December 6, 2019
Thanksgiving 2019 is in the rearview mirror, but my two-year-old granddaughter, Effie, is still enjoying it.
Thanksgiving remains one of my favorite holidays. I love the memories. Lots of family. Lots of laughing. Lots of fun.
Of course, I remember many of those days when I was a kid. I especially remember the time when we were with Grammy (of the famous dressing) and Daddy Hal at their house, and my brother Kyle and I were playing Tarzan outside. I was 10 and Kyle was 8. We climbed out of this big tree and then Kyle started running at me like, well Tarzan, and sunk his front teeth into the top of my head as I ducked. He knocked out his front teeth. My mother somehow got mad at me for that. Kyle was left to gum mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving dinner, but what I remember is how bad my head hurt.
And I’m still making Thanksgiving memories. This Thanksgiving will be remembered as the one where Pop (that’s me) decided to play a joke on Effie by acting like he ate a spider. She’s still laughing at that one. No matter what else I do in her life, I think I’m always going to be known as the guy who ate a spider on Thanksgiving.
In my defense, spiders are low-carb and gluten free. I think.
Peace & Goodwill
Since the Senate Christmas tree became a thing back in 2015, I’ve made sure that Austin has been well represented. One year, I hung a Keep Austin Weird bat ornament — upside down, of course. We’ve also had a guitar and the Greetings from Austin mural. But my personal favorite was the motorcycle ornament in 2017. As they say, have a Harley Jolly Christmas!
This time around, I wanted to do something a little different and recognize the amazing work of some local folks who have overcome a lot in their lives and have great talents to share. The artisans at Community First! Village, all of whom were previously living in homelessness, sell their art to earn an income. I’d highly recommend a visit to the market to peruse some of their wares.
I chose a really neat ceramic ornament made by Earth Drum Yoo and invited him to come down to the Capitol so we could hang it on the tree together. Unfortunately, he couldn’t make it, but his work is now on display in the Senate Chamber.
At the heart of Community First! Village is community, and I think we all have a responsibility to support our neighbors and help to lift them up.
There’s been some terrible rhetoric lately about those who are homeless. Too often recently, those without homes have been made political tools. It’s too bad.
But my hope this holiday season is that we stop to remember that the people who might be living under Ben White Boulevard or I-35 or in a camp in the Greenbelt are people. And with some peace and goodwill from the community, they might one day down the line create something beautiful.
Christmas is the celebration of the birth of a baby who was essentially homeless. He was born among animals in a manger because there was no place to stay. I personally believe there’s real meaning to the reason Jesus was born into poverty and under those circumstances. We should notice. Always, but especially at this time of year, we should hold close those who are our sisters and brothers who need family and community. It’s not time for politics or making political points. It’s not time to look down on those in need. It’s time to really celebrate the humanity of Christmas and the Christmas story.
A little tease
Sam Cole, another resident of Community First! Village, took this photo for a book project of mine that will be released in January…more to come on that later.