Like he did every year, Mikey decorated a rosemary bush for the holidays in the tiny gardens he tended on the Sebastopol Plaza. He raked up the leaves and picked up the carelessly discarded cigarette butts left there by nightly drunks, unaware that Mikey lovingly watered the gardens. Like most of us who meet there, he loved reading the daily papers, drinking coffee and the Warriors. I loved talking to him about their amazing run or the latest news each time I saw him.
Mikey usually slept in the field behind the feed store, but he was at a friend's house the night he suddenly passed away. I never heard him complain about his lot in life, even though I knew sometimes all was not well with him. His superior knowledge, cloaked beneath a roguish exterior that comes from being a longtime "street person," gave him a unique spirit that will be missed by all who knew him.
Yet Mikey's Garden will live on. Leaves are still being raked, people are leaving flowers, candles and decorations for Mikey's "Christmas" tree, making sure the lights have fresh batteries. A hand-crafted sign that will proclaim "Mikey's Garden" is already in the works. So as you celebrate with loved ones this holiday season, please remember, no matter where we live, no matter what we do, that we all have the opportunity to leave the world a little better than we found it, like Mikey did.
Given that the United States is the largest exporter of arms (including hundreds of thousands of assault rifles), the Dec. 5 New York Times editorial, "End the Gun Epidemic in America," is like a drug pusher saying he won't tolerate drug use in his home. If the United States wants to control assault weapons in our country, perhaps we should stop arming other countries with the same.
I am pushing 80 now, and I have been reading and writing since I was nine years old. What I have to share is that there is only one major solution to the terrorist threats. Let us agree that the pen is mightier than the sword, and the solution is not being part of the problem. The solution is a spiritual solution—not just for rabbis, ministers or men and women of the cloth; the solution is for all of us.
How many frozen and starving babies does it take to make a change in Turkey? How many Syrian mothers have to endure standing in their own urine waiting for help to feed themselves and their babies?
We should all be grateful that we can eat our warm gravy and leftovers. No one should be lost in the mountains of Asia Minor, let alone starving to death. One way to get a handle on this is to see the wisdom in sharing. When sharing becomes contagious, you will see a big change come over you and your daily persona. The solution is spiritual, and we best not forget it.
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