2. Of all the computers I have borrowed here each and every one of them use the weather page as their internet start-up page.
3. If you face the mountains, and you can still your mind long enough to breath through your eyes, the mountain goats come into focus. They dot the mountainside, but remain invisible to the busy, searching mind.
4. Residents of Juneau refer to the Mendanhall Glacier as “our glacier.”
5. They also refer to Governor Palin as “our Sarah,” but for different reasons and with different inflections and facial expressions.
6. If you want to quiet a dinner party, look out the window and ask in what part of Juneau Governor Palin lives. (She lives in Wasilla and is trying to move the state capitol out of Juneau.)
7. Of all the homes I have been invited that are built on a hill, the mail living quarters are the top story with bedrooms below.
8. Of all the homes I have been invited there is a big tray inside the front door for snow boots. And often baskets of big fluffy socks and slippers to don while you visit.
9. Cramp-ons fit running shoes. I saw them.
10. This is the first time in a long time that I have full lung capacity. The air is so clean and oxygenated. My mind is calm and clear.
11. The Silverbow Bagel coffee-shop serves bagels and Alaskan lox. New York has nothing on this lox!
12. I have developed a swagger in my big snow boots. Fortunately as my attitude gets intolerable, the ice humbles me and forces me to stop swaggering.
Three words to describe Juneau Unitarian Universalists: scrappy, interdependent, (radically) authentic
Falling Man, Connected Man
My host Bev Haywood and I were coming home from the JUUF book club. Just as we were pulling in to her garage, a man walking his dog twisted and fell on the ice. I jumped out of the car to assist. A neighbor also saw and quickly brought out a cushion to get him off the ice while we assessed the situation.
The three of us managed to gingerly get him into our car along with his dog, Earl, the sweet, black lab. Earl is dropped off at Pete’s house and his wallet is picked up. Off we go to the Emergency Room. On the way, Pete shares that he is part of the Unitarian Universalist fellowship in Anchorage. What are the odds?
Bev stays with him the whole time. Broken leg just above the ankle. Tucks him in at home. In the morning we go into UU mode and tend to his needs. That’s what Unitarian Universalists do. He’s in good hands.
Advisors on the Bus
I enjoy the ease of public transportation. And the education.
“You aren’t from Juneau, are you? I don’t recognize you.”
“No, I’m in town to do some work with the Unitarian Universalist church.”
He goes off on a tirade about how churches should pay taxes and earn their keep, because they do anything for the people. I respond that I didn’t know about the Juneau UU church, but that the Anchorage church voluntarily pays their taxes. He looks surprised and continues to assess me.
“If you were King of the Universe, what would you have the churches do?” And I reach in my bag for a pen and paper.
The rest of the trip is filled with fantastic suggestions. Riders around us get off the bus and new people get on and join the conversation.
- Free legal advocacy
- Mail-boxes for homeless folks
- Adult foster care
- Larger shelter
- Free counseling for homeless men
- Mentors for people newly homeless
- Classes for newly homeless on how to be homeless
- Micro-lending for newly jobless
- Budgeting classes
- Parenting classes so people don’t lose their kids to foster care
- Parenting classes for teen parents
- Parenting classes for grandparents raising their grandkids
- Transportation for elders going to medical appointments
- Programs to understand new law changes
- More buses during tourist season, because they take over the buses
- Family services
- Affordable drug and alcohol rehabilitation
- More severe punishment for hate crimes
- Training for police about cultural differences
- Training for churches to welcome ex-offenders
When it is my stop I offer my card and extend my hand. “Thank you for this most valuable information. I will see that the churches get this. I’ll see what I can do to work on these programs. I’d love to see you at church on Sunday. 11:00. 5th and Main.”
He didn’t come to church. And I wondered if he would be welcome. If he would feel comfortable. We’ve got work to do. I’ve got more busses to ride.