Messenger From the North

I watch a lot of movies, and I am particular about the themes. I prefer stories about real people and not those of Hollywood gangsters and shoot em ups. Some of that stuff might be going on in the real world, but not to the extent to which writers and movie makers lead us to believe. Maybe I am living in a bubble here on the edge of the mid-west near one of the largest cities in North America. Yes, we have crime, and yes, we have murders, but why make movies about them? Isn’t that reinforcing the bad behavior, i.e. by glorifying it in film?

A few days ago, I came across a movie titled Chloe and Theo. This story had all th elements of a great movie, it was funny, it was sad, it was tragic, and it had a message. The premise of the story is that a tribe of Inuit Indians living on the ice fields of the arctic circle have seen a trend of warming that is shrinking their ice, and forcing the animals inland, and away from their habitat which is the ice and the frigid waters of the arctic. They decide to send a messenger from their tribe to speak to the elders, and to give them a message of pending doom. They pick a single man named Theo not because he is a smart guy, or a diplomat, or a scientist, but because he is the only one in their village who can speak english. The village elders give him a pouch filled with cash to make the trip.

Theo lands in New York and is amazed at the tall buildings the hordes of people, and the noise. He often laments that where he is from there is a simple beauty to the empty, whiteness, and silence of the ice. He checks into a low cost flop-house and goes looking for the elders. Along the way he meets a young woman who is homeless after she recognizes him as an eskimo. She befriends him only because she thinks he is different, and she wants to know all about him. Theo asks her to help him find the elders. She takes him to her tented area in a dilapidated building where many homeless sleep. She introduces him to what she considers to be an elder. He is in reality a informal leader of the homeless group to which she belongs. Theo is not satisfied, so the group begins a brain storming session as to who they should try to get him to see. At first it was the President of the USA, but the idea falls apart when the FBI gets involved and asks too many dumb questions. Eventually, they break from the FBI and return to brainstorming. The elder in the group has a brainstorm, why not take Theo to the United Nations, and the story goes in that direction, but again proves to be fruitless.

Another plot is to introduce him to the producers of a big TV show, and they succeed in getting a meeting with them. The homeless group and Theo enter the building and are getting into an elevator when Theo balks, he wants to walk up the 62 stories to reduce his contribution to the carbon footprint left by the elevator. He walks while the homeless group is waiting for him to arrive. Nerves take over and the producers insist of leaving, but the homeless are persistent and make Theo’s pitch for him. The scene ends with all of them leaving the conference room as Theo finally arrives.

To make this long story shorter I will only say that these characters all made the story believable. Before the end of the film they are successful in finding a way to get Theo’s story to the Elders. They celebrate and give Theo a gift of a pair of shoes to replace the heavy boots he has worn since he left his Northern Village, and as he has always done throughout the story he takes a walk to try his new shoes, and to clear his head. Then something unbelievable happens and the story ends.

This is what I rate a five star film * * * * *

Five Hundred and Fifty and Done

This morning I conveniently dropped my wife off at the local shopping plaza to do Christmas shopping and then returned home. I grabbed a quick cup of coffee as I texted the Frankfort Lions Club Winter Coat Team to join me in the final coat sort. An hour later I was on the stage at the Founder’s Center where we are storing coats until they are processed. I like ot tell people that we will be on stage singing and dancing as we sort and bag coats. I always get a strange look. As I arrived I spotted Lion Louise dragging a large bag of coats up to the stage. She is my first lieutenant on the team. We dragged our sorting tables into place and attacked the pile of coats. The job is simple we merely place men’s, women’s, and children’s coats onto separate tables. The hardest part of the job is to tell the difference between a man’s and a women’s coat, followed by a teenager’s coat versus an older person’s coat. We don’t take a lot of time to decide it is simpler to make a mistake than it is to eat up time figuring it out.

Lion Mike showed up and I got him started bagging; ten to a bag all of the same gender. Close the bag and mark it with a piece of duct tape designating the gender, M, W, or C. It’s hard work, but somebody has to do it. Within forty-five minutes the three of us had sixteen bags of coats ready for delivery. I pushed the envelope and asked Louise or Mike if they were interested in delivering. Louise raised her hand to take sixty coats to the New Lenox Food Pantry on Monday, they are closed on Saturdays. Mike was headed into the direction of Morningstar Mission resale shop in New Lenox and said he would take sixty coats to them. That left me with forty coats which I drove over to the Salvation Army donation center in Chicago Heights.

