A Luminous Halo

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." --Virginia Woolf

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Location: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Smith ’69, Purdue ’75. Anarchist; agnostic. Writer. Steward of the Pascal Emory house, an 1871 Second-Empire Victorian; of Sylvie, a 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SL; and of Taz, a purebred Cockador who sets the standard for her breed. Happy enough for the present in Massachusetts, but always looking East.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Do You Want To Be Koch-eyed?

Friends down in Rhode Island tell me that this family-owned business is very reputable. Also that "Koch" ryhmes with "watch," and not "walk." But still.

Way To Go, Jeanne!

Jeanne McLain couldn't take it any more. All the trash on the porch and in the yard of this vacant house was getting to be more than she could stand. Homeless people and assorted bums routinely sleep on this porch, smoke and drink and leave everything from bottles and newspapers to mattresses and syringes on the property.

Jeanne lives two doors down, in the apartment building at 21 Salem Street. She wasn't even sure who owned this neglected building. But she grabbed a broom and dustpan and some kitchen garbage bags and started in cleaning up the mess this morning.

Ken Askew, who lives around the corner, spotted her and contributed a rake and a couple of trash cans. He spent an hour or two pruning the bushes and collecting debris. Jeanne's friend Iris, another apartment dweller, saw the proceedings and pitched in, too. E. Taylor Newton, from whom I bought my house almost three years ago, was driving by and thought perhaps the vacant house had finally sold. He stopped to meet what he assumed might be the new owners, and remained to visit.

I saw all this from my house directly across the street, so I offered my three trash cans. The ordinarily-filthy gutter the ladies had swept was starting to look better than my side of the street, and for a change their were no cars parked in front of my house, so I grabbed a broom and started to sweep my side, too. But not before I snapped a shot of Jeanne giving me a cheery wave, and Taylor smiling as Iris swept up yard waste.

A few neighbors passed and caught up on news with Taylor. A group of neighbor kids came over to pet Taz and express their opinions of the bums who routinely defaced the empty house. One of the guys who practically lives on a park bench behind my house helped the ladies empty the trash barrels. They filled and emptied the five barrels at least twice over, along with numerous big trash bags.

The barrel-busser left; Taylor took off. The kids and neighbors had all gone home. Iris quit for the day, and I finished up and went inside to take a shower and dress for an evening out. When I came outside again, it was dusk. Jeanne was still at it. Way to go, Jeanne!