A very Special Thanksgiving edition of the Muse and Whirled Retort

To hear this as an audio spoken word piece Click the Picture above or Here or paste: http://www.shops.slabmedia.com/celticart/images/Music/Paradise-Found-Chris-Chandler.mp3 into your browser

chandler 2196

Hi all,

Chandler here in back in Oakland.  It is raining.  Glorious Rain... first rain we have had since March.  On Thanksgiving Day, I am thankful for the rain.

Here is a brand new piece for you.  Ihope you like it.  Although I have yet to perform it for a live audiance - I felt it was a big poem and has inspired me to make it available to you as an audio cast as well. (thanks to Tom Noddy, David Rovics and Jen Delyth.

I hope you like this new AUDIO aspect to this news letter.  I would appreciate your feed back.

Thank you all so much for your continued support over the past (yes) 30 years. And Happy Thanksgiving

Paradise Found

By Chris Chandler

Oakland, CA
Thanksgiving, 2018


Lately...

as we walk through the streets of San Francisco,

Oakland, Sacramento...Berkeley...

complaining that the elastic band

on our N-95 masks fits too tight...

... then remembering the lives that have been more severely impacted than our own.  

Loss of life...

loss of family..

loss of home...

loss of community...

Big Picture stuff...

But every big picture is composed of many smaller ones.

Smaller ones that depict lives impacted in ways we don't even think of...

can't even think of...

even though... it is the smaller picture that depicts the greater reality.

The littlest birds sing the prettiest songs.

In Paradise California,

before the fire...

like in any community...

everyday dramas were being played out on a routine Sunday morning sidewalk basis.  

"Ya know what pisses me off - is that they do the trash pickups on Mondays - and almost every Month has a Monday holiday.  Veterans day... No Trash Pick up?  Whats up with that?

Do you think they will ever fix the potholes?

"Hey, did you see the Paradise Adventist Academy had advanced to the Northern California Semi-Finals?"

"Paradise Adventist?  Really?  Do they even have a football team?"

"Volleyball...  

Girls Volleyball."

Before the fire

these were the buzzes of front porch

morning coffee neighborhood chit chat.  

The stories on the local AM radio station,

the front pages of the local newspaper

"The Paradise Post"

that is now in ashes.  

And although in ashes The Paradise Post - through the help of her sister paper The Chico Enterprise-Record continues to publish as they had...

Only,

Now there is no town to deliver to, so they deliver... to the evacuation centers.

For,

we all know...

what happened...

over a two day period...

What started as a small brush fire well west of the town...

swelled into a bonfire...

that turned Paradise...

into Hades...

in a matter of hours.  

Potholes  and Volleyball are no longer on anyone's mind.  

Grab your family and escape...

Escape...

Escape...

But not all of the pre fire drama

of Paradise's "Refuse to Die Community"

was turned into floating ash

that settled on to your car windshield

in Berkeley.

There are twelve players on

The Paradise Adventist Academy Girls Varsity Volley Ball Squad... (GO COUGARS!)

They and their families all made it out alive...

Barely.  

Eight of them

and their families

had lost their homes.  

Lost everything.

They were all spread out - staying in shelters or with relatives

from Shasta to Stockton.

How could there be a Volley Ball game?

But, this is the semi finals.  

No sport in the school's long history

had ever made it that far.  

Their opponent...  

The Forest Lake Lady Falcons assumed that the team would have to forfeit, and the Falcons began preparing for their next opponent.

But the Cougars refused to be defeated!

Yet,

The Cougars had no equipment,

no uniforms,

no place to practice.  

NO PLACE TO PLAY.

No Homes.

But these girls?  Now, that is a different story.

Thank god, on Thanksgiving that they don't see things

like you and me.

NEVER

under-estimate the power of young women.

These girls took to social media and they let it be known that THEY needed the game to go on!

In Solidarity, the Lady Falcons agreed to host...

The Lady Cougars...

their lives in total chaos...

arranged for transportation from points unknown to...

Auburn, California....

Home of the Forest Lake Christian School.

The twelve girls

met in a parking lot for the first time since the fire...

they linked arms.... United.  Defiant.

Together, they marched into the opposing team's gym....

There they were met with something that few "visiting teams" receive when they walk into an opposing teams' home:

They were met with a standing ovation.

They were also met with much more...

Within 24 hours of the devastating fire,

the Forest Lake Falcons had collected donations of $16,000

Laid out on the visiting bench...

were new knee pads,

socks...

and most impressively...

new  uniforms.  

Each matched with the players' number and name on the back.....

matched perfectly

with what they would have worn

if the fire had not happened.

Instrumental in this act of generosity was Forest Lake coach Travis Smith

who had recently retired from coaching...

but was asked to return for one more season.  Initially, he was ambivalent, but his wife had had a premonition that he needed to do this.

So he agreed - for this - his final season.

When he

was asked to address the crowd...

the applause calmed into an appreciative hush.

"I had been looking for a reason to have returned as coach this year... and I think this...

this...

this moment right here...

is it.

The Paradise Lady Cougars went on to win that game against the Forest Lake Falcons.

They won the game, but not the match.

But in truth, they won much more

than any volleyball squad could.

They are the champions of my heart!

It would be poetic to say that the Lady Cougars went on to win the state championship  

but in a way they did.

Instead, (sorry for the pun)

Paradise Lost.

They had to...

because, my friends,

this is not Hollywood.

This is Paradise.

updated: 3 weeks ago