Say goodbye to what was left of Rodgers Hall.
You can’t tell in the picture, but this backhoe is actually on the second story of what was [I believe] a three story building, and he’s actually tearing apart the building that supports him. I’m no backhoe operator, so I might be off-base, but there’s something about this idea that screams, “Dude!” The person overseeing this demolition must be coy. Even Wile E. Coyote would see this plan and hold up a sign reading, “Peace out, Homeslice.” Well…you get the idea.
As I was taking this photograph, a young woman walked up to me and asked me if I worked for the newspaper. According to her, amateur photographers aren’t normally found halfway climbed up fences, balancing precariously and trying to take a decent shot before being yelled at by the guy in the backhoe (or the hose guy). I guess she didn’t see the sandwich I was holding in my off-hand, or that would have been a dead giveaway.
In any case, after dismounting, I finished chewing and told her, “Nope, but I bet I looked like a kitten stuck in a tree up there.” Upon hearing my pronunciation of kitten, she asked me a question I hear all too often. Before I tell you what that question is, let me backtrack a few hours.
In Social Justice Education and Training class today, we did an activity that asked us all to write little poems following the prompt “I am from…” I loved. I love to write. I love even more to write poetry-type pieces. We had about five minutes to write, and in that time I scrawled a poem that just became a story I now rather like. It goes:
Where are you from, she asked,
unaware of his frustration at this question,
his difficulty in answering.
I am from the past,
an age of respect & trust,
courtesy & compassion—
when my mother raised we four,
naïve to what existed beyond us,
living in our own world.
I am from picnics & barbecues,
ice cream & broccoli with cheese—
when we never ate generic
but lived in the dark
at Cheerio’s expense,
slurping in the shadows.
I am from please & thank you,
no elbows on the table,
be nice to your sisters—
when Sunday gospel was sung only
by John, Paul, George, & Ringo,
my mother’s prophets.
I am from a family of families,
forward-looking (don’t look back),
bound, embraced, indigent,
formed on common ground—
ever-changing & shifting,
but never to dissolve.
Oh—so, you’re from the Midwest, she replied.
Mostly, he consigned.
-I Am From