|12-31-2006, 04:55 PM||#16|
Blue Crack Addict
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: In the dog house
Local Time: 08:21 PM
|01-02-2007, 09:03 AM||#17|
Blue Crack Addict
Join Date: Nov 2002
Local Time: 09:21 PM
I like this one, from the Christian Science Monitor__________________
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore Tue Jan 2
For the past year I have mentored a young teenage girl in southeast Portland. I'll call her Eileen.
In many ways Eileen is an ordinary teen - she likes to wear faded jean skirts, she wrinkles her nose at vegetables and public radio, she wishes her mom didn't have a MySpace account, she worries about whether the boy she likes this week likes her, too.
But Eileen has her secrets, and she keeps them well. Like what she really wanted for Christmas. She didn't scribble it on a wish list, because what Eileen really wanted is to see her father again - and Eileen has long stopped wishing for the impossible.
We had only known each other a few weeks when Eileen first mentioned her father. We were sharing an enchilada at a tidy Mexican taquería, talking loftily about foreign languages and heritage.
Eileen was proud of her native American blood - her father is half Chippewa, and her grandmother was fully Indian. Her grandma was Eileen's favorite person in the world, until she died. And her dad is a loser now.
This is the way Eileen speaks. Frankly. I treasure this.
Eileen went on to tell me that her father has been in and out prison her whole life.
"Why?" I asked.
"Because he's a meth cook," she said, her voice falling flat.
"How long has he been doing that?" A ridiculous fill-the-silence question, but it escaped before my mind sounded the "this is an important moment, say the right thing" alarm.
"Forever." Eileen shrugged and leaned over her glass of water, pulling at the straw. "He's a loser. I never want to talk to him again. But if he gets out soon he promised he'll take me shopping."
Her father did get out of prison. I met him - the first and only time - a few weeks after he'd gotten out. Every day had felt like an eternity to Eileen. His call interrupted the dinner I was treating her to - her first time at a Lebanese restaurant.
It was a warm summer's night. Eileen's eyes got so big when she heard her father's voice on the other end of her cellphone. He was at her house. We had to go right away. We didn't know if her father would wait.
I set aside my own emotions and let Eileen experience hers. The indifference toward her father had quickly turned into giddy adoration. She applied her lip gloss carefully as I sped to her house. Then she leaned back and looked out the passenger's window, her whole face still, quiet, frozen in the preencounter.
Her father was handsome. Stocky and stubbly. A firm handshake kind of a guy. He met my eyes and held my gaze, thanking me for my role as mentor, and I found myself smiling under the pressure.
I'll never forget Eileen's face. She looked like the sun rising, all beams of light. I took my exit quietly, leaving the Styrofoam box of leftovers on the counter.
Today, Eileen's father is back in prison. She doesn't talk about him at all now. If I ask, she doesn't even shrug, just replies flatly that she doesn't care where he is or who he is or how he is. She gave him too many chances. She's done.
Eileen is a few months into high school. She has gone from jean skirts and hoop earrings to black eyeliner and heavy-hooded sweat shirts. She has smoked her first cigarette. She has been suspended from school.
In some ways I understand this Eileen better. There was a time when I, too, wore black eyeliner, fixing my face in a defiantly pensive pose the way only teenagers can. But I was listening to Brahms and reading Proust, not getting suspended.
Then again, I always had a father, and I could reach him at any time. There is more behind Eileen's eyeliner than there ever was behind mine.
This Christmas, as I brainstormed my list of gifts, I was stuck on Eileen. What she really wants is something only her father can give. Attention. Discipline. Time. No, more than that. What she really wants is him, giving.
What matters is giving, not the giftAnd it dawns on me that, more important than what I give, is the fact that I give at all. What matters is the giving, not the gift. It isn't something you do during a season. It's devotion - sometimes glorious and sometimes tedious, sometimes noticed and sometimes not. The gift is merely the exclamation point.
When I handed Eileen a little something tied in a tidy bow a few days ago, my real gift was shared in the span of our hug. And maybe, just maybe, she will find it useful in the moments she needs it most.
And then maybe, somewhere down the road, she'll pass it on to someone else, someone just like her, someone who dreams of more than tidy bows.
* Elizabeth Armstrong Moore is a freelance journalist in Portland, Ore., and the editor of www.CommonTies.com
|01-09-2007, 07:23 AM||#18|
Rock n' Roll Doggie
Join Date: Jan 2004
Local Time: 07:21 PM
Thanks, Mrs. Springsteen, for sharing some good news. It's greatly appreciated.__________________
Here is another story that I found that I think is priceless:
Colombian nurses animals back to health By INALDO PEREZ, Associated Press Writer
Sun Jan 7
Through the bars of his cage, an African lion named Jupiter stretches his giant paws around the neck of Ana Julia Torres and plants a kiss on her puckered lips.
It could be a kiss of gratitude: Since Jupiter was rescued six years ago from a life of abuse and malnutrition in a traveling circus, Torres has fed and nursed him back to health at her Villa Lorena shelter for injured and mistreated animals.
"Here we have animals that are lame, missing limbs, blind, cross-eyed, disabled," said Torres, 47, who relies on donations and her own modest teacher's salary to run the shelter in a poor neighborhood in the southern city of Cali. "They come to us malnourished, wounded, burned, stabbed, with gunshots."
Torres said her work rehabilitating animals began more than a decade ago when a friend gave her an owl that had been kept as a pet. Later, when she asked her students to bring their pets to school, she realized many families illegally kept wild fauna from Colombia's biologically diverse jungles in their homes.
The number of animals under her care grew, and today Jupiter is among 800 recovering creatures at Villa Lorena — from burned peacocks and limbless flamencos to blind monkeys and mutilated elephants.
Most of the animals are caged, though some, like iguanas, roam freely around the impeccably clean grounds enclosed by a 13-foot wall. Inside is a monument that the state governor dedicated in recognition of Torres' work.
Torres said many of the animals were rejected as infants by their parents in the wild or found abandoned on the streets of Cali, a city of 2 million.
Others were rescued from cruel treatment by owners. One mountain lion kept illegally as a pet had its two front legs cut off by its owner after it clawed a family member's face.
Torres said that of all the animals she has cared for, she is proudest of having rescued Yeyo, a now-deceased spider monkey who had suffered violent, drunken beatings at the hands of an alcoholic owner.
"The monkey would scream every time it was beaten, until one day the police came and found the wall covered in blood," she said.
Two veterinarians saved Yeyo from death, though it lost an eye and its teeth from the abuse. Yeyo remained terrified of people, cowering in the corner of the cage at the sound of footsteps, she said.
Torres said she opposes exhibiting animals in circuses and has therefore kept her shelter closed to the public.
"We want the animals to live in peace," Torres said. "All their life they were shown at circuses and shows — this is a paradise where they can finally rest."
I'm really impressed by this woman. She truly shows how one person can make a tremendous difference in the world.
There's also a GREAT picture with the story.
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