Morning all:

This morning, bedroom windows open, I woke up with a bit of a chill. Overnight the temperature dropped from that expected as part of the humid mid-summer to more that of an early autumn. My morning coffee has therefore achieved additional status, not for great taste only but also that as an adjunct hot water bottle. Let me take a sip.

Even though I was a bit chilled waking up I do not cave in easily to climatic temperament. So, I am sitting here, still with shorts on and my bony knees protruding. Hang in there for a minute while I stop to grab a sweatshirt.

This past week Washington DC hosted a conference attended by 170 of the nation’s police chiefs. The discussions pointed out a very disturbing national trend in violent crime. Our normally placid neighborhood is not immune. We were absolutely stunned this week by the news of a horrifically random incident, and the neighborhood is still reeling and reacting.

Searching for the “why” is difficult. Other than having the knowledge that in the US we now have walking the streets a third generation of young adult who has no interest or awareness of behavior as a viable member in a civil society. These are offspring of children who themselves had a parent who was a child. No fathers, no extended family to nurture, no real rules, no guidance from their neighborhood or community. These are the wild children of our urban centers.

With all this negativity I took my walk last night listening to a podcast from Australia’s Radio National and a program called Street Stories. This particular program (programme as the Aussies would write it) segment was just what I needed to hear, it was full of community and camaraderie.

As it happens in many cities, the historic port town of Fremantle in Western Australia has experienced a property boom. The boom caused for smaller yards and therefore squeezed out many a back-yard workshop. It seems that someone noticed a long unused old pigeon shed sitting on the edge of one of the neighborhoods. So, the men of the Nambucca neighborhood revived it and turned it into the Men’s Community Shed. The tools are shared as is a combined knowledge of woodworking and tinkering. It is a hangout where the guys can share and talk. And there is a real outcome; for some it’s new friendships, and for all it’s a clearer mind. For many it’s a new cheese board, or even a chest and table. Sometimes, I guess, the things that keep us going along a path of growth have answers that can be very simple. Maybe all it takes is to turn a pigeon coop into a workshop.

Sunday evening is our city’s annual end of summer “blow-out” culminating in a spectacular evening fireworks display. This will be the thirtieth year that a local radio station and corporate sponsor have combined with a local fireworks manufacturer to give us a breathtaking half hour display all put to a sound track. I love fireworks and I can’t wait. I don’t even mind threading my way past a wall of buskers getting to the riverfront—I actually enjoy it.

Happy 91st birthday Oom Joop! A difficult one this year, but may health and family surround you for the coming year. I know that you will continue to share the celebration of life with everyone you meet, as you have done since I’ve known you. I will call on Monday! And no George, I haven’t forgotten about you. But face it, your “big 0” is nothing compared to Joop’s!

I would like to give assurance that this post was written without danger or harm to any animal. Although Shang was ‘shoo’ed’ off my chair when he tried to join me as I was writing—it’s a fall and winter thing with animals as they search for warmth. Now I best get ready to walk him or he will be harmed.

Make it a great week everyone; remember to be resolute in doing what is right.


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