Sunday, November 05, 2006

Salmon, turkeys, kids and silence

For six years I have been part of a writers’ group that meets monthly up the road in Longview, Washington.

Each month, the six of us submit writing for comment. The group is worthy of its own full-fledged blog. Someday….

Until then, here is a sampling from this month’s submissions:

Jim LeMond writes about how adults influence kids, often unknowingly: “During my teaching career, former students often stopped by my room to visit. Some remembered comments I’d written on their papers or something I’d said in passing, years before. After this happened a few times, I realized that contact with kids–even in the form of greetings, smiles and asides–can have more impact than we might imagine. That knowledge scared the hell out of me. It also made me a much better teacher.”

Suzanne Martinson writes about her experiences with Thanksgiving turkeys through the years: “Before the sexual revolution, people worried about their wedding night. Today, couples worry about their first turkey. The bird is so big, the expectations so high, the traditions so demanding that Thanksgiving takes on the aura of a make-it-or-break-it event.”

Cathy Zimmerman writes about silent places: “As a child I made tents out of blankets and escaped into them. The church we went to–a massive basilica in inner-city Chicago–was like being inside a mountain, inside its cool, stone, perfumed silence.”

In Irene Martin’s history of the Columbia River fishery, she describes a label on a vintage salmon tin (see above picture): The Beacon Brand “shows the Statue of Liberty holdiing a salmon in her uplifted hand, with her other arm encircling a can. Behind her is the newly constructed Brooklyn Bridge. The not-so-subliminal message to arriving immigrants: 'Give me your tired, your poor, your wretched refuse yearning to eat salmon.'"

Still on the phone or away from the desk?

Still no word from Bill Long, the structure supervisor at the Portland Department of Transportation. It’s been a week since I called him about the blocks that have fallen out of the retaining wall along the Bertha Court sidewalk. A week is a long time for Bill to be- as his answering machine told me-“on the phone or away from the desk.”

Time to ring up Bill again. Stay tuned....