Members of the Club

[The dear departed Ivy Room restaurant in Durham, NC, gave out “It’s Fun to be Nice to People Club” buttons in the 1970s.]

Last night, after posting the day’s events, we were fortunate to talk with Heather.

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Heather was born in Mississippi and has lived here almost her entire life.  She said the state is famous for hospitality.  She is saddened by what she sees as a decline in neighborliness and is angered by the mistreatment of refugees and other intending immigrants.  Heather says, we all bleed red, we all want to take care of our families, we all want to live.

Heather sounds a lot like a certain Kangaroo Court Puppet (me) and a particular Human Rights First Ambassador (my chauffeur).  We’re happy to know her, and her young son and daughter whom she encourages to learn, to work, and to help others.

The day promised to be even hotter than yesterday.  To avoid afternoon heat, we rolled before dawn.

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The view across the road from the Calhoun City motel.  Not a pretty scene by day, but it was redeemed by the predawn light, the sky, and the sliver of moon.

For the first two hours, we had the roads mostly to ourselves.

FA32231C-74CF-4053-9ABD-EDC36470C24BWe now make a rare exception to our policy against publishing photos of roadkill.

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Poor redheaded woodpecker.

“Church” signs are more common than “School” signs on our Mississippi route.  This one has dents, perhaps from a pellet rifle.

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Our first destination was a church in Grenada.  Jeffrey asked a fellow cyclist for directions.  George knew the place.  He talked to Jeffrey about his work at a lumber mill; logging is a major local industry.  George said that living in Grenada (population 13,000) is OK, not so different from other small towns.

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George is happy to show his pleasant face while alive, but does not want it remembered after he dies.  He has warned his siblings not to photograph him in his coffin.  Jeffrey respected George’s wishes, and with permission, photographed George’s back and his bicycle.  He showed George the photo.  Each was pleased with the compromise.

After 35 miles, we arrived at the Mount Olive Pentacostal Holiness Church in time for Sunday Bible study.  Today’s lesson was about the festival of Shavuot.

6CFE3F3A-9BF0-4F41-88A8-7B7B3293C31FThe pastor welcomed Jeffrey and David.  He asked them to introduce themselves.  Jeffrey explained our mission.  The pastor blessed our efforts.

At the end of the lesson, services—very musical—began.  We could not take photos, but the pastor’s grandson, Anthony, who is studying education and travels from out of town to lead the church choir, came outside for a selfie and to talk about the power of the clergy to lead people to be nice to people.

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L to R:  Anthony choirmaster, Jeffrey chauffeur, David filmmaker

At this point, it was too hot for us to be on the road.  Jeffrey loaded our gear into David’s car, and he drove us 30 miles to Greenwood, “Cotton Capital of the World”.

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96F = 36C • In the humidity and on sun-baked pavement, it felt even hotter.

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Some Greenwood neighborhoods have tiny old houses: colorful but probably unpleasant to inhabit.  It also has grand buildings, a pretty bridge over the Yalobusha River, and a charming downtown.

Lisa checked us into a motel and warned us about the heat.

230EA84D-1B20-4447-B0E1-8749058F021EShe strongly supports the principles of Human Rights First.

Felix lives at the motel while he works as a mechanic at a nearby cotton processing plant.8E32C142-2D16-46D6-B1A2-85060FF65B5AFelix was born in the USA to an American mother and a Mexican father.  He lived in Mexico until he was 13.  He has extensive agricultural experience—with watermelons, strawberries, chickens, and more—and respects people willing to work hard.  He says to solve the problem of the undocumented, simply document them.  That will let them help themselves and in the process, help America.  And Felix believes asylum seekers should be entitled to a lawyer.

Politicians in this part of the country resist showing compassion toward asylum seekers, refugees, and the unauthorized immigrants who are part of our community.  Heather, Anthony, Lisa, and Felix suggest that a policy of being nice to people, clearly explained in legal, moral, and factual terms, could be a popular one.

 

2 thoughts on “Members of the Club

  1. Hey Jeff, Just a quick note to say I am reading your blog. You look well, which is good to see.Stay strong! Best wishes, Deb

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