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KINDNESS across AMERICA - Chapter 02: Seldom Heard

KINDNESS across AMERICA - Chapter 02: Seldom Heard

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Published by Kirk D. Sinclair

CHAPTER TWO: AMERICAN DISCOVERY Locke to Foresthills, CA; Days = 10 (2 rest); Miles = 120.9; People Met = 44 Our 32 mile push into Locke proved to be warranted; a deluge came the next day, partly raining out the annual chili cook-off held in town. One enthusiastic chili cook came anyways, Dan Beghin set up his grill and provided his “Tres Diablos” chili to an increasingly rowdy crowd pouring down beer as fast as the drenching rain. The locals did not view this entirely with favor. Locke was a to

CHAPTER TWO: AMERICAN DISCOVERY Locke to Foresthills, CA; Days = 10 (2 rest); Miles = 120.9; People Met = 44 Our 32 mile push into Locke proved to be warranted; a deluge came the next day, partly raining out the annual chili cook-off held in town. One enthusiastic chili cook came anyways, Dan Beghin set up his grill and provided his “Tres Diablos” chili to an increasingly rowdy crowd pouring down beer as fast as the drenching rain. The locals did not view this entirely with favor. Locke was a to

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Published by: Kirk D. Sinclair on Jul 22, 2012
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CHAPTER TWO: AMERICAN DISCOVERYLocke to Foresthills, CA; Days = 10 (2 rest); Miles = 120.9; People Met = 44Our 32 mile push into Locke proved to be warranted; a deluge came the next day, partly rainingout the annual chili cook-off held in town. One enthusiastic chili cook came anyways, Dan Beghin set uphis grill and provided his “Tres Diablos” chili to an increasingly rowdy crowd pouring down beer as fastas the drenching rain. The locals did not view this entirely with favor. Locke was a town geared at leastas much towards inward community as outward tourism.Locke used to be a Chinese enclave. The buildings reflected the Chinese ability to make the mostout of minimum spaces. We slept in an apartment being renovated for rental by Brock Alexander, a highschool art teacher. The space-conserving apartment served as an art gallery for many of Brock's creativesculptures and paintings.The arrangement to stay with Brock was made by Ky and Russell, a resident of Locke that Kymet in the post office of neighboring Walnut Grove. Russell was a craftsman, specializing in cutting boards made with varying decorative colors of wood. We made our first barter of the journey, trading oneof my
System out of Balance
books for his cutting board.Craftsman and art teacher were representative of the neighborhood occupations. Creative, artistictypes often pool resources together in order to make ends meet. I knew all too well the economicstruggles for occupations such as writer and musician. The Chinese approach to minimizing space (andthus expense) lent itself to the community of artists that resided there. They further pooled resourceswith a communal garden and communal meals. This is none other than a form of community economics,sharing and bartering in order to get by.We were invited to join in the communal meal, where we broke bread with Stuart, Alfredo,Russell and Debbie, Tony and Jan, James and his son Wesley. Our communal contribution was the trailmix known as GORP (Good Old Raisins & Peanuts). Our GORP always includes a good measure of M&Ms as well. We talked well into the evening about weighty issues. With their community focus they
 
were on the one hand apart from matters of nation state yet very well-informed. The gathering migratedfrom kitchen table to outdoor fire where Stuart and I played our guitars.Such community economics was familiar to me. In Norfolk there used to be a religiouscommunity called the Bruderhof. They were centered on Anabaptist principles, similar to the Amish, buta much higher tech and progressive version. Whether or not one agrees with those religious principles,their use of community economics enabled them to have many things out of reach for us normal folks,such as their own jet and large playgrounds. Of course, they had to share in such material wealth, but for an intentional community that is exactly the point.Many “voices of mass society” claim we deserve and should have everything under the sun for ourselves. Forget sharing, with the benefits of saving and community that can bring. The financialadvice broadcast by mass media do not provide a measure of balance by calling attention to communityeconomics. Indeed, the focus is on capital markets more than anything else. Out of the goods, labor andcapital markets, the latter is the one that disproportionately benefits the wealthy, contributing to the needfor community economics that mass media neglects.Locke brought the message of community economics back home to me. In the process the localsof Locke revealed that this journey would prove to be more pilgrimage than mission, teaching me muchthat I might share with others further along the trail.My first opportunity to share my message of kindness and community came three days after weleft Locke, at the Fort Sutter Lion Club in Sacramento. Lessons from Locke aside, I mainly went withthe mission, talking about the things I knew before the journey started. I provided some soberingstatistics about Housing, Health and Hunger; I provided the rationale for why communities are best suitedfor tackling such issues.The response was quite encouraging. Two Lions even bought copies of my book. I brought manycopies along on the journey, since we had a support vehicle to store them, but I had slim hopes for 
 
actually selling any. By this time I had learned from a marketing program that my first book was muchtoo long for a new author. I also learned you get your book reviewed BEFORE it comes out, notafterwards as I attempted.Still, those few people who reviewed
Systems out of Balance
gave positive feedback, and twoLions from Sacramento were willing to tackle the huge tome after hearing my talk. Indeed, over thecourse of the journey more of the books would sell than either the “Seeking Balance” music CDs or “Believe in Humanity” T-Shirts I had available.To get to Sacramento we first followed the levee along the Sacramento River to Freeport, wherewe camped by abandoned railroad tracks. Little did we know at that point how often we would hike or camp close to railroad tracks both abandoned and active. The next day we hiked by suburbs, park land,the capital district, and Old Sacramento to arrive at the confluence of the Sacramento and AmericanRivers. We reached Sacramento on June 6 but the weather was still cool, so much so that we hurried toend our lunch break in culturally scenic Old Sacramento.While hiking through a Sacramento suburb a woman pulled into a driveway right ahead of us.She introduced herself as Susie and informed us she thought she read about us in the paper. This was“news” to us; I did send out press releases to Sacramento papers but no one contacted me. There would be times later on when we knew about print media doing a story without talking to us; we never learnedwhether this was one such time.Susie was there to visit an elderly woman named Evelyn and asked us to come in and say “hi” toher. Cindy loves interacting with the elderly at home, part of her duties as a visiting nurse. We walked inwith our smelly gear to say “hi” to Evelyn, along with her caregiver Richie from Indonesia. That led to avariety of photo opportunities.It was also on this suburban stretch along South Land Park Drive that we spotted the ParksideCommunity Church. The following night we stayed with the church secretary, Teri Guida. She washome alone with her husband away at a convention, yet she was willing to take in the three of us (Ky

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Kirk D. Sinclair added this note|
Oh, and it's Carlos de la Fuente, not de la Fuentes. I did not review this chapter before uploading.
Kirk D. Sinclair added this note|
The real working title for this Chapter is "Seldom Heard," not "American Discovery."

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