment, compounded by an appalling lack of responsible leadership by many of those elected to provide it. So we are left to our own devices. Generosity. Sharing. Compassion. Small gestures. All we need do is notice.
- By the way ... A few weeks back, I wrote about some "famous" people whose paths had crossed with mine and invited readers to share similar experiences. Here are a couple of my favorites:
"I suspect this will be rejected as 'no words were exchanged,' but my run-in with Robin Williams was all in 'mime.' Thus, words could not be spoken. In a world of exemptions I now claim this as mine. ... In the early '80s, while being part of an 'art glass' company, I was coming out of a meeting with architects somewhere in Manhattan. As I bounded the steps to the sidewalk I literally (and I mean literally) ran into Robin and two women. We reared up inches from each other's noses, made faces, feigned shock and dismay, rotated around each other like an old cartoon and slowly backed away from each other fending each other off with glares and shock. No big deal, but fun to recall and relate."
"Ok, here goes .... Trumpeters extraordinaire Raphael Mendez, Harry James, Dizzy Gillespie, Doc Severinsen, and Al Hirt. (Yes, I used to play trumpet and heard each of them perform in concert.) Pete Seeger, Allen Ginsburg, Jane Fonda, poet Robert Lowell, Jules Feiffer, Rev. William Sloane Coffin Jr., Dr. Benjamen Spock, actors Judith Malina and Julian Beck of the Living Theater, photographer Karl Bissenger, Grace Paley, Tom Hayden, Dave Dellinger, Dorothy Day, Phil and Daniel Berrigan, Tuli Kupferberg of the Fugs, Martin Luther King Jr., Rev. Al Lowry, and Jesse Jackson."
(Jim noted that many of his meetings were the result of his active participation in the civil-rights movement.)
Unfortunately, the internet has misfiled or erased details on Sean Kober's dinner with Floyd Patterson, Moe Mitterling's interview with Roy Campanella, Debra Scacciaferro's meetings with famous authors and someone (!) shaking hands with Princess Di. Apologies and thanks.
- By the way ... All it took was a worldwide explosion of demonstrations condemning police violence against blacks for the NFL to recognize that Colin Kaepernick taking a knee during the National Anthem was a remarkably restrained and dignified way of expressing his outrage. Now, some team needs to give him a job as a quarterback.
- By the way ... While we're at it, how about NASCAR finally acknowledging that all those Confederate flags at their races were not a symbol of a proud moment in our nation's history? It's as if millions of Americans white Americans suddenly realized what the Civil War was all about. And who lost.
- By the way ... It takes an extraordinary amount of chutzpah to go around calling COVID-19 a hoax, not wearing a mask, and encouraging everyone to go about business as usual and to then host a large political rally in a state where cases of the virus are spiking and at which attendees will be required to sign a waiver of responsibility for the host if the attendees happen to, you know, get COVID-19. What it takes to sign that waiver is an extraordinary amount of Kool-Aid.
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