Thesaurus

Those of us who write sometime find a thesaurus to be useful for suggesting synonyms, euphemisms or similar alternatives to words that we are trying to avoid the use of. Synonyms might be useful to avert the redundancy of using a particular prominent word a few times in a single paragraph. Euphemisms might be less objectionable synonymous options to unpleasant words.

A thesaurus does not directly define words like a dictionary does, but by providing words of similar meanings, a thesaurus indirectly demonstrates how words are perceived by society. Such perceptions may be significantly different from actual definitions. Some may be completely inaccurate. Some synonyms, whether accurate or not, are potentially objectionable dysphemisms.

A comment in one of the newspapers I work for in Southern California described those who lived in homes destroyed by the Getty Fire as ‘outside the gates’. It took me a while to determine that this is a polite way of saying that they are homeless. To me, it seems to be more exclusionary than polite, but I have never tried the phrase. It prompted me to inquire with a thesaurus.

‘Homeless’ was the basic word I inquired the thesaurus about. Some alternatives are actually phrases that are too cumbersome to substitute for a single word.

“houseless, unhoused, displaced, unplaced, unestablished, unsettled” are simple euphemisms. Some of us are familiar with the first few.

“wandering, itinerant, vagabond, vagrant” are words that describe those who are transient, so do not apply to any of us who live here.

“destitute, estranged, desolate” could be accurate for some of us, although not contingent of homelessness. The last one seems . . . odd.

“derelict” seems to be more relevant to a carcass of an old Pontiac.

“disinherited, dispossessed” are more relevant to relationships with family and friends than a domestic situation.

“exiled, banished, outcast”?! We are not political refugees! (Okay, one of us is.)

“unwelcome, forsaken, friendless, uncared-for”?! How are these words even relevant to our respective domestic situations? Furthermore, how can any homeless (or houseless or unhoused or displaced or . . . ) person experience any of this here in our remarkably welcoming and caring Community of friends in Felton?!

Chili Cook Off

The Sixth Annual San Lorenzo Valley Chili Cook Off yesterday at Felton Covered Bridge Park was a fund raiser hosted by Felton Library Friends to benefit the new Felton Library and Nature Discovery Park. That is why tasting kits that were needed to participate were sold for $5. All of those $5 charges were collectively the funds that the fund raiser raised.

Of course, there was much more to it than that. No one would have attended if it was just about collecting funds. It was about a good time, with food, beverages and live music. A dozen or so chili chefs competed for prizes. Local business donated even more prizes for a raffle later in the day.

Contestants, volunteers and just about everyone who attends such events knows how to have a good time. $5 is a trivial charge to participate. Not many who pay put much though into it as contribution to fund raising. Procurement of resources for the Felton Library and Nature Discovery Park is very important, but so is doing the event right.

For several, doing the event right entailed including those who had neither the intention of participating, nor the minimal resources to do so. They delivered several and various bowls of chili to a few of us who were gathered at the picnic table closest to the parking lot. That is being seriously Community oriented!

I know this is not the best picture of a bunch of empty bowls and a few that I snatched from those who were still eating out of them, but it shows the variety of the chili. These were not contributed by one chef who wanted to lighten his load of leftovers, but from at least six different chefs. There were more empty bowls that had already been discarded.

Too Much Of A Good Thing

Generosity is a good thing. There happens to be an abundance of it here. In conjunction with the many other good things about our Community, the abundant generosity is what keeps a few of us from going hungry. Those who might happen to get into a bad situation several days before food distribution can easily find other meal and food programs nearby to stay well fed.

Sometimes, food even gets left for us at the picnic table near the parking lot at Felton Covered Bridge Park. Some of it is surplus from earlier events in the park, such as a birthday party or a picnic. On rare occasion, surplus food is delivered from events somewhere else, such as a wedding reception or a staff meeting. People actually go ‘that’ out of their way to share surplus food!

Generosity is certainly nothing new here. I wrote about it not too long ago. It sometimes involves other minor resources besides food, including clothing, bedding, tents, kitchen utensils, fuel, pet supplies, tarps, and on rare occasion, employment and housing opportunities. If too abundant, some of the non-perishable items can be stored until until someone has need for them.

Surplus perishable food that is not consumed in a timely manner is not so easy to accommodate. If we get to it quickly enough, some can be taken by those who can freeze or refrigerate it for later. Regardless of what happens to it, perishable food left in Felton Covered Bridge Park must be taken before wildlife makes a mess of it. Fortunately, so far, that has not been a problem.

However, there is slight but well founded concern that with such generosity and abundance of surplus, but fewer of us to benefit from it, there might eventually be potential for contributions of perishable food to attract undesirable wildlife. Ravens are notorious for taking unattended food, and leaving the wrappings strewn about. Raccoons and rats take what remains overnight.

Within the context of the collective ecosystem, scavenging surplus food is probably not a problem for the wildlife. The remaining mess of wrappings, and the waste of such graciously shared surplus, are the potential problems. Since the surplus food is being left for us, we must be attentive to how it might affect the environment, and not allow it to become a problem for others.

There certainly was no problem with this surplus food that was left early today. The fancy dried apricots and shelled walnuts to the right were quite a score. The sandwiches to the upper left were timely for lunch. Someone later brought salami and cheese to go with the remaining mixed crackers that were snacked on by many. Generosity and abundance go a long way in Felton.

9%

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 weather.

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.

San Lorenzo Valley & Scott’s Valley Meal and Food Programs – September 2019

This updated list was printed and distributed last Tuesday at Luncheon at Felton Presbyterian Church, which is listed here as ‘Free Lunch Tuesday’. This list is likely more comprehensive than any of us need it to be, since almost all of us can procure more than what we need without ever leaving Felton. Nonetheless, for those who may find it useful, the list is posted verbatim:

San Lorenzo Valley & Scott’s Valley Meal and Food Programs

September 2019

Tuesdays through Saturdays (also 4th Mondays). Valley Churches United, Food Pantry and Food Distribution programs. Tues – Thurs 9 – 11:45 and Saturday 10 – 11:45. 1st and 3rd Fridays 9 – 11 are for seniors only. USDA Distribution on 4th Monday 10 – 1. For SLV, Scotts Valley, and Bonny Doon residents. Ben Lomond, corner of Highway 9 across from Ben Lomond Market, 336-8258.

Tuesdays, noon. Felton Presbyterian Church, 6090 Highway 9, across fro Rite-Aid, 335-6900. “Free Lunch Tuesday

Tuesdays, 2:30 – 6:30. Felton Farmers’ Market, Hwy 9 and Russell. Up to $10 matched when customers use their Cal Fresh (EBT/SNAP) cards. The extra money must be used for fresh produce at the market. (May – Oct)

Wednesdays, 12 – 2. San Agustin Catholic Church, 257 Glenwood Dr. Scotts Valley (next to the fire station). 438 3633. Food Distribution.

Thursdays, 10:30 – 1:30 (doors open 9:00 – 3:00). St. John’s Catholic Church, down from Rite-Aid, Highway 9 and Russell, Felton. 335-4657 . “Thursday Lunch.”

Thursdays, 11 – 12. Mountain Community Resources (a Community Bridges program), 6134 Highway 9, across from Rite Aid, Felton 335-6600 Food Distribution.

Thursdays, 5:00 – 6:30, St. Philip’s Episcopal Church, 5271 Scotts Valley Drive, Scotts Valley. 438-4360 Food Distribution.

Fridays, 5 – 5:30 p.m.. GateWay Bible Church, 5000 Granite Creek Road, Scotts Valley, CA 95066. 438-0646. “Fridays at Five” food distribution.

Sunday, September 29, 2:00 SS Peter & Paul Orthodox Church, 9980 Highway 9, Ben Lomond, north of town, 336-2228. Dinner.

Meals on Wheels (a Community Bridges program), hot meals at dining centers in Ben Lomond (M-F, 336-5366) and Scotts Valley (Wednesdays, 438-8666). Reservations required, $2.50 requested donation, for age 60+ (limited exceptions). Meals delivered if eligible, 464-3180.

Grey Bears Brown Bag Program, weekly bag of produce to be picked up in Boulder Creek, Ben Lomond, Felton or Scotts Valley. Delivery available for homebound seniors. $30 annual membership fee, for age 55+. www.greybears.org (479-1055).

Except as noted, all programs are free of charge – Schedules are subject to change.

Submit Changes/Additions to slvsvmeals@gmail.com

(Please note that dinner on Sunday [September 29] at Saints Peter and Paul Orthodox Church is not a recurring event, although other dinners will be scheduled later.)

Honk If You’re Hateful

This is not another of several updates to the original ‘Honk If You’re Hateful’. This is an explanation of why that series of posts was deleted. The title is the same merely to put it into context.

The original post was about someone who regularly honked the horn of a vehicle when driving over a local bridge, presumably to annoy the homeless who were believed to live underneath. The honking was executed on such a precise schedule that it was recorded on sequential videos, which were shared within the context of the original post, as well as the subsequent updates.

A previous request for deletion of these videos, by the person who had been honking, had been denied.

However, something happened this morning that compelled compliance to that earlier request. A big pile of bedding, canned food, ramen, hashbrowns, bottled water, a jacket, a water bottle, a tarp, a flashlight and perhaps a few other items, was left at a gate near the bridge where the honking had been occurring. This message was with the pile of goods:

Aug 12

This is a peace offering. Please give these items to anyone you think needs them. I am not hateful, just upset and frustrated about some things that relate directly to this bridge. I won’t explain further because I just want to resolve this in a peaceful manner. I saw that you took down that misc. info today so this is my peaceful reaction to that. I would like to say that I have been randomly helping people in Felton who needed it for years with sandwiches, coffee ect. My most recent act was Easter morning at 6:45 am to an older gentleman who had no jacket. I gave him the 120.oo jacket off my back (in front of the coffee shop). We may or may not agree about a lot of things but I gave it some thought. What you are doing is sticking up for the little guy and that is something that I admire actually. [peace sign]

We all know what it is like to be ‘upset and frustrated’. We also know that we all sometimes express such frustration inappropriately. I posted the videos and associated unpleasantries online because I was frustrated by what was happening, but lacked a means for constructive expression of that frustration. That is no excuse, but merely an explanation.

Although vague in this regard, the letter seems to indicate that there is a possibility that the honking was not necessarily intended to annoy any of us directly, but was merely an expression of frustration ‘about some things that relate directly to this bridge’. I believe that we all know how justifiable that is!

There is nothing vague about the jacket given to one of our veteran friends on Easter morning. If I remember correctly, it included coffee and doughnuts.

In the picture below, of the goods delivered this morning, there are four big cans of beef stew to the upper right. These cans may seem to be too big for those of us who lack refrigeration. However, with a bit more added, they will work nicely for luncheon at Felton Presbyterian Church at noon on Tuesdays. There is always plenty to go around, and everyone is welcome.