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‘Fire on the Mountain’ Category

  1. The Mexican Mennonites

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    February 10, 2011 by Steven Worden

    Without a doubt, the Plaza Hotel in Cuahtemoc, Mexico, has everything you need:  on the main drag, a cathedral around the corner, cheap rooms (less than $18 US a night), good lumpy beds, central heat, and hot water.  Ok, so you can hear the people next door as distinctly as if they were speaking right into your ear.  No place is perfect. After dark, as you pull into the walled parking lot behind the hotel you may notice another less conspicuous amenity:  in the dark, a man sits quietly in a ‘70s model Ford pickup and eyes you closely as you unload your gear.  Not to worry—he works for the hotel and his job is to sit in his old pickup all night long and keep watch over guests’ vehicles.  He also is in charge of the heavy metal door in the wall that lets cars in and out after dark. Actually, one of the nicer benefits of the Plaza is the café next door.  After a restful night of tossing on your lumpy bed and overhearing and weighing the merits of disputes in neighboring rooms, nothing beats lingering over a $4 breakfast of eggs, toast, coffee, and orange juice, …

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  2. The Night Bus to the Border

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    May 24, 2010 by Steven Worden

    Fire on the Mountain By Steven Worden        Next time you feel too stale, too dragged by the same ol’, same ol’, head on up to Fayetteville and out on Wedington where for a couple of hundred, you can buy a roundtrip Jefferson Lines’ ticket to Brownsville, Texas.  Hop on the southbound around noon and you will be in Shreveport, gazing at the lurid red lights of the Boomtown high-rise casino by 7:30 that evening.  A scant five or so hours later at 1:00 a.m. you will be admiring the death-like downtown of Houston.  By 6:30 in the morning, the sparkling lights of Corpus Christi refineries will be appearing off to your left.  By 10:00 a.m., you will be stepping out into the morning heat and humidity of Brownsville, a homeless man curled up by a palm tree off to your right.  Just up the street:  the International Bridge to Matamoros, Mexico.                  Although a mere twenty-one hours in duration, a night run to Brownsville opens up a whole new reality to the middle-class guy wearied of a white, skinny, affluent, non-tattooed, non-mentally-disordered, non-addicted world.  If you yearn for the sound of a young man screaming m-fing words into a cell …

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  3. Fire on the Mountain

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    May 1, 2010 by Steven Worden

    The Lucky Plum Tree By Steven Worden I think Leonard Kraemer likes trees.  A retired pastor of German stock with a fringe of hair living in a “scrubby-Dutch” clean house, he loves discussing the various types of magnolia trees or the superiority of pine trees over oak trees. Although he looks like he needs only a long-stemmed clay pipe to have stepped out of Washington Irving’s Hudson Valley, as a savvy gardener, he can tell you how one shade tree can provide oxygen for ten people.  Or, he can tell you that such a tree pumps 75-100 gallons of water into the air in a day, or that a full-grown shade tree removes a quarter of a pound of dust particles from the air every day.  The man likes trees. Now retired, Mr. Kraemer also likes to recall his long career with the United Church of Christ serving multi-ethnic urban congregations.  But, when I casually asked Mr. Kraemer if he saw a connection between his love of trees and plants with spirituality, I almost thought I saw him visibly wince. “Some people see vibrations or go to a symphony and say that they heard God.  I’ve never had that experience.  …

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