Last night’s story aired on WPCA-FM was a newly recorded tale, True Justice, a whodunit that I’ve also entered in a competition with the Wisconsin Academy of Science, Arts and Letters. We shall see if it charms any of the judges. It’s always fun to listen to the radio station’s story broadcasts, first because I never really know which story will get aired, and second, I’m still trying to improve my diction after years of sloppiness and only by listening to myself can I identify the kinds of words I’m letting slide by my lazy tongue. Last night also featured the President’s State of the Union address. I have a sneaking suspicion that his broadcast drew a larger audience than mine.
A major portion of the President’s address dealt with Ukraine’s Russian invasion. I live with someone who experienced the Russians coming to town. That followed our (U.S.) and British bombings that took place both day and night. Marina, a child, had the job of bring her mother’s silver foxes cape and the iron down to the basement at night when the bombs blew up any chance of sleep.. The Russians entered Berlin and a contingent took over the house where Marina lived. It was a large villa with several apartments. We do not know if her mother was sexually assaulted but she was a musician with a liquor cabinet and apparently kept playing so the Russians kept drinking and singing their favorite songs. If she suffered harm, we never heard about it. The Russians were sure, of course, that people had hidden their jewels and valuables in the furniture cushions, so they sliced them open to find out. Also, they didn’t trust toilets so they did their business in a side room that the house holders had to clean up. Herding everyone to the basement allowed the Russians to shoot their pistols into the ceiling and just about anywhere else their drunken aim might wander.
One person unable to go to the basement was “grandma”, who, ancient and “very sick”, was upstairs in bed wth blankets piled high and draping down to the floor. Underneath the blanket piled bed was Violeta Rindsig, a very beautiful 16 year old who would have been a desirable commodity for the occupying Russians. Violeta was kept safe and later came to Hollywood, where, as Violet Rindsig, she had a good career in films.
Needless to say, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine brings back strong memories for Marina of what it was like and a solid identification with Ukraine’s innocent and vulnerable civilians.
Today, I told the Osceola Senior Citizens that I would not take another term as its president. My job essentially is finished. I was asked to take the office to help the group defend its space, which has been eyed by several entities and vulnerable because of the way the civic building in Osceola was funded. With a small contribution from the Seniors, signs both inside and outside the building will identify the Seniors’ location. We have an increasing number of activities so that the space is being used more often and more visibly. It’s a big change from meeting in the activity rooms of Polk County housing units. Also, I am in year four of not having lived in town; I’m a 45 minute drive away. I believe that leadership should be “showing the flag”, in and out of the building regularly and close enough to make it easy to attend Village Board meetings and other events that involve the Seniors. When Marina was swimming twice a week, I could get to the Center regularly, but that has changed and with the exception of getting a haircut and doing some banking, I’m just not in town anymore. Fortunately, there are a couple of good candidates to take my place and, for me, the run as the group’s president has been both enjoyable and a privilege.
We are in Lent. Because I am a part-time pastor at Wolf Creek United Methodist Church, we will impose ashes this coming Sunday, rather than having a separate service tonight. We are not an uptight bunch.
I just finished Peter Kwong’s second book, Have You Eaten?, which details some of his fascinating life’s journey, together with a variety of simple but versatile recipes for just about any Chinese dish you might imagine–and some beyond your imagination. It’s a fun book and when Peter is at his best “I’m just a poor immigrant boy and there’s so much to learn”, we see ourselves in an enlightening way. It’s worth a read and, if I may say so, it’s full of food for thought, too.