Bread and Roses

This post has been rewritten and reposted. Please click here to read “Feeding Bodies, Sustaining Souls.”

Published in: on August 14, 2008 at 1:18 pm  Comments (7)  

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  1. Wonderful post. I love Pete Seeger. PBS has a good documentary about him that runs during pledge drives. (And I happen to think your grandmother was right about bread.)

    BTW, I’ll reply fully on my blog about arrowroot, but the answer is yes, do use it, but omit the butter at the end. It just dawned on me that if you need to avoid corn, you should check Passover recipes since grains are forbidden then.

    Good morning, Ella,

    Needless to say, I thought of you while I was writing and editing – if this isn’t food and politics, I don’t know what would qualify! As for Grandma, I’m entering that stage of life where I wish so many people who are gone now could come back, just for a day, so I could tell them how right they were. Since that isn’t possible, I’m doing the next best thing – telling other people how right they were.

    Thanks for the note on the arrowroot, too. I’ll pop over and leave a foodie comment at your place.
    Many thanks for the visit and greeting.

    Linda

  2. When I read your stuff Linda I’m always afraid of saying something trite, but I remembered at school when vandalism and grafitti got so bad in the canteen they called a huge meeting to discuss and bang heads about it and included the pupils as well [that's how bad the situation was] and one pupil with a bit more nerve than the rest of us got up and said “if you gave us somewhere decent to eat we would have some respect for it” And they took him up on it and built a beautiful school restaurant and decorated it with plants etc. The vandalism stopped immediately.

    gentledove,

    Don’t you ever worry about “trite”. If I were to take back every trite word I’ve said in my life, I’d be nearly speechless!

    I love your comment for several reasons. One is that it re-emphasizes how important our environment is, and how it can influence behavior and feelings. There is a Houston neighborhood where the kids got together and repaired fences, painted over grafitti, cleaned up trash and started a community garden. Today, it’s a showplace. People started taking pride in it again.

    And here’s the little secret that you may or may not have realized (although I think you did). I’m trying to do the same thing with my blog. I want it to be a lovely garden, with nice benches and flowers and stimulating sculptures and such, where people can come and read and feel good about it.
    I’ve seen a few blogs with lots of grafitti and no benches and only a few, dried up plants, and I decided they might not be the best models!

    Always a delight to have you stop by – and a double delight to have your comments.

    Linda

  3. You’ve done it again, Linda. Seeing the pain and the lack then seeing with an eye to the real need. Grandmother was absolutely correct. There is no more intimate corporate activity than breaking bread together. We open up and share not only the bread but the pain and the Roses in our lives.
    Thanks for another finely written and introspective blog. Helps me stop taking my life for granted all the time.
    Later….

    Irelandlass,

    “Taking for granted” is always a temptation, isn’t it? And as for the breaking of bread… Sometimes I think those folks who want to rebuild our society by reinstituting the dinner hour are exactly on target. Entire families gathered at table for an entire hour is a far cry from everyone whizzing through individually, throwing something into the microwave on the way!

    Gentledove’s point applies there, too, of course – real food, beautifully presented, is going to draw people in and interest them in staying at the table more than a bucket of chicken. Or so I think. In any event, that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it!

    Good to see you!

    Linda

  4. Read the most recent blog last night, and one of the pix reminded me that not too long ago I went looking through my closet for the “union label” only to find that almost every thing purchased in the past 10 years is from some where else. Although some of the LLBean wool/cashmere from 11 or 12 years ago was made in the USA, most of Land’s End is from Thailand. I wonder if those working in the new sweat shops in China, Viet Nam, or Pakistan have roses?

    Hi, Barb,

    No matter how hard we try to take the larger view of things, it’s easy to get caught wearing “local” lenses. Reading your comment, I was driven back immediately to this: “The sweatshops and factories that Oppenheim immortalized may be gone….”

