ethel’s words

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In a letter to an editor, a visitor from afar (the writer alleged) decried the inadequacy of Pioneer Park and “all those homeless people”. Certainly the inadequacy is obvious, but--

I have checked out Pioneer Park several times lately, trying to pin down the avalanche of rumors. There is not a flower to be seen--not one skinny daisy. Poor people are not worthy of flowers. There are few benches; even fewer tables.

There are children playing in the minimal playground. There are many adults--nearly all seem to be men--lying on the grass--lovely, thick, green grass, by the way, when I visited on August 5, 2007. (Farmers Market gets consideration.) If there were more benches, perhaps the adults would lie on benches. (In Utah, they “LAY” on benches.) But what is wrong with lying on a clean lawn in the serene shade of heart-lifting old trees?

There are also persons walking around; the few tables are occupied. What I want to know, is, how can you tell if someone is homeless? Sure, there are clues, but when a person is lying down? Last time I visited the women and children area of the “home” there were over a hundred kids. I saw no mark on their foreheads.

As I have observed and used parks off and on for about 75 years, I dare suggest they are used primarily by persons who live in apartments or who have very small yards, except they are used also for family reunions, memorials, and meetings. The rich use parks only when they want to glom onto greenspace rather than spend their own money, to put up a tennis bubble (for example), commercialize and monopolize the space, and deprive the deprived.

With notable exceptions, it is easy to tell the rich from the poor, but the poor often are as downtrodden-looking as the homeless. (The homeless are not necessarily unemployed--they simply can't afford housing.)

I just can't help doubting the authenticity of that letter from a visitor from afar.

Ethel C. Hale