At the Moss Rock Festival. Death by Mallet. Death, as in Dyeing, that is.
Still doesn’t beat the Best Ever Arts Festival Activity for Kids. It was in the Tampa Bay area ages ago, when a couple of artists had a booth for children to do the traditional Japanese art of using a whole fish for printing. Super popular, really different….and something I’ve never seen again at one of these things.
I’m so glad Pope Francis’ dramatic gestures are (seemingly) getting the attention of non-believers, but (you knew that was coming) – honestly. Right now, there are countless Christians around the globe embracing the outcasts and protecting them against the Machine that would like to see them dead and out of sight. Since Jesus, this is what Jesus-followers do. I hope that Pope Francis’s actions work to call us (aka me) to do more and to be more, but also that it jostles the conscience of the nonbeliever to look around, look through history and see the truth about what Jesus-followers do and have always done. Right now, those works of mercy are being lived in pretty dramatic, sacrificial ways.
As I noted earlier, we took a slight detour on the way up to Huntsville earlier this week. We turned off 65 around Cullman and drove west about 25 miles, turned a couple more times up country roads and ended up at the Jesse Owens Memorial Park.
Owens was born in Alabama, and the family moved to Ohio when he was 9 as part of the Great Migration. It was there he went to high school, then college, breaking records and heading to the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.
This park is just that – a large park (I believe high school track and field events are held here occasionally) with a tiny museum at the top of the overlooking rise.
It’s a nicely done little space, with warm and friendly volunteers – you need to stop at the vistors’ center at the gate, as it were, to tell them that you’re here so they open up on these slow weekdays. There’s not a lot to it – most of the items inside are replicas, and since we’d prepared so thoroughly before coming, none of the information presented was really new.
There was, however, a broad jump pit (see photo in previous post) in which you could test your, um, skills, against Owens’, and a replica of the three-room sharecropper’s shack he and his 8 siblings and parents lived in down the road.
Before going, we read a couple of books and watched this American Experience profile of Owens, which was very good. This kind of schooling works for us because in learning about Owens, they also learned more about Nazi Germany, the Olympics and segregation in the United States.
Speaking of which, it’s worth noting that when Owens was a student at Ohio State in the 1930’s, he was not permitted to live on campus nor patronize many restaurants around campus.
In the South, segregation was enshrined in law, but it’s useful to remember that de facto segregation was a fact of life in a lot of places, not only in the South.
A half mile down the road from the Owens park are some Native American mounds – these. (A larger area is not far from Tuscaloosa – we will go there eventually) Not a whole lot to it, but the educational building/museum had probably thousands of arrowheads and other tools on display, and is clearly set up to receive school groups – there were lots of animal skins, work tools and musical instruments to touch and use.
Both the Owens museum and the Oakville mounds were free admission, so there you have it: just a little ways from home, a morning of history, and all it cost was time.
Reading: I’m about finished with this, and we are reading Oliver Twist aloud. I usually don’t like to edit, but I admit that this time, that’s exactly what I’m doing. There are big chunks that are of little interest to the boys. Example – chapter 23. I summarized most of it (Mr. Bumble visits the matron and courts her after a fashion) and read the last two pages (the dying old woman reveals something about Oliver’s mother). Oh, and I also admit that I’m not going to say “the Jew” every five seconds – which is how Dickens refers to Fagin about 89% of the time. So I substitute “the old man” or “Fagin.”
(As for expanding the context of Oliver Twist, we’ve read a couple of biographies of Dickens for younger children, are going to watch this BBC program - The Children who Built Victorian Britain , and of course, this)
(Don’t forget – order your copies of Bambinelli Sunday!)
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