Bless The Children

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“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.

Mark 10 13-16

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Our precious children sang their Christmas songs this week, with concerts for each of the schools. If you were lucky and wise and in need of redemption, you saw them, in all their pint-sized glory.

We could not hold back the tears, hearing their voices, seeing their upturned faces, beset by our terrible fears, for we are wounded in spirit for those devastated parents in Newtown.

But in the end we laughed as well, for who can hold back the tears and the laughter for such as these?

They healed us, with their pure voices and their radiant joy in our palpable pride.

Thank you, dear ones, for our life.

Thank you, our lambs, for our faith.

Thank you, precious ones, for our hope of a better world.

We will do our best to live up to your view of us and rise to your need for us. We will do our best to make the world the sort of place such blithe spirits deserve.

Thank goodness for the music teachers and band directors and dedicated teachers, who taught you to sing so beautifully — to dance, and march and play trumpets with a flourish.

Just know that we’re proud of you — our beloved little rug rats. You salve all our hurts just by giggling.

Do not mind our tears, for we cannot bear to explain it all just now, with the wound so fresh. Just know that we are all right — and you have comforted us this day.

Just finish your song.

Baby steps toward sanity

Baby steps. Baby steps. Saving the world — one trailer park at a time. So we’re happy Gila County has stepped forward with an innovative proposal to save the Lakeview Trailer Park, which has operated quietly on the shores of Roosevelt Lake for half a century.

The Tonto National Forest more than a year ago served notice on the operators of the trailer park that the long-standing operation was in conflict with the existing Forest Plan. As a result, the Forest Service refused to renew the park’s lease — which expires in January.

Mind you, the operations of the trailer park pose no environmental problems. It doesn’t affect any endangered species. It doesn’t produce any pollution. The only objection to its existence appears to be, well, its existence.

But the 21-acre community provides one of the few going concerns on the shores of the gigantic reservoir. Its wastewater treatment plant benefits the Department of Public Safety, which operates a facility nearby. The mostly vacationing and second-home residents provide business that sustains a little store and contributes to the nearby marina. The property owners estimate that the 167 residents and the 10 employees inject $2 million annually into the economy. Instead, the residents now face eviction. Many have mobile homes so old that they can’t even move them to another park, due to state and federal rules. As a result, many will suffer a serious loss — and the Forest Service will get stuck with a bill to clean up the ruins.

For all those reasons, it makes no sense at all to shut down Lakeview. Even the threat seems high-handed and loutish. It offers one more telling example of the burden imposed on people living in rural counties, where the federal government owns almost all the land and seems to care not a whit about helping people make their living and avoid a slide into ruin.

Fortunately, Gila County has stepped forward in hopes of fostering a solution. The county has agreed to serve as the middleman for a sale of the property to the leaseholder. This would take about three years and invoke the Township Act, which allows the federal government to sell off land adjacent to towns.

Unfortunately, this ploy will take about three years to pull off — for reasons that could only make sense to the federal government.

Still, it’s progress: Like having a crazy person admit that the aliens aren’t transmitting instructions through his teeth. And progress is progress: Baby steps. Baby steps.

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