Taking Care of a Small Bit of Frontier
Perhaps someday I will be able to share with you all, my past grief and concern for which there seemed no hope. I can say, small gains are being made.
What I can say, is that there is comfort and even small joy on maintaining a patch of land on the frontier, doing small things towards great ends. I have found that my mother is ill, and have not written much, as I am taking care of her for most of every day. I make her breakfast, do her bills, organize her business and care, take her to dinner, and there is great joy in that.
There is joy in taking care of my father's life's work, his small piece of what was once a dangerous frontier. When we moved here, each member of the family was threatened with violence, we were all robbed at knife point, gun point. My father was stabbed eleven times, I had a bottle broken over my head in a robbery ... I saw a number of people stabbed, shot, even die on the street, but we stayed. There was no word, "gentrification," as we were not the gentry. We were working class, even below that much of the time, building, tending, growing.
I think of the hours, days, years, my father cleaned the sidewalk in front of our theater. I was thinking of this, when my mother came down, as I swept and washed the sidewalk, as I do often... She said that the neighborhood was in such danger. So many of the little places she went are now gone. "I'd walk a block to the woman who would tailor my clothes... " I reminded her of the danger of the old days. She told me I can't change the neighborhood, that the developers are tearing it all down. I told her that we are still on a frontier. However, we are now fighting new dangerous people, people who are destroying the value of all we built here. My father did not set out to change the neighborhood by making others do anything. He only tended his small patch of the world, keeping it clean, well run, hospitable, and let his life speak in that way.
Our little homestead is still surrounded by wilderness, now a wilderness of heartless developers, gentrification, the gentry attempting to force us to give up what workers built. Knives and guns are replaced by worthless glittering promises. But, I hope someday, my life might speak, the way my father's did, to maintain well, a small patch of the world, so that my family and neighbors can be comfortable, happy and safe. It feels rather lonely, not having a child at my side, as my father did, who I could feel would someday do the same. But, there is some joy in the moment.