Whoops! More Good Folks

I love to report on good-deed-doers.

This morning as Alice was making pancakes, I told her I was going out to get the newspaper, one of my little morning chores.

Leaving the front door I saw the paper on the ground under the tree in the parkway where the ground rises a little and there are exposed roots.  Using my cane I got down the stairs and onto the sidewalk, but I didn’t take enough notice of the ground and went down on my face.

By now I think everyone knows that an old guy lacks the strength and agility to get himself up after a fall.  In warm weather, windows open, I would have called for Alice, but I knew she would miss me eventually.  It was only a little chilly this morning and I knew there would be passing cars, dog-walkers, others who would notice the old man down.

A couple of cars went by; a young man walked by on the other side of the street; I’m acquainted with him, don’t think he notices anything.

The the breakfast cook remember me,  She hurried out the front door in her robe.  In previous falls, Alice has been able to raise me with a handlock and a good pull.  Not this time.

 

Then two things happened at once.

— A car stopped along the curb about 30 feet away and a brown-faced young woman in scrubs started to get out.  I waved at her.

—  I felt strong arms close around my chest from behind and heard a voice say, “Relax” as he put me on my feet.  I turned around and saw a stocky man about 50.  I thanked him several times and shook his hand and he walked to his car.

The girl in scrubs watched Alice and me until we had gotten safely in the house.

Alice makes good pancakes, serves them with little sausages, and Canadian maple syrup from a jug marked with a price about the same as pretty good whiskey.

RJN

 

 

 

 

Halloween 4 & 5

4–Alice worked hard to give kids a little extra fun.  Instead of having each one choose from a display of little stuffed animals and small toys, she tied a string to each and hid the them behind a table.  Each child would choose a string and the pull up the toy like a fish.  Some learned to pull hand-over-hand instead of just taking an end and walking back.  Only about 25 kids showed up.  I especially liked the one in a wolf’s head.

Cute Vintage Halloween Cat Image - The Graphics Fairy

5–John’s story--Each October 31st,  Halloween, over 1,000 kids descend on our Ravenswood Manor area in the Albany Park neighborhood, north side of Chicago. Their families  are from the Mediterranean to Middle East to Mexico, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Cambodia, Korea and elsewhere.  Parents walk and drive in to Ravenswood Manor from the surrounding neighborhoods with kids anxious to trick-or-treat at the nearly 400 classic Bungalow and Four Square  homes that comprise this National Historic District.

Neighbors decorate their houses (some elaborately) with orange lights, ghouls, goblins, and ghosts.  There is very little doorbell-ringing, because each neighbor plops a chair at the end of the walkway in front of the house, and children queue from the sidewalk while their parents proudly and patiently watch and wait. There are witches, and devils, and Power Rangers, and Minions, and princesses, Cubs players, and Harry Potters, and rock stars, and…teenagers.  Some of the Trick-Or-Treaters are wee and parents carry them up the walkway. Some get flustered and forget the Halloween protocol. Some are terribly shy.  Some kids offer their “Trick-Or-Treat” in newly acquired English. All are terribly cute.
Each year I survey the scene at the peak hour, as Beth and I sit side-by-side with a huge bucket of candy between us. I hear none on the typical city noises – police sirens, cars and trucks– I hear only  the sounds of excited kids running and playing and shouting, “I gotta Twix!”  I see that no street parking spot is free and I see hundreds of parents and children strolling down our street  visiting as many houses as possible. In the morning the neighborhood is again quiet.  The Halloween decorations are damp and still. I’m already looking forward to next year.       jpnugent   🙂

3 Halloween Notes

Clipart - Cat and Jack-O-Lantern

1–My sister Carol had a costume party in our basement when she was about 16.  Hard to understand why Dad permitted that and why Mom (RN) permitted each guest  be welcomed to a collapsing chair.

One kid, an uppity girl, came in a dress consisting entirely of little black beads which flew  all over the basement when her uppity butt hit the concrete floor. As she was put back on her feet, she wailed, “Oh, you naughty children!”

2–When Joanne and I were married, we set up housekeeping in a third floor apartment in a court building in south Evanston, Illinois.  She got very excited about our first Halloween there–bought lots of candy, devised costumes for both of us, decorated the front door of our apartment. And no one came!

We might have noticed there were few houses in the neighborhood, no kids in the park.   In1956, the black kids who lived across the street had no idea how welcome they would be at our door.

3–Alice loves Halloween and sees usually about 60 kids. They don’t get candy here.  They get to choose from a collection  of little stuffed animals and other toys Alice has won on the arcade at the Circus, Circus casino in Las Vegas.

