Sunday, October 19, 2014

rail trail

Most people have an affection for trains...I certainly do.  
I remember hearing the train whistle in the distance on  warm summer nights as my dad helped us with our prayers and tucked us into bed. 
We crossed over railroad tracks several times on our 8 block trek to St James school in West Duluth.
 My favorite childhood book was "The Boxcar Children".
When I was a toddler mom took me and Susan to Milwaukee to see her relatives...Susan was a baby... I have a vague memory of the trip. When Teddy and Aimee were toddlers we took them to Minneapolis on the train...I left my baby home with Susan...I have a vague memory of that trip too.

Years later Jerry and I bought a house in Two Harbors, just one block from the overpass, where the  cars of iron ore pellets rumbled down the tracks to the docks by the lake.

When I'm home in Minnesota  the route I usually take for my daily constitutional has three legs. The first is the longest and most enjoyable. The pond has ducks and bullfrogs in the spring and  beavers and egrets in the summer....but the best part of the hike  is the trains.
 About half  the time I will hear a train in the distance coming down the pike as I'm moseying along... once in a blue moon I will be there to see it go under the road. 

Yesterday was a charm...I met the train, waved and got a friendly "toot". 
After relating my little encounter to Peter last evening he said,  "pulling the whistle is a good way to keep friendly relations with the public"...,

It sure is!

Monday, October 13, 2014

we need more shamen

It was a busy hour in my little corner of the world this morning. I arrived 5 minutes early to relieve Katy, who is 34 weeks pregnant with her 5th baby and has freckles across her nose that are perfectly placed. We chatted about the street people that were out in full force...caught up in celebrating Columbus Day, no doubt. She headed kitty corner to her car and I started pacing back and forth in front of the "Building For Women" where abortions are done every Tuesday. 
 Last week I was flipping through the channels and stopped at a program called "Nazi Hunters". I have been fascinated with the Holocaust since the first time I saw the gruesome photos in "Life" magazine when I was a girl. The very idea of it brings tears to my eyes and an ache in my heart. Of course I always make it about me...would I have hidden a Jew, would I share my last crust of  bread,.. would I have the fortitude to do the right thing?  While watching the program I was suddenly assaulted by the saddest, most shocking thing I've ever seen. You know those dismal public service announcements on television for  abused or mistreated animals , how sad and scared those little cats and dogs look...I was looking at a tiny baby, naked and alive in a white metal tub, his little chest choking back sobs, just looking so helpless into the camera. I turned off the TV  hoping to erase the image forever. My eyes still well up  whenever I think of that little innocent baby and his terrible fate. The abortion issue is like the Holocaust. Innocent babies are being killed everyday in America and it makes me sick.
Getting back to E. 1st Street....There is a city worker whose job is to sweep the sidewalk, pick up trash, and to generally, keep the street tidy. She is always pleasant but noncommittal...until today. As she passed me from behind she said "Hello" I looked at her as she walked by and quietly said "Thank You". She has to work there every day and I can only hope she is praying too.
Then there was Al, who pulled up in his big truck and said "You shouldn't be here alone". He parked his truck and stayed with me the rest of the hour. As if that wasn't enough...a gentle man with a long red beard, who called himself a healer, gave us a "tobacco blessing"...and a hug! 

Monday, September 29, 2014

the longest hour

Knowing that I will be peacefully demonstrating for yet another year on First Ave makes me crabby. I am not inclined to  make a spectacle of wear a sign that says 'Pray to end abortion', while praying the rosary, on the scariest street in Duluth....alone!  It is so far from my comfort zone ...but as they say... 'Just do it! And so I do.
The worst part is that I've been doing it for years. It  is the hardest thing I do all year...a rally or march is more appealing. The 40 days prayer vigil comes on the tail end of the northern edition of our year, just before we  head south, where I'm much  lazier and less vocal...kinda.
This campaign is meant to be done in groups or at least pairs, but most people can find a million reasons not to participate...I can relate and am hesitant to put any one on the spot..hence...
The cheese stands alone
The cold fall climate reminds me of the chilling business going on inside  as I walk back and forth in front of  the "Building for Women." 
About half the people who walk by keep their eyes cast down, avoiding any provocation...we are not there to proselytize...thank goodness. 
Occasionally a nearby resident will mosey onto the sidewalk from his or her nearby  apartment  or halfway house and meander over to where I am and chat about how they are against abortion, ask me to say a prayer with them and then amble on to the next stop in their on, and on, and on life. The fellow that stopped by today, smelled of cigarettes, had a cane and shared with me  where he was from, about his military service, where he lived and where he had lived. Finally he declared, "the group of four that was here yesterday prayed for me."  I asked him what prayer he wanted to say....I obliged him and together we said a Hail Mary before he shuffled off.  These close encounters always stir up some deep, almost meditative thought  within my heart and soul.  I'm almost positive he didn't  give me a second thought.
Across the street is a very busy liquor store where folks come to shop  at 11 o'clock  in the morning. Sometimes they arrive in a cab, but are usually on foot, most often with a friend or two...they all seem to know each other...people need people. One time several years ago one of the liquor store patrons  yelled over to us  "Pray? Here's a prayer for you"... and  proceeded to "moon" us. What a guy! 
The honkers always  buoy our spirits, so do the smiles and the thumbs up...other digits.. not so much. From time to time a passer by  will make eye contact and smile while  quietly affirming ,"You are doing the right thing."
There is a little sticker on the window of the abortion mill that says 'Keep abortion safe and legal"...I wonder at that's not safe for the baby!  It is  a sad day when  a woman can be so desperate that she will kill her own child, but it is worse  when we will  accommodate her desperation with such a despicable act. 
We mourn the babies and sympathize with the moms...they, too, will mourn someday.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Wednesday, September 10, 2014