The 2021 Winter Coat Drive is formally completed. All total we collected 550 coats from 1 November thru 15 December and delivered them to: The Frankfort Township Food Pantry, The South Suburban Crisis Center serving battered women, The Kibby & Vainney Angles NFP Inc,. serving the homeless of Joliet, Morningstar Mission, and the New Lenox Township Food Pantry. I estimate the dollar value of these used coats to be $5500.00, a sizable donation to the community. The Frankfort Lions have impacted five hundred and fifty people in need at a time when a coat is most appreciated.

Most of us don’t think about what life would be like without a coat to keep us warm during the cold months, but there are people among us who know what I’m talking about. The people who live on the street throughout the winter months are among the ones we target with this drive. I extend my fondest gratitude and thanks to those who donated coats, many with price tags still attached. We know you sacrificed to help others. The Frankfort Food Pantry has 300 families registered, and they are who we service first. I wish them a very warm and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Socks, Socks, and More Socks

A couple of months ago I gave my Lions club the idea to collect socks for homeless people. I never in a million years imagined I would get the response that happened. We service the needy people of our community through a local township food pantry. I was surprised to learn that in a community as upscale as Frankfort, that there are 350 souls registered with them. My original proposal was to give each client of the food pantry a new pair of socks. The club board of directors gave me a green light to go ahead.

My first step was to solicit volunteers from the membership to join in on the fun. Fifteen Lions signed up for the project. We met virtually using ZOOM, and I explained the goal, one pair of new socks to every client of the food pantry. In my training as a manager during my working years it was highly recommended to use teams to do a job. Teams work smarter and their collective brainpower allows them to make better decisions.

Our first effort was to discuss how we would deal with buying socks, the vendors, getting quotes and discounts, etc. We switched the subject to how we would physically separate pre-packaged bundles of socks to donate. That discussion led to a new discussion of the goal. Why not save the effort of separating by giving each person a six-pack of new socks? All along, it was my intention to have the Lions purchase the socks and my emphasis was on selling a proposal to the board for how much money to ask for. That’s when the brainstorming went into high gear and in a matter of minutes we shifted from the Lions Club buying socks to getting the public to donate socks. The team loved this idea and in a matter of a few minutes had formulated a plan to get a sock collection underway.

One team member worked as a substitute teacher for the local school district. He thought this would make an exciting project for the school kids and would also teach a lesson. The remainder of us suggested various businesses to ask to be collection points. Another volunteered to spread the word on Facebook, and our website, another raised her hand to design a flyer. The wheels were turning, no, I mean they were spinning and smoking.

We met in another week, again virtually, and reviewed progress and filling in gaps. By the end of the first week, we emptied the collection boxes and sorted 670 pairs of socks. While we were spreading the news to the community, the Middle School Student Council challenged their classmates to a contest. The room that collects the most socks by the end of February wins a lunch time pizza party. This school turned on the other two schools in the District and they also began collections. Meanwhile, the second school district within our boundaries caught sock fever, and the Junior High began collecting. Not to be outdone the Key Club from the local high school also jumped in.

My part in this was to provide collection boxes for the community and the schools, eighty-five to be exact. I spun my wheels running between Home Depot and my shop to paste signs on the boxes designating them as Sock Drop points. We gave the drive a name; Care. Share. Give a Pair. This catchy phrase spread community wide via the local digital news-site, and on our local community TV.

As I write this we are a couple of days from the official end of the drive. At last count we had collected 5180 pairs of socks and we expect another two thousand to come in from the remaining schools and community boxes. Who would have thought? A simple idea that caught the imagination of a lot of people in the town. All of them pent up with energy from the COVID lockdown. All of them recognizing that their neighbors are in need and they are still in better shape than those in need.

At this moment the kids who won the contest are lunching on pizza supplied by another club member who owns the most popular pizza joint in town. In the meantime, the Lions are now facing a new problem, i.e where to donate the thousands of surplus socks. I love problems like that.

Where the is a need there is a Lion.

A New Leather Jacket

This piece of British comedy came to me from a grammar school buddy, and retired saxophone player Bob.

Why are the liberals so anxious to mimic the country we fought our ass off to break away from? It is sorry that we follow in Europe’s footsteps instead of advancing the world toward a more just and exceptional population that fends for itself and cans big government.

 

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