One year, Alice passed up Halloween at home for a complex trip focused on a total solar eclipse in the South Pacific. I took it on myself to cover hero trick or treat job.

I had a long, gray, hooded robe for my costume. I drew red lines on a pair of examination gloves, and bought a black face mask.  I changed the porch lights to orange.  And I prepared to give away a lot of little pieces of  Vegas junk.

I enjoyed seeing all the kids and chatting with their parents.

Then came the headless butler, about 11 years old, alone except for an adult who tried to go unnoticed. From below the stairs, he said his “trick or treat”.  I pointed at him and said slowly in a gruff voice, “You don’t have a mouth.  You can’t eat candy.”

He said, “Oh yes I can” and started to pull off his costume.  I shouted, “Don’t do that” and took him in to choose a toy.

Alice told me later that I might better have said, “What a wonderful costume! However can you eat candy?”

 

 

 

Youth and Age

 

I dedicate this to my children who think I may have lost a step or two on the basketball court.  JC

The old crow is getting slow.
The young crow is not.
Of what the young crow does not know
The old crow knows a lot.

At knowing things the old crow
Is still the young crow’s master.
What does the slow old crow not know?
-How to go faster.

The young crow flies above, below,
And rings around the slow old crow.
What does the fast young crow not know?
-Where to go.

John Ciardi

Ciardi made a book called Limericks Too Gross with Isaac Asimov in which they say that a limerick must be just a little dirty.

For a long time, Ciardi had a 5-minute show  on  National Public Radio about words and meanings.  On one show he explained how his Italian name had evolved from the German Gebhardt–he was descended from the Germans who invaded northern Italy.

RJN

 

_____________________________________________

I admire lithe young ladies
(especially their thighs)
striding by my winter window,
seriously postponing age and death                                                                                        or what may be.
And I’m so glad that I’m alive
this day and upstairs there’s
a warm and wise old woman,
seriously postponing me.

RJN

_____________________________________________

Youth and Age

by George (Lord) Byron
THERE'S not a joy the world can give like that it takes away 
When the glow of early thought declines in feeling's dull decay; 
'Tis not on youth's smooth cheek the blush alone which fades so fast  
But the tender bloom of heart is gone ere youth itself be past.
 

Then the few whose spirits float above the wreck of happiness  
Are driven o'er the shoals of guilt or ocean of excess: 
The magnet of their course is gone or only points in vain 
The shore to which their shiver'd sail shall never stretch again.
 

Then the mortal coldness of the soul like death itself comes down; 
It cannot feel for others' woes it dare not dream its own;  
That heavy chill has frozen o'er the fountain of our tears  
And though the eye may sparkle still 'tis where the ice appears.
 

Though wit may flash from fluent lips and mirth distract the breast  
Through midnight hours that yield no more their former hope of rest  
'Tis but as ivy-leaves around the ruin'd turret wreathe 15 
All green and wildly fresh without but worn and gray beneath.
 

Oh could I feel as I have felt or be what I have been  
Or weep as I could once have wept o'er many a vanish'd scene  
As springs in deserts found seem sweet all brackish though they be  
So midst the wither'd waste of life those tears would flow to me!

George Lord Byron

 

We saw a very young Jerry Lewis

Image result for photo young martin and lewisJerry Lewis died last month at age 91.  He was a comedian, actor, singer, producer, director, screenwriter, and humanitarian. Wikipedia

Our dad took my brother Tom and me downtown  more than once.  One day, when we were maybe eleven and twelve, he took us with the plan that he would work in his office while we went to a movie and had lunch.  Then he would take us to to buy our first suits.

I don’t remember the movie we saw at the big Chicago Theater that day. But I do remember how we laughed at the young Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, so silly and energetic.  The downtown theaters offered a stage show with the movie, so I think Martin and Lewis would have had to do 5 or 6 shows that day.

He was an interesting man, I think a good guy. RJN

Flood–pets and great people

Notes on radio reports for which I haven’t found stories  to include here (RJN).

Suppose you were offered rescue in a flood but would have to leave your dogs, cats, birds behind.  So hard!  Some people have refused rescue and died with their pets.  That’s why the Texas legislature is considering a law requiring rescuers to take animals.  Think of all the problems in the arenas and other rescue centers!

–A family whose house was safe from flooding looked at their snorkel-equipped jeep with their inflatable kayak and said, “Why not?”  With this special equipment, they went to a village for the elderly. At a house their jeep could not approach, they took the kayak in and brought out a couple.  The man had had recent heart surgery.  They went on to make 14 more pick-ups.

