Thursday, December 8, 2022

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Joe's Neighborhood

Block 51


joes1If we are all facing the Mayan end of the world in one fashion or another, where do we find the courage to look over the edge, slap our chests and beckon the unknown to give us its best shot? Mmmm… you don’t think it’s the end of the world? joes2

Listen, you’re going to the in-laws Christmas morning, your parents for Hanukkah in the afternoon and all three kids are sick. This smells a bit like disaster. And gifts? Lord, did you remember the paper carrier, the mail carrier and your spouse? I didn’t think so. Oh, yeah, you forgot to order the ham. And where are your decorations — the neighbors are wondering. By the way, will you keep your job after that dance you did at the work holiday party?               

See what I’m saying — the end of the world is upon us.               joes3

Where can you find the strength to face such adversity? How can you find that wonderful shake-your-fist-at-the-heavens feeling where you do the dance from “Rocky” at the top of the Iowa Capitol stairs? Where exactly is a cure?                

Don’t look at me. Lord, I’m just trying to keep my foolish behavior to a minimum. And, in any case, I was more concerned about those strange lights hovering in the cemetery off of 55th Street.               

CNA - Stop HIV Iowa (Dec)

joes4In the daylight, Glendale Cemetery’s gently rolling hills, pond and narrow roads would be the perfect setting for a bed-and-breakfast.                

As you continue to drive west, you will dead-end at the veterans section abutting 55th Street. Hundreds of flat markers show the final resting place of many of the men and women who served and their spouses. joes5           

Trust me — it is a place of somber reflection about the brevity of life and about duty to country. But what about the strange lights? Look closely at what is going on over the slight ridge to the south in Block 51…              

Yup, IN THE GRAVEYARD! Block 51 has been transformed into a holiday destination. Come on, don’t these decorations speak about joy and dance and love in the face of sadness? Aren’t they the fist in the air? Don’t you want to stand up a little straighter? This is powerful stuff.             

joes6Oh, by the way, there are a few lights in Block 51.                joes7

Now go face the end of the world. CV

Joe Weeg spent 31 years bumping around this town as a prosecutor for the Polk County Attorney’s Office. Now retired, he writes about the frequently overlooked people, places and events in Des Moines on his blog:

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