Let’s create a winding stream

Published 6:09 am Wednesday, March 3, 2010

“Without difficulties, life would be like a stream without rocks and curves—about as interesting as concrete.” — Benjamin Hoff from The Te of Piglet

I’m not sure what materials are being used to build our new building that will house the jail and court system. There will be some concrete there and some difficulties. We know they transported portions of the walls from Iowa with what I suspect costly Iowa transportation costs. And I wonder what the current court/jail and other locations will become or will the social services come back home to their previous site and perhaps develop their own court system for those who skip school.

Maybe they could have a chain gang that could construct a tunnel to the new building from the current sight. It would give the chain gang something constructive to do as opposed to sitting in jail watching television. It might also reduce the crime rate. Monday I read that the “Sentence to Serve” program has been in effect, but is scheduled to fade away because Gov. Pawlenty has cut the program.

I’m guessing there won’t be an underground garage in the new building for parking making it difficult to find a place to park. I’m hoping the city provides more bike racks in Austin’s downtown future and then close Main Street from First Avenue NW to Fourth Avenue NW to traffic with post office vehicles being an exception and thusly making the whole street walkable.

And eventually we will see something being done to tidy up the land that got caught in last winter’s fire. Do something that has appeal to people considering Austin as a place to live. Perhaps create a winding stream with rocks and curves making its way downtown.

We didn’t have a stream on Main Street when we were growing up. At that time, we drove up and down Main Street steady, almost non-stop, usually with Dick Chaffee driving.

And speaking of then, the other day, Dick Chaffee called to say Marv Dauer had dined with Pete Rose and Barry Bonds. Some of you baseball fans may remember them. Marv was a member of our class 49 years ago. Marv still comes back every summer to pay a visit and play some golf.

I called Marv Sunday and asked for some details and discovered from Marv that Pete Rose had visited Hormel in 1982.

This dinner was reportedly the first time Pete Rose and Barry Bonds had dinner together, and they told stories for three hours. Pete Rose surpassed Ty Cobb’s record of hits and Barry Bonds surpassed Hank Aaron’s record of home runs and is now the Home Run King.  If you have any questions regarding this, you can catch Marv at the country club sometime this summer around class reunion time—not ours though, that will have to wait another year.

A few weeks back, I mentioned Gary Holthaus, a Minnesota poet and author of From the Farm to the Table, what all Americans need to know about agriculture, had spent time in Iraq. Sally told me that Gary was one of a number of poets who had been invited to share their poetry in Iraq. According to Sally, Gary had an opportunity to meet Saddam Hussein while in the country. Gary was also a minister and wrote a more recent book about life in Alaska. He read from that book at the Unitarian Church in Rochester a couple of years ago. I would like to know what Saddam had to say in his conversation.

The other night I read a few words from Martin Luther King during the times when he said, “I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventure like Vietnam continued to draw men and skill and money like some demonic destructive suction tube. So I was increasingly compelled to see the war as the enemy of the poor and to attack it as such.”

Now we are in a similar situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and I read the suicide rate of soldiers has reached a new high in all branches of the military service that is almost a byproduct of war these days.

I’m still working on a book I hope to publish some day regarding my experience in service and the experience coming home. Some day it will be available.