(Toledo, OH) What I thought would be a mundane trip downtown today turned quite interesting; I am glad that I had my digital camera with me. The weather has thankfully begun to warm up, and we may hit forty degrees by Friday.
This is certainly good news, as Northwest Ohio has been in a 4-day blast of Arctic air that took a long time to move out of the area.
Left: "Flarp" at the Wintergarden
I met someone at the downtown branch library for an interview shortly before noon. My attention wavered when music began to drift toward me; a flautist and a harpist were performing as part of the library's "Sounds of the Season" series, which continues through tomorrow. I have always enjoyed the soft plunk of harp strings, which seem to resonate deep within my soul. The duo goes by the name of "Flarp," but I was not able to get the names of the individual musicians who graced the Wintergarden with evocative holiday music.
Left: Father Frost at the downtown post office
After being frustrated earlier in the day by the long line at the Franklin Park post office, I resolved that I would visit the downtown location. Not only was this branch uncrowded, I met Father Frost (or Ded Moroz; in Russian - Дед Мороз), the traditional Russian version of Santa Claus who was clad in green. He apparently finds the US Postal Service to be a cost-effective means by which to deliver presents to Orthodox children.
After the Russian Revolution, when in 1920s Bolsheviks started to wage a campaign against religion and superstitions, Ded Moroz and the New Year Fir Tree were banned. Joseph Stalin restored the tradition in 1935. In 1937, Ded Moroz for the first time arrived to the Moscow Palace of Unions. Since this time an invitation to the Fir Tree at the Palace of Unions became a matter of honor for Soviet children. Several times the coat of Ded Moroz was changed to be not confused with Santa Claus to a long blue coat. Joseph Stalin ordered Palace of Unions' Ded Morozes to wear only blue coats.
Left: The Cherry Street Mission
Jarring me back to reality was a drive past the Cherry Street Mission, the most prominent of Toledo's homeless shelters. Those of us with a few extra dollars this year might consider a donation to this worthy institution, which has served the homeless in Toledo since 1947. In an average year the mission provides shelter for many hundreds of local homeless, and has served as many as 71,000 meals to the needy.
Most people are only a few small paychecks away from finding ourselves clients of such institutions, so give what you can to this most deserving of charities.