Do you still have the urge to pump your arm at passing big rigs to hear those horns? Of course you do. You're a red-blooded American. So dust off the lawn chair, fill the thermos with something hot and bundle up the kids for the lighted truck and tractor parades this week.
Fortuna's Main Street gets flashy on Friday at 6:30 p.m. starting at the Redwood Shopping Center. You are invited to trick out any vehicle (or yourself) with lights, but it's Friday the 13th, so go easy. In Eureka, the Technicolor convoy kicks off at Redwood Acres Fairgrounds at 6 p.m. on Saturday. Keep an eye out for Santa. John Deere goes reindeer at Ferndale's lighted tractor parade along the main drag on Sunday at 7 p.m. Warm up at the Ferndale Community Church before and after with hot cider and cookies.
A few tips:
Layer up. It's been cold, so wrap yourself and any little ones in lots of cozy clothing. Extra fabric also immobilizes children and keeps them out of trouble. Adults, it's hard to look good when you're puffed up like the Michelin Man, but let it go. Nobody finds love at the truck parade.
Go with a group. Bring some pizza, share the child monitoring and kick back on the curb for a no-pressure holiday tailgating opportunity.
Do not complain about the loud horns. Seriously. You are at a truck parade. Smile and plug your ears.
Wave like crazy. It keeps you moving and warms you up. The people on the flat beds going by are flailing their arms like mad, and it's weird if you just stand there. And don't forget to pump your arm.
Did Black Friday break you? Are you getting a little Grinchy around the edges? Maybe you need to regroup and get into the spirit of the season.
You can't swing a Tickle Me Elmo without hitting a Toys for Tots donation bin. (Don't actually swing one — the Marines don't have time for your shenanigans.) Humboldt has more than 60 collection sites at grocery stores, salons, tattoo shops and casinos. It couldn't be easier to pick up a new toy and toss it in for a child in need.
Humboldt Bay Firefighters are collecting new, unwrapped toys for local children at fire stations and other locations until Tuesday. They're also taking cash donations to give meals and holiday treats to seniors who could use a hand.
Still bah, humbugging? Get swept up in the joyful noise of the Arcata Interfaith Gospel Choir and the McKinleyville Community Choir on Friday at 7 p.m. at the Calvary Lutheran Church in Eureka and on Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Arcata Presbyterian Church ($12 suggested donation for each). Two choirs for the price of one — can I get a hallelujah?
In memory of Robert.
Robert slept just down the street outside of Synapsis. I talked with him almost every day. He died last night from the cold. I miss him.
Robert took apart electronics and old windows and recycled the metals from them to make money. He was a gentle person and rather shy. He would often talk loudly to himself if he was upset, which could intimidate some people, but he was always respectful. I heard that he experienced an extreme loss and that is what brought him to the streets.
I would try to check on him during the day and when I was around Synapsis at night...and had been thinking about him a lot lately. He preferred to sleep outside.
I have been thinking a lot about people's perceptions of those who are houseless or living on the streets. It is popular in this area to generalize about people who have meth addictions or who have challenges with "normalcy" and to criticize them. Lately, young men have been driving by and throwing eggs at the people who are camped around Synapsis. There have been public meetings about the homeless "problem."
If you have any friends or conversations with people who are houseless, then you already know that most people are on the streets because there is not a place for them in everyday society. I am not an advocate of meth, but meth addiction does not make someone an evil person. It often means someone is self-medicating. Yes, crimes are sometimes committed by people who have addictions ... but these crimes pale in comparison to those committed by corporations. Why is it so easy in our society to criticize those who have the least? Those who choose not to participate in capitalist lifestyles?
I think we have better options in our society. We cannot wait for institutions to create the world we want to exist. I ask that people take a break from consumerism during this time to give something to someone who has less than you do. To create a space for compassion that is centered around actions in the world. I am willing to offer the use of Synapsis to anyone who wants to do anything there. Every Tuesday I open the space for art and hot soup and tea and conversation. From 1-3:30 p.m. You can come if you like. Perhaps there could be something late at night too? I don't know. I would love to be part of a working group around actively creating a society that we want. Starting with those who are at the bottom of the capitalist pyramid. WIlderness and animals, those who live in poverty. I wonder if I could have done more for Robert. I hope he is in peace.
In memory of Robert. With love. And action.
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