Chicago Boyz

                 
 
 
What Are Chicago Boyz Readers Reading?
 

 
  •   Enter your email to be notified of new posts:
    Loading
  •   Problem? Question?
  •   Contact Authors:

  • Blog Posts (RSS 2.0)
  • Blog Posts (Atom 0.3)
  • Incoming Links
  • Recent Comments

    • Loading...
  • Authors

  • Notable Discussions

  • Recent Posts

  • Blogroll

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Community

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on June 6th, 2016 (All posts by )

    We walked with the dogs on Saturday morning – as we do almost every morning; our two, Nemo and Connor, and the exuberant labradoodle belonging to an elderly neighbor. Penny, the labradoodle is a young dog, energetic, impulsive and quite strong; late last year, while walking down to the community mailbox, Penny pulled on her leash abruptly that our neighbor was pulled over and absolutely wrecked her shoulder/rotator cuff when she fell to the pavement. This meant several days in the hospital and weeks of therapy for our neighbor, who likely will never regain full mobility – and so, we walk her dog in the morning, and the children of another neighbor walk the dog later in the day; all this aimed toward exhausting the dog, who as noted, is young, exuberant and requires an extensive program of exercise which our neighbor is simply unable to provide, as much as she adores her companion-dog. So we do it – it’s what neighbors do.

    At the top of the gradual rise that our neighborhood is built on, we met Tom, another neighbor walking his own dog – Tom’s dog is an elderly beagle afflicted with skin allergies. Nemo the god-knows-what-mostly-terrier absolutely adores Tom, for some reason. Should Nemo ever run away from our house (an extremely unlikely occurrence) we would first look for him at Tom’s. We commiserated with Tom over the beagle’s allergies, as Connor also suffers from them, and then I mentioned that we would be in Wimberley on Saturday for a book event; I don’t know which of us first brought up the horrific flood that hit Wimberley a year ago Memorial Day, from which Wimberley’s various businesses and residents have made heroic efforts to recover. We had been at a book event in July, with a table next to a writer from Wimberley, whose wife had been a volunteer. He related to us how local volunteers had managed to get so much done, both during the flood and in the aftermath; by the time the Red Cross and the official disaster-coping authorities arrived on the scene, everything was pretty much sorted.

    This flood had happened that very weekend that we had met up in Austin with Jonathon and some of the other Texas Chicagoboyz – and Blondie and I had skirted the worst of the afternoon storms which brought on the flooding on our way back home. Tom also had been returning from a road trip to Houston – and was in Wimberley in the days following the flood, helping in the search for survivors. One of his nephews and his family were among a party of nine who had been staying in a vacation house on the river for the Memorial Day weekend. In the middle of the night, the flooding river carried the house off its’ foundation pillars, swept it downstream and smashed it against a bridge. Only one of the party and the family dog survived, and the bodies of two children were never found. This had been in all the newspapers, of course; finding out about the connection this weekend is just additional proof that San Antonio is the largest small town in the world. Tom mentioned a long article about the flood in Texas Monthlylinked here – and it turned out to be a very good read, especially when it touched on the work of the local Fire Department. They had worked heroically all that night, knowing that the river was going to rise, not quite expecting it to flood so catastrophically. Knowing how many vacationers were in Wimberley for that weekend, knowing a bit of the terrain and how the rain can come down at horrific rate almost without warning – it was a miracle that there were not more dead than there were.

    I thought about the community volunteers, after reading the article, and remembered how – when Mom and Dad’s house burned in the Paradise Mountain fire in 2003, it was the community; the local churches, fraternal organizations, businesses and ordinary citizens stepping up to do what had to be done. Then – as in Wimberley last year – by the time the Red Cross and FEMA got there, the situation was pretty much sorted. I think that the bottom line understanding is that truly organic and healthy communities are self-organizing; they do not have much need of a self-styled, so-called “community organizer” coming in from the outside with a megaphone and issuing orders.
    Discuss.

     

    5 Responses to “Community”

    1. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      I think that the bottom line understanding is that truly organic and healthy communities are self-organizing; they do not have much need of a self-styled, so-called “community organizer” coming in from the outside with a megaphone and issuing orders.

      Weirdly, it is the individually driven people who are most likely to do this sort of thing. The collectivists are more likely to stand around waiting for the government – aka someone else – to do something.

    2. Grurray Says:

      I remember that fire. It was a bad one, if memory serves me correctly. My uncle lived in La Mesa, and at one point the fire was only a few miles away. He lived near a small lake, really a big pond, so I think he thought he was going to be safe. Those small suburban towns’ emergency departments had no chance against a huge fire like that moving so fast. I can see how the local groups would be so important.

    3. Sgt. Mom Says:

      It was a bad one, Gurray – there were two huge ones burning at the same time, and it was horrific. My parents had about half an hour to grab the most precious stuff, and the pets, and for my mother to drive down the hill alone. All the other houses nearby were saved by the FD – but there was just not enough space at the top of their driveway to bring an tanker truck up close. (That was remedied when the house was re-built.) Dad, the neighbors who stayed and the FD personnel went to the middle of a half-acre lot that had been scraped clear of flammable brush and the fire burned around them.

      My mother said afterwards, the first, best and most heartening thing to happen was that one of the local churches made small cash grants to those who had been burned out. Not much, really – fifty or seventy dollars. No paperwork, small town, everyone knew everyone else. Just – here, hope it helps, spend it on something that helps. And my sister took Mom to Nordstroms in the mall in Escondido, because Mom had no clothes other than what she stood up in, to buy underwear and PJs and a change of clothes … and when my sister explained that Mom had been burned out, they either offered a deep, deep discount on what Mom had picked out, or just gave it to her – can’t remember which. That’s an example of people in a community quietly doing the necessary.

    4. TangoMan Says:

      Weirdly, it is the individually driven people who are most likely to do this sort of thing. The collectivists are more likely to stand around waiting for the government – aka someone else – to do something.

      Wimberly. Grand Forks. Kobe, Japan.

      OK, maybe Wimberly has a lot of individualists. Japan is not known as a land of individualists. There is a better variable which explains the community coming together in the aftermath of disaster.

      That variable was not present in New Orleans.

    5. Will Says:

      The variables. We live in a still quiet subdivision. It’s changing, though. We’ve got a couple of elderly neighbors, who’ve had health challenges. The ambulance comes fairly often. In this town, that means the fire truck comes with it. A thundering riot of strobes and two-way radio squawks. I’m outside. I want to see what’s going on, Two p.m.or two a.m.

      The neighbors across the street, however, work on the Kitty Genovese variable. If you’ve a keen eye, you may catch the nearly imperceptible adjustment of the blinds. They do not come out, for any reason. I can look up and down the streets, and there’s almost always the same two or three gray-heads doing the same as me. One guy was in the CG around the same time as I was, the other direction, he’s an ER nurse.

      I’ve lived in big cities, and and know from experience that they are not the place to be when the SHTF. Sure, you’ll see people from all walks, step up, and it’s heartening, but not often enough. I hate to see the same indifference here. We grew up in a small rural town that had a volunteer FD. The Chief would approach young men as they came of age to consider volunteering. Let’s keep the spirit of Wimberley alive.