    They’re not gone, of course, and some of the lowest wages and worst conditions exist in countries you named. On the other hand, even Houston isn’t exempt – the “recycled clothing” industry has been in the news recently for a variety of abuses. They were under scrutiny for hiring practices, but seem not to discriminate – legal or illegal workers, all were paid next to nothing, given no benefits and expected to work long hours.

    I suspect if there’s anything worse than getting bread without roses, it might be getting neither roses nor bread. Many people question the role of unions today, for a variety of reasons, and the criticism is often fair. But there was a time when union organizing was critical for improving the lives of people working in mines, factories, and agriculture. The grandmother I quoted above was married to a miner whose poor health and eventual death were related to black lung disease. The “bread” of better working conditions came too late for him.

    Thanks for stopping by, and broadening the perspective a bit.

    Linda

  5. I think you may already sense this but you have a wonderful “book” of essays in process with your blogging.
    I’m just sayin’…

    And look at the responses you get. People enjoy reading your style which is fresh, thoughtful, and interestingly juxtaposed.

    Good afternoon, oh,

    You sense correctly that I sense… (insert smile here). You’re just sayin’, and I’m just listenin’. But I’m very much a one-step-at-a-time person, and very much a believer that there is a “right time” for next steps. This whole process is very much like feeling my way through an unfamiliar house in total darkness – I want to get to that kitchen or bathroom, but I don’t want to kill myself in the process!

    I finally have figured out how to participate in Write on Wednesdays AND keep posting my usual blogs for my regular readers. That’s the next step – which will get accomplished this weekend if I’m lucky.

    I very much appreciate your comments. They’re an affirmation of some things I’ve been thinking.

    Linda

  6. As for Grandma, I’m entering that stage of life where I wish so many people who are gone now could come back, just for a day, so I could tell them how right they were.

    Oh, I so understand. My family’s all gone and I’d give anything for just one minute with any of them.

    I’m so glad the pie worked for you! Tx for letting me know.

  7. Linda,

    I think the writer/violinist of ‘The Savior’ is trying to depict the despondence and utter hopelessness of the death camp inmates, that whatever music they hear served only to remind them of the freedom they once had and the living hell they were in, and death was their only fate. (‘rubbing it in’ so to speak)

    I’m also surprised to learn that the author based his story on some of his own real life experiences of playing to patients in hospitals and infirmaries. The response he got was anywhere from apathy to hostility. What you mentioned in my blog about the receptive spirit is a key factor I suppose.

    I totally admire the people you describe in your post here and I do believe for most people, music does have the miraculous power of healing and inspiring. For some of us, myself included, it is essential for life.

    Thank you for your thorough work in researching and writing all these posts on your blog. I particularly enjoyed this one because I visited Berkeley not too long ago and had posted some pictures from my visit there under the title “San Francisco Weekend”. It was my first time there but your post reminded me of my own student days. I didn’t have the chance to listen to Joan Baez live but I did have her records (no CD’s yet) and Judy Collins remains one of my all time favorites.

    Thanks again.

    Good day, Arti,

    Thanks so much for your reflections and the additional information about “The Savior”. I can be a bit thick at times. It wasn’t until this morning that I paid attention to the title, and considered its relationship to the story itself. This one is very firmly on my list, and I’m looking forward to the read.
    I’m anxious to see what I think once I have read it.

    It’s interesting to think about the parallels with writing. The writer’s attempt to point to a deeper reality can evoke the same kinds of hostility and rejection – as though the reader understands quite well, but prefers to reject his or her own understanding. At that point, it’s critical for the writer to understand that there isn’t anything “wrong” with the words, any more than there is something “wrong” with a bit of Vivaldi that evokes a negative reaction. So much to think about!

    I went back into your blog and found the post about your trip to San Francisco. The photographs are wonderful! I was astounded at the comparison with English buildings, and full of curiosity: are the similarities due to architectural fashions? Were they built in the same era? And so on. Just one more little thing to explore. And yes, Judy Collins is one of the best.

    Many thanks for the comments. It’s always a pleasure to hear your thoughts.

    Linda


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