Do the right thing.

“Do the right thing.” Four simple words, but not so simple in the execution. Fundamentalists will tell you that there is always a clear choice between right and wrong, good and evil; like black and white. Haven’t we seen where fundamentalists have led us too many times before? There were the persecutions of scientists like Galileo. There was the Inquisition. There were the Crusades. Pogroms against the Jews. There were the witch burnings in Salem. (My great, great … aunt Lydia was killed as a ‘witch’ there. She probably cured someone with native herbs, who was supposed to die according to “God’s will”.) There were the racially pure lynch mobs. There are the “missionaries” training African countries to kill gays. There are the fundamentalist Muslim jihadists who are killing Christians and Jews. Stalin’s various purges. (He was a fundamentalist communist.) The list goes on.

We can start out firmly (perhaps too firmly) convinced that our cause is right. We take action and things can go terribly sideways and we can become the thing that we set out opposing. This video illustrates this, when a bunch of little kids form a gang to go after a gang of older bullies to recover one of their friend’s bicycle.

We had a situation with some parallels to this at what we affectionately call Haggerty’s Home for Wayward Boys a few weeks ago. I wrote about how a local pastor basically dumped a family there in True Story. It turns out they were actively using addicts. The priest never called to check in on them, never accepted or returned their phone calls; has never offered support to John for keeping them there; did not call John to check in to thank him and check in to see how they were doing, etc.

I was working with them on a plan to aid them through withdrawal off the opioids. John was willing to work with them. He had given up his bedroom with his memory foam, queen size bed for the parents, while he slept, with broken ribs, on the lumpy couch. At my advice, he locked his shop for the first time ever. I provided them with counselling and herbs that would help detoxify their bodies more quickly to shorten the withdrawal process. they were not ready or willing to start it. They were still actively grifting and getting high and lying to everyone in the house and sowing discord.

Another resident of the house, nickname Charlie, is manic. Charlie returned from a long weekend away and caught wind of the fact that John had lent these people money. (I had told them if they asked John for one more dime, they were out of the house, because we were all helping out of a position of weakness, not of strength.) Charlie went ballistic and wanted to throw them out that night. I had to simmer him down. John was at work. It was 11pm. We agreed that Charlie could kick them out in the morning. The community did not take this decision lightly. We felt on some level that we had failed them. I did point out that they were no worse off than when they came. We had saved them from freezing to death in their car. The danger of that had passed now. They had abused the hospitality offered by lying, grifting, and continuing to do drugs. This put everyone in the house at risk. Everyone still felt bad. It was a good thing to see. Everyone still agreed that it needed to be done. The addicts had simply not bottomed out.

Charlie takes things to extremes. He called the priest and conflated the Orthodox Church and every scandal and every rumor of a scandal ever charged against the Roman Catholic church and hurled it at this priest, much like these boys in the video with their piss filled super soakers. He demanded that Fr. reimburse John for the money he had given to these people, etc. His plan was to continue the tirade by delivering the family onto the church lawn saying that Father will take care of you now. The family beat him to the punch and left before he could lead them anywhere and were already over there arguing with the priest on the lawn of the church when Charlie got there and he just observed from afar. Charlie also called the Bishop to talk to Father’s boss and left many rude and slanderous messages there.

Charlie is manic. He is brilliant. He is a hard worker. He is nearly impossible to live with. John Haggerty welcomes him into his home and gives him space to complete his work that has potential to save and help heal thousands of lives. Charlie’s full nickname is “Colonel Charlie Manson” for just these kinds of antics, but we love him.

Father did reimburse John for the $300 he had loaned the addicts and added another $100 for his troubles. God bless him.

johnsmileJohn & I have rescued each other numerous times in the last eight years that we have been neighbors. John is a solid worker in The King’s Jubilee. Our freezers are in his  shop. He makes most of our furniture deliveries. He was by my side for the whole of the court hearing when we had to sue the city. Before that, he accompanied me to all the meetings with various coalitions and groups that were strategizing to fight the mayor on his decrees against the homeless. He was very droll about meeting with more anarchists and communists and hippies, but always a good sport. He tries to keep me grounded.

John chides me for the fact that he has a houseful of homeless men. I’m not sure I can take much credit for that. Perhaps I made him more aware of the world outside of his windowless shop, but I can’t take credit for his heart of compassion or his patience.

This economy has hit him hard. He has had a hard time of it. Once one gets behind, it is next to impossible to catch up. He is in bankruptcy and that is in jeopardy. I started a GoFundMe for him this week to try to save his home and save the bankruptcy plan, so he would not lose all his tools and everything. You may also send funds directly to John without incurring any fees by designating it as a “gift” and using your Paypal to his Paypal account:
oddcoach@aol.com
Or you may mail checks to John Haggerty, 107 E. Chestnut St., Souderton, PA 18964.

So I guess it’s time for all of us to step up and “do the right thing” and rescue John’s house from foreclosure. I would also like you to consider making a monthly pledge to The King’s Jubilee, so we can provide ongoing support and a safety net for John and the men at Haggerty’s Home for Wayward Boys.




Vegetable Delight Soup

yuchoy
Yu Choy

When I started to make tonight’s soup my back was hurting like crazy, so I was not sure how it was going to go. It hurt just to cut the yucca root. About then, Kevin showed up to help. He took over slicing and dicing. I commenced, supervising, story telling and documenting.

