There’s no place like home. Most of us genuinely and justifiably believe that our respective hometowns are very special. There is no doubt that they really are. We can get a bit overindulgent with such belief though. We tend to assume that social problems of all sorts are worse within our own Communities than they are in other Communities that we do not identify so much with.
No place is perfect. Most towns of significant population in America must contend with some degree of poverty, unemployment and homelessness nowadays. Even more contend with some degree of crime. Addiction has become an epidemic. Mental illness continues to proliferate. Conservatives blame liberals. Liberals blame conservatives. Lions and tigers and bears, OH MY!
To make matters worse, some believe that other Communities, both near and far, send the less fortunate of their respective societies here. Such Communities supposedly compel those who benefit from their generosity and willingness to assume the expenses of travel, to board airplanes, trains and buses to Felton. Communities within minimal proximity purportedly use Uber.
So, . . . where are they? Where are all those who arrived at the train station or airport here in Felton from somewhere else? Where are the airport and train station? Of those who ride local buses or use Uber, who got just one of their fares paid by another municipality who wanted them to leave? We are acquainted with all of the less fortunate here. These are simple questions.
When we help someone from here get to somewhere else, it is only because of some sort of opportunity at the destination, such as employment or a domestic situation. If the less fortunate of other Communities come here, it is likely for the same reasons. They are now likely employed and living in homes.
‘Cold of Absence’. That is the direct translation. Is sounds prettier in Spanish, perhaps alluringly exotic. In reality, it is a sad song of unrequited love, composed by Gali Galeano of Columbia in 1981. I knew none of that until I looked it up online a moment ago. I knew ‘Frio de Ausencia’ only as the name of a tired old Chevrolet on a farm I worked on after I graduated high school.
No one knows why it was named ‘Frio de Ausencia’. I asked. The name was painted in black letters across the front of the gray hood. It makes no more sense to me all these years later than it did then. I do miss it though. It was such a simple and somehow stylish old pickup, at a time when contemporary vehicles innately lacked such qualities. It did anything we needed it to do.
I went off to college and never saw Frio de Ausencia again. A young man whom I worked with, who was a few years older than I was at the time, took it with him when he relocated to Gilroy. Everyone else I worked with there that summer is now deceased. The farm was developed into a tract of homes, where many more people are now enjoying their respective place and time.
In this place and time, here and now, absence is something we often notice. It is not necessarily cold though. Over the years, some of us have relocated for employment or more comfortable domestic situations. Some of us who are still here are too busy with resumption of careers and domestic lifestyles to socialize like we did when we lacked to some degree in such obligations.
As much as we might miss our friends, and notice their absence, it is gratifying to know that they are generally much happier and healthier than they were before improving their respective situations. Such absence is a tolerable consequence of progress. As silly as it might seem to those unfamiliar with our society, we would rather notice their absence than enjoy their presence.
Apologies for the delay of posting an article this week. It became necessary to postpone the topic I started writing about.
Finally! The flowering crabapple in front of Felton Presbyterian Church is properly pruned! It is a bit early in autumn for such pruning, and the pruning is a bit more severe than it should have been, but it is finally done! The tree should bloom well in spring, and grow normally through summer. It is what I concentrated on, but is really only one of several workday projects.
Most of the work involved maintenance
and cleaning of the facilities, which must be done even when all goes
well in the minimal landscape. A big refrigerator from Taylor Hall
was brought outside where it was defrosted and cleaned. Cobwebs were
brought down. Debris from the trees was blown and removed. A skylight
was repaired. There were quite a few chores on the list.
The most unusual task, which was added
to the original list, was the cleaning of the darkened dusty spots on
the insulated ceiling of Taylor Hall. No one really knows how they
got there, or what to do about them, or even what the strange
insulation of the ceiling consists of. Ultimately, after washing was
found to be impractical, a distinctly dusty patch was effectively
The few remaining cypress trees
between the north boundary of the parking lot and A&W still need
significant work. It would not be practical to prune them completely,
since they will likely be removed as they succumb to disease within
the next few years. However, lower growth that is either obtrusive to
adjacent parking spaces, or just plain unsightly, should be pruned
It is a significant project that I
could use some help with during the next workday.
The next work day has not yet been
scheduled. I hope to be informed about it soon enough to write about
Why is someone in Ecuador reading
about us? What about France? Did they just come here expecting to
find information about Tom Felton who acted as Draco Malfoy of those
creepy Harry Potter movies? There is certainly no problem with anyone
reading what they want to on the internet. It just seems odd that
there are others outside our Community who take interest in us.
Do any of us know much, or anything at
all, about others like us in the Philippines? What about those in
Nigeria? Do we read about others like us in other regions of
California? How are they like us? How are they different? There are
many variables, such as culture, climate, resources and government.
