Tag Archives: KKK

House Story, Chapter 10

Paris BathroomBlogBathroom in Progress

Someone recently scrawled a message on the side of our old house. The letters, about a foot tall, were drawn with a permanent black marker: KKK. I had to apply three coats of primer (white primer) to finally conceal it. I think that’s called an irony.

The six-foot plum tree we recently planted (House Story, chapter 8)—the one with deep purple leaves—was also targeted. Many of the branches were broken off. If someone had wanted to use them as filler for a floral arrangement in a church sanctuary, I wouldn’t so much have minded. I ended up taking a pruners and cutting the tree to half its size. It looks pathetic, but has a fighting chance. Like a little boy with a bad haircut, the sheared tree is embarrassed to be seen in public.

I was somewhere between annoyed and angered. I think the word is pissed! I just didn’t know at whom. So I did what any mature adult in the first year of the seventh decade of life would do—I sat on the floor in the bathroom and pouted. Then I got up.

This is a photo of our bathroom, minus a tub, shower, toilet, and sink. The original floor-to-ceiling window was simply too large. I decided it was time to rip it apart and refit it, which is something one can do with a 100-year-old window. I cut down the frame and sashes to smaller dimensions, then glued and re-attached everything with 3” screws. New glass will get fresh glazing. New cotton cords will connect the windows to 6-pound weights. When put together, it will work better than the old.

Even though the day didn’t start out good, it ended up that way. A few lessons keep me pondering: (1) People of any age who scrawl KKK on houses don’t have the last word. The same goes for racial and ethnic slurs. Amazing how ugly some of us look when arguing against allowing Central American children and teens to cross our southern borders. “Not in our town! They don’t belong here! Imagine the diseases they bring!”

(2) Trees, like people, are amazingly resilient. The deepest and wisest people I know are those who’ve experienced more than their share of broken branches: shortened careers, unfair treatment, financial setbacks, disheartened diagnoses, discrimination at the deepest levels. I love the quote from Ernest Hemingway, “The world breaks everyone, then some become strong at the broken places.”

(3) The intensity of the light through the window opening reminds me of John 1:5, “The light shines in the darkness and the darkness does not overcome it.” John doesn’t say that the darkness no longer exists, or that the darkness isn’t every bit as intense as it was before, just that the darkness cannot prevent the light from revealing what light reveals.

Some days, restoring an old house in hopes of adding stability to a block comes down to having a can of paint primer and keeping the pruners sharp.

[For previous installments of A House Story go to www.danielplasman.com/blog/ and pull down the CATEGORIES menu and select A House Story]






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3-Day Weekend

Exterior of Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli, Rome, Italy  

As the calendar gods orchestrated it, the upcoming 3-day weekend will witness the convergence of three unique events.

Next Monday is the holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King.  Banks will be closed.  Mail will not get delivered.  Every major city in the U.S. has a Martin Luther King Boulevard or a Martin Luther King Drive.  In a domesticated way, we tend to honor fiery prophets once they’re dead.  If King were alive, he would have harsh words for fiscal cliffs and the way we accuse the poor and underserved for being takers from the system.  King would also have much to say about corporate creed, the tax system, our fondness for wars, and our violent culture.  King sounds a lot like Jesus.

This weekend is also the inauguration of President Obama.  On Sunday at noon, in a private ceremony, he will be sworn into office for a second term.  On Monday, the public inauguration will take place on the steps of the U. S. Capital.  The president will place his hand on Bibles once belonging to Martin Luther King and Abraham Lincoln.

The third event of the weekend is less known but gaining momentum.  On Saturday, the first National Gun Appreciation Day observance will take place.  The call to the faithful is found at www.gunappreciationday.com:  “On 01.19.13 go to your local gun store, gun range, or gun show with your Constitution, American flags and your ‘Hands off my Guns’ sign to send a loud and clear message to Congress and President Obama.”

It’s an attractive, well-designed web site.  Lots of red, white and blue.  The home page has a great shot (pun intended) of three females and one male enjoying a day at a local firing range.  A fair-skinned blonde is smiling as she grips her bright red (or is that a shade of cranberry?) pistol.  You just know she feels safe and secure in every situation.  I don’t see anywhere on the site that it’s supported by the NRA, but I imagine the folks at the National Rifle Association give their full support and plan to participate on Saturday.

What an amazing convergence this weekend!  Honoring the memory of a prophetic African-American.  Inaugurating the first African-American president to his second term.  Calling upon patriotic Americans to sharpen their shooting skills.

Is it fear that lurks in the DNA of some organizations?  The KKK was birthed in 1865 for the purpose of re-asserting the dominance of the white race.  The NRA was founded in 1871 for the purpose of teaching folks how to be better marksmen.  That the Civil War was over and more than 3 million former slaves roamed free must have made a lot of people nervous.

I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character . . . I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together – Martin Luther King, Jr.

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