I remember some long hot summers when I was a teenager working on a Saint Vincent de Paul truck as a swamper in Seattle, long, hot, muscle straining days, picking up clothes and newspapers and sofas and chairs and refrigerators. After two weeks of just wanting to quit I started feeling really good and I started enjoying the work.
Still I could not wait for summer to be over and my getting back to the books. So I really admire the human beings who are digging and chopping and putting in some hard hours out here on Twenty Fifth and South Union.
They are some dedicated folks, doing what is necessary to have food on the table, clothes on the backs, and a safe happy home for themselves, their families, and friends.
I had stopped at the US Bank branch in the Tops Store at the South Mall to put checks in my account. The branch had not opened yet. I decided to use the US Cash Machine. I had failed to add up the total amount on the checks. I had no pen to help me get that total.
I did something I had never done before. There was a young African American woman sitting at one of the tables provided for folks to sit, eat, and read, and talk while shopping at Tops. I asked her if she had a pin, always thinking she might think I was trying to pull some sort of scam. She looked up, smiled, quickly checked her shirt and pants pockets, and, smiling sincerely, told me she did not have a pen.
I was pleased. She had taken time to help me.
Sitting at another table was a young couple, a bearded white male in his twenties, a white female with blonde hair. I spontaneously approached them and asked if either one of them had a pen, all the time thinking they would just ignore this burly, grey haired, older black man. They didn't. Neither had a pen, but the young man quickly asked the young woman to use her calculator to help me.
SHE DID THAT. No frowns, no hesitation, she just cheerfully and quickly responded to my request.
I left Tops this bright Friday morning, realizing that the world I assumed existed, with these three wonderful young people, did not exist at all. I learned a lot. I am very grateful to them.
I am learning a lot about love serving as a chaplain at St. Joseph's Hospital. Women and men, young and old, choose to constantly support their loved ones. The other day I had the privilege of taking two African American women up to their pastor's room. He was recovering from a very serious illness.
Their conversation was loving and honest. He candidly talked about how he had failed to take care of himself and how his wife, children, and other members of the church went out of their way to tell him that they were concerned about how he looked and how he was behaving. Finally he decided to see his doctor who immediately got him to go to the hospital for necessary service.
I cannot remember any time in my life as a minister when I had participated in such an honest interchange with human beings I served.
I left his room determined to be a more open and caring human being. I am so glad to have had an opportunity to be with three human beings who loved God, themselves, and each other so very much.
The quick answer: A place for neighbors. It’s a place to get up to date on what’s going on around you, to tell a story, to share an idea or a bit of yourself. South Sounders created all the content on this page. Send questions, comments or feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stephanie Frieze …has always liked to write. Her experience includes three years at the University Washington School of Communications studying journalism. She had a stint at the Chinook Observer in Long Beach. Raised in Bellevue, she’s lived in Gig Harbor for nearly 18 years. She and her husband have a home in Ilwaco, where they spend as much time as possible. This mother of four loves books, spending time with family and the color purple. Contact her at email@example.com.
Lorraine Hart …was born a nomadic mutt. She spent her life observing, writing and making music. She’s an unabashed carrier of the titles “hippie,” “feminist” and “liberal.” She’s resided in the South Sound since 1996 and is currently living above Joe’s Bay in Home. She juggles her time between being a caregiver, a writer, an artist, a musician, a minister, a wife, a mother, an advocate, a friend and a pilgrim – not necessarily in that order. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jaynie Jones …is a Tacoma resident with diverse career tracks in broadcasting, journalism, teaching, health care, desktop publishing, floral design, special event planning and photography. She’s best known as long-time KOMO radio personality Jaynie Dillon and was once a familiar voice on Tacoma stations KTAC, KBRD-FM, KTNT and KNBQ-FM. Formerly a resident of Tacoma’s East Side, she’s volunteered in the Eastside Substation and with Safe Streets. Contact her at email@example.com .
Tracy Lebenzon ...is a blog contributor from Greenwater. Greenwater is the last stop before Crystal Mountain, Mount Rainier and the surrounding wilderness areas. When not exploring the next mountain peak or forest trail, Tracy also contributes to the Greenwater Community Council and the Explore-Greenwater.com web site. He writes about topics ranging from favorite foot, bike, and snow trails to community events, local merchants and politics. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Joseph McGowan …is a chaplain who supports patients, families, friends, nurses and doctors at St. Joseph’s Hospital. Being 67, he’s learned this about living: Meet people on their own ground and you will discover that this Earth is our special place to meet and support each other. His motto: Live now. Share yourself now. Every living thing you experience is a pure gift. Love all life unconditionally. Contact him at email@example.com.
Mizu Sugimura …is a third-generation Japanese American living in Federal Way. She’s married and a parent of one adult child. A lifelong resident of the Puget Sound area, she graduated with a degree in journalism from the University of Washington School of Communications. and served on Federal Way’s Diversity and Art Commissions. Her interests are politics, art, the history of minorities in Washington and family history. She’s written a self-published family history about her paternal grandfather. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kim Thompson …is a Grit City native who was born and raised in Tacoma’s Old Town neighborhood by the gulch. She boasts that she’s a former Lowell Leopard, Mason Mustang and Wilson Ram, a short-time PLU Lute and a longtime UW Husky. This former corporate businesswoman is a wife, a mom, a school volunteer, a substitute teaching assistant, a writer and a born-again distance runner. She has convinced friends from Bellevue that Tacoma is worth the drive. Contact her at email@example.com.