powerful messages found everywhere
“in an open society, no idea can be above scrutiny, just as no people should be beneath dignity.”
grand trunk pub, detroit, michigan, usa -2020
i am endlessly fascinated by the postings i find on my neighborhood nextdoor site:
the one about the wild turkeys holding a woman at bay in her driveway
then her warning to others, after she escaped unscathed to the car,
as she last saw them headed down the road looking for other victims like a street gang
the one complaining about kids running through his yard instead of staying on the path
the one who reported the tiny pet turtle who ‘ran’ away from her yard
and on and on.
then there was my favorite:
it was a long chat chain that began when someone relocated here from the uk and was looking for a store that sold weet bix. the response/comment section continued on for months, with neighbors offering suggestions of where to find different flavors and sizes of it, who had the best prices, adding in images of artwork made with weet bix, weet bix jokes, weet bix gifs, weet bix logo clothing, balanced towers of weet bix, opinions about weet bix, bowls of weet bix, people sharing their u.k. memories……it was absolutely brilliant, and even included a site administrator who couldn’t take it anymore, trying to wind it up at one point, summarizing it by listing the previously suggested stores, only to have it start up again, people telling her just stop reading it if she was over it, but they were having a ball, leading to it win our ‘best post of the year,’ due to it’s refusal to end, and for the enthusiasm level with which the neighborhood embraced this, rising to the occasion in this ongoing quest to find and celebrate everything weet bix. i loved it. (in the spirit of the chat chain, this may be the longest run-on sentence/paragraph/rambling explanation ever)
happy national neighbor day
“the curiosity of the neighbors about you, is a tribute to your individuality, and you should encourage it. ”
Take the Wooden Money
During the darkest days of the Great Depression, the logging city of Tenino, Washington, created a complimentary wooden currency to help locals survive the economic crisis. Now, almost 90 years later, the town is once again “printing money” on postcard-sized sheets of maple to help locals suffering from financial hardship. Pegged at the rate of real U.S. dollars, the currency can be spent everywhere from grocery stores to gas stations and child care centers, whose owners can later exchange them.
“It worked perfectly,” says Tenino’s mayor Wayne Fournier, who offers residents who demonstrate they are experiencing economic difficulties caused by the pandemic a stipend of up to $300 a month in wooden dollars. These currencies aren’t actual replacements of real money. They are complementary currencies — a broad term for a galaxy of local alternatives to national currencies.
According to research published in Papers in Political Economy in 2018, 3,500 – 4,500 such systems have been recorded in more than 50 countries across the world. Typically they are a localized currency that can only be exchanged among people and businesses within a region, town, or even a single neighborhood. Many are membership programs limited to those who have signed up; they typically work in conjunction with, rather than replacing, the official national currency.
They take many different forms. Relatively few are based on paper money; many are purely digital or exchanged via smart cards. Their goals can span multiple economic, social, and environmental objectives. Some aim to protect local independent businesses. Some promote more equal and sustainable visions of society. Others have been founded in response to economic crises when traditional financial systems have ground to a halt. As the coronavirus pandemic brings on a wave of social and economic tumult, all three challenges appear to be in play at once.
In Tenino, which has a population of less than 2,000, the wooden money is printed using an antique 1890 Chandler & Price letterpress. Since the launch in May, cities from Arizona to Montana and California have been in contact with Tenino for advice about starting their own local currencies.
“We have no idea what is going to happen next in 2020,” adds Fournier. “But cities like ours need to come up with niche ways to be sustainable without relying on the larger world.”
“sharing money is what gives it its value.”
credits: story – Bloomberg City Lab, Peter Young. photo – Jason Redmons, AFP
The T-Rex Walking Club parades in Ferndale,MI
The T-Rex Walking Club takes a stroll to bring joy during the coronavirus pandemic. A silly and secret club formed during the pandemic is on a quest to bring smiles to the faces of kids, and a few adults, while under Michigan’s stay home order.
On Friday, when Governor Gretchen Whitmer extended Michigan’s order, there was parade of a pink unicorn, followed by a gentle giraffe, a ferocious bear, a swinging stegosaurus, Scooby-Doo and a shark too, a tall pterodactyl, a trotting triceratops, a black-and-white penguin, the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, a friendly T-Rex, another penguin, and a one-eyed Minion.
This motley crew, which calls itself the Ferndale T-Rex Walking Club, takes its unannounced strolls through neighborhoods. There are other characters, too, and a few members have costumes on order. On their next walks, you might see an additional unicorn, more sharks, a polar bear, a gorilla, a Godzilla, an alligator, a hippo, a flamingo, a zebra, and an upside-down clown.
Most members of the club are also members of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.The point of the parade, is to cheer up the community during otherwise gloomy times and get children and adults to smile, said Oscar Renautt, who heads the Elks public relations committee.
The T-Rex club has its own set of rules. You must be invited; have an enclosed, inflatable costume; wear a face mask; and you can never, ever tell anyone where — or when — the group is going to go walking.
The founder, Ms. Ignash, received her pink unicorn costume one Christmas, has had it for years, and she’d occasionally show up somewhere in it for a laugh. Then, she posted the article in Facebook for local residents and they thought it was a good idea. Folks asked her to organize an event, so she did. It was right after the stay-at-home order, and within two hours, close to 200 people were interested.
Ignash decided that it was a totally crazy idea, and irresponsible to create crowds of people during a pandemic, so she canceled the event, and started over. Instead, she created a private group and invited just a couple of friends to join her. They went on a walk in costume, and then another, and another, adding a few friends — and characters — each time.
The costumes are so big that they naturally require the walkers to space out about six-feet apart, a social distancing requirement of the governor’s order. They also don’t want to spread the virus so they wear masks.Visibility inside isn’t so good either, and it can get hot inside the costume. So they don’t walk for too long. “But, it’s fun because kids really freak out,” Ignash said. “They see us coming, or they hear other people talking about us coming, and kids freak out. Its fun, just so much fun.”
credits: Frank Witsil- Detroit Free Press, Ferndale Elks Club
“a procession is a participants’ journey, while a parade is a performance with an audience.”
– Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust: A History of Walking
in recent days
i have seen and read about
many gestures of hospitality
one reaching out to another
with each act
i find a renewed sense of hope.
“hospitality is always an act that benefits the host even more than the guest. the concept of hospitality arose in ancient times when the reciprocity was easier to see: in nomadic cultures, the food and shelter one gave to a stranger yesterday is the food and shelter one hopes to receive from a stranger tomorrow. by offering hospitality, one participates in the endless reweaving of a social fabric on which all can depend – thus the gift of sustenance for the guest becomes a gift of hope for the host.”
-parker j. palmer
a wonderful note during these challenging times, from our local library:
ann arbor district library
Today, you checked out 30,622 items from the AADL.
Last Friday, that number was 5,067.
NOW PLEASE, DON’T BRING ANY OF IT BACK!
NONE OF IT!
Seriously, please keep everything until we ask for it back.
We promise, we’ll let you know when.
More information on our system-wide closure: https://aadl.org/covidclosure
“the only thing that you absolutely have to know, is the location of the library.”
credits: robert mccloskly, illustrator (blueberries for sal, make way for ducklings),aadl.org