Spring and Kate’s Yahrzeit Moon

Just before the wedding. Gwangju, 2016

Monday gratefuls: Saltzmans. Ode. The Ancient Brothers. Climate change. Kep. Acting. Kate, always Kate. Joe and Seoah’s 6th anniversary. A bright, sunshiny day. Formula 1 2021. What a year. Road trips. Hawai’i. Philippines. Pacific. Asia. Gwangju. Singapore. Beijing. Korea. Incheon. Cambodia. Angkor. Siem Reap. Thailand. China Town, Bangkok. The Mekong. The Ukraine. Russia. Formation of the elements. Kabbalah.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: The Johnson Sisters


Ancient Brothers. Theme: Home. I related how Alexandria, Indiana shaped my sense of home. Not so much my family home, which I experienced as a largely neutral environment, neither especially nurturing nor abusive, (Mom was an exception.), but the town itself. In my youth during the 1950’s into my high school days of the early 1960’s Alexandria was a vibrant small town of around 5,000.

Harrison, the main street, had two grocery stores, two dime stores, two drug stores, Bailey’s and Record’s, banks, Guilkey’s shoe repair shop, a newsstand, Broyle’s furniture, Ferman’s women’s wear, Baumgartner’s men’s wear, Mahony’s shoes, two movie theater’s: The Alex and The Town, the Bakery, Collin’s barbershop and others I’m not recalling at the moment.

We lived first in an apartment building, then in a neighborhood with many, many kids. It was the baby boom. East Monroe Street had families with children. We played together at night, during the day on weekends, and all summer long. When we moved to Canal Street, we were only a couple of blocks from downtown.

I worked here several years. Its gone now.

Until I went to work at Cox’s supermarket as a shelf stocker, I carried the Times-Tribune where my dad was sometimes editor, sometimes reporter, always ad salesman. Small shop. I must have had my first paper route around age 9.

This was home. All of Alexandria. Where my paper routes ran, where my schools were from elementary through junior high and high school, where the businesses were, along Pipe Creek, the junkyard where we hunted for steelies in old railroad car wheels, the field which had our secret hideout. That steep hill for sledding and the even steeper one where I was arrested on my skateboard. (BTW: I won my case by pointing out that the ordinance said the streets were for the use of wheeled vehicles.)

The city guy only emerged during seminary. He loved neighborhoods more than the city. That’s why he took up their cause in the politics of both Minneapolis and St. Paul. They felt more like home.

Kate decapping a honey frame. Andover, 2013

Andover never felt like home in its exurban blahness. Its chain fast-food places, Walmarts and Costcos, no sidewalks reality. Except at our home where Kate and I dug deep into mother earth and she became our neighborhood.

Shadow Mountain, Aspen Park, Evergreen. Feel like home. Clerks know me. A waitress says, “I’ll show your buddy in.” when I showed up early. I see members of CBE at the grocery stores and in restaurants. The Mountains and the Wild Neighbors and the Mountain Streams, all home. People I know act in the local theater productions, sing in the local choir, the Evergreen Chorale.

Home is where you hang your heart. Yes, Ode. Yes. And, it’s also where others hang their hearts with yours.

Elk in Evergreen from Next door

Place is very important to me. The Mountains, stolid, varied, Treed and bare Rock. The Streams that cascade down them in these Snow Melt months. The Mule Deer, the Elk that cause traffic jams in Evergreen and the three Bull Elk that visit our yard each year for Dandelions. The red and black foxes. Those beautiful black Abert Squirrels with the tufted ears. Red Squirrels. Canada Jays. Mockingbirds. Rabbits. Bears. Mountain Lions. Marmoset. Beaver. Moose. The Lodgepole Pines and the Aspen. The Willows and Dogwood along the Streams.

They know me and I know them. A neighborhood. Like that small town, Alexandria, where my heart got imprinted with being known by others, even others I knew only slightly. With places there that had a rich history of play.

I also worked here. A factory now demolished. Johns-Manville.

That town no longer exists. Sadly. It no longer feels like home. The wreckage of General Motors during the 1970’s tore my little town apart. Gusts of recessions. Walmarts. Small strip malls on the outskirts of town. Housing once neat and well-kept gone sour. Dilapidated. Downtown mostly boarded up. And yet I still seek the sort of community it taught me to expect as home.

This entry was posted in Aging, Anoka County, Bees, Colorado, Family, Feelings, Fourth Phase, Friends, Garden, Jefferson County, Memories, Minnesota, Mountains, Our Land and Home, Plants, Shadow Mountain, US History. Bookmark the permalink.

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