A DAY TO REMEMBER…

Monday was a super full day and rest assured it will be returned to over and over again to fill in the stories…

Lunch was inspiring as we dined and visited with the MLK celebration’s key note speaker, Lynda Blackmon Lowery.

Committee Members,Past and 2020 recipient award winners and some spouses…

FYI Lunch stories will be shared in other entries…

The weather had cooperated and 7 members of the Twin City family made it in to share the evening with us… Our 21 requested seats were filled and as in years past our community showed up to fill the Viterbo Fine Arts Center’s main theatre for the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. La Crosse Area Celebration.

As customary the program began with an insightful welcome from Richard Kyte , Viterbo University’s director of the D.B. Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership. It came as no surprise in which a worldwide survey chose Dr. King as one of top three most influential persons with the common thread being Love.

The soulful invocation by Rev. Dr. Calvin Morris was delivered in the rendition of Precious Lord, Take My Hand by Colorful Roots.

L to R Dr. Calvin Morris along with Colorful Roots :
Dodie Whitaker, Denise Christy-Moss, Terrence Chester, La Kisha Hudson, Keonte Turner

The Mistress of Ceremonies once again was Carolyn Bostrack whose comments besides introductions explained Dr. King’s Drum Major Instinct. King’s 1968 speech in Atlanta’s Ebenezer Church was the inspiration for the Legacy recognition my Natureman would be receiving.

Last year’s recipient of the Dr. MLK Jr. Leadership Award, Shaundel Spivey introduced and presented Drum Major Legacy Award. (video link to follow/ at least the acceptance speech transcript.)

The plaque’s inscription speaks for itself…

Tracy Littlejohn

The prestigious 2020 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Award went to Tracy LittleJohn, an activist who advocates for many in our Native American community including home school coordinator for the Ho-Chunk Nation La Crosse Youth and Learning and co-advising the U-WL Native American student Association along with educating others regarding racism, oppression and its impact on marginalized peoples. Her tearful speech pulled at all our heartstrings.

The Viterbo choir followed singing a traditional spiritual ‘Bound for Canaan Lan’ and would return to close the program with everyone singing Lift every Voice and Sing.

But first it was time for our keynote speaker Lynda Blackmon Lowery whose messages regarding History: Past, Present and Future were manifold but hinged on the importance of the Vote. The very reason she was marching on the Edmund Pettus Bridge at 14 years old. The Black vote was and today once again is being suppressed along with others’s constitutional right to vote. We must speak out, not just registering but going to the polls on election day and voting. (Come back for her story of crossing that bridge on Bloody Sunday. )

Ms. Lowery followed her speech presenting the award named after her to Jonah Harlan, a sophomore at Onalaska High School who spoke words of maturity in his acceptance and role in helping his peers understand their white privilege and the importance of social justice. It’s just what the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King wanted us to do work together to make this world more just.

Let us Lift Every Voice and Sing…

FORGET RENAMING A BRIDGE…

First for an admission… Today’s topic slant wasn’t going to be about a bridge’s name but it spawned from of one of the lunch conversation stories with Lynda Blackmon Lowery, MLK’s Celebration keynote speaker, as this and all stories needs to be shared. Shared because it changed my perspective of no matter how much I respect Senator John Lewis, the Edmund Pettus Bridge doesn’t need to be renamed after him…

Ms Lowery like Lewis lives with scars from the March 7th 1965 brutal beatings received from law enforcement officers during the ‘peaceful’ voting rights march over the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, only she was just 14.

She has no problem vocalizing her emotional disdain over changing the name of that very same bridge. Here’s how she put it “They have no right changing the name of our bridge. WE all know who it was named for and exactly why that name should never be changed. “

Wikipedia states Edmund Winston Pettus was a former Confederate senior officer, an Alabaman senator from 1897 to 1907 and no secret known for being the Grand Dragon, the head of the Ku Klux Klan. “The bridge was named for him, in part, to memorialize his history, of restraining and imprisoning African-Americans in their quest for freedom after the Civil War,” says University of Alabama history professor John Giggie. The Pettus’ family profited enormously from the economy of the Deep South, owning slaves and producing cotton. But it was Pettus’ belief in white supremacy, and not pure economics that drove his support for the Confederacy. “

Ms Lowery animatedly shook her fists and head as she retold of the elation she felt when she recrossed the Edmund Pettus bridge on March 9, 2015 with President Obama, John Lewis and many other dignitaries and survivors to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday. She said she knew it must have made Edmund Pettus’s bones rattle knowing a Black President walked over that bridge…

