little one comforting the littler ones.
“if you have an impulse to kindness, act on it.”
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
she was in the checkout line just in front of me
something about her looked tired
like her shoes
her cart filled with simple things
beans, bread, eggs, milk, cans, pasta
and what looked to be a special treat
one small bright orange
maybe for someone little waiting at home
when it was her turn
with what was left on her food card
then tried a credit card
didn’t have quite enough
she looked back at me
with apologetic eyes
sorry for the trouble
she fumbled in her purse
looked to see
what she could put back
not sure what to do
I heard the clerk tell her
that she needed
one dollar and seventy cents more
my heart went out to her
not knowing her life
I said that I had that money
I was happy to give it to the clerk
she looked at me with shy eyes
nodded thank you
carried her bags out
and I thought about
how that one small orange
would make such a difference
for someone special
my small act
had made a difference
in her life too
a bit easier
just for a moment
and at that moment
there was absolutely
no finer way in the world
for me to have spent
just one dollar and seventy cents.
‘remember that the biggest thing you could do today is a small act of kindness.’
as we watched
the big kids perform
‘a christmas carol’
‘why is that man so mean?’
‘why is he so crabby?’
‘how can he be that mean?’
I told them that later in the play
mr. scrooge’s heart will grow
and he will learn to be nice
just like what happened to the grinch
it made my own heart grow
to think about
their naturally kind and compassionate state of being
how they could not even begin to imagine
why someone would choose to be mean.
‘i think being nice is more important than being clever.’