G.A. Minutes 8-1-15
When we drive up to the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial this evening we find a big Duluth Police Department SUV with all its lights flashing, parked in the entry way.
A female officer is down on her knees beside the back ledge. She’s taking many pictures of the ground and cement.
We decide to wait and see what’s going on. We park where we can and just watch her. After 5 minutes or so she gets up and drives away. Hmmmm………..
It’s another hot night with temperatures still in the 80s. There’s a strong cool breeze blowing so the weather feels close to perfect.
Our friend, the grey haired woman is waiting for us. She says, “I’m just returning from eating dinner at the Mission. It was so weird, usually the place is filled to capacity but tonight almost no one was there”.
This comment reminds us that it’s the 1st of the month. That means the street people who receive small government checks will have been paid today. If they use their little bit of money to get high, they’ll be broke again in a day or 2.
Some of the street folks hang on to their monthly pittance using it for essentials like toothpaste, shampoo, socks and underwear. Most just treat themselves to a couple of doses of their substance of choice.
As far as the Occupiers are concerned, the 1st of the month means things will be very quiet at the Memorial as everyone has gone off somewhere to get their groove on. It can also mean many people will do their partying right at CJM and the surrounding area. We’ll have to wait and see.
A woman who stayed in our homeless camp years ago enters our circle. She takes the smudge dish saying, “I’m going to show you how my people do this”. She breaks off some of the sage leaves, puts them in the dish, adds fire then takes the burning sage to every person present in the space and spreads the smoke across each person’s body. Then she puts the dish back on the table and leaves. We are grateful for her attention.
Someone down the street has a generator running. It’s very loud; we need to raise our voices in order to be heard. A group of middle aged African American folks are sitting on the side ledge behind us. It seems they are all friends and are enjoying their interaction. We can hear their comments clearly so we think they must be talking very loud.
We notice many of our chairs have disappeared from the circle. The group behind us has been quietly taking them to sit on. That’s quite alright. They are all a little past the age where sitting on the ground is easy. It’s a good thing we have lots of chairs.
An Occupier reminds everyone, “Next Tuesday will be the CHUM National Night Out Picnic. I think we should all attend. Also, next weekend will be the annual Bayfront Blues Festival. We’ll probably be going to that also”.
Another Occupier reports, “After all these weeks of running around, I’m supposed to talk with the actual Fire Marshall on Monday. I hope we’ll be able to get things straightened out. However, it seems to me these government types enjoy dragging their feet”.
Another Occupier states, “Are you guys aware of that anti-drug campaign D.A.R.E. that has been propagandizing in the public school system for the last 40 or so years?” We all nod yes and he continues, “Well I just read that the people who run that program have come out in favor of legalizing marijuana”.
Another responds, “That makes a lot of sense. Most school children know at least a few adults who smoke marijuana and appear unharmed by it. If they want the kids to stay away from dangerous drugs then they’d better tell them the truth. Actually, the real truth is that alcohol is the most dangerous drug of all”.
The grey haired woman has been free store shopping again. She pulls a bunch of well-made clothes from her bag. Everyone takes a look. A female Occupier finds something she likes and tucks it away.
A street person questions, “Hey, did you see that cop taking pictures of the blood stains?”
We ask, “What blood stains?”
The person replies, “The ones on the back ledge”.
Of course we all have to go and take a look. There are some large splatter markings on the ledge and the floor beneath. They could be blood stains. The Occupiers have little expertise in these types of matters.
The man from Senegal arrives. We haven’t seen him in a long time. We look forward to talking with him.
However, he is immediately followed by at least a gazillion other people. The Memorial is jammed packed; folks are getting the last of the snacks and drinks. Everyone is friendly, in good spirits and yakking up a storm.
After the dust settles, we find the Senegalese guy is gone. The stylish older Native woman and the CHUM employment counselor are now in our circle.
So is that crazy white guy who worked for the evil landlord of our former homeless camp. We hardly recognize him. He looks and acts completely normal. As normal as anybody gets around here anyway.
One of the Occupiers notes, “Hey, the breeze is a little cool now. It would be o.k. to start up the fire but I suppose seeing as it’s 8:45pm, it’s too late to do so.?”
No sooner do the words come out of her mouth than the DPD cop makes an appearance. The officer gets out of her car and walks to about the middle of the site. She doesn’t speak to anyone, just turns, walks back to her car and drives off.
WTF? Was she sent to check and see if we had a fire going? Do the cops think we are a bunch of morons? Why would we have a fire going when the temperature is in the 80s? Somebody in this city is not playing with a full deck. It’s probably not the Occupiers.
Anyway, we start to clean up. An Occupier notices the stylish Native woman is not around but all of her gear is in the circle. The Occupier says, “Well I could take it with me and look for her tomorrow however, this is a lot of stuff. She might need it before I can find her”.
As luck would have it, the Spiritual Man shows up. He knows the Native woman so he and an Occupier gather the stuff together and take off down the street in search of the woman.
They find her passed out in a doorway. She is easily woken and very grateful her belongings have been rescued. The Spiritual Man knows where the woman lives and he will watch over her and make sure she gets home safely.
The Occupier returns to the Memorial. Most everything is packed up. It looks like the street is gearing up for a party. We hope everyone has a good time and that no one gets hurt.
We won’t be able to make it back here for at least a week. We’ll probably be back on Tuesday August 11th.