And yes, they must have been rattling below is a video clip of President Obama’s 3 most important remarks regarding the march not being over during the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday. Let us remember and continue the fight for the eradication of racism…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WyIx1qan3v8

and another the 50th Anniversary clip of Bloody Sunday… https://www.msnbc.com/msnbc-live/watch/50-years-later–president-obama-crosses-selma-bridge-409815619542

Here’s Ms. Lowery sharing photos at lunch with the most recent recipient of the Lynda Blackmon Lowery award, Jonah Harlan, a local high school sophomore. The photos are her meeting the Obamas on the 50th Anniversary March of Bloody Sunday.

BTW Jonah did her proud last night as he spoke of his recognition of his own white privilege…

May the torch continue to be passed…

MONDAY MUSINGS WITH MLK, WHO ELSE?

Through the generosity of the Alternative Truth Project and the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of La Crosse our community was invited to the Pump House to attend a reading of ” Dr. King’s Call for Justice- Are We Still Listening? ” directed by Keith Belzer and compiled by Ron Malzer and Denise Christy-Moss.

“Coretta”Denise Christy-Moss,”MLK”Torrence Chester and narrator Ron Malzer

Through research of Dr. King’s past speeches and library books we heard about Atlanta’s bright Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. graduating high school at 15, Morehouse College at 19 and finishing his doctorate with a marriage proposal to 26 year old Marion, Alabama born Coretta Scott, an Antioch graduate and New England Conservatory voice major in Boston.

There was no denying the chemistry Ms. Scott felt to the serious man dedicated to his religion along with a desire to change society. Four children may have kept Coretta Scott King at home but she shared her husband’s life work although she didn’t always receive the invitations to accompany him nor share his incarceration.

Below is a snippet of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s timeline:

*1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott

*1957 president elect of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC)

*1963 Birmingham Non Violent Civil Rights work, jailed due to no permit

* Late 1963: March for Jobs and Freedom also known as “March on Washington” with 200,000 + others , asking for that ‘Promissory’ note to be paid

*1964 Nobel Peace Prize recipient

*1965 Led the Selma to Montgomery March for Voting rights.

* 1965-68 Economic emphasis added to agenda “Poor Peoples Campaign”

 *April 1968, to be speaker at Memphis, Tennessee’s Mason Temple. Dr. King was assassinated after papers leaked his change from the ‘luxury’ Holiday Inn to the Black owned Lorraine Motel

*Late 1968, Mrs. Coretta Scott King, founded the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta. Coretta Scott King continued his legacy and to make his birthday a national holiday which happened in ’83.

Coretta King’s script were mostly from two memoirs “My Life with Martin Luther King Jr.” ’93 and “Coretta: My Life, My Love, My Legacy,” published posthumously in 2017.

After her husband’s death in ’68 she ‘took on the struggle for racial equality leadership’ and became very active in the Women’s movement, advocating for LGBT rights and apartheid.

We were looking forward to the post reading Q & A but some football game cut our time short…

The audience was also introduced to Rev. Dr. Calvin Morris, a former director of the King Center who spent time with Jesse Jackson, Andrew Young and MLK in addition to many of the King family. Dr. Morris will be giving tomorrow’s invocation at La Crosse’s MLK Jr. Celebration at 7pm in the Viterbo Fine Arts Center on Jackson Street.

‘Free will’ donations in lieu of tickets sales will go to B.L.A.C.K. (Black Leaders Acquiring Collective Knowledge) whose mission is to help the La Crosse Black Community be elevated and empowered. The monies will go towards a Southern Civil Rights trip for middle and high school aged students of color.

TBT: TRACTORJACKING

Not many folks have experienced what we did back in December. In the middle of the night two culprits were planning a joy ride and not in one of our cars… The sound of the tractor engine trying to be started and roll over didn’t miss this mother’s hearing…

After grabbing my coat and gloves and flipping on the house lights. The giggling coming from our tractor’s parking place was all too familiar…

If the two had payed attention they would have known ” The Tractor”as she is so cleverly called by Natureman does not start on the first try. They had borrowed a box from the garage to be able to reach the steering wheel and had a rock on the gas pedal but if you can’t shift the gears, you are not going far…

Busted.

