Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "An Opportunity to Participate with Us in Our Vision"

Based on an audience poll, this is the free epic for the October 6, 2020 Poetry Fishbowl. It was written outside the regular prompt calls, inspired by the Creative Solutions to Limits square in my 9-1-20 card for the I Want Fries With That! Bingo fest.

"An Opportunity to Participate with Us in Our Vision"

[Wednesday, June 11, 2014]

In the afternoon, Oscar and Labib
went to the farmer's market in
Depot Park for fundraising
for the business incubator.

Oscar had put on decent shorts
and a button-up shirt in hopes of
impressing potential donors.

Labib wore khakis and
a bright yellow T-shirt
that read, I ♥ Vermont.

Well, at least people
would know he cared.

"Do you really think that
this will work?" Oscar said.

"Fundraising is proclaiming
what we believe in such a way
that we offer other people
an opportunity to participate
with us in our vision and
mission," Labib explained.
"Yes, Oscar, it will work."

They made their way down
the rows of booths to talk
with the various vendors.

Gerald Back was there,
selling excess produce from
his farm Veg Out Vermont.

Labib chatted him up and
pointed out how the incubator
could help young farmers enter
a profession dominated by seniors.

He got a donation, too -- not much,
but at least it made a good start.

Happilona and Cosmic Starr had
a booth for Emerald Mountain Glen,
selling not just produce but also
tie-dyed T-shirts and batik skirts.

This time Labib talked about
the importance of small business
and freedom to pursue creativity.

And the old hippies gave him money.

The more Labib talked to people,
the more impressed Oscar got.

Then they came to the booth
in support of disabled veterans,
hosted by Dell Evergreen.

Oscar stepped forward, having
learned that Muslim men didn't
like to approach unfamiliar women.

Labib did, however, drop money
into the booth's donation jar.

"Hey, Dell, this is my friend Labib,"
said Oscar. "He's helping me with
the business incubator now. We're
looking for startup funds at present,
but once it gets going, we'd like
to encourage veterans to join."

Dell tilted her head. "Yeah,
sometimes it's easier to make
your own job than it is to convince
anyone else to hire you," she said.

"It's all about finding creative solutions
to limits," Labib said with a smile.

"We're good at that," Dell said,
tapping her hiking poles. "Do
you guys have a business card?"

"This is a preliminary card,"
Labib said, setting one on
the table. "We have rented
a temporary office until we can
open the permanent building."

"Thanks," Dell said. "I'll
pass the word for you."

As they walked away,
Oscar said, "That was kind
of you, especially since we
came here to raise money."

"I know what it is like to be
pulled up short by limitations,"
Labib said. "Many of my people
have injuries from the war. When
I can show compassion, I do."

Oscar shivered in the warm sun.
He'd seen some of the scars
those people had. It made him
feel even guiltier that he and
his partners had tried so hard
to keep them out of town.

Speak of the devil --
there was Fred Sumner
sitting at a picnic table and
arguing with the folks at
a study abroad booth,
complaining that Vermont
lost enough kids already
without encouraging it.

Well, maybe Fred would
be willing to pitch in toward
the business incubator as long
as someone else was doing the work.

"Hi, Fred," said Oscar. "We've gotten
far enough along for fundraising on
the business incubator, if you'd
like to give us a hand with that."

Fred looked down his nose
at Labib. "Not with them
involved," he said. "It
ruins the whole point."

"Yeah well, they're here
and I'm grateful," Oscar said.

"They'll just try to take over,"
Fred said, glaring at Labib.
"That's what immigrants do."

"Jesus Christ, Fred, pull your head
out of your ass!" Oscar snapped.

"Perhaps a more genteel phrasing,"
Labib suggested, touching his elbow.

"Letting the foreigners lead you
around by nose?" Fred said.
"Better stick to your own kind."

"No thanks," Oscar said.
"Labib has done more to help
Rutledge than you have."

"How dare you?" Fred said.

"No, you put your money
where your mouth is, or you
shut the fuck up," Oscar said.

"I don't have to listen to this,"
Fred said, turning away from him.

"Yeah, no wonder all your kids left,"
Oscar said. "They probably couldn't
get away from you fast enough."

"That will do," Labib said. "Let us
agree to disagree. Come on,
Oscar, we have work to do."

Grumbling, Oscar followed.

"How come you bitched at me
instead of him?" Oscar said.
"He's the one being a butthead!"

"Fred Sumner will not change,"
Labib said. "He would rather
sit alone at his table with nothing
but bitterness and contempt for
companions. You are different,
Oscar. You can be better than that."

"Oh," Oscar said softly. "I guess ...
I'm not used to people seeing
that kind of potential in me."

"Well, get used to it," Labib said.
"You have far more promise than
people like Fred will ever see."

That was the thing about
opportunity and vision --
Labib had a lot more of
both than most people did.

Oscar didn't care anymore
that neither of those were
quite his usual flavor.

He just wanted more.

* * *


Happilona Starr -- She has fair skin and blue eyes. Her long wavy hair was blonde in youth, now gray going white. She is fit for her age and a practiced yogini. She wears glasses. She is 69 years old. Happilona is the wife of Cosmic Starr, mother of Peaceful Starr (50), grandmother of Evening Starr (32), and great-grandmother of Morning Starr (10). They live in the Emerald Mountain Glen intentional community near Rutledge, Vermont. Happilona is a masterful batik artist who often sells her work at local farmer's markets. Her beautiful art and joyful outlook make her popular.
Qualities: Master (+6) Hippie, Master (+6) Batik Artist, Expert (+4) Matriarch, Expert (+4) Yogini, Expert (+4) Visual-Spatial Intelligence, Good (+2) Fit for Her Age, Good (+2) Joyful
Poor (-2) Needs Glasses

Cosmic Starr -- He has fair skin and blue eyes. His long wavy hair was brown in youth, now gray going white and bald on top. He is fit for his age. He is 72 years old in 2014. Cosmic is the husband of Happilona Starr, father of Peaceful Starr (50), grandfather of Evening Starr (32), and great-grandfather of Morning Starr (10). They live in the Emerald Mountain Glen intentional community near Rutledge, Vermont. Cosmic is a masterful tie-dye artist who often sells his work at local farmer's markets. His gorgeous art and trippy personality make him popular. As a hobby, he loves reading and discussing books with phantasmagoric motifs. He's a bit of a slob, though.
Qualities: Master (+6) Hippie, Master (+6) Tie-dye Artist, Expert (+4) Activist, Expert (+4) Family Man, Expert (+4) Visual-Spatial Intelligence, Good (+2) Fit for His Age, Good (+2) Trippy Book Lover
Poor (-2) Messy

This image shows Happilona Starr and Cosmic Starr today. Here they are in the 1960s.

This is Labib's T-shirt.

"Fundraising is proclaiming what we believe in such a way that we offer other people an opportunity to participate with us in our vision and mission."
-- Henri

The Depot Park statue is a landmark of the Rutledge Farmer's Market.

Rutland Farmer's Market
Every Saturday in Depot Park, Rutland 9am-2pm
Every Wednesday in Depot Park, Rutland 3pm-6pm
Every Thursday in the Fair Haven Village Green 3pm-6pm

A farmer's market has many benefits. Find one near you.

Fundraising comes in various types and has a lot of advantages. Learn how to raise funds for a cause.
Tags: community, cyberfunded creativity, economics, ethnic studies, fantasy, fishbowl, poem, poetry, reading, weblit, writing
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