Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Diamonds on the Inside

Sometimes it's just all about community.

Tonight was one of those nights.

Seriously, I raised $17.50! Can you believe it? I walked for five hours in a Harrison Township neighborhood so close to Lake St. Claire I could see the waves and feel the lake breeze. And nobody wanted to donate to Clean Water Action. Actually, that isn't quite true -- nobody who wanted to donated to Clean Water Action felt able to donate anything more than a few bucks.

A guy who is going in for his second heart surgery gave me his last $2.50. Another lady gave me $5 and another one gave me $10. I might possibly have done a little bit better on this turf if it had had more houses -- and if I hadn't been sharing it with Thomas. Because Thomas and I were sharing it and it was a small turf, I started ringing on doorbells right at four 'o clock. By six o' clock we had finished walking the turf for the first time and were ready to start on callbacks. And by 8:30 p.m. there were no more callbacks to do but we had half an hour till pick up. Since it was dark when I was finishing up callbacks, it's likely that I missed a handful of potential doors.

So I didn't raised standard tonight. But I had some very thoughtful discussions about Great Lakes water issues. One man had many questions about out-of-state trash and bottled water companies. I was grateful that I was able to tell him not only what's going on today but also to give him an oral history about the advent of mega-garbage dumps in Michigan. I recall when Governor John Engler pushed for garbage-dump expansion in the 1990s. I was a county government reporter then and had the responsibility of touring dump facilities and listening to the trash company public-relations spin on the topic of trash.

So anyway, I didn't get rich tonight. But I did feel effective. That counts for something.

Also... I got some new tires on my car today. That's good. My nephew's friend noticed one of the tires was about to give out.

And even though I'm not all that crazy about splitting turf because it can throw off my pace, I completly enjoyed working with Thomas who will be leaving in a few days to go Africa to work with his brother on a project to prevent flooding in Dakar.

So I don't know exactly where my life is headed? Who does...

As I was getting out of my car I thought about how fortunate I am to live in such a beautiful state with so many good people who are struggling right along with me to make ends meet. Tonight on turf I met people who were packing up and leaving their homes due to foreclosure. I met people who had just recently lost jobs and people who have been out of work for many months. I also met a few people who just recently went back to work. And I met people who can't pay their medical bills. I met a lady who offered to volunteer because she can't give money. She has had a cat since January and has not been able to have it spayed due to the cost. She told me every time she thinks about taking the cat to the vet she thinks about what she would have to give up to have the proceedure done -- shoes for her daughter, groceries.

It's really bad out there for people and tonight was one night when that was abundently clear to me.

Just being out there with the people who are feeling the pain of this recession made me feel really good. The last hour I walked door to door in a soft warm rain without a jacket or umbrella. There was something very peaceful about it. To be honest with you, it somehow made me feel pretty. I'd been feeling fat and insecure earlier in the day.

I started humming the song Diamonds on the Inside, a favorite of my nephew, Jonathan. He plays it for me on guitar sometimes.