Autumn 1966: While at Friends World College, for one studytravel journey we piled into the school’s Volkswagen buses and headed for Vermont, to the farm of a friend of the Director named Bert. Bert had left the city to become an early back-to-the-lander; but he was no laid back hippie. His farm was well-organized and productive.
It was autumn, and we arrived well after dark. In the morning, I went outside, looked around, and reeled back in astonishment. I had never seen New England fall foliage before: the hillsides and even trees nearby all seemed alight with a kind of psychedelic aura that was almost audible, loud purple, operatic orange, roaring red and buzzing neon yellow, so overwhelming it seemed like it must surely be illegal. Continue reading From “Meetings” — Life, The Woods, & The Chainsaw→
While much of the U.S. population is involved in or watching Memorial Day events centered on those killed taking part in our wars, I hope Quakers will make room for a different approach to this observance.
What’s a holiday break good for if not bingeing? Not on booze or pills, but the foods of the season, and then either some classic video — or even better, some good escapist fiction.
Which brings me to A Quaker Mystery: Murder Among Friends.
It’s summer, 1991, shortly after the first Gulf War. A Quaker conference is gathering at a Friends-founded college in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, to see if the various branches can learn to get along. Quaker Bill Leddra has just arrived with Eddie Smith, who’s Clerk of the Lavender Friends Fellowship.
On the way, they listened to a fiercely homophobic radio sermon by the Rev. Ben Goode, an empire-building rightwing preacher based nearby. Goode’s thundering about “taking back America from the perverts” set them both on edge. And then . . .?
For Friendly Summer Reading: Two New Books — Quaker Stories & Friendly FAQs
#1– So you know I’ve been interested in Quakers and Quakerism for decades. I began exploring this interest by writing stories about Friends in 1977. Beginning in 1989, I was asked to read my Quaker and other stories to campers and adults at Friends Music Camp, at the Olney Friends School in Ohio, where Friend Peg Champney was the founding Director. I’ve been invited back to read more of these stories every summer since. Now I’ve collected nineteen of these stories in a new book, “Posies for Peg.”
I wasn’t having a good night. And I hadn’t had a good day. Needleman in the Washington office had called just after lunch. He said they wanted me there, right away. I had to help the boss get ready for a big hearing before the Defense Systems Commission tomorrow. I told him I’d promised to take the kids to a ballgame.
Needleman wasn’t impressed. “They play ballgames in Pittsburgh every night, Nelson,” he said. “We get a chance at a hundred million dollar contract once every ten years, if we’re lucky. This hearing could win it for us. The boss needs your data, and he needs you here to explain it to him. Tonight.”
On February 1, 1965, I was arrested in Selma, Alabama with Dr. Martin Luther King and 250 others. Here’s what happened that day, and how I ended up eating Dr. King’s dinner.
I – Blocking the View, Blocking the Road
That morning, I was too tense to eat. Keyed up and ready, my thoughts were full of armies marching to battle.
It was February 1, 1965. I was part of a nonviolent “army” – or at least a battalion – set to march in Selma, Alabama that day. Our objective, the territory we hoped to occupy, was downtown, the Dallas County jail; we planned to capture it by getting arrested.