Friday, July 11, 2014

The Aging Hippie, zero tolerance and the Foreign Legion

You know my good friend the Aging Hippie, with whom I have shared so many adventures in California? The woman whom I met at a peace vigil on my very first visit to San Francisco? The woman who has a guest appearance in BUT I TOLD YOU LAST YEAR THAT I LOVED YOU?

sept 2011 116

She is gone.

She has joined the Peace Corps (the US version of VSO, as far as I can tell) and she is teaching in a primary school somewhere in Pretoria. She is in a similar-ish time zone now, but that’s no help to me, as she doesn’t have Wifi. I don’t even know if she has the internet, because she might as well have joined the Foreign Legion: she has disappeared into a black hole and is incommunicado. (The Peace Corps could not/would not give her postal address before she left, and I have to write to her care of their office there for now.)

We used to have long messaging conversations twice a week, send each other pictures, play word games in the ether. I miss her! Now I have to write to her by snail mail, and the official Peace Corps information says there is no knowing how long the letters will take to get to her. My letter sat on the stairs for a day because there seemed no urgency to drive to the post office with it.  I hate not having her available at the click of a mouse.

I admire her tremendously. She has committed to volunteering for 27 months and she is 68, for heaven’s sake. She has been doing volunteering of many kinds at home for years, but this has been her lifelong aim, and now she is doing it – go Karen!

When she was at home in Redwood City and fed up and kicking her heels, she would walk out into her neighbourhood and pick up litter. She said that if she could not manage to engineer world peace, at least she could make her immediate environment a little bit more beautiful. In her honour I have started a zero tolerance policy on litter on the Monsal Trail. This is what I picked up on my ride on Wednesday…


Is that a used paper plate amongst the chocolate wrappers???

Yes. A paper plate. 

Well, Karen might be out of my loop, but my family on their road trip through the Rockies to their new home have just been messaging me. I LOVE messaging. Isaac sent me this picture of them having their bedtime story at the same time as I was having my morning cuppa


(Yes, I know I am not supposed to be posting pics of my grandchildren on here, but it cheers me up to think of them safe and sound in Nevada, when my heart is breaking for families in Gaza.)


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