A Visit Cut Short

I was about to start writing this, when I got more and more annoyed at a phoebe flying around me. It got SO loud. I looked up, and she was sitting right on the porch with me. Missed that photo op!

Speaking of photos, you might enjoy a visit to the Master Naturalist blog, where I posted some photos of yesterday’s field trip. I’ll have more later.

Not to worry about missed opportunities, though. I got plenty of photos today, since my dear former work friend, Mike Y, finally came to visit after quite an absence. I sure was happy to give him a hug and show him what’s going on around here.

Feed the birds…

Of course we visited the chickens, who have finally figured out how to climb up their ladder. See proof below.

Chicken butt!

We had lunch at Dutch Towne, where he fit right in with his VFW hat. Too bad he took it off to eat.

Hey.

I then showed him all around the Pope Residence and introduced him to the family. He really liked the upstairs bedroom, where he just had to try on the church lady hat.

He’s in heaven.

He also found a 3D Jesus, which we had not noticed before, which I gave him as a souvenir. We then ambled over to the Hermit Haus, where Lee tried to convince him to also take Buddy Jesus home. But, no. We still have him.

Two Jesuses are better than one.

I got a real treat when we went up to the sanctuary and Mike fired up the organ and played me a rusty version of the Marine Hymn. He even used proper pedal technique. I was impressed. He had me take many photos of himself preaching and worshiping, which I do hope he made into a photo montage!

Rock on, Mike!

On our way back to the ranch and a glimpse of the Nash house, his check engine light came on. Ugh. So, we cut the day short, and he headed to the auto parts store to see what error he got. It appeared safe to drive home, so off he went.

As fondly as he’s looking at this guy, I think he will return soon.

He WILL visit again soon! He missed Sunday dinner!

Do I Have a Right to Say Anything on This Subject?

Hey, Suna, what subject might that be, I hear the chorus asking. Well, that subject is sort of two things, but both ways of thinking about the world that sadden me, because they eliminate so much potential people AND they are self perpetuating: the poverty mindset and entitlement.

Mandi is celebrating a birthday. She looks like someone who’s doing good.

My friend Mandi has loads of personal experience in this area, and I’m happy to let her speak. She spent much of her life in a “poverty mindset” when it came to finances, especially, and she’s seen what people who feel they are entitled to a good living just because they exist. Check out these three posts she wrote over where she blogs, our Hermit Haus Redevelopment site:

In her first post, Mandi shared this:

As I have pointed out before, I am not super wealthy person. I am overcoming the poverty mindset myself. I read a great article, found here that states, “38% of American households making $40,000-$100,000 per year could not cover $400 for an emergency without going into debt.”

Hermit Haus Redevelopment blog, December 5, 2020

Scary, huh? She doesn’t want to be one of those people anymore.

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Classism Today: Keeping the Good Folks Down

Caveat time: I am aware that classism is a fact all over the world. Today I focus on small towns and use Cameron as a specific example. This doesn’t mean I think less of its citizens. It’s a great place full of many kind, caring friends and with much warmth.

Yesterday I talked about how my father came up from poverty thanks to hard work and talent. Yet, you couldn’t take the Chattanooga out of the boy; he had a rather intense (and sometimes incomprehensible) accent, and his broken nose and funny ear testified to his past as a boxer. He didn’t always look middle class.

The moon was lovely last night. I’m grateful for its calming energy. All pictures in this post are designed to make me remember good things in my life.

But, he was allowed out of the shackles of his past by kind friends, coworkers and others who saw his kind heart, great humor, and intelligence. He was lucky. He also moved away from his hometown where the Kendall boys had quite a reputation for mischief, from that I hear.

What If You Aren’t So Lucky?

While I’m noticing many newcomers to down, Cameron is a place where many of the families have been there long, long time. There are surnames in this town that I see in the newspapers from the early 1900s (by the way, this includes Mexican names whose families were here before this was the United States and long-time black residents). Some families have done well, and are the scions of the community, populating all the right churches, the right organizations, the country club, etc. Others are respected business owners known for their charity and work for the community. Many are successful ranchers and farmers who live outside of town behind gates proclaiming their ranch names and fencing that costs more than many homes.

