First of all, thank you all so very much–Mate was so very moved by your condolences, and so was I. Even though life can really suck sometimes, sometimes people can surprise you in the best ways. I’ve always believed that–thank everybody with their best wishes for making it so.
We spent last night at my parents, playing games at first, and then, entertaining Mate’s visiting family, which brings me to my blog!
One of the irritating ironies about the death of a loved one is that suddenly you have an excuse to visit with all of the people you wish you’d gotten to talk to when they were alive.
Thus is the case with Mate’s Aunt Sis and Uncle Carl–two of the world’s most decent, hardworking people of faith you could ever hope to meet.
I know in the liberal community when I say “people of faith” that’s usually a big red flag. But real people of faith–people who give their lives to serving their communities and raising children who do the same and who do it with a deeply held spiritual belief that people can be their better selves because of a just and kind god or goddess–those people of faith are often surprisingly, compassionately liberal.
Thus it is with Mate’s mother’s family. They don’t do social media or Twitter or Facebook. They are, in fact, too darned busy. They read print news, and spend critical thinking skills dissecting the bias and deciding if it’s their bias or if their bias should change.
Smart, good people.
They get all of their stories by knowing their neighbors. ALL of their neighbors.
They live in Arizona now but driving with them through their old stomping grounds–the 49er fruit trail, where they used to have a small community church–was an education.
They knew every parcel of property, and the genealogy of every resident, and how the property was passed down and under what contingency it could be developed. It was like having an encyclopedia at your fingertips, one who knew whose grandparents had gone to school with their parents and which route the school bus took in the 1920’s.
Their knowledge and understanding of land rights and understanding of who was feuding with whom and how this parcel of land came to be owned and developed in which way was STUNNING. (Not only that, but they had an incredible list of names I’ve never thought of. I just want to download their cortices so I can tap that!)
Now Auburn–which is adjacent to Ophir, where all of this deep community knowledge is based– was the site of one of America’s greatest shames: a Japanese interment camp.
They knew the property that had been left vacant when citizens had been rounded up and unjustly imprisoned for four years.
And they knew–in detail–which citizens had stepped up, taken care of the property, and returned it, plus revenues, when the madness ended.
That last thing is important.
This wasn’t the violent gesture. This wasn’t the 300K Twitter likes rallying cry.
This was the, “You are my neighbor and my friend and I can’t stand up to the armed people and risk my children but I can take care of you to the best of my ability.” For people who think this was a weak shit gesture–taking care of an extra 40 acres, keeping it profitable, paying taxes on it and then NOT KEEPING THE EXTRA PROFITS is not an easy task. Making sure people had a home to return to was an act of love.
Doing the right thing doesn’t always make headlines. Doesn’t always garner attention. There’s not a public list of the people who did this–I doubt that without the social skills of these two kind, decent people, these acts would be remembered, or grouped together to realize that there was a small rebellion in the foothills that said imprisoning innocent citizens wasn’t right.
But it was done. And to the families who had a home to return to after the madness was over, it was everything.
I’m going to remember this when I feel helpless. I’m going to remember this when I grieve. I”m going to remember this going into the new year.
So much of our time in 2017 was focused on the terrible damage inflicted by a few truly vile humanoid crapbags. I think it’s time to focus on the wonderful healing that can be spread by a vast number of truly decent people.
I know more good people in my life than bad–and even if I disagree with some of them, I know that in the breakdown of who would go to the wall for a friend unjustly treated, they would be on the good side.
Let’s make 2018 the time to make that a bigger deal.