Archive for November 11, 2010
What Iowans Say on Veterans' Day
by Paul Deaton
“Frustrated because the population is so easily convinced that war is patriotic,” said Tom.
Jacqueline spoke about being in the Womens Army Corps and the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps and said, “get in touch with our legislators.”
Sam said, “Contact our legislators and make it clear that we want out of Afghanistan.”
Alan was dismayed at our age and that “young people were absent.”
Conversation around the table at Hy-Vee's free breakfast for all veterans centered on whether proof was required for the free meal for veterans at Applebees.
Tom said to his Facebook friends that are veterans, “Guys, thanks for serving. Have a great Veterans' Day.”
Another Tom replied, “Thanks to us all the recognition we're getting now is long over due. Thanks to all of us, regardless in the war zone or not we fought some type of war while serving and give praise to all men in uniform. God Bless and have a great day we all deserve it. S. looking sharp in that uniform Steve.”
A lot of us had our photos taken by the press and were interviewed.
Paul read the names of Afghanistan civilians who have been killed in the war.
Some didn't speak, but just carried signs.
John asked for the e-mail address for Senators Grassley and Harkin to ask them to ratify the New START Treaty.
Bob talked about the potential Veterans' National Recovery Center proposal for homeless veterans and asked for our help.
James said, “Stop the wars.”
Faith said, “Have good success and I will help.”
Ralph said, “our list is our witness” and “we need gender balance on the board.”
“We need to get mad and have to be unhappy about the way the world is going,” said Dick.
Rose said we should “teach our children that peace is not a sissy thing.”
Bill said, “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.”
Martha said, “We didn't pay attention in the Korean war. If we did, we would not have been at war again after.”
Ed said, “People didn't love peace enough. Did not wage peace enough.”
Another Bill said “we should support active duty resisters.”
Karen said, “I agree with Bill.”
Deaton is a native Iowan living in rural Johnson County, a charter member of Iowa Chapter 161 of Veterans for Peace and weekend
editor of Blog for Iowa. E-mail Paul
Reflections On A Community Garden
by Jade Kai
My next trip to the PACG Progressive Action for the Common Good Community Garden at 13th and Grand will be bittersweet. I won’t be going home with bowls of tomatoes, green beans, or zucchini. I will be pulling up my tomato cages and plant stakes. I’ll be chopping up my dead plants for compost. And I’ll be picking up the little pieces of glass and plastic that I found during my time digging around in my 10×10 plot.
These little fragments were a nuisance, but also a reminder of the formerly vacant lot’s past. Whenever I would uncover some new treasure in the dirt, I would think about how a grocery store once stood here. I would think about the lives circulating and interacting in the store, perhaps in the very spot where my squash was now growing. I was thankful that a new and different life was continuing to sprout in the same spot now. And I am hopeful for the life that will circulate there in the future. During the course of the growing season, I met many people – neighbors, fellow gardeners, and a cat. I shared the fruits of my plot with friends, my family, complete strangers, and an animal that always got to the kale before I could.
I have been a gardening girl ever since my mom helped me plant my own little 3×4 section of earth when I was too young to understand that I would not get an ear of corn in a week even if I watered the not-yet-sprouted seeds every day. But gardening in a public space was coming out of my comfort zone. Strangers would be able to see all the things I was doing wrong. They would see if I neglected to weed or if I failed to pick the beans before they were overripe. People driving by would see me in my sweaty, dirty glory while I posed in unflattering, and unladylike body contortions so I could reach the ripe tomatoes while not crushing the cucumber vines. But my desire to facilitate positive change is more important than my desire to be comfortable.
The garden’s purpose is to promote more than just gardening. Imagine my horror when I read Barbara Kingsolver’s anecdote about a friend who never realized that potatoes were the roots of the potato plant in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. The garden is here so that kids can walk by see a tomato ripening in the sun and make a connection to the shrink wrapped tomatoes that they see in the grocery store. It’s here to serve as a place for community members to gather. It’s here to promote local, healthy food-growing practices. It’s here to make a vacant lot more beautiful, and provide a space for good, clean, outdoor fun and exercise. It’s here to feed ourselves, our friends, a few strangers, and, to a lesser degree, the rabbits and the groundhogs. With time and care, this community garden will be around for years to inspire people to learn how to garden, try a new vegetable, or even just wave to the neighbors as they drive by.
The garden is also here for some reasons that are harder to articulate, but maybe the most important reason for the garden’s existence is because a small group of optimistic people are committed to positive change. Like society, our garden isn’t perfect. We need more gardeners and less weeds. But what is a gardener if not an optimist who believes in the spirit of new life and positive change and creation?
Next year I believe the garden will be even more successful, thanks to gardener spirit. Maybe our legislative leaders at all levels could take a little inspiration from gardeners the next time they want to slander an opponent. After all, gardeners know mud isn’t for slinging – it’s for growing things. And change isn’t something to be scared of – with a little care and good weather something delicious is bound to sprout up.
If you live in Davenport and would like to become part of our gardening community by reserving a plot for next spring, call Caroline on the PACG cell at: 563-676-7580 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.