Some may be in better situations than we are in. It is likely worse
Ironically, we become less interesting
as our situations improve. Those coming here for insight into our
unique lifestyles will find less to read about as our individual
lifestyles become less . . . unique. So many of us have regained
domestic lifestyles and gainful employment during the past few years
that there are only a few of us who still need to do so. That is not
What is almost as good as a lack of
interesting issues within our own group, is a lack of drama from
outside. Hate groups are being recognized for what they are, and are
In this regard, boring is good. We
know that things change, and that there will always be new issues
developing. For now, we should just appreciate the slow but steady
improvement, while new issues develop slightly slower than old issues
get resolved. Perhaps our episodic improvements and good news are
rare commodities that some of our audience come here to read about.
Wasn’t that what the forecast was? There was a 9% chance of precipitation over night? I know it is difficult to say. With all the modern technology available for such predictions, such figures change constantly. Regardless, most of us don’ t take a 9% chance of precipitation seriously. It rarely means anything, and even when it does, it is rarely more than a few drops off the eaves.
Realistically, what came through early
this morning was not much more than a few drops off the eaves, but it
was enough to remind us of what time of year this is. Pleasantly warm
and dry weather is predicted through the week. In October though, the
weather can be expected to slowly get cooler and wetter. It is
impossible to say when it will rain next, but we know that it will.
Fortunately, there are very few of us
who presently lack shelter. Those of us who are living outside are
reasonably outfitted to do so. If necessary, tarps and a bit of dry
bedding are available from where they are stored. We can always get
more. Homelessness is not easy, particularly as summer becomes
autumn, and then winter. We do what we must to get through the
We are also very fortunate to live in
such a remarkably compassionate Community, and within such a mild
climate. The resources that are available to those of us who might
need them are provided by others in the Community, most of whom live
in homes and are inexperienced with the difficulties of homelessness.
Not many Communities are so generous and compassionate.
Of course, the climate helps too. We need not contend with the severely cold and snowy weather that other regions experience during winter. After the earlier drizzle, the sky is already clear.
Felton is no place to go hungry. There is too much generosity and abundance for that. Those of us who need more produce than we can afford might get the rest of what we need from ‘Food Distribution‘. Neighbors and local stores regularly bring surpluses to the homeless. There is very often excess that must be taken and stored by those of us with freezers and refrigerators.
The big pile of goods that was delivered to the Graham Hill Road Bridge over Zayante Creek almost two weeks ago has not yet been completely distributed to those who can use it. It will most certainly be distributed as the message that was delivered with it instructed. It will just take a bit more time for such a generous contribution. It included so much more than groceries!
Clothing and bedding are often donated
to those who can use them. They are not perishable like fresh
groceries are. In fact, there is presently some minor clothing and a
little bit of bedding in storage. Recently, someone who was emptying
out a barn brought a pickup full of bicycles to Felton Covered Bridge
Park for anyone who could use one. Yes, the generosity is astounding!
That is not even the total extent of
it! (But wait! There’s more!) People sometimes seek out the
unemployed around town, whom they can hire for odd jobs around the
farm or home. On rare occasion, some are offered more permanent jobs.
Over the past many years, a few of the homeless here have even been
offered temporary shelter until they found more permanent homes.
Perhaps we should not be surprised by
such generosity. Many of us were generous when we had resources to
share with the less fortunate. Besides, we all know what sort of
Community Felton is.
It is THE place to be, and a few of us will be there in just two hours.
Lunch is served at noon every Tuesday at Felton Presbyterian
Everyone is welcome. There is always more than enough to go
around, and some of us take leftovers for later. It is usually
nothing fancy, but sometimes it is, and it is always appreciated.
Some might think of it as a weekly luncheon for the homeless who
lack adequate food or the ability to cook decently. Some of us
receive clothing, toiletries, bedding or even tarps or tents that are
donated by parishioners. Some get referrals for employment or
housing. However, only a few who attend are homeless. Many attend
because so many of our friends are there. It is a great place for
social networking and catching up on local news.
It really is the sort of Community that a Church should be, even
though only a few of us who attend luncheon are parishioners of
Felton Presbyterian Church. The generosity and compassion are
astounding. I would mention a few more examples, but do not want to
promote exploitation of the realistically limited resources.
Luncheon at Saint John’s Catholic Church is around noon every
Thursday, just after Food Distribution at Community Bridges (or
Mountain Community Resources [MCR]), but that is a topic for another
Well, as I mentioned above, lunch will be in about two hours. Some
of us get there as much an hour early for coffee and pastries. I like
to get to town about an hour prior to that, shortly after ten or so,
just to catch up on the goings on, and to see if anyone is in need of
anything that we can track down. Therefore, I should be on my way.