And then I met a man…

Sweetie and I had dinner with Frank and Doris last night.  Doris cooked some great chili.  I baked a coffee cake that had nearly a pound of fat-laden butter in it.  Yummy.

We started with wine and conversation.  Frank’s brother and wife came from Woodland Hills to share the evening.  Subjects included AIG bonuses, toxic assets, the Holocaust, Afghanistan.  The usual stuff that everyone has an opinion on but no good solution.

 “Are you going to the Ojai Music Festival fund raiser in May?” Frank asked.  “You know, the one that’ll help raise money to rebuild Libbey Bowl.    I said “The invitation is on Sweetie’s desk. I’m in my procrastination stage.”

Frank’s question made me remember the Jim Lehrer News Hour that aired Friday.  It included a piece about Pomona high school kids.  The kids who created the film Is Anybody Listening.  It’s something like what Dorothea Lange  did during the Depression, photographing  poor souls whose faces reflected what the whole country was feeling.

Only this time it was live, on TV.  Kids looking into the camera, telling their stories.  Kids whose folks had lost jobs and homes.  Refrigerators with five pounds of dry oatmeal from the Food Pantry and a box of frozen burritos.  Kids who said “I’m hungry a lot of the time.”  Kids who have to go to work to support their folks.  Cancelled college plans.  Bright kids with an uncertain future.  Stuff that brings tears to your eyes.  Stuff that makes you want to do something.

I looked at the Music Festival invitation this morning.  It’s filled with a list of supporters.  Familiar names.  Good folks.  People who support the community with their time and their money.  All involved in an effort to generate $3 million to renovate the decaying bowl.  Music lovers.  Givers.

Only $195 to attend the event.  Not a lot of money for Sweetie and me.  A small percentage of what we give during the year.  Surely we could participate, be a builder.

But I couldn’t get the image of that refrigerator out of my head.  Or of Chris who worries about becoming homeless.  Evelyn is one of twelve in a one-room apartment.  Marittsa cries while describing her mother’s struggle.  Roger says “It’s not about what you want, it’s about what you need.”   Sonya asks “Do people really care?”

$195.  Not much.  Wonder how many burritos it will buy.


2 Responses to “And then I met a man…”

  1. 1 Ojaidon March 22, 2009 at 8:28 pm

    If you send the $195 (times two, since I assume you’d take Sweetie) to the kids on the Lehrer News Hour then you can skip the Festivals fund-raiser . . which, by the way, ain’t for the Libbey Bowl project, but for the Festival itself. Better yet, why don’t you send $195 (times two) to the kids, and another $195 (times two) to the Festivals for the Gala? If it would help, Nita and I could get on the Lehrer News Hour and tell how tough it is to be in a mixed marriage during hard economic times.


  2. 2 Aryna March 22, 2009 at 9:40 pm

    I agree with Ojaidon and was also glad for the correction that the Gala is for the Music Festival itself and not the Libby Bowl project.
    I guess I believe that in supporting the Festival we support Ojai which helps ourselves but also everyone who lives here, at all economic levels.


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