NEWS & VIEWS OF PHILLIPS SINCE 1976
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Returning CHAPTER 24: TRANSCENDING

Returning  CHAPTER 24: TRANSCENDING

By PATRICK CABELLO HANSEL Where is the best place to jump between centuries? Or perhaps, the better question is: when is the best place to jump between centuries? For while travelling through space seems pretty straightforward, it often isn’t. Roadblocks and detours abound. Travelling through time, with the idea that you can bend time to your advantage, is both impossible and widely practiced, sometimes successfully. Thank you to Dave and Mary Ellen for their suggestions of the liminal spaces where time travel of the unusual sort can occur! For those of you who doubt its existence, hang in there. You’ve followed the previous 23 and ½ chapters, which are in the past. You’ve wondered where our blessed family is going, which is in the future. So right now, in the present, suspend disbelief and follow along with me. I may not know where I am going, but I trust the trip will be fine. This is a ghost story, after all. In the first novella “Searching,” Matthew Kelly Hidalgo appeared as a possible ancestor of both Luz and Angel. I say “possible” because it was never clear if Matthew died in infancy, was murdered as a child, was kidnapped and became a Mexican folk hero, or if he exists in some form today. That’s the nature of ghosts. Angel and Luz have been following his trail for years, and now have landed back in the time where he roamed the swale, the piece of land we call East Phillips. Imagine there is no light rail, no Greenway, no Little Earth or even the cemetery. There is a railroad track that runs a block north of Lake Street. There are trees and a few houses. There is a swale, by definition, low and wet. Where would you go to get a perspective on your surroundings? Higher ground. So Angel and Luz, with little Angel in tow, followed the tracks until they began to bend at what is now 28th and Hiawatha. Near the Roof Depot and its clarion water tower. In the mid-19th century, the swale began to rise to the north and west there. Our [...]

CHAPTER 23: AGNES MAKES A FAITHFUL DECISION

CHAPTER 23: AGNES MAKES A FAITHFUL DECISION

By PATRICK CABELLO HANSEL The name Agnes means “pure, holy,” from the Greek hagne. Going further back, the Indo-European root may be hyag, meaning “to sacrifice.” Those two meanings are about to collide in our elder Agnes, as she makes a fateful, nay, a faithful, decision to defy Brian Fleming and his ilk. Of course, no human is perfectly pure or holy, at least not in terms of the perfection we set as a standard. But here’s another linguistic lesson, sports fans, “to perfect” doesn’t just mean to do a job perfectly. It also means to complete a task or calling in the way it was meant to be. Agnes loved her granddaughter Amethyst, the only family member she had left. She had stood by her when she fell into addiction and sex trafficking. She had practiced tough love with her, grandmother love, mother love. Ingrid, Agnes’ only daughter had been killed in a police shooting when Amethyst was 12, and Agnes took the sad and angry girl in. Ingrid had been a single mother, working as a waitress, first at the old Denny’s on Lake Street, and then at Maria’s on Franklin. Ingrid had not been wanted by the