By Karen Bradley
I just got this email from our DCP friend Kay, in Ohio, and I could not wait to get it to you!
Karen, I know you and Dick are on vacation, so I wanted to give a little more than five minutes for democracy this week. So I got me a pen and some paper and I made up my own little sign (Monkey would appreciate that) ... I went to the public square in Mansfield, county seat of Richland County, Ohio. I took along a chair and some flyers about Cindy Sheehan. I stopped along the way and bought a pink umbrella , some poster board, and a marker. I made the sign on the hood of my van in 90+ degree heat. That's my excuse for why the sign doesn't look so good. It says "Pres. Bush, Have you talked with Cindy Sheehan yet? democracycellproject.net"
The public square in Mansfield is located on Rt. 42 now, but the road used to be Rt. 30 called the Lincoln Highway. Before interstates it was the main east/ west highway in the nation. The square is half a block from the county courthouse, county jail, municipal building and municipal jail. One block from my UCC church and three blocks from my school. As you can imagine there is a great deal of law enforcement traffic. I wasn't sure if what I was planning was allowed without a permit, but.I thought that the worst that could happen was that I would be asked to leave.
I arrived at the square at 11:30 and planned to stay until 1:30 because I knew this would be the time with the most foot traffic. I opened my chair turned around and there was a city vehicle parked on the sidewalk about four feet from me. The worker was coming toward me so I gave him my biggest grin and asked, "Have you come to tell me to go away?" He said that he hadn't, so I asked him if he had heard of Cindy Sheehan.
He thought so but wasn't sure. I refreshed his memory . Then he said he had a son in Iraq. He mentioned his sticker on the truck. As I walked over to look at it, I said " I bet you're proud of him." He grinned and then I saw the "sticker": a big plaque that said" Proud Parent of a Marine". He left the truck by me for about 20 minutes while he worked. As he left, he grinned , waved, and told me to stay as long as I wanted. That made me feel a lot better.
The next person I talked to was a man who said that he also thought he knew who Cindy was. Again I told him about her and he said,' I have a son in Iraq". He told me he is a pastor and invited me to church. I told him my church was on the corner and invited him to visit. He asked if I had any prayer requests, so I gave him a flyer and asked him to pray for Cindy, all parents who have lost children in Iraq, and those who are serving. He said he would.
I wasn't sure if people passing in cars could read the sign, but a woman stuck her head out the window and yelled," Good on ya', girl". Her car sticker said "Prayer changes things" and she had multiple support the troop ribbons. She was dressed in the sort of clothes and wore her hair in the style that religious fundamentalists wear around here. I was shocked! I was also pleased to be called a girl. She was the only person I encountered who knew who Cindy Sheehan was without being reminded. Hard to do anyway to people going by in vehicles!
I saw two families from my school. I suppose they think this is how teachers' spend vacation. The children seemed happy to see me. I was comfortably located near a large fountain where children like to splash their hands on hot days. There was a cool breeze which sent a mist over me at times. I almost felt as if I were at the beach.
Next to come down the sidewalk was a former student of mine. He and his friend stopped to chat, so I asked his friend to take a digital picture. I wanted to share with you. Why is this woman laughing? Because the boy in the picture whose friend only slightly cut off his head kept saying, " This is my kindergarten teacher!" I don't know if he thinks I have lost my mind or if I had some how amazed him.
I met only one negative man in the time I was there. After I explained who Cindy is, he remembered that he didn't like her and didn't think Bush should talk to her. I said, " but sir, her son is dead." He gave me a dirty look and walked away mumbling ,"but he never talks to any of them!" Being so near the courthouse, I wanted to shout, " I rest my case".
All in all it was a wonderful experience and I am already thinking about what my next project will be.
I don't know the process for posting pictures, but would appreciate it if you would have someone post this somewhere so that others can see what a good time even a project with one participant can be.
By the way, please wish Dick a happy belated birthday.
Best regards, kay
Well, I cannot wait to tell Dick what his birthday present was/is! Kay--you are a wonder--along with all the other DCPers who have risen to the occasion and who are supporting Cindy. Thank you, on behalf of all mothers/fathers/activists. We are here with our kids and they are 16, 16, and 18 and therefore vulnerable to various forms of conscription for this horror of a war. I have been touched by Cindy's strength and sense of purpose, and therefore I am immensely grateful to all who are speaking up and out for the truth.
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