Silver Linings

Jeffrey is still on NYC time, so he was ready to go hours before sunrise. For safety, we waited until dawn to hit the road.

For most of the day, we pedaled south on wonderful bike paths. Yet the paths slowed us as they wound through the countryside, and forced us to stop frequently to thread our trike through gates designed to exclude anything larger than pedestrians and 2-wheelers.

A silver lining in that cloud was being away from motor traffic.

This part of Utah is having a building boom.
No motor vehicles!
The path was dusty despite last week’s snowstorms.
Birds and frogs sang in the marshes.
Utah’s Jordan River.

When we crossed North Temple Street in Salt Lake City, Jeffrey was inspired to take an 8 mile detour to photograph me in front of the 1893 landmark Temple building.

The building is being renovated. We couldn’t see much through construction scaffolds. It wasn’t worth taking me out of my bag.

The silver lining is that we made new friends.

Morgan was cultivating flowers in front of the Beehive House. We told her about HRF and the Rides. She said members of the LDS church, whose ancestors were persecuted in the United States on account of religion, understand the plight of refugees. Morgan said something simple and profound: everyone needs a home.
Joella has a secretarial job with the LDS church. That makes her the most important person in the office. Joella is interested in the Ride and in the principles of HRF. Brigham Young’s statue gestured with approval as we talked.
The Union Pacific Railroad building shouts “History!”
All roads lead to NYC. But you wouldn’t know it out here.
The Khadeeja Islamic Center is on the banks of the Jordan River.

We stopped at the Electrify Bike shop in West Jordan so Adam could make some adjustments.

Adam working his professional magic.

We bought from Adam a new black fiberglass pole for our Stars and Stripes. We fly the flag for safety, and to emphasize that human rights and Americanism are inseparable.

Jeffrey found the orange tube on a Brooklyn street when biking to visit guardianship clients after 2012’s Hurricane Sandy.
Suffering drove Adam’s Japanese, Swedish, and German ancestors to the USA. The Japanese side of his family was persecuted by the American people and U.S. government during World War 2. Adam loves America. He recognizes our country’s flaws and works to correct them.
We ended our day on busy roads in unseasonably hot Sandy, Utah.
All towns in the area have avalanche warnings this week.
Tasha helped us get the best motel rate. She too is a new fan of the Ride and of what it stands for. (See our new flagpole in the mirror?)

This evening we thought of Morgan, Joella, Adam, Tasha, and other people we encountered along today’s 66 mile (106 km) route. These nice folks with their kind words and gestures are friendly, charming, reassuring, fun. But they don’t remind us of why we travel so far, so slowly, to talk with our fellow Americans.

Frou-Frou reminded us.

Frou-Frou was walking a poodle. When our trike approached, she scooped up the animal and asked evenly, “What’s this about?” Frou-Frou cut Jeffrey off with hateful propaganda. Those People come here and expect us to take care of them. Those People [even when facing death] should stay home and make their own countries better. We can’t take everyone. Et cetera.

Jeffrey gently mentioned that ordinary immigrants get no government help. That the persecuted get help only if they prove their cases. That people don’t choose to be refugees. That “everyone” isn’t coming here.

Jeffrey soon stopped countering the lies. It was pointless to mention (e.g.) who picks Frou-Frou’s strawberries (immigrants), who funds her Social Security check (immigrants paying billions of dollars for benefits they can’t collect), who will care for her in the hospital or nursing home that looms in her near future (immigrants), and who says that we should offer refuge to the persecuted (Holy Writ and American law).

Because Frou-Frou doesn’t listen.

Poor lady. So angry and bitter. Jeffrey thanked her kindly and wished her well.

We do the Rides, not to preach to the choir, but to open minds and hearts (and wallets; please donate to Human Rights First).

Some hearts and minds (and wallets) can’t be opened. But you don’t know until you try.

We are reminded of a Primo Levi poem.

There is good in every encounter.

The next time Jeffrey is ambushed by the “stay home and fix your country” trope, he will be ready to ask the speaker:

“What country did your family leave, instead of fix, so that you could close America’s golden door?”

How’s that for a silver lining?!

7 thoughts on “Silver Linings

  1. Hi last year at this time you were near garden City Utah. We met I was the manager of the Bear Lake motor lodge. I am now in Baker nv on hwy 50. You should come stop and say hi. Hope you are doing well and hope to see you.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Utah is one of the fastest growing states so we are building to make affordable housing for all. Sorry you ran into a stinker but glad for the good people you did talk encounter.


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