Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Easter 30: Don't be the 3rd party in


Stephen S has come in to see what he can do about the foul smell emanating from the basement. Though it's a nasty part of a paid job, I let him know gently that I’ve done worse even though it’s not in  my job description. I’ve known him since he as a little kid. Now he’s an unemployed adult with a child of his own. And I loved the way his family turned out to help him on Sunday. That’s the best of who they are…a family that stays together. Is there for each other no matter what's going on.  they were the first neoricans, New York born Puerto Ricans to join the church. originally from the projects, now from the outer boroughs, New Jersey and even the Poconos as the Upper Westside has become economically  beyond the reach of working class families. Including me.

Ralph and ETHEL are back and nothing calms my day more than hearing them in the balcony all day long rehearsing.

I’m knee deep in a phone call from one of my closest friends in a family crisis when Eldridge comes shambling in looking for money. I tell him I’m on the middle of something, and have no money. But he persists. Can’t I at least give him my metro card? Promises he won’t ask again. It’s been awhile since he’s been here., he says. Just give me you rmetro card. I look at him incredulous. And say to him, with quiet resolution, no.

My Buddhist friend TK comes in with 2 associates to plan the August commemoration of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Both were born in America. One lived for six months in Nagasaki after the war. The other was born in what he called a segregation camp during world War II when his parents were rounded up and shipped off. After the defeat of Japan, they were shipped back there even after decades of living in the US as Americans. And in the process had their citizenship stripped away. It was a long and arduous task for him to work  his way back to where he was born and eventually have citizenship restored to his family. Immigrants, regardless of loyalty, are always subject to the random whims of history.

We tour the building. Review program. Talk through details. When his colleagues leave, TK, in his own quasi-deferential way, is every bit as demanding as communists or Nicaragua solidarity workers.

David S is in to get his work projects for the day.

Outside, Jeremy G and Workcenter choir members s are arriving. One has a story of breaking up a fight in the subway. Weren’t you afraid of potential violence to you?, I asked. She looked at me quizzically. More people joined in the conversation. Don’t be the 3rd party in, seems to be the rule.


Very tight day. Only enough time to get a flier about our  June 9th Goodman, Chaney, Schwerner and Freedom Summer commemoration copied before heading to a  Presbytery meeting in the Bronx  an hour away by subway only leaving me only 45 minutes there before heading to Newark to teach.

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