Archive for August, 2016

August 30, 2016

Kansas Street Ballet

Scene 2

Tuesday, August 30, 2016 at seven in the morning:

The white Bobcat comes several times up the hill carrying lengths of smaller blue pipe in its metal arms and deposits them one after another in the trench, where they are to be joined and buried atop the big black pipe, all beneath the coming street and for years to come will, out of sight and mind, serve the basic needs of all who come pass this way.

These pipes and these workers make possble the good life we have, but like foundations everywhere draw little attention when done well. Decades will pass before again the work these men do will need attention. Generations of those who live here will not get to see this show. The memory of its occurrence will grow dim. Its value forgotten.

Until! That time! An encore.

More of Ed’s stories at https://hatebusters.wordpress.com

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August 30, 2016

Ballet on Kansas Street

From La Tienda past Ginger Sue’s to Main

by Ed Chasteen

Monday, August 29, 2016 at seven in the morning:

Deere 5441 yellow moves massively back and forth across the blocked intersection of Gallitin and Kansas, creating then redistributing mounds of fine gravel that rise to either side of a big-blue-box car-tool-shed shoved into place moments ago by an even more agile white Bobcat, and frequented now by workers who scurry about extracting needed tools and securing those already used.

A week ago today this very early morning, an oversized dump truck backed with aplomb between Road Closed signs on Main and stopped in front of Ginger Sue’s, where two metal monsters of distinct form and function moved in unison to accomplish their appointed tasks. One pierced the pavement; the other gouged still deeper, then lifted giant pieces of pavement and the earth beneath high into the air, swung it gracefully in an arc and loosened its load into the bed of the recently arrived truck.

Then came a flatbed carrying sections of long black pipe big enough around that an average size dog could chase a squirrel through. Men in work clothes and boots attended the pipe, rolled it from the flatbed onto and across the street and into the trench now made ready by the metal monsters, tamed and made useful by their human masters. The men attach each section of pipe and call the maw of a machine to move gravel to the site and overlay the pipe, removing it from sight and keeping it safe, awaiting the soon-to-come time when several feet of dirt will fill the trench now two blocks in length and all will be paved, ready again to usher folks downtown to Liberty square.

This free show has been mine on back-to-back Mondays as I take my usual high table #1 just inside the front door at Ginger Sue’s. Right up against the window onto Kansas Street I sit. Long past the time it takes to eat my breakfast. When finally I pull myself away, I stand for long minutes on the sidewalk and marvel at the choreography occurring about me. To a passing player in this scene that Carl Sandburg would laud, I say, “Thank you.”

“I appreciate that.” He says. Then, after a pause, he adds, “More than you will ever know.

 

More of Ed’s stories at https://hatebusters.wordpress.com

August 30, 2016

Ballet on Kansas Street

From La Tienda past Ginger Sue’s to Main

by Ed Chasteen

Monday, August 29, 2016 at seven in the morning:

Deere 5441 yellow moves massively back and forth across the blocked intersection of Gallitin and Kansas, creating then redistributing mounds of fine gravel that rise to either side of a big-blue-box car-tool-shed shoved into place moments ago by an even more agile white Bobcat, and frequented now by workers who scurry about extracting needed tools and securing those already used.

A week ago today this very early morning, an oversized dump truck backed with aplomb between Road Closed signs on Main and stopped in front of Ginger Sue’s, where two metal monsters of distinct form and function moved in unison to accomplish their appointed tasks. One pierced the pavement; the other gouged still deeper, then lifted giant pieces of pavement and the earth beneath high into the air, swung it gracefully in an arc and loosened its load into the bed of the recently arrived truck.

Then came a flatbed carrying sections of long black pipe big enough around that an average size dog could chase a squirrel through. Men in work clothes and boots attended the pipe, rolled it from the flatbed onto and across the street and into the trench now made ready by the metal monsters, tamed and made useful by their human masters. The men attach each section of pipe and call the maw of a machine to move gravel to the site and overlay the pipe, removing it from sight and keeping it safe, awaiting the soon-to-come time when several feet of dirt will fill the trench now two blocks in length and all will be paved, ready again to usher folks downtown to Liberty square.

