G.A. Minutes 8-23-14
It seems like the whole town is partying today. There are so many events going on that it’s not possible to name them all. It can’t be because these are the last days of summer. Oh no, we didn’t get actual summer weather until July this year. We are still owed at least 1 more month of heat and we plan to collect.
As we arrive at CJM we see the street is blocked off at the intersection just past the Memorial space. We remember that our friend, who has recently opened a club up the street, is having an anniversary celebration tonight. It looks like it’s going to be a pretty big doings.
It’s a bit chilly tonight with a gusty east wind. We’ll get the fire going right away.
There are people on the back ledge and some of them help us unload and set up. The snacks are out and folks are lining up for a cup of good hot coffee.
A friend who is a well-known and longtime local anarchist, peace activist and Occupy supporter rides up on his bike. He’s in his late 60s and was in a serious bicycle accident about a year ago. Most would have been crippled for life under those circumstances but not our friend. Because he was in such excellent physical condition when he had the accident, he’s back riding his bike again.
Another friend, a well-known community activist, artist and all around “gypsy woman” also joins us. She’s going to the party but felt like spending some time with us beforehand. She tells us the street is blocked off because there is a cover charge to get in to buy drinks and watch the bands.
The bands will be playing in the street so everyone will be able to hear them. Most of the neighborhood people are strictly the BYOB type so drinks won’t be much of a problem either.
The club owner is a pretty good guy so that makes us think that perhaps his logistics are a way of allowing his regular patrons to party without the street people while still allowing street people to enjoy the party also. It will be interesting to see how things work out.
The music is starting. It’s loud but it sounds good. We can’t even hear the person sitting next to us talk so we just sit back and listen to the good rock sounds.
Some of the people on the ledge are dancing on the corner but no one appears to be particularly thrilled by what they are hearing. Slowly they all drift away. Most grab a cup of coffee and a cookie as they go.
When the band stops, some Occupiers tell us about the 25th Anniversary Party of Loaves N Fishes that they attended earlier. The street down by the LNF houses was blocked off and there was a ton of delicious, healthy potluck. Several bands, a Maypole dance, face painting, baked goods sale, even 2 gorgeous horses were among the many things going on at the celebration.
The Gypsy Woman tells us about the City’s plan to cut down all the fantastic 100 year old trees that line our 4th St neighborhood corridor from 6th Ave E to about 14th Ave E. What?!?
We had heard a rumor about this plan but didn’t believe that the City would dare to do something so foolhardy. Apparently, we were wrong. Gypsy woman says, “Apparently it’s a done deal. It doesn’t matter what protests or meetings are held, they’re already set up to do it. They say they have to widen the street to fix sewer lines or something. They say they will plant new trees when they’re done.
We all groan. We’ll have to see what we can find out. As if our plates weren’t full enough already.
The music is getting ready to start up again. The Anarchist has to take off as darkness is falling and he has no lights on his bike. Gypsy Woman goes off to the party. A few street people, who don’t need to talk all the time, remain sitting with us.
The next band is exceptionally good. When they are finished we begin a conversation about the goings on in Ferguson, Missouri. We attempt to imagine what it must be like to live under the constant pressure of racism. Although we can’t really imagine we do empathize.
An Occupier states, “I was reading an article the other day that said we have to really hang on to the Ferguson event and not let up. Ferguson could be the spark that ignites a nationwide civil rights movement. The article said that we can’t let Michael Brown’s murder be just another flash in the pan like Trayvon Martin and all the countless multitudes of young black men who have been murdered in this country because of racism”.
Our friend, the retired man from the neighborhood, passes by and stops to talk with 1 of the Occupiers. As has been his custom for years, when he leaves he gives us a generous monetary donation. This contribution will help us to purchase a new load of firewood.
As the next band prepares to take the stage, an Occupier comments, “When I remembered our friend’s celebration I figured we’d have a pretty quiet G.A. with mostly just us. I forgot about the part where we wouldn’t be able to hear each other talk”. We all laugh.
A street man who had been sitting with us returns to our circle. He had tried to sneak in the front entrance to the party but 2 members of the DPD were guarding the entrance. He then tried to sneak in through the side entrance but no luck there either. “Oh well” he says, “I can hear the music just fine from here and I can get a six pack of beer down the street for 4 bucks so I can drink too”. He settles down with us to listen.
The older woman from Mississippi has been listening and lightly dancing on the corner for a while. When we met her years ago, she was very humble, soft spoken and overly polite. Her manner of dress was that of a country churchgoing woman. For the last several months we notice she has taken to wearing a lot of makeup, tight and revealing clothing and standing alone on the corner late into the night.
We don’t know what is going on with her and we’re not gonna ask but she sure has taken us by surprise.
The fire is dying and an Occupier makes movements like he is preparing to pack up. Another Occupier says, “Just 1 more small log? It’s really nice out here with the fire and the music is good”. The other Occupiers agree and so 1 more small log it is.
When the log is finished, 1 other Occupier says, “I wish we could stay. Charlie Parr is just about to come on”. Unfortunately, the Occupiers who carry most of the G.A. supplies in their vehicles have an early appointment tomorrow so must leave. They say, “Well you guys can still stay. Everyone in the neighborhood knows you. Just set yourself down on the back ledge and listen to Charlie”.
As one of the departing Occupiers goes toward her vehicle, Charlie Parr begins his sweet soul, back porch, foot stomping, strumming and singing.
The Occupier says to Mississippi Woman, “There you go. Now you got you some REAL music”. Mississippi Woman laughs and nods in agreement.
See you all next Tuesday.