A happy day after St. David’s Day Saturday morning to everyone. Yesterday the Welsh did their feasting as they observed the passing of their patron saint with a national holiday (allegedly March 1st, 589 AD). I am making note of it for Marcia’s benefit; see it’s common for the Welsh to wear a leek as they celebrate the day, and the leek happens to be one of Marcia’s most favorite vegetables.

However, I refuse to stir my coffee with a leek, its fine just as it is.

Anyway, Saint David, aside from medieval miracles, he is purported to bring good luck to the Welsh. Here’s a typical mention of such:

” You’ve got to think lucky. If you fall into a mudhole, check your back pocket – you might have caught a fish.” ~ Anonymous

Spring has arrived – The Welsh might have their leeks and Daffodils but here in our neighborhood we have a better fixture, or ‘guide’ if you will. Much like the swallows returning to Capistrano or the Buzzards return to Hinckley in Medina County, Ohio we have our own iconic ‘marker’; the annual March 1st opening of our local Dairy Queen. And the little ‘buzzards’ were ready and waiting yesterday when the two windows slid open for the season; “please form a line by each window”.

Spring has arrived!

Petra – Petra van Nuis that is, who along with pianist Dennis Luxion held a release party of her new CD; because we’re night people. It was also the first time for Marcia and me to enjoy our town’s newest Jazz spot, Caffe Vivace. We were invited to attend what quickly became a very pleasant evening. [click on record title for a short YouTube]

Petra attended our School for the Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA) at the same time as Kirstin and she too grew up in our neighborhood. Since then she and her hubby, guitarist Andy Brown, have developed a full-time musical career in Chicago. Luxion was Chet Baker’s pianist during the eighties and he too was most excellent.

But, thaaaats not all folks – Caffe Vivace also serves food. We’d eaten so just had a scone and coffee at first and then got a bit more adult later. However, these amazing bowls of soup kept streaming by as the waiters hustled about. I did notice a chalk-board posting advertising their latest offering; African Peanut Soup – that’s what we kept on seeing.

I couldn’t stand it, next morning made note, got on line, and found a version of the stuff that I liked. By late morning I maneuvered my daily walk past a Kroger grocery store for some fresh ginger and kale (all the other ingredients we had) and that evening our meal consisted of double portions of West African Peanut soup. It’s now part of our regular lineup. Amazing!

Black History Month – ended February 28th but some thoughts about the annual event remain. Not all my thoughts mind you; folk much more brilliant than me covered a lot of it.

Our town, as many more cities throughout the country has a Martin Luther King, Jr. named street. It is important that we remember King as the pivotal person who insisted for an end to the Jim Crow era and racism in general. But, there were others; others who tackled the same issue of racism from a whole different tack.

It was through the arts and through sports that the evil of discrimanatory racism was tackled head on – and was gaining ground. Probably because it was through a free-wheeling spirit generated by excellence in sports (think Jackie Robinson breaking through in baseball or Arthur Ashe in tennis).

Or in music? Here is a name you might not have heard of; Berry Gordy III. Gordy, black, had a middle class upbringing and a keen sense for business – he founded Motown Records in Detroit. It was through style and perseverance (including a boatload of enjoyment) that the races began to come together through music. The kind of music we all listened to; didn’t matter whether you were black or white.

Yet, unlike Rev. King, you really don’t see a Berry Gordy Avenue. And, I believe the reason being, politicians couldn’t gain any self-serving foothold into what was beginning to create change naturally, the arts and sports.

Having seen the movie Green-Book it reminded me how the time since Dr. King has changed the Black family especially with the creation of single-parent households. What has resulted over the past sixty years is the almost inescapable urban ghetto – we live on the edge of one and see the results on a daily basis. This change coming after a time when President Lyndon Johnson announced his; “War on Poverty”; a wonderful ideal quickly bastardized through political interference. Hand-out versus hand-up, and then the hand-out implementation made worse by edict, law, and rule so that it killed the family unit.

You may not like Trump (and I also have issues with him as a person), but his economic strategies have created an environment where minority employment is at the highest ever and dependency on Food Stamps has been reduced by millions. And this is creating much greater change.

I venture to guess that today, were politicians to stay away and forgo their little power grabs, grabs which only enmesh themselves deeper into constituent dependency, all of us would be better off.

Personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing a Berry Gordy boulevard in my neighborhood. Why, I might even change our corner of “Chaos and Mayhem” to something such as “Gordy Corner”.

Finis – Happy Birthday tomorrow Dinah. Dinah is now at that age where every time I see her she’s changed; taller and more mature – almost day by day. Also, she just got notified that she got accepted into Walnut Hills, and that’s a big deal. Walnut Hills is one of the nation’s top public college-preparatory high schools; ranked first in the state and 47th nationally. Entry to Walnut Hills is through an entry exam scheme and, as I said, is a really big deal. “Sursum ad Summum” (Rise to the Highest) Dinah!

Make it a safe week. Have some luck and listen to a little bit of some old Motown music.

Ciao
Dirk

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