NEWS & VIEWS OF PHILLIPS SINCE 1976
Saturday November 18th 2017

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The Snow Cone Cart Story: “Stay Cool and Help…”

By Dallas Johnson

For the 2011 Bridging Festival, I wrote a neighborhood skit called “The Snow Cone Cart” to honor Muriel’s community activism. Earlier in the day, Bart Buch from In the Heart of the Beast Theatre had neighbors write messages on white cloth with images of snow cones. Then we gathered in an empty lot on 5th Ave and, with Bart as director, the skit began with Muriel’s grand kids playing with a big red ball. They heard groaning and looked over to see a bunch of adults trapped under a thick, black tarp. The kids ran over and heard adults grumbling, “I’m scared! This is horrible! It’s so dangerous! Why doesn’t somebody DO something?”. The kids tried to help, to no avail, then ran over to Muriel. They gathered around her rocking chair and said, “The adults are stuck! What do we do?”. Muriel answered, “We gotta stay cool and help each other out”. The kids shared her message loudly, “WE GOTTA STAY COOL AND HELP EACH OTHER OUT!!” Together, they pushed Muriel’s snow cone cart into view. She dipped her hand in and pulled out one of the neighbors’ snow cone banners, “Stay cool neighbor”. One by one, the kids handed out banners until we each held one of the precious messages. “Hola”. “I love your laugh”. “Have Courage”. “Stop. Breathe”. The band played while the kids freed the adults from their complacency and pushed the tarp to the side. Then, they began a spiral dance and invited the audience to join in. Soon the lot was filled with laughter and music as we all held hands and danced, celebrating the work and vision of Muriel Simmons. Afterwards, we had a party at Center For Changing Lives where her grand kids served hundreds of delicious snow cones to happy neighbors dancing to African music, telling stories and playing games.

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