Saturday, May 02, 2009

The first of the big Richmond annual festivals ... Cinco de Mayo!

Not even the slow steady light rain could dampen the spirits of those who gathered along 23rd Street to watch us pass by today. I was Unit #43 driving alone in today's parade, inching along in our NPS sedan with the signature arrowheads emblazoned on both sides; dressed in full regalia; sandwiched between a small contingent of U.S. Naval folks and a large flat-bed truck carrying several miles worth of "Cielito Lindo" blaring loudly enough for the late sleepers in the lower hills to hear!

I could remember waking in the night wondering if the headlines this afternoon would read, "Lil ole lady mows down drum and bugle corps in today's festival parade!" But, gratefully, it was not to be. Though it was my first ever participation in a genuine parade, it was all carried off professionally with the proper attention to regal smiles and graceful hand-waving (it's all in the elegance of proper wrist rotation!). Only once did I feel skittish and that was at a point in the proceedings when the mounted caballeros rode past going in the opposite direction -- with horses that didn't seem all too sure they wanted to go that way ... . I held my ground, stared them down, and they -- with some resistance -- clipped-clopped on without incident.

The trick was to leave at least 40 feet between my car and the marching unit ahead; never move out of first gear; and to be sure to maintain eye contact with those who waved back. Nuthin' to it! The best moment came when I was able to catch the eye of a child (perhaps 8-9) standing at an upstairs window of an apartment all alone and looking forlorn (ill, maybe?). I waved and his face lit up brightly as he waved back. Our eyes had met briefly, but it was a few seconds of full recognition. How nice! Made my day, and perhaps his as well.

Now that I've mastered the finer points of parading despite precipitation and inexperience, I'll start preparing for the Juneteenth Festival Parade next month.

Happy Cinco de Mayo, y'all!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Guided a bus tour for Drinking Liberally (a local chapter of a national political group) which regularly meets to debate current events ... .

...and it was while standing is the gaping expanse of the cathedral-like Craneway of the iconic Ford Building that I felt the impact of revelation:

If the visionaries of my generation could enable us to abruptly disassemble the auto industry under the eminent threat of war -- and tool up to transform itself from auto manufacturing to tank assembling, and shipbuilding, and then create an aircraft industry from scratch in the matter of months -- what's so difficult about creating a green economy based on alternative energy sources now?

All it took in 1941 was a nation willing and prepared by courageous leadership to sacrifice for the good of the all. We did without, gave up everyday items, dealt with rationing of the essentials, grew our own food, even walked when petroleum was needed for the war effort.

Found myself wondering as I fell asleep last night if President Obama isn't looking at more than the Franklin Delano Roosevelt regulatory policies for guidance, but as much at the leadership style that inspired those kinds of sacrifices in we the people who bought in despite a discriminatory social system that could easily have cost us the national will to prevail in a disastrous war that saved us from totalitarian world domination. Perhaps political partisanship will be the hurdle to be overcome in our time ... but we may have the kind of leadership that can overcome that, I believe. This may be what's behind the president's insistence upon erasing those lines that divide us; red from blue, liberal from conservative, Democrat from Republican. American lives as well as the lives of the entire planet may well depend upon his ability to accomplish that.

I realized again while guiding yesterday's tour that this park is vitally important to helping this generation to shape its response to precipitous climate change. The models for the mobilization lie in the WWII Home Front story. They exist to tell the world that that kind of monumental change is not only possible but that we've already done it. That the models are here to see and that therein lies the hope for the future that we're so desperately seeking in order to meet the new and daunting challenges to life as we know it here on the planet we call home.

Could hardly sleep last night as my mind raced back over the day in the search for the tomorrow that is always tucked into the kaleidoscopic re-run that prepares me to face each succeeding day.