Waitin’ for the bus All day/FOOD STAMPED

Have mercy, been waitin’ for the bus all day.
Have mercy, been waitin’ for the bus all day.
I got my brown paper bag and my take-home pay.

Have mercy, old bus be packed up tight.
Have mercy, old bus be packed up tight.
Well, I’m glad just to get on and home tonight.

-from Waitin’ for the Bus All Day by ZZ TOP

When I was growing up in Dallas and then Houston, every family that I knew of, had a maid or maids. Usually they were black and often they lived with the families they worked for..in the servants quarters which were a BIG step down from the houses the families lived in.

In my family’s case, along with a few maids, we had a cook named Katy…she lived in a room in the garage in Dallas and I can’t remember where she lived in our Houston house but I think it was the garage again. My stepmother did not treat her kindly and neither did some other members of the family.

Katy had one day off a week and like the song says, she waited for the bus with her brown paper bag. [Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top was dating my cousin in those days and he was often around. He came from the same sort of family and no doubt wrote “Waitin’ for the Bus”  because that’s the way it was and probably still is]

I felt bad for Katy, especially when my stepmother was mean to her but my stepmother was mean to me too, my life was overwhelming and I shut a lot of things out of my mind then. It was the way we lived, the way everyone I knew lived.

Later in my life, my parents moved into a condominium designed for the wealthy upper class Houstonians…. houstonianand the same story continued: there you couldn’t even park your own car. As soon as you drove into the entrance, someone, usually a black man would rush over to help you out of your car and hand you a card which said: “Please do not tip me. I am here to serve you.”

So that’s how I grew up…much of the time, it was uncomfortable for me, but in order to survive, I shut off all my feelings. Even though what I saw hurt me, I was part of the upper middle class and I couldn’t relate really.

I went through many stages in my life..almost like different lifetimes…sometimes I had money..I married a doctor following my parents wishes…me:wedding..sometimes I was poor..I got a divorce disappointing my parents as I lost my statusFile_01 hippie family copyI went to school to be an Occupational Therapy Assistant, worked for hospice me:ot:hospice artand then founded a non profit called RITES OF PASSAGE to provide care for terminally ill people.  Still, in my social life, I was mostly surrounded by the same kind of people I had grown up with.

A few years ago, I moved to northern New Mexico….I found the perfect place in a tiny Hispanic, very rural community.church los huerosMACLOVIA-LOVE-JESUS

Many of the people I live around are poor, though they don’t complain…they live very simply and they don’t complain about that either. It’s the way they’ve always lived.

When I moved,  I continued doing the work of RITES OF PASSAGE which I had founded in 1988: I made 3 documentary films, gave some presentations for drug and alcohol rehab centers and retirement centers, taosnewsput on several film screening events etc. etc. I followed my intuition, always took the highest choice, I helped the people in my life whenever I could. I had not a lot of money but plenty to live on.

And then suddenly and shockingly everything changed dramatically: RITES OF PASSAGE lost all, every bit of the funding that had kept us going for 26 years and though for a year now, I’ve tried in every way I know how to keep things going, I can’t any longer and so I find myself in a place I never thought I would be…struggling just to survive, having to declare bankruptcy, wondering if I’ll lose my home and how will I feed my animals who are my family.

For years, I’ve always gone to the nicer grocery stores  which are filled with organic vegetables, all sorts of meat and fish, flowers for every occasion, the perfect lighting, the perfect displays…smithsI took all that for granted….

But the stores I looked down on, would never go to…that’s where I go now. I go to the poorer grocery stores and I buy beans and tortillas and a bag of potatoes. There are no beautiful displays at these stores, no flowers or organic vegetables…just beans, rice and  lots of canned food…. the choice of meat is usually pork or ground beef.

Don’t ever imagine that the poor people of this world we live in are poor because they haven’t worked. Many of the people I have known in northern New Mexico have worked way harder than most can ever imagine: in mines, on ranches, in construction. From what I’ve observed throughout my life, it’s the poor people who keep everything going. In the case of our family, the maids, the cook, the gardener did all the work. My stepmother went to the country club, went shopping and played bridge and this was true of all of her friends.

What have I learned from all this? Well for one thing, I’ve learned that the things that you thought could never happen, can and do and they will sooner or later.

I’ve learned too, that a lot of people look down on you when you’re poor. There’s a lot of judgement and they don’t call you anymore as if they might catch the poverty disease themselves. If you happen to mention your situation, they look away and quickly change the subject.

I’ve learned that it’s a very good time to find out who your friends are because you may be surprised. There are a few loyal people who will stand by you but they may not always be the ones you had thought of as your closest friends. They will usually be those who have themselves, been humbled in one way or another and can understand.

And I hope I’ve learned never to judge or look down on anyone.  “Before you criticize a man, walk a mile in his moccasins.”

Below is a trailer of a film called FOOD STAMPED. Our film, ON THE LAND~Together with the Earth is part a *food and film festival this weekend in Toledo, Iowa. FOOD STAMPED is also one of the films being screened.

And below that, ZZ TOP performing “Waitin’ for the Bus”




Meskwaki Food Film Festival on at Wieting
February 13, 2016
Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald
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Watch the newspaper and stay tuned to the Meskwaki Food Sovereignty Facebook page for detailed showing time for the 4th annual Food Film Festival coming Feb. 20 at the Wieting theatre in Toledo.

Showing will be short films and there will be door prizes after the feature films! You are invited to join in for a full day of films, shorts and great discussion.

“Gifts from the Elders” follows five Anishinaabe youth on a summer research project with their Elders, whose stories guide them on a journey back to preceding generations that lived a healthy lifestyle off the land.

“Food Stamped” is an informative and humorous documentary film following a couple as they attempt to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet on a food stamp budget.

Award-winning documentary “The Harvest/La Cosecha” provides an intimate glimpse into the lives of these children who struggle to dream while working 12-14 hours a day, 7 days a week to feed America.

Featuring the three primary cultures of Northern New Mexico in seven stories of a land that heals and provides all that is needed to live the good life, “On the Land, Together with the Earth” is interspersed with humor and the teachings of the elders.

“Seeds of Time” features agriculture pioneer Cary Fowler as he races against time to protect the future of our food. With little time to waste, both Fowler and the farmers embark on passionate and personal journeys that may save the one resources we cannot live without: our seeds.
– See more at: http://www.tamatoledonews.com/…/Meskwaki-Food-Film-Festival…