We meet every Thursday night for potlucking, prayers, community with one another, and recently a peacemaking class facilitated by our friend Kyle. We have been meeting every Thursday night for three years. Three years seems crazy long but that meeting was how we formed into the family we are today. Sometimes we eat, drink, pray and go home. Other times we eat, drink, pray then party, or sit and chat, or play dumb games, etc. Other times we meet over doing things for each other in each others houses. Our meeting together has looked many different ways over the past three years and we yet again find ourselves in an interesting phase. The core group has expanded, we invite spectators to join us for a meal, we are studying things like non violence, mindfulness, breathing. We often talk about how things are not like they used to be but we still feel like we are in a good place. A steady, consistent, content place. And we wonder how we will evolve next.
All that to say that last night (Thursday) we decided to pack up the pot luck, and bike down to the scioto park grand opening. All 13 of us gathered on the lawn and ate our picnic, listened to the hoodoo soul band, dodged eye contact with the mayor, admired all the people dancing, and laughed a lot. It was a nice change of atmosphere, and not so claustrophobic (as Brian put it). We watched half a dozen people take pictures of all of our bikes piled on top of each other against a tree, witnessed a near drowning of a homeless man trying to swim from Franklinton over the border into downtown (and also watched him get caught by the cops and deported over the bridge back into Franklinton), and found a swinging bench along the “esplanade” that we all took turns on. It all felt pretty glamorous. It was weird being there because we don’t exactly share the same vision for east Franklinton that the mayor does but we enjoyed ourselves anyway. It felt pretty far away from Franklinton (except for the homeless refugee trying to escape it ).
When it started raining and we decided to head back home we saw something going on at Broad and Hawkes. Lots of cops, fire trucks, and ambulance causing a scene at the apartment complex on the corner there. Greg and I stopped to talk to some people watching on the other side of the street. They didn’t know what happened but were watching to figure it out. Then he said to us… “life in the bottoms you know? What else are us poor people supposed to do when we don’t got cable? You don’t need cable here, just look out the window. There’s a police chase or something going on every single day.”
It’s true. We have been entertained from our window and front porch more than cable ever could entertain us. The unfortunate thing about it is you can’t shut if off at the end of the night or when you are sick of watching bad shit happen. There is no “power button” to life in the bottoms.
We biked on a bit more and ran into our friend Jack (aka red dog mowing guy). Jack’s a big guy, big belly, long hair, gruff facial hair, and really funny. He was wearing the brightest white shirt i’ve ever seen with the FTON logo on it. Which is a term coined by the development association and a hip term to make Franklinton sound cool. It was weird to see him wearing it and I told him I liked his shirt. He was wearing it with cut off jean shorts with his fly down. He said “Thanks, it (FTON) has got to mean something…” even though he knew what it meant. The young man standing with him, no doubt a long-term Franklinton resident, said “F- TON?? What does that mean” Jack was going to try to think of something clever to say but I said “It means Franklinton.” Then Jack said, “its european”. Again he looked at it, pretty confused, and said again “F-TON.” Then he gave this look that made me think he was thinking, why the fuck would anyone make a shirt that tried to make Franklinton sound hip and cool. Maybe he wasn’t. But I am pretty sure that’s what that look was. Then they brought out a body from the complex and all the spectators were silent and somber. Welcome to FTON.