Sunday, April 15, 2018

kevin sunrise

April 15, 2018
Dear Friends,
I called Kevin Sunrise last week. He lives in LaConner. Sunrise is his real last name. We talk on the phone every few weeks. He doesn't have email or Internet, so we just talk or sometimes mail each other something.
It is a good thing to keep those old channels open and running -- meaning the phone call and the written letter. You don't need to throw out your smart phone and swear off Facebook, but you just need to shut the damn thing off now and then.
Even watching network TV is an old-fashioned experience. That's what we especially like about the Roseanne reboot  -- it's on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. and everybody is watching it at the same time. You can stick your head out the window and look east and look west and imagine millions of Americans watching  Roseanne, sharing a common experience. I wouldn't want to go back to the old days with only three channels of network TV  -- the choice was too limited -- but we did have great shows like Mary Tyler Moore and All in the Family with Archie Bunker.
Kids today -- you can't get them on the phone, it has to be text. Maybe this will pass in a year or so, and some retro trend will bring back the phone call --- you know, the kind where you actually talk to someone.
I was in Zimbabwe in Africa in 1997, just when the world was making a transition from postal mail to email. I discovered that the postal service from Zimbabwe to anywhere in the US was quit efficient and reliable. You could mail a first-class one-ounce letter from Bulawayo to Boston for little more than the cost of a local stamp. The letter arrived in a week, sometimes ten days. Your American correspondent could write back and that would also take a week. This was actual communication. It worked very well. It just took longer..... much slower than a text.
But Zimbabwe at that time was coming around to email. I began writing my letters by hand, but taking them to an office called the Secretary Bird  -- so-called because secretary birds are a common heron-type of bird in Africa and they do have kind of a clerical look if you should ever be so lucky as to get to Africa and see a secretary bird in the field.
I took the handwritten letters to the Secretary Bird office. They re-typed the message on their email connection and charged me about one dollar for the service. This was the beginning of my email usage...... messages to my daughter Eva who was in her freshman year at Oberlin College in Ohio. I did not send email to my son Eugene because he was out of pocket at that time and fairly unreachable.
Eugene did have the phone number of our family attorney, Ed Burke of Framingham, Massachusetts. I had left some money with Ed as a retainer before I went to Africa. This was get out of jail money for my son, and get out of Africa money for me, just in case I needed a lawyer to act quickly.
I could tell stories about Ed Burke, stories that reflect well on his character, but another time for that, when I get around to writing the Boston Chronicles.

But I was talking about my phone call with Kevin Sunrise as opposed to using social media. It doesn't matter what method you use, fast or slow, the only thing that  matters is the effort you put into it. Communication requires effort, period. You have to reach the person. You have to connect and touch their hearts and touch their minds. Modern methods are good, I use social media all the time, but the universal law still applies -- communication requires effort.

West Texas, 1975.  I was thumbing a ride on this empty highway. Sheriff deputy stops and begins to question me. Then real sudden he throws me on the ground, puts his boot on my chest, draws his gun on me and says one false move and you're dead. So I didn't make a false move. He asked me a few more questions and he put his gun away and said I could get up. He goes back to his vehicle, makes a call on the radio, then walks back to me. He apologizes, said there had been a murder but I wasn't the guy who did it. I said OK.... It all happened so quick that I did not get scared. I was living a real cliche. He actually said one false move and you're dead.

I may have had some resemblance to the killer he was looking for. He said, after he questioned me, that they were looking for this guy and said maybe he was a little on edge for that reason. Not quite an apology but close enough for me. And the line about not making a false move. I had to think about that and I resolved to never make a false move anywhere or anytime. Make true moves as much as you can...... It was so empty out there. If I recall correctly, it was on Highway 90 just south of Van Horn in Culberson County, t
he sheriff and me and no one else for miles. No witnesses, except for the sky and the wind. After that, I figured West Texas was  a good place for me, just don't make any false moves.
Politics. The politics in Washington DC are too nasty. The whole situation makes me nervous and I have no constructive words..... The gardening work I do is constructive however. If we keep doing those good things and don't make any false moves, that is our best choice.

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Fred Owens
cell: 360-739-0214

My gardening blog is  Fred Owens
My writing blog is Frog Hospital

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