Thursday, November 16, 2006

Rainy Weather and Sad Times

A Southern Illinois native who now lives in California emailed a group of us, who call ourselves Union County Friends, that she had been back here researching family history in the Jonesboro court house and seeing cousins. She was glad to get back to sunny California. The last couple of weeks of chilly, rainy weather have certainly not shown visitors the best of our autumn weather. I was grateful it quit raining tonight when I drove over to Southern Illinois Writers Guild at Carterville. It was raining last month as I drove to Guild, and I thought it was going to continue this morning's rain into the evening.

At Aldi's yesterday standing in the checkout line, the lady in back of me complimented the woman behind her on her great hat. The hat lady looked really sharp in black blouse and slacks with a great black felt hat with feather band. She thanked the first woman for the compliment saying it had cheered her up because it was her third compliment on the hat--which she told us had been bought 20 years ago even though it looked brand new. She was trying not to be depressed with all the rainy weather--and so she dressed up. We all appreciated her efforts. And one stranger complimenting another stranger brought us all a time of warmth and togetherness despite the weather outside.

Tonight at Guild was a reading circle night, which we usually have four times a year. Anyone who wants to can read a brief selection. As always, there was diversity and great talent as people shared. Perhaps tonight was more intense than usual as one woman shared the tragic story of her daughter and son-in-law's death in a fire, another woman wrote of the horrors of her son being beaten beyond recognition, and then a young college woman shared a poem about her father's death. There is so much sadness and horror in life, some of which is unimaginable as one member expressed it. Yet it seems to help to share our sorrows with one another. And certainly it causes us to realize anew how much our friends, acquaintances, and the strangers we pass on the street may have suffered and survived. We need to be as kind to one another as we can, for we never know how much the other person may need a smile or a hug.

Channel 3's Bonnie Wheeler came in at the close of our meeting just as she had promised us Saturday when she stopped by the Guild table at AutumnFest to solicit books for one of our area's favorite charities. Tonight she graciously picked up the books that members donated to be put into one of the pretty cellophane wrapped baskets for this Saturday night's event to raise money for the Glen Poshard Foundation for Abused Children.

Once again we are reminded of the sadness and violence that completely envelops many of our region's children. The meth epidemic has increased child abuse and neglect. As much as we want smoke-free work places for everyone, even more we need children to have homes free of the chemicals used to make that dangerous high. As Arthur Miller told us in All My Sons, the children belong to all of us. We need to look around us and be aware of the children that need help. If you have some extra time and/or money, ask a school teacher or a pastor to tell you of a child you can help.

No comments: