It’s easy to get a skewed view of the world—especially if you believe some of us in the media.
If you believe everything that you read, it seems that every inch of every city block is filled with unsavory characters waiting to prey upon you in the worst imaginable ways. That’s what folks keep telling me about the south side of Fort Wayne and that’s what you will believe if you don’t occasionally open your front door and your eyes to see what else you can see.
Last week, I sat on the front porch of Frost Illustrated at 3121 S. Calhoun St., down in what some folks at other media concerns call the ‘hood. Minister David Robinson sat on the front porch with me and shared some of the work he was doing in this community and in Milwaukee. And, we had prayer. Not long after that, Bishop Malcolm Howell of Harvest Word of Life Ministries stopped by, as he does often, to share some of the “Good News.” Consequently, I didn’t make it off the front porch right away and before we got off the porch, Minister Robinson stopped back to get something and again, we had prayer. Later that evening, Bishop George McCowan stopped by to talk about a project that was helping to develop young people in the community and provide people with wholesome, natural food. Of course, we had prayer again. Don’t get me wrong folks, I’m a long way from being a saint (just ask my mother and other family members—and my pastor certainly could weigh in on that too!), but I couldn’t help but think, “How good and pleasant when brothers dwell in unity.” Yes, you see on the news that we have strife and too many are dying from that strife when brothers do not dwell in peace and unity, but I also wanted to let you know that there are a lot of peaceful folks walking through this neighborhood. And, they are eager to share that peaceful spirit.
One day, Brother Joe Johnson and his wife Lovelee Johnson stopped by to say thanks for honoring their family by publishing a picture and an account of their recent Mollison family reunion in Frost. Folks here let them know that it is we who offer the thanks because it is indeed an honor and pleasure to be allowed to serve people in the community. By the way, Brother Joe is a frequent visitor and occasionally buys breakfast. There are a lot of generous folks coming through the neighborhood. And, they are eager to share their blessings, materially and spiritually.
Sister Ann McGaw called and wanted one of us to check some settings on her new camera. We were glad to try to help her out. By the way, Sister Ann is the same person who travels all over the world, through the Caribbean, Africa, South and Central America and recently Scandinavia and shares that with Frost Illustrated readers—particularly the beautiful pictures she brings back. Plus, Sister Ann used to read copy for us and do some editing (sure wish she had time again to do that!) and she shares my love of Indian food. An occasionally lunch gives us a chance to sit down and talk about the good things in life, especially family. Did I mention she lives only a couple of blocks from the office? There are some beautiful folks living in this community. And, they are willing to share their beauty and the beautiful things they see.
Most weeks, I get a chance to exchange waves with Sister Sofia Rosales waving from across the street where the Patrolman Benevolent Association’s office is. By the way, sister lady is the president. Speaking of the police, there are a number—like Brother Bennie Edwards, Brother Hank Sims and Sister Diane Rogers—who make it a point to pass by and speak, just to make sure things are all right here in the neighborhood. By the way, congratulations on your retirement, Bennie. There are some folks out there who will take on the often thankless, difficult jobs for the sake of the community. And, they are willing to sacrifice to do so.
Brother Dean Robinson called yesterday to say he was troubled by something he saw in the paper and didn’t like the way we had handled something. But, he’s a good brother, so he said he would be in the following afternoon to help us fix it! There are some people out there who are passionate about making this a better world. And, they’re willing to share their skills and passions to get it done.
I took a trip out to Charlie Bob’s (all of you know Charlie Bob!) new coin laundry on South Anthony Boulevard. Man, I’ve got to tell you that place is out of sight! Plus the folks there—Brother Eddie Echols, Brother Art Griffin, Sister Noornelah Mohd Khan and Brother Pete Hogan, as well as the man, Charlie Bob, himself—are some great folks. I went there to do a story, which is slated for next week’s paper, but also got a chance to relax with some good people. I also ran into Brother Jim Winters, who did chastise me for an opinion I had. But, that too was cool, because Brother Jim brought it to me straight up and out of love for all of us in the community and to correct my perceptions of a civic endeavor. There are some folks who build great things in this community like laundromats and youth programs. And, they’re willing to build them right here, on this side of town.
I stood on the front porch of Frost Illustrated this morning. The weather was nice. The people were pleasant—like Brother Mike, who didn’t know what we did here but started reading the paper and thanking me after I gave him a copy; Ms. Jackson who runs a loving daycare center next door and who took the time to introduce me to her sister and niece out on the sidewalk; Brother Brodnax from my old neighborhood out in Westfield, who always has a friendly wave when he passes by in the mornings. I didn’t see Brother Sonny this morning, but I saw him yesterday. He shared the sad news of the passing of Brother Junior Ochoa, who founded La Margarita Mexican restaurant. See, Brother Sonny works for the Ochoa family and wanted me to know he had lost a dear friend. I’m sure I’ll see Brother Sonny sometime today and he’ll let me know how the family is doing. There are some compassionate folks around here who understand family goes beyond bloodlines and color. And, they are willing to treat many of us as family.
Yes, I got some trying and disturbing phone calls over the past week, including some from folks having problems with a towing company and their relationship with the police; a couple of church brothers concerned about the spiritual state of our community; and a call about a double murder and the possible tragic history leading up to it. That’s the kind of things we hear at a newspaper. Those are the kind of things that often get reported, especially when we do our job of letting folks have a voice—allowing them to speak for themselves. They have concerns and we do what we can to allow them to express their concerns. But, I want to point out that the same folks who called about problems this past week also call us to talk about the good things they see and to offer their time and energy to help make this a better community. Just so happened that this past week they saw problems that needed to be corrected but they aren’t just complaining. They’re doing what they can to fix things. Like me, they see the problems but most of their existence, like mine, overwhelmingly is filled with the sights of good people saying and doing good things on a daily basis.
Life has its trials but, sometimes, I have to open the front door, open my eyes and see things ain’t all that bad all the time—no, not even most of the time.
Category: Frost Blog