Back of the Queue
Is there something you’ve always wanted to do, but never got around to starting (an activity, a hobby, or anything else, really)? Tell us about it — and tell us about what’s keeping you from doing it.
(Thanks, Rocky, for inspiring today’s prompt!)
There are many things I would have liked to do – become an English Professor at some Ivy League University, or a successful novelist living on a comfortable boat in Tampa Bay. Either, or both, were achievable.
Or, I could have been a Hippy.
However, I was already committed to other, more serious missions – the Air Force and a family – by the time the Hippy movement got underway. But that didn’t keep me from watching their progress, because Oregon, the place I called home, had their share of them.
Eugene, Oregon embarked on urban renewal in the mid-1960s. It was a dim-witted project that sent the larger stores – Penny’s, Sears, Woolworth, and a host of others – fleeing to the suburbs, killing downtown.
Just off the downtown core stood the Park Block. It was a comfortable, shaded place to while away an hour watching people or feeding the pigeons. To enhance this quaint spot the city built a large fountain. It wasn’t a geyser. Instead it was a gentle, bubbler that fed water onto a flat area some sixty feet in circumference. The day it was finished the Hippies came down from the hills with their soap.
Eugene, always a liberal town, sent their police out to discourage this performance, but there were too many Hippies.
Residents were outraged and flooded the Eugene Register-Guard with letters to the editor, voicing their objections. The editor did his duty, adding additional pages, publishing them by the hundreds. But nothing seemed to detour the Hippies.
The letters were published over such an extended period, I wondered if anyone was still reading them.
One citizen had a different point of view and said as much. “I see nothing wrong with what the Hippies are doing,” he stated. “In fact, one Saturday I bought burgers for the occasion. Then I took my children to the park and watched the Hippies bath while my son and daughter masticated.”
Indeed, folks were still reading the letters.