Ingredients:

  • water
  • 3-1/2 pounds yellow split peas
  • 1 large yucca root, peeled & pureed
  • a bunch of fresh cilantro, pureed
  • a handful of tarragon, pureed
  • 3″ ginger root, peeled & pureed
  • 1-1/2 heads of celery, chopped
  • 1 pound of sweet baby orange, yellow & red peppers, diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 pound of radishes, sliced
  • 1 fennel, diced (including fronds)
  • 8 ounces fresh spinach, cut up
  • a bunch of Yu Choy (Chinese mustard greens, looks like giant spinach)
  • 1 large carrot (It was lonely in the fridge.)
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed
  • ~ 1 Tablespoon ground turmeric
  • ~ 2 Tablespoons dried basil
  • ~ 1 Tablespoon rubbed Albanian sage
  • 20 grinds black pepper

Directions:

Bring a few quarts of water to a boil in a 22 quart stock pot. Add the split peas and cook. Puree’ the yucca, cilantro, tarragon, and ginger in a food processor, and add it to the pot. Whisk the mixture together. Add water, if too thick. Keep chopping the other ingredients. Once the peas are liquefied, add the other ingredients to the pot. Reduce heat. Add more water, as necessary. The stockpot should be about 3 inches shy of full. It should still be fairly thick. Stir everything together. Transfer the stockpot into a canner on top of a couple of rags with a couple inches of water in it. Once you put the stockpot in, the water should come most of the way up the side. This is a giant double boiler, allowing you to stew the soup for hours, without scorching it. Stir it occasionally. Check the water level in the canner so it doesn’t boil dry.

Health Benefits:

Yucca root is used for osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, migraine headaches, inflammation of the intestine (colitis), high cholesterol, stomach disorders, diabetes, poor circulation, and liver and gallbladder disorders. It helps cleanse the body of toxins.
Cilantro has strong antioxidant properties and helps cleanse the body of heavy metals. It has also been found to help in lowering blood sugar and preventing cardiovascular damage. It has also been shown to help lower anxiety. [1]
Ginger has been found useful as a powerful anti-inflammatory and migraine preventative, useful in the treatment of diabetes and dozens of other ailments. Turmeric is also a powerful anti-inflammatory, and it has been shown to lower cholesterol as effectively as Lipitor. I wrote about this here.
Peppers have more Vitamin C than oranges, plus they have valuable bioflavonoids as do the radishes.
Celery is a cardiovascular anti-inflammatory and is a good source of Vitamin K and fiber along with a number of minerals.
Yu Choy provides vitamins K, A, C, folic acid and antioxidants.
Garlic is a natural anti-viral and anti-biotic.

We try to provide a healthy meal. We made a vegetarian soup for tonight, because April is making ground beef and cabbage casserole. We always want to offer a vegetarian choice for those who do not eat meat. Thank you for your your support. God bless you.

Cooking Class

Last night was “men’s night in” at our house for the guys from “Haggerty’s Home for Wayward Boys”. It was a cooking demonstration for making a manly, low-carb meal. Ed and I gathered ingredients from from Assi Chinese market, Produce Junction, and Giant. Steve is a pescatarian (a vegetarian who eats eggs and fish) so I made two slightly different dishes, one with flounder, one with pork chops. The men were very impressed. After the meal there was some speculation about kidnapping me and shackling me in the kitchen of their commune, once they strike it big, so I could prepare all of their meals. Here goes:

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of radishes sliced and slices cut in half
  • 1 pound of baby sweet red, yellow & orange peppers diced
  • 1 fennel diced, including fronds
  • 8 ounces Shitake mushrooms cut into bite sized pieces
  • 4 Hass avocados, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 small, yellow mangoes, peeled & diced
  • bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • ~ 1″ ginger root peeled and grated
  • Variations: Either about 9 or 10 pork chops or 12 to 14 flounder fillets, or some balance between to satisfy a mixed audience.
  • bacon drippings or olive oil

Directions:

enamelwareCut up the radishes and fennel and mix them in one bowl. Cut up the peppers and put them in another bowl. Do the same for the mushrooms. Cut & peel the avocados & chunk. Peel & dice the mangoes. Mix them in a small bowl with the avocados. Get all your skillets out and start them heating on high heat if you are making pork chops, medium heat if you are making flounder. Put about a tablespoon of reserved bacon drippings or lard into each skillet (preferably cast iron with sides) in which you are cooking pork chops and a generous amount of olive oil in each skillet in which you are preparing flounder. Throw the pork chops into the hot fat and keep rearranging until at least one side of every chop is browned. Throw radishes and fennel, then fennel into the fish pan(s), then the Shitakes, then the flounder. Add the radishes, fennel, shitakes to the pork chops. Grate the ginger over everything. Add the cilantro. Keep stirring and flipping. Cover skillets. Reduce heat to medium. Add avocados & mangoes as radishes soften. The flounder will get done quickly. Be vigilant. Do not overcook the pork. If the radishes are soft and the fennel is just slightly crunchy, and there is juice in the pan, it’s perfect.

This is enough to feed six manly men. I served it on proper, manly enamelware from Amish country, with matching enamelware tumblers. Of course, we spoke of manly things, like cooking and how to count carbs, and realistic ways to deal with heroin addicts.

We had a great time.