Sunday Letters
Larry with chainsaw
Above: Our neighbor, Larry, makes his living doing odd jobs around the village, including decimating wayward yew trees with his trusty chainsaw. When Dr. King made his "I Have A Dream" speech in D.C., Larry was close by, without his chainsaw, or so we assume.

23 January 2000

Dear Friends,

. . . . I'll start off boring you with reflections on Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, then get to the personal stuff like snow and new friendships.

T U T U , . K I N G , . A L I , . S C H U L K E
. . . . Which name doesn't fit? You're right. Flip Schulke, unlike Desmond Tutu, Martin Luther King Jr. and Muhammad Ali, was a photojournalist. I learned about him from a TV documentary aired on MLK Jr.'s birthday.
. . . . White photojournalists like Schulke shot the Civil Rights Movement because black photojournalists often could not. Black photographers, for example, might be arrested for "suspicion of possessing stolen goods" -- their cameras.
. . . . Early on, Schulke became a friend of MLK Jr.'s and convinced him of the importance not only of publicity but of historical documentation. Schulke, as MLK Jr's friend, was able to shoot where no other photojournalist could -- during worship at Ebenezer Church in Atlanta, inside the King home immediately after the assassination.
. . . . One of Schulke's stories was of a young Muhammad Ali, then called Cassius Clay, who was nearly penniless at the time, early in his career, living on what his backers could pay him. Schulke, working with an expense account from Sports Illustrated, thought the fighter should have some new shirts and offered to buy them. Inside the department store, the black man was not allowed to try the clothes on. He couldn't touch them. They had to stay wrapped, even if Sports Illustrated was paying for it. Muhammad Ali is a huge man, or so says my wife, Barbara, who met the fighter once. Extra large shirts often wouldn't fit him; he had to try them on first before buying them. So Ali took Schulke to another clothing store, one that served blacks. Schulke, of course, photographed all this sad story.
. . . . Desmond Tutu was in Wilmington on MLK Jr.'s birthday. He talked of how he once met a widow and her daughters who lived on "borrowed" food after forced resettlement in South Africa. When there was no food to "borrow" from their impoverished neighbors, the widow and her daughters would fill their stomachs with water. This experience galvanized Tutu to dedicate his life to end such unnecessary suffering.
. . . . Me, I suffer little. I had a delicious lunch on MLK Jr.'s birthday courtesy of George Krupanski, the Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Delaware. While bragging on the Great State of Delaware, he confessed that Wilmington has had a tough time with racial problems. There were riots in the '60s. The National Guard was called out and the city they stayed longest was Wilmington. There was a bitter fight over forced busing. Only last year did forced busing end.
. . . . One corollary of forced busing I'd never considered: the end of most extracurricular activities in schools. With forced busing, kids couldn't easily stick around schools for clubs or athletics. They lived across town. So schools became much less effective in building community, something Boys and Girls Clubs do, especially well in Delaware where membership has grown ten-fold in ten years.

water drainingP L U M B I N G . P R O B L E M S
. . . . Once my appendix came out last month, I thought my plumbing problems were over. Not so. Our new home, an old cottage, has little hot water and little drainage. That, at least, is how Barbara and I view the problem. An equally valid assessment, no doubt worthy of respect, is that we want too much, that we should have been content with the luke-warm water our on-demand heater produced, that we should be content with drainage of four ounces a second from the bathtub and the washing machine. While equally valid and worthy of respect, it is disconcerting to us to find such opinions among plumbers, workers who are reluctant to fix a problem they don't think exists. Things are different in the Village of Arden.
. . . . Will we fit in? Happily, our landlady in on our side. Of course, she's a newcomer, barely here ten years. I've met old people who went to grade school here. A neighbor in her 50s was born in the house she lives in. Then again, I also met a neighbor who was born in Switzerland. For a moment that mads me think maybe there's hope for us transplanted Texans but the hope soon faded. Switzerland is a small country; Delaware, a small state. Of course the Swiss would move here. But Texans? Texas is "Bigger Than France" -- surely you've seen the bumper stickers. Maybe we won't fit in after all.
. . . . When we were up here Halloween, I saw someone wearing a Stetson. Momentarily I felt good seeing something so familiar, then realized what day it was. This is going to take time.
Today (Sunday, Jan. 23) I felt more hopeful. We went into a supermarket and found Pace and Old El Paso brands of picante sauce. We found barbecue sauce by Stubbs. We found hot sauce by Jardine's. It was like finding old friends.

S N O W Y . D E L A W A R E
. . . . Thursday (Jan. 20) it snowed four inches. Last winter, we're told, it snowed four inches TOTAL. Several of you warned us this would happen. Actually, we like it. Yesterday we purchased snow boots. It has been lightly snowing all day today. I let Barbara take the car Thursday and Friday -- figured I wouldn't risk damaging it out in the snow. I stayed home and worked on websites.
. . . . I'm still maintaining the website for St. David's Episcopal Church in Austin (http://www.stdave.org). It's a little money while I look for real work here. Also, during my "snow days" Thursday and Friday, I moved my personal website from Texas to New Jersey (New Jersey?) and spent quite a bit of time improving it (the website, not New Jersey), in particular by adding new photos of the local snow.

Christ ChurchM E E T I N G . P E O P L E
. . . . Besides lunch with George Krupanski on Monday, I met with the Rector of Christ Church Christiana Hundred on Tuesday. He gave me the names of several other people to meet. One, in fact, I already worked with in Austin -- the assistant rector. She and I worked on a Habitat fundraiser while she was in seminary!
. . . . Christ Church built a house with Habitat two years ago. Wednesday I had lunch with the woman who headed up the project and with Habitat's volunteer coordinator, who moved here from Washington State six months ago. He asked me to volunteer but I begged off, since I had just volunteered the day before to help Christ Church with their website.

God bless you all,

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