Tag Archives: community

Note from 1–49 W Calhoun Pl in Chicago

Homeless Man (oil & wood)

The old man with long, brown and grey-streaked hair stood outside the train station muttering to the world.

It was three degrees. I could feel it, because I took my gloves off to check the temperature on my iPhone.

I could feel that familiar sting of air with barely a few degrees to it in spite of the bright sunshine overhead.

I could hear his words clearly, as I walked closer to the man.

“I don’t belong here anymore,” he said in a thin tenor to start the verse.

“You don’t know what they’re like, you don’t have a single clue,” he continued.

“I’m actually all right, all right,” he finished, as if practicing the words to a garage-rock song for a Friday-night pop-up show.

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When did Mayberry become a police state?

Thomas R Machnitzki
Police SUV from Steel, Missouri. (Photo by Thomas R Machnitzki)

There was always something comforting about the old black and white cruisers that police drove around town when I was a kid.

I distinctly remember the words painted on the door – To Serve and Protect. And most of the time, you felt like that’s what police officers inside did.

Of course there was an ornery old cop in the small town of Turner that I had to drive through to get to and from high school each day who would pull you over for just about anything. But we weren’t afraid of him as much as we were of losing our gas money to one of his speeding tickets.

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Little pink houses and barbed wire fences

From Wikimedia Commons
Pink Houses

As a missionary kid, I spent a big chunk of my life living in community.

I don’t mean just a small town, I mean living with 20-30 people in close quarters, like sometimes in the same room.

Most of my parents’ friends know more about me than I remember about myself.

I’m often reminded that when I was living in the Rax mountains of South Eastern Austria in the late 70s, I sometimes confused my two languages – German and English – in rather amusing ways.

When I learned that my pet fishes had babies, I ran around yelling “The fishes had sex! The fishes had sex!”

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