Monthly Archives: July 2009
By Megan Rolland, The Gainesville Sun
Word is beginning to get around town about The Kickstand, a nonprofit bicycle repair shop and sometimes music venue on South Main Street that is keeping Gainesville’s needy equipped with free and healthy transportation.
Sunday the shop was ratcheted up a notch as a handful of volunteers converged to repair a pile of unwanted bicycles for the poor and homeless.
“It was awesome. They had all the tools that we needed. They have spare parts. They have bikes that are just junk bikes that we could get parts off, and the main thing was the knowledge of how to get things done,” said Kelly Jones, a former University of Florida student who helped get six bikes back in working order on Sunday.
“Before I started I didn’t know anything, well, maybe how to pump up a tire,” Jones said. “They didn’t just do the work for you. They showed you how to do it and then let you practice.”
I believe that it was at the Pax Christi USA National Assembly in Cleveland in 1996 when scripture scholar and teacher Ched Myers invoked the story of Gulliver and the Lilliputians (from Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift) to describe the task that is before the peace movement. For those unfamiliar with the story, Gulliver, the titular hero, is washed ashore after a shipwreck and awakes to find himself a prisoner of the Lilliputians.
The Lilliputians are a miniature people, with an average height of around 6 inches tall. To them Gulliver is a giant, and a threatening one at that. Their attempts to subdue Gulliver include hundreds of Lilliputians racing around Gulliver’s prone body, throwing tiny ropes over various parts, seeking to keep him immobilized, tied to the ground. Some Lilliputians are trying to fasten down his knee, others his wrist, some around his midsection, and so on.
There is a wonderful demonstration garden right in the center of Paris in front of the l’Hotel de Ville, a 15th century municipal building. The closest space we have like this is Gainesville I think is City Hall, a plain 1960s building surrounded by concrete and former goldfish ponds. Normally, the area in front of the l’Hotel de Ville is a large paved plaza area with benches and a fountain – not so entirely different. But in early June, raised beds were created in wooden boxes and installed throughout the plaza along with information on “bio” (organic) methods of gardening in small places.
They have fine weather for gardening here in the summer – about twenty degrees cooler than our summers and a little more dry. The garden is beautiful and, everytime I pass it, full of people enjoying it – which is the idea. The word for vegetable garden in French is potager, and the word for sharing is partager, so this potager for partager is also a nice play on words.
I was at my parents’ house this past weekend, tucked away in the northwest corner of Georgia—a picturesque area of mountains, forests, lakes and streams. My parents live near the end of a dead end road, on the side of a mountain replete with pines and hardwoods, wild blackberry bushes and flowers of many colors. Their home is situated east to west, so from their back deck and thru the trees you get an extraordinary view of the sunset each evening, gently setting over lush green mountains in the distance.
But apparently, the view is not quite all that it could be. My folks explained to me how all of their neighbors are either cutting down their trees or lopping off the tops in order to get a better view of the sunset. (To my folks’ credit, they’ve refused to go along with this, despite pressure from the immediate neighbors who share the vista with them.)