Cogitation 35/212 Saturday 31 August 2019 Three notes of thanks surface this week.
One. Celebration with friends
We had lunch with friends Maynard (Mike) and Phyllis Weaver on Monday. They celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary this week. They live nearby, having moved to a condo in Goshen 15 years ago. We’ve been part of the same church, a small group, on-going friendship.
After lunch we showed them our home at Greencroft Goshen. Mike said he could live here. The green space in our back yard was immediately appealing, as was the single level, open plan layout of our home.
The green space would give Mike a chance to reconnect with his love of birding. His appreciation of the space also increased mine of the same. I’m still transitioning. I do marvel at the presence of mature oaks, the expanse of green and bordering trees and bushes. At the same time I miss the expansive riverside location we had for 42 years in Elkhart. Some called it a lake. We had a 2000 meter view upstream. Still, I am getting to appreciate nature’s out-of-doors setting right here in our new home. Thanks, Mike!
Mike has been a real friend. At a time when I was unemployed for an extended time, he was the one person who regularly asked, “How’s it going?” I think it was he who offered me a temporary job as sexton of Prairie Street Cemetery in Elkhart. Phyllis and Mike have enriched our lives as friends and mentors. They’re helping to smooth our transition to living in a new community. Thank you, Phyllis and Mike!
Also, thank you John and Jan Lauver Schwartz for a tasty, conversation-rich, and pontoon ride blessed family cookout a week ago on Perrin Lake.
Two. Classic car cruise-in and parade
Last Sunday afternoon Greencroft hosted a classic car cruise-in, followed by a parade around campus. It was fun. The weather was perfect. One woman said how much she appreciated seeing and hearing the cars that reminded her “of our era.” Thank you, Greencroft and classic car enthusiasts, for this memorable fourth annual event.
Three. Sears and retailers of yore
I wanted to walk through the second last full-fledged Sears store in Indiana. As part of a walk along the Riverwalk in Mishawaka, we visited the Sears store in University Park Mall. It is scheduled to close in November. Many shelves were empty, but new merchandise will come from the warehouses. Markdowns at the moment were from 10-30 percent, some more. The offerings include clothing, appliances, sporting goods, kitchenware, draperies, what have you, Sears had it. One salesperson has worked at that Sears store since graduating high school.
We rode the escalator to the second-level in search of a belt. Found it, bought it. Felt a sense of an era ending as we exited. We’ve had the same experience with other retailers, including Robertson’s, Drakes, Cooks, Grants, Montgomery Ward, Ziesel’s, Hudson’s, Marshall Field’s, Elder-Beerman and Carson Pirie Scott. In 1955, I had my first escalator ride at Montgomery Ward in South Bend, while visiting my aunt and uncle in Goshen. I bought a pair of denim jeans that time.
There are other retailers that I remember from my 50 years living in the city of Elkhart, it’s just that their names escape me at the moment. I know other people have similar “moments.” Not to worry. The names might return and if they don’t that’s O.K. for the moment, too. Oh happy day, I just recalled the name of a once-upon-a-time retailer in Elkhart that’s had me puzzled since last evening: G. L. Perry.
Thank you, salespeople, buyers, merchandisers, investors, service personnel, all those invested in providing for our interests over these many years. With some of you we were on a first name basis. Our spending was, I believe, more in line with our needs than our wants, though I did want that top hat I got at Ziesel’s when such were in vogue. It’s gone to the thrift store, as did a fine (classic) suit. I still shutter at the thought of the leisure suit I bought for a trip to Europe in 1975. I still smile with some appreciation for the era of bell bottoms. Moments.
I’ve kept a few ties, but gave more than two dozen to a quilter. Ties were part of more than half my life, as required wear at college and then throughout most of my working years. One year at college I paid another student to iron my shirts, 10 cents per shirt. Thanks a million!
Bonus. Books from the library
Being the change (New Society Publishers, 2017) is the story of Peter Kalmus, an atmospheric scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. It’s the story of how he and his family made changes to lessen their carbon footprint. It’s challenging, heartening, not just pointing but jumping in the right direction for humans to live in harmony with the biosphere through acts of repentance and regeneration that brings healing and love for all beings. It reminds me of how our grandparents lived.
I’ll quote a subsection on Storytelling from his chapter on Community:
“It’s not enough to change our own lives. It’s not even enough to engage with the community. We must also be storytellers. Stories bind communities. They teach us, inspire us, and give us a way of making meaning out of the chaos of life. They direct our actions in powerful ways. Stories capture our imaginations, and global warming is the result of the greatest failure of imagination the world has ever seen.
“Every one of us can tell this new story of living aligned with the biosphere, each other, and ourselves. This is the story of leaving fossil fuels far behind. this is the story of connection, of seeing ourselves within the biosphere and not above it.
How you tell it is is up to you, whether through speech, song, poetry, or comedy; whether through teaching children, or running for office. But I can promise that no matter how you choose to tell the story, your first step will be to live it.”
Cheer up, I tell myself
I conclude this weeks reflections with a quote from Shakespeare’s Richard II: “Lay aside life-harming heaviness, / And entertain a cheerful disposition.”