Ah, trees shining in the winter sun. I love going for walks on brisk meteorological winter days.

The children of these families are beloved by their school teachers, who come from the elite families or are their friends. These children dress well, participate in the important clubs, win dozens of 4-H ribbons, are in the prom court, play on the football team, are cheerleaders, etc. Nice kids. They also enjoy some leniency at school, since everyone knows they are good kids from good families. Sound familiar? Sound like where you came from? Sure! This is the norm in the US, especially in small towns.

What about the others? Some of the surnames in town have different reputations. They are assumed (because of how their parents, grandparents, or distant relatives were troublemakers, lived in the “bad” part of town (literally on the wrong side of the tracks in Cameron), or had other nefarious connections) to be the kind of folks you don’t want to associate with. These kids may not have parents who can afford all the activities. They are the ones who get picked on because they smell funny, live in an ugly house, have parents with drug or alcohol problems (or their relatives do). They go to the churches who dare to accept everyone, no matter what their family history. This, too, is not surprising.

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Ghosts from the Past (good ones)

I’m not sure why this is the case, but when I was younger, I never looked back. When I left a place or an institution, I was really bad at maintaining ties. For example, I didn’t remain in touch with any friends from high school (other than my boyfriend, since he was with me in college and most of grad school) until the last few years. Facebook helped with that. And while I do have a couple of grad school friends, such as my favorite fellow student (that’s Steve H) and favorite professor (that’s Georgia M), I’ve lost touch with most people other than a random hello.

I lived here for four years, Murphree Hall. The room with the balcony was really cool. The Rathskeller was right across the road. Handy.

What about my four years of growth and learning at the University of Florida (where I never managed to see any of my high school friends who were there at the same time)? I have one, count ’em one, friend from my undergrad years. That’s Liz from Japanese class. Someone has to share those Swann-sensei memories with me.

That was true until this week, when I finally got back in touch with the only undergrad teacher I’d considered a friend. I’d thought about him often, through the years, and always had held him up as an example of how you really get educated in important things like social skills and political dialogue (that was drinking extremely cheap beer at the Rathskeller every week for three or four years). But, I hadn’t been in touch with him for a very long time, though I’d looked off and on.

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Working on Community

When we first moved to the ranch, I was worried that it would be isolating living so far out here. That’s what Lee, the hermit, wanted. I wanted to have a community to enjoy life with, as well as some peace and quiet. I’m happy to report we are well on our way to a real community out here.

We missed the storms that hit Austin last night, but got cool clouds.

We were relieved to find a place near our friends Sara and Ralph, who warmly welcomed us when we first got here and really helped us set things up. And what would I do without my horse riding companion? Life would not be the same without these folks. We’ve also been lucky to make friends with Cathy, who lived at the cabin when we first arrived, and Tyler, who lives there now and does my snake handling.

When we added Mandi and her family over at Rattlesnake, wow, we could have been happier. They are so helpful in so many ways. One son cares for the horses and hens when I’m in Austin, and another has been helping Ralph with his mowing. Grateful for them.

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Friends (My Favorite Word)

We’re still in Florida after spending three days in greater Orlando. Monday we endured sales presentations, then stayed at the resort the rest of the day in a stupor. We got out and did a few things yesterday, though (Lee stayed at the condo and worked).

Anita and I did our traditional vacation pedicure at a random local place that seemed to have been there a long time. They had great new massage chairs and nice staff/clientele. A great start to a day!

The woman painted little stripes on my toes.

Then, to continue with girly stuff, we visited the nearby outlet mall, and was struck again at how similar suburban institutions are around the US. We could have been anywhere, except for palm trees and signs in Chinese (that was new!).

It’s nice to have a friend like Anita who will do random relaxation things with you! Glad she’s my travel buddy!

Crazy straws! Now that’s vacation fun!

We had to get in more time at the “quiet pool” having tropical drinks, which we’d also done Monday. We had shade, pool, hot tub, and a nice server. Ahh. Even Lee had fun and swam!

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