Kudos and Kindness from Aspen Times readers (Nov. 5, 2017)
November 5, 2017
Grateful for Senior Services
Too often in the busyness of day to day life, I forget to take the time to thank those individuals who make my life so much better. When I hitchhiked into Aspen 44 years ago as a middle-aged dropout, 35 years old, little did I think of what my world would be like here when I turned 80!
For many years now I have enjoyed the benefits of our unparalleled Senior Services program. The entire scope of the activities, counseling, meals, programs, classes and more would take up far too much space to list them all.
In his first year as manager of the Senior Services program, Chad Federwitz has demonstrated a comprehensive knowledge of senior needs, an ability to know individuals on a personal basis and an overall positive approach. We are fortunate, indeed, to have him.
I could hardly call the people at the Senior Center "the staff." They are instead "the friends" who keep the whole rigmarole going. Ruthie Hostetler as administrative assistant is that patient person answering not only the phone but a million in-person questions everyday. Our fantastic menu for lunches at the center and Meals on Wheels is led by Michael Fiske — not just the kitchen manager, but a friend to all he serves. Patty Kravitz is our go-to person for a vast array of senior-needs information. Her title may be program analyst, but her wide area of involvement goes far beyond that. Mary Barbour is the effervescent program director responsible for a calendar of activities that is immense.
Thanks to the Aspen community for supporting me through all of my "generations." Please continue to support our wonderfully Senior Services.
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Thank you for a great Fiesta de Tamales
English In Action's Fiesta de Tamales on Oct. 14 at Eagle Crest Nursery in El Jebel was a profound and heartwarming celebration of culture, community and diversity. We were humbled and honored when more than 525 community members showed up for the event and happily waited in line for delicious plates of homemade tamales and pupusas. This was 150 more people than attended last year!
We would like to give our heartfelt thanks to the 65 local businesses that supported the event and the 100 volunteers who made the event possible, as well as the community members who attended. We alsowould like to recognize Aspen Santa Fe Ballet Folklórico, Salsarias Dance Co. and a homegrown Spanish rock band, Centro Sur, for providing the entertainment. The opportunity to enjoy these exceptional local talents in an intimate setting was truly priceless. Finally, we'd like to give a shout out to nine teams of students and friends who prepared regional tamale recipes for our first-ever tamale contest.
The Fiesta de Tamales raised nearly $32,000 to support English In Action's programs — a 43 percent increase over last year. As a grassroots organization, this means a lot to us and will help us to serve dozens more adults on our waiting list who would like a volunteer tutor to help them learn English. However, perhaps the most valuable part of the evening was the opportunity to bring together community members from diverse cultures and backgrounds and to celebrate the richness we all bring to our valley.
Executive Director, English in Action
Resist with love
It feels like there is evil afoot in the world. True evil. It feels like we are all, in one way or another, compromising our values and beliefs to push a larger agenda. And into that breach, the evil is burgeoning and flowing.
My first reaction to Jeff Flake's resignation was, finally. Finally, one of the guys on the red side of the aisle decided that trying to work under an insane despot was not a winning situation. But then I saw the paper. Two pictures of Donald Trump with his sneer and his bully-pulpit finger in the air, egging on the dissatisfied and the disenfranchised to greater heights of anger and spite.
So, this is what that looks like in real time. My sixth-grader has a kid in her class who thinks it's fine to let the Puerto Ricans languish because "that's not really America." This child also believes that Obama is not "from here" because Hawaii was not a state when he was born. This is scary stuff. These kids didn't arrive at these "facts" on their own. We all know full well that these "alternative facts" are simply not true, and it is silly to pretend otherwise. Yet I did as many of my liberal brethren do and mumbled something about trying to work with everyone and keep politics out of our relationships.
But is this really politics? Or is there something far more insidious going on? Are we pulling a Neville Chamberlain, trying to appease and ignore while hate and ignorance rule the day? My impression is that thinking Republicans are holding their noses and staying in lock step because they really, really want to overturn anything and everything put in place by the Clintons and Obama. Meanwhile, Democrats get sidetracked by debates over unisex bathrooms and kneeling during the national anthem. And the evil grows.
We live in a community where the national anger is playing out, front and center. We joke about three houses or three jobs, but it isn't very funny. The huge, growing wealth disparity may be one root cause of the hate and the anger. I would imagine it kind of stinks to be struggling to pay the $150 for your kids' outdoor ed fee when someone next to you is buying a $400 yoga outfit so they can attend the "Lead With Love" conference in style. Crazy. Of course people are angry. I think we went off the tracks somewhere awhile back and now it is coming home to roost.
So, my first thought this morning, on seeing those headlines and those pictures of our president, was that we need some Martin Luther King- or Gandhi-type leadership right about now. Where is God's army in all of this? Where is the resistance that really works? Don't we want to teach our children compassion and show them what it looks like to do the right thing? Doesn't truth matter?
Forget anger. Anger never moves us forward. It only causes both sides to dig in. How about resist with love? Hashtag it, or whatever it is we do to communicate now. But resist with love. Find a way back to balance. The following is a quote from Pope Francis. He is speaking specifically about climate change, but it applies to any of the real issues of the day:
"Our goal is not to amass information, or to satisfy curiosity, but rather to become painfully aware, to dare to turn what is happening to the world into our own personal suffering and thus to discover what each of us can do about it."
As Franciscan Richard Rohr so eloquently says, "We each need to discern our own part to play in healing our collective brokenness."
#Resist with Love. Please, before its too late.