This free show has been mine on back-to-back Mondays as I take my usual high table #1 just inside the front door at Ginger Sue’s. Right up against the window onto Kansas Street I sit. Long past the time it takes to eat my breakfast. When finally I pull myself away, I stand for long minutes on the sidewalk and marvel at the choreography occurring about me. To a passing player in this scene that Carl Sandburg would laud, I say, “Thank you.”

“I appreciate that.” He says. Then, after a pause, he adds, “More than you will ever know.

 

More of Ed’s stories at https://hatebusters.wordpress.com

August 29, 2016

Ballet on Kansas Street

From La Tienda past Ginger Sue’s to Main

by Ed Chasteen

Monday, August 29, 2016 at seven in the morning:

Deere 5441 yellow moves massively back and forth across the blocked intersection of Gallitin and Kansas, creating then redistributing mounds of fine gravel that rise to either side of a big-blue-box car-tool-shed shoved into place moments ago by an even more agile white Bobcat, and frequented now by workers who scurry about extracting needed tools and securing those already used.

A week ago today this very early morning, an oversized dump truck backed with aplomb between Road Closed signs on Main and stopped in front of Ginger Sue’s, where two metal monsters of distinct form and function moved in unison to accomplish their appointed tasks. One pierced the pavement; the other gouged still deeper, then lifted giant pieces of pavement and the earth beneath high into the air, swung it gracefully in an arc and loosened its load into the bed of the recenly arrived truck.

Then came a flatbed carrying sections of long black pipe big enough around that an average size dog could chase a squirrel through. Men in work clothes and boots attended the pipe, rolled it from the flatbed onto and across the street and into the trench now made ready by the metal monsters, tamed and made useful by their human masters. The men attach each section of pipe and call the maw of a machine to move gravel to the site and overlay the pipe, removing it from sight and keeping it safe, awaiting the soon-to-come time when several feet of dirt will fill the trench now two blocks in length and all will be paved, ready again to usher folks downtown to Liberty square.

This free show has been mine on back-to-back Mondays as I take my usual high table #1 just inside the front door at Ginger Sue’s. Right up against the window onto Kansas Street I sit. Long past the time it takes to eat my breakfast. When finally I pull myself away, I stand for long minutes on the sidewalk and marvel at the choreography occuring about me. To a passing player in this scene that Carl Sandburg would laud,I say, “Thank you.”

“I appreciate that.” He says. Then, after a pause, he adds, “More than you will ever know.”

August 23, 2016

Thoughts That Come as I Read

Tribe: On Homegoing and Belonging

by Ed Chasteen

Reading Sebastain Junger’s 2016 book, Tribe: On Homegoing and Belonging, I remembered something from when I was a graduate student at the University of Texas in 1960 and assigned to interview survivors of a tornado. We discovered that in the aftermath of destruction, people came to the aid of others and felt a sense of community greater than before the disaster they shared.

This long ago memory surfaced when I read in Tribe that Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Paine, two of the first Americans, struggled to understand why some colonists abandoned their settlements to join Indian tribes and why some captives when rescued refused to leave their captors and why some rejoined their colony only to voluntarily return to the tribe.

While reading Tribe, my mind also went to that Amish farmer I met when on a bicycle ride in 2010 along a country road in rural Missouri. On a sawhorse-plywood table beneath a homemade awning in front of his house, he was, with his two young daughters, selling homemade jellies, jams and pastries. Do you ever go to the nearby town to sell your goods?” I asked. “We avoid your society as much as possible. He said. “Are we really two societies?” I asked. “We are.” He said..

So, too, Junger shows, do returning veterans from America’s recent wars return to a second society markedly different from the military, with its clear purpose, strict discipline and small group cohesion. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder may thus be seen as an indictment of this second society, almost totally removed from the values and lifestyles of the first. With this second society invested hardly at all in an all voluntary military, those returning are coming back to an alien society.

In concluding Tribe, Junger says, “If contemporary Ameica doesn’t develop ways to publicly confront the emotional consequences of war, those consequences will continue to burn a hole through the vets themselves.” (p. 122)