And Harry and Larry outside without coats, gloves and scarves. I sure am glad this holiday only lasts a week!

Not a very good track/tractor record.

FOTO FRIDAY: UNIVERSAL SIGNS

No matter where you go in the world there are universal signs for road ways, public buildings and transportation and even restrooms…

This past weekend while visiting Oma’s Coffee Shop in West Salem there was a new take on that last one but I don’t think anybody didn’t know what it meant. Do you?

Do you have any different takes of universal signs to share? Please do.

Did you catch last week’s FOTO FRIDAY of Unusual Bedfellows:

https://lifeintheendoftherainbowvalley.blog/2020/01/10/foto-friday-unusual-bedfellows/

WINTER HO HUMS

I don’t know about you but there’s only so much time one can sit at a puzzle table during the long, dreary, dark winter days.

Sometimes inspiration comes from an unplanned TJ Maxx purchase of an on sale lovely pewter grey 10 ft roll of shelf liner.

Honestly the shelving surrounding the double oven was long overdue for an inventory and organization. Shelf lining would be a good addition and incentive.

Besides haven’t you ever found yourself daily fighting with a container of whatever to remove it from its shelf? For me it was the large peanut butter container for Balto’s kong. Placed on a shelf with low clearance and too high for me for a comfortable reach.

*An aside: the kong is placed in the freezer with peanut butter inside it. We give hime the treat when we leave and it keeps him busy for a while…

Anyhoo, we had a day at home and the roll of shelf liner. It didn’t take as long as I thought and I am so pleased for the different arrangement of what goes where on each shelf.

Now, the other side awaits to be tackled.

Who says spring cleaning can only take place in spring?

MONDAY MUSINGS… SIDESWIPED TWICE

We thought we were awfully lucky as the predicted snow fall hadn’t materialized as we wanted to have dinner with friends in Coon Valley half an hour away followed by an evening of music farther east in Viroqua.

Dinner ran a bit late and we decided to travel in two cars as our eventual route home would then be faster. We also weren’t real familiar with the shortest way so our friends led the way on the dark county highway.

We weren’t barely a mile away when they slowed as our headlights caught deer darting both in front and behind their car. We came to a standstill as white tails popped up on both the fields flanking the road field above and below. One deer decided to cross back in front of our car and another ran back in front of their car. The activity dissipated and our friends continued slowly forward for a couple hundred yards until they put on their blinkers and pulled over.

The driver’s door was kicked open and then we knew what we hadn’t seen, one of the deer had collided with the driver’s front side. Deer are famous for sideswiping. Some molding was dragging on the tire but once removed it was drivable. Don’t ask me how but we arrived before the concert started, but we did.

Two cousins called The Iowans whom we have never had the pleasure of hearing before opened for the Yellow Bellied Sapsuckers. The Iowans played a couple of covers in their set but mostly their own music. They were delightful.

The Iowans

Now for the second side swiping…

After a refreshment break the Yellow Bellied Sapsuckers took the stage but I did a double take as I would have never recognized them. Their retro 50’s look had morphed into a country duo of a honky town sequined bobbed haired Nikki and mustached cowboy hat toting Joe. Nobody had warned us.

Joe’s Alfalfa look and Nikki’s braids/buns and sinched waistline dresses had been replaced. We had loved their old schtick but it’s understandable musicians grow and want to change personas just like anybody else.

When they started playing, their music and humor were still there. They shared their new tunes but if truth be told the subject matter had a new edge. Catchy and very clever as we’ve come to expect with more obvious country themes of love, loss, cheating, drinking, etc… One could feel the unease of the senior crowd around us as the catchy refrain of Jeeeesus Christ, can’t a lady just have a drink? was repeated. But, it was funny.

Nikki and Joe won the room over with Nikki’s fiddling and vocals along with Joe’s picking and some yodeling thrown in for good measure. As I have told you before they are very talented musicians and song writers. Nikki ‘s voice has quite a range and her fiddling is show stopping. Joe’s completes the duo with his candor and guitar and mandolin playing.

The two explained their growth and new performing approach also included moving and making home farther south in St. Louis. Super sad… Promises were made to return for Larryfest but shucks your Coulee fans will miss you two!

Thanks for the memories since 2014 for us starting with the Old Variety Show, Driftless Bookstore, Great River Folk Festival, Coulee Concert Flood Fundraising and other festivals throughout the years.

Wishes for continued success wherever your paths shall take you…

You’re great entertainers!