Mercy for Chickens at Perdue Farms

 

Perdue announces improvements to animal welfare policy

Animal protection organization urges poultry producers to reduce suffering
July 21, 2017  source

Perdue Farms, the nation’s fourth-largest poultry producer, has promised critical improvements to reduce suffering for chickens raised and slaughtered in its supply chain, including the following:

  • Providing chickens more floor space with plans to further reduce stocking density
  • Providing chickens six hours of darkness at night and increased light levels during the day, including natural light
  • Third-party monitoring of all processing facilities
  • Conducting more research into breeds with measurably improved welfare.

Perdue’s announcement comes just weeks after a national survey found four out of five Americans want restaurants and grocers to implement policies that eliminate the worst forms of cruelty to chickens in their supply chains.

Perdue also promised to meet the current and future demands of food companies that have committed to using only chickens raised according to Global Animal Partnership standards and slaughtered using controlled-atmosphere stunning. This is a first-of-its-kind pledge among large poultry producers.

Dozens of food companies have already made such commitments, including Burger King, Subway, Chipotle and Panera Bread, in response to consumer outcry about the cruelty inherent in factory farms and slaughterhouses that raise and kill chickens for meat.

A Mercy For Animals undercover investigation revealed workers stomping and kicking chickens to death in a Perdue facility in 2015. As a result of the investigation and discussions with Mercy For Animals, The Humane Society of the United States, and Compassion In World Farming, Perdue took its first steps toward improved chicken welfare with the release of a policy in 2016.

“Perdue’s animal welfare improvements and its promise to meet the demands of companies with progressive animal welfare policies puts other poultry producers on notice,” said Brent Cox, vice president of corporate outreach at Mercy For Animals. “It’s time for Tyson Foods, Foster Farms, and others to catch up with business trends, consumer expectations, and the latest in animal welfare science by committing to GAP standards and eliminating the worst forms of animal abuse in their supply chains.”

For more information, go to www.MercyForAnimals.org.

The best way for individual consumers to protect chickens and other farmed animals from cruelty is simply to leave them off their plates.

Visiting Her in Queens . . .(poem)

 

Visiting Her In Queens Is More Enlightening

Than A Month In A Monastery in Tibet

 

For the fourth time my mother

asks, “How many children

do you have?” I’m beginning

 

to believe my answer,

“Two, Mom,” is wrong. Maybe

the lesson is they are not mine,

 

not owned by me, and

she is teaching me about

my relationship with her.

 

I wash my dish and hers.

She washes them again. I ask why.

She asks why I care.

 

Before bed she unlocks and opens

the front door. While she sleeps,

I close and lock it. She gets up , unlocks it.

 

“What I have, no one wants,” she says.

I nod. She nods.

Are we agreeing?

 

My shrunken guru says she was up all night

preparing a salad for my breakfast.

She serves me an onion.

 

I want her to make French toast

for me like she used to.

I want to tell her about my pain.

 

and I want her to make it go away.

I want the present to be as good as

the past she does not remember.

 

I toast white bread for her, butter it,

cut it in half. I eat a piece of onion.

She asks me why I’m crying.

 

Michael Mark        The Sun, March, 2017

 

 

 

 

Max Schmeling, Big Good Guy

 

Max-schmeling.jpg Image result for hitler photosImage result for joe louis photos

Hitler came to power in Germany and started rounding up gays, Roma (Gypsies), people of color,  handicapped people, and millions of Jews to be loaded into cattle cars and shipped to their deaths; all with the support of thousands of Germans who attended his rallies and cheered as he ranted, Deutschland uber alles, “ Germany first.

That’s about the time I was born in the 1930’s.  A time when prize-fighting was very popular in the U.S. and Europe and the Olympics were held in Berlin.

Hitler expected the black Americans to fail in the Games and the white Germans to prevail. Wrong!  And he expected the German champion heavyweight fighter, Max Schmeling, to beat the young black American.  Well, he was right the first time–Schmeling knocked out Joe Louis in the 12th round of their first fight.  Two years later, Louis hammered Schmeling  unconscious in the first 124 seconds of the fight.

Schmeling had been thought to be a stooge of Hitler.  In fact he didn’t like the Nazis, resisted their pressure to fire his Jewish manager, and he risked life hiding two Jewish boys on Kristalnacht.

(On Kristalnacht, Night of Broken Glass, Nazi thugs ravaged Jewish neighborhoods.  My Rabbi saw his father beaten in the street that night.)

Louis volunteered for the U.S. Army and Schmeling was drafted into the German forces.  Disabled by a  battle-wound, he visited American P.O.W. camps in Germany, boxed in exhibition bouts, and occasionally tried to help conditions for the prisoners.

What interests me here is that after the War, Max and Joe spoke often on the phone and became friends !  When Max visited Joe in Chicago in 1954, they shared regret that publicity over the years had made them appear to be bitter enemies.

Image result for schmeling and louis

 

Schmeling became rich in the Coca Cola business and with others helped to support Joe Louis who never saw most of the  $4.6 million he earned fighting. Louis worked for awhile as a greeter at  Caesar’s Palace, a Las Vegas casino, even tried pro wrestling to earn his living.

Max gave money to Joe’s widow when he died.

Though Max had always asked him to avoid talking about the event, Henri Lewin, the president of the Sands Hotel, made this statement at a dinner in 1989:

“Beginning on Nov. 9, 1938, for four days, Max Schmeling hid my brother and me in his Berlin apartment. That was the night known now as ‘the Crystal Night,’   when the Gestapo began picking up all Jews off the streets”.

“Max Schmeling risked everything he had for us. If we had been found in his apartment, I would not be here this evening and neither would Max. And that, friends, is the kind of champion Max Schmeling is.”

______________________________

http://www.raoulwallenberg.net/es/prensa/2005-prensa/max-schmeling-joe-louis-s/    Detailed article followed Schmeling’s death in 2005 at age 99.  “Above all, Max Schmeling was much appreciated inside and outside Germany as a human being and private person.”

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Louis_vs._Max_Schmeling#Louis.E2.80.93Schmeling_paradox   The two fights with background information.

http://www.espn.com/boxing/story/_/id/9404398/more-just-fight                     It was … the fight’s cultural, racial and political ramifications that set it apart and led historian Bert Sugar to label it “The greatest sporting event of the 20th century.”

http://articles.latimes.com/1989-12-23/sports/sp-588_1_max-schmeling      “An old friend recalls how the former champion saved his life by outwitting the Gestapo”

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kristallnacht  ” . . .  pogrom against Jews throughout Nazi Germany on 9–10 November 1938, carried out by SA paramilitary forces and German civilians.”

 

http://www.history.com/news/history-lists/7-historical-odd-couples  ” . . . they formed an enduring friendship that lasted the rest of their lives.”

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2LNzWHuygpw VIDEO First round knockout  VIDEO of 128-second 2nd fight.  Warning:  it’s brutal.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fSaXM0vZrws   VIDEO  “Great Documentary about the lives and fights between Max Schmeling and Joe Louis!”

Max Schmeling, Max Schmeling an Autobiography. 1998, Bonus Books. German edition, 1977. Lots of photos.                                                                           Reviewer doubts distance between himself and Hitler and Nazis that  Schmeling claims,  http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-1-56625-108-2

 

 

 

 

RJN

 

 

Good Folks Out There

 

Image result for photos cane

I value the courtesies given me as a somewhat disabled old guy, and I enjoy telling about them, spreading the good news–there are good folks out there.

First a word of caution.  Being nice can be dangerous. When I drop my cane, someone always picks it up for me.  Recently, I was waiting in line at a Starbucks when I dropped my cane and two people jumped to get it, could have cracked heads in the competition to do good !

Two days ago, I took my car to Jennings Chevrolet in Glenview for an oil change. Yes, Jennings VW is still there, too,  where a service writer did me a favor once.

After leaving my car, I went into the waiting room for a bagel and a cup of good coffee, noticing four older people watching the Today Show and a young woman sleeping,

I toasted my bagel, drew my coffee, and found I could not carry both to my chair with the cane in one hand, so I left the cup behind for another trip.

One man had his legs extended to the center of the room and I thought, “Well, old guy, you might just get stepped on,” but he pulled his feet in and I said, “Thank you.”  I put my bagel on a table  and turned to go back, finding Mr. Longlegs right behind me.  He said, “Here’s your coffee.”

A little later, the young woman woke up and caught me looking at her in a grandfatherly way.  I was concerned when she left the room that I might have made her uncomfortable, but she came back.

I must have dozed finishing my coffee, because I felt something at my hand holding the cup–the girl was taking it out my hand very gently to prevent a spill.

I thanked her, told her I done that a couple of times, had spilled a drink into my as I fell asleep.  She said she understood.  Said she worked in a nursing home where “They do it all the time”.

RJN