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charlieq
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Today was Christian's first visit to the Day Center, and he was the first to sign up for a haircut. Coincidentally, that made him the first to use my new barber's drape. We shot a post-haircut portrait to commemorate the... Continue reading
Posted Feb 19, 2020 at Across the Great Divide
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I spend my Wednesdays with people whose entire store of material possessions would fit in your garage. Yes, even in YOUR garage, packed so full you park your cars in the driveway. Except maybe John's possessions. He has a house... Continue reading
Posted Feb 12, 2020 at Across the Great Divide
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Returning is bittersweet. My first day back at the Day Center in Grand Junction, I step into the vestibule, and there is Will. When I was back in Minnesota, I read that he had been arrested for drug distribution. Based... Continue reading
Posted Feb 5, 2020 at Across the Great Divide
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The man greeted us with such familiarity, I thought at first my son knew him, but quickly it became apparent his enthusiasm came from a different recognition. A familiar story began to unfold. I stopped him. I'd heard it many... Continue reading
Posted Dec 6, 2019 at Across the Great Divide
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I was never a bad guy, he tells me, but I was surrounded by it. Now, he says, he has left it behind. But what has taken its place? Abdi half in shadow in the back Abdi and I stand... Continue reading
Posted Nov 22, 2019 at Across the Great Divide
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My occasional dispatches from Peace House Community come from a place of hope and positivity. I write of poignant moments and decent impulses, since there is already enough pain and darkness to go around. But this picture is incomplete. A... Continue reading
Posted Nov 16, 2019 at Across the Great Divide
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Marcus comes in early to make an appointment. I give him the first haircut after lunch. He's an enthusiastic, grateful and punctual customer, with a sense of style. His business card say he's a day trader. I don't have a... Continue reading
Posted Aug 9, 2019 at Across the Great Divide
As I locked my bike outside Peace House, the peace was already broken. Voices raised. Words harsh. Brain chemicals choosing fight over flight. A fellow to whom I gave a haircut last week (schizophrenic, someone whispered) yelled at a woman... Continue reading
Posted Jul 26, 2019 at Across the Great Divide
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Today I had to keep cooling off the clippers because so many men were lined up for haircuts at Peace House. An old rocker who just wanted to look more presentable. A Chinese man who had great hair already but... Continue reading
Posted Jul 13, 2019 at Across the Great Divide
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James came in for a haircut on his lunch break. A Native man with hair down to his shoulders. The anniversary of his mother's death is approaching and he wanted his hair cut short in her memory. He's working now... Continue reading
Posted Jul 13, 2019 at Across the Great Divide
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Johnny Fournote sits near the door I attend, plunking on his guitar. We don't allow canned music to be played inside the Day Center because it fills up a space already overflowing with sound. There's more tolerance for a human... Continue reading
Posted Apr 10, 2019 at Across the Great Divide
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Last Wednesday, I laid hands on the heads of five men. One seeks me out when he hears the clippers. He is bound for court, and his public defender had told him he was looking a little scruffy. To me,... Continue reading
Posted Apr 10, 2019 at Across the Great Divide
The weather has warmed, and the ground is drying out, heaving up framing lumber skeletons across the valley. Though natural gas drilling has gone from slow to slower, we hear the local economy is looking up. But for the folks... Continue reading
Posted Mar 21, 2019 at Across the Great Divide
Brian asked for a haircut today. He wanted a trim, the back and sides faded up to just below where his scars are. I've cut his hair before but never asked about them. For some reason, I thought the scars... Continue reading
Posted Oct 12, 2018 at Across the Great Divide
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Susan heard the duckling first, its insistent peep answered by the mother's squawk. It came from a containment pond next to a row of townhouses bordering a park where we walk. The pond drains a nearby wetland. When the aerator... Continue reading
Posted Jun 21, 2018 at Across the Great Divide
Last month in our Colorado neighborhood, a stranger broke into a home late at night, crashing through a glass door and awakening the frightened homeowners. The newspaper sketched the crime story in the next day's Blotter. The retired couple quickly... Continue reading
Posted Apr 26, 2018 at Across the Great Divide
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Are you working now? A question we asked folks at the Day Center. Yesterday, Susan and I heard a talk by the new head of Grand Junction Economic Partners. Robin Brown is smart, dynamic and great for the job. Her... Continue reading
Posted Apr 7, 2018 at Across the Great Divide
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Paul, we'll call him, since he was quoting Thessalonians and calling this passage a comfort in his suffering: Since it is a righteous thing with God to repay affliction to those who afflict you, and to give relief to you... Continue reading
Posted Dec 30, 2017 at Across the Great Divide
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I remember the day last spring when the security curtain that rolls down over the Day Center vestibule's windows stopped working and was deemed beyond repair. Since then, the view facing west has been blocked by metal slats. In my... Continue reading
Posted Dec 28, 2017 at Across the Great Divide
Abusive relationships have been all over the news lately because they involve well-known figures and sympathetic victims. In some cases, relatively minor exercises of male privilege are held up to represent a long-suppressed and much deeper problem. At places like... Continue reading
Posted Dec 22, 2017 at Across the Great Divide
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We We started out sharing positive experiences that had shaped our attitudes toward winter. But as happens at our Peace House meditations, we veered off on a tangent about animals in our lives. Lawrence told us about walking past a... Continue reading
Posted Dec 11, 2017 at Across the Great Divide
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De said he was drinking homemade beet juice. I believed him, since he could have claimed the ruby liquid in the cranberry juice bottle was what the label said. He was still getting used to the idea that it was... Continue reading
Posted Aug 6, 2017 at Across the Great Divide
J. told me he was freshly homeless after seven years living in a neighborhood rooming house that had been taken over by a bad element. A new owner enforced the rules more strictly without entirely keeping trouble away. At least,... Continue reading
Posted Jun 30, 2017 at Across the Great Divide
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Back in February, I shot this photo of my bike outside the Day Center to remind me of a brief conversation I had with my friend Kelvin. He was having a hard day, which seemed to be a symptom of... Continue reading
Posted Apr 19, 2017 at Across the Great Divide
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Nathan was on something today and it wasn't the planet earth. It took him a full minute to write his name and when he spoke I could scarcely make out what he was saying. He brought two bunches of tiny... Continue reading
Posted Apr 12, 2017 at Across the Great Divide