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Monday, June 22, 2020

At one point in the last week, I almost asked a group of complete strangers if I might join them.

They were involved in an intelligent conversation that included a fair number of F-bombs.

And I've spent much time talking to myself -- and to some of the critters near the Heritage, including an 8-foot-long snake I've named Severus.

Humans need human contact.

Then on Sunday, as I started to milk the first of a fistful of beers at The Tap, Dennis walked in. He's part of the group from The 'Shoe at Upland Brewing, an odd compendium of people who gather and drink beer and joke. Oddest group of people I've ever met. World-class scientists and mechanics and a bison rancher and lawn-care professionals, health care providers and they let in their midst a fat little editor.

So Dennis walks in and joins me for a beer or two. He is a man of few words. Terse and taciturn he calls himself. He says something or asks a question every few minutes and I answer in my best of the Wisconsin Northwoods idiom: "Yeah." Thus the conversation goes. Thankfully as a journalist I'm comfortable in virtually every manner of discussion.

Then Emily and Josh walked in, one of my two Emily reporters at the H-T her significant other who is storing all my worldly goods.

Now we had a party.

We talked and laughed and cajoled. And we promised to do it again soon.

The interaction lifted my heart and the beginning of this week but it made me think back to all the calls I took in Bloomington, complaints of the homeless in seminary park.

The complaints involved a similar theme: the homeless had it too good. They weren't contributing to society, waiting only for money to guy liquor at the Big Red across the street. Or worse. Drugs. They weren't social distancing. In fact, they were laughing. Having a good time. Someone brought a fiddle once and you'd have thought it a weapon of mass destruction. It was like a party. Plus they get free food and a place to stay when cold or wet.

I've never understood the begrudging of the poor in our society. Never will.

Now when I pass by, I think, enjoy what graces you can, my friends.

Peace and grace and human contact unto you my brothers and sisters.

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