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charlieq
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My fourth vacuum cleaner since starting at the Day Center. This week at the Day Center I realized I have survived three breakdowns. Put another way, I am now pushing my fourth vacuum cleaner. (Or maybe the fifth, counting a... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Across the Great Divide
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Driving to the Day Center in Grand Junction, I wondered how different the place might feel on my first day back after seven months away. Although there are superficial similarities with Peace House Community in Minneapolis, the Day Center bustles... Continue reading
Posted Jan 4, 2017 at Across the Great Divide
The State of the Nation is great again, believe me. And now, after eight years, people are saying I am the greatest President in history. I’m not saying I am, but I must be, because of the people. The people... Continue reading
Posted Dec 23, 2016 at Across the Great Divide
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I wish I was able to hear today's discussion at Peace House, in case it dealt with this non-story. Jake Nyberg, known Twitter commodity, writer, and musician from Minneapolis, apparently wanted to embarrass the Minnesota Vikings and force the team... Continue reading
Posted Dec 20, 2016 at Across the Great Divide
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Yesterday evening, several hundred people remembered homeless individuals who died in Minneapolis over the past year. Through frigid streets, marchers carried signs bearing the first names of the dead. You can see some of those names in the photo published... Continue reading
Posted Dec 16, 2016 at Across the Great Divide
A fleece jacket had been left for some needy street person. Over the course of the day, people picked it from the table, held it up for size and set it back again---but not before subtly checking the pockets. Do... Continue reading
Posted Dec 14, 2016 at Across the Great Divide
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My ride to Peace House takes me right past an apartment building Susan and I lived in 40 years ago. This morning, I saw two guys unloading a mattress and carrying it up those steps. End of the month, winter... Continue reading
Posted Nov 25, 2016 at Across the Great Divide
She had been sitting quietly next to me, a cantaloupe in her lap. "What does it mean, 'a cross to bear'?" I explained. It's a heavy and unchosen burden that you must carry with you, whether you want to or... Continue reading
Posted Nov 19, 2016 at Across the Great Divide
Virgil speaks like a preacher imitating God teaching Sunday School. His voice is deep and resonant, his tones round, his words ar-TIC-ulated in-di-VID-ually, his meaning plain, shaded toward the platitudinous. But then Bible verses haven't changed much in the last... Continue reading
Posted Nov 15, 2016 at Across the Great Divide
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Another couch house has appeared across the alley. A week ago, a new abandoned couch showed up in the spot occupied by the Happy Hour Couch until mid-October. Couch House is back open for business. From the time I first... Continue reading
Posted Nov 6, 2016 at Across the Great Divide
We had a spirited discussion about voting today. Rather quickly, it turned to the subject of a felon's right to vote in Minnesota. Quite a number of individuals in the room had first-hand acquaintance with the state law, which prohibits... Continue reading
Posted Oct 28, 2016 at Across the Great Divide
Years ago a white man in a suit crossed a sunny St. Paul parking lot toward his red convertible. From the direction of the freeway opposite, a tall young black man hailed him and bore down upon the same point.... Continue reading
Posted Oct 25, 2016 at Across the Great Divide
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For more than a month a couch house sat against the fence across the alley from Peace House Community. Several weeks ago, two police cars came by. A city mower had been unable to cut the grass along the freeway... Continue reading
Posted Oct 16, 2016 at Across the Great Divide
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On the street, even people sleeping out in the rain and waking up with a hangover can find someone else to look down on. Ranks of dissolution and recovery are further gradated by race, personality type, work ethic, degree of... Continue reading
Posted Sep 9, 2016 at Across the Great Divide
"How do you like this neighborhood?" he asked. "Does it feel safe to you?" I was locking my bike to a pole on his street. I knew better than to leave slack in the cable. Otherwise, an enterprising thief could... Continue reading
Posted Sep 6, 2016 at Across the Great Divide
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You realize I'm making up stories here, don't you? I mean, I don't fabricate and I usually try to verify, but I'm still filling the blanks with some of my stuff, like we all do. In fact, I specialize in... Continue reading
Posted Aug 28, 2016 at Across the Great Divide
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In the Library, Tyrone was changing out of his boots and the talk turned to Semmelweis and Pasteur, and whether it made sense to wear clogs in the shower. One view was that footgear was unnatural, dirt and handshakes boosted... Continue reading
Posted Aug 19, 2016 at Across the Great Divide
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Chances were fair that I would not see that bicycle again. It was a gift after all, and what of giving grants us the right of keeping? I'd bought the Frankenbike long ago from the man who'd built it for... Continue reading
Posted Aug 14, 2016 at Across the Great Divide
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Roxanne, a Native woman known to the Peace House Community, fell on some train tracks last weekend and had both legs severed. I'd heard about it on Tuesday and checked during the week for a news story with more information.... Continue reading
Posted Jul 30, 2016 at Across the Great Divide
This blog started in 2004. In 2009 I began writing about my experiences as a volunteer in the preschool at People Serving People, a Minneapolis family shelter. In the years since, I have volunteered more places and Across the Great... Continue reading
Posted Jul 29, 2016 at Across the Great Divide
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Calvin told me his brother was going for a job interview this afternoon. (Sometimes, I need to get to a job interview is a way of asking for gas money, which is a way of getting money for... you get... Continue reading
Posted Jul 22, 2016 at Across the Great Divide
Tom is heading to St. Cloud where two twins are throwing surprise birthday parties for each other. This makes total sense and it's crazy, too. Yes, I'm at Peace House. *** Bill hasn't had electricity in his room "for some... Continue reading
Posted Jul 15, 2016 at Across the Great Divide
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"Do you work here?" he asked. We'll call him Joe. I'm a volunteer, I said. Joe stared at me but I couldn't see his eyes. They were squeezed between a squint and full closure. The gaze of a man shutting... Continue reading
Posted Jul 9, 2016 at Across the Great Divide
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Gary holds forth for some time as he fingers the house acoustic guitar, a scarred, sixties-vintage Harmony missing a pick guard and patched on the sides and back with two colors of tape. It sounds far better than it looks.... Continue reading
Posted Jun 25, 2016 at Across the Great Divide
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Find the book in the bookstore. Colleges still invest in their libraries, which signal the institution's reverence for knowledge and commitment to learning. Increasingly, they expect their bookstores to turn a profit, like airport swag concessions. The "bookstore" I entered... Continue reading
Posted Jun 19, 2016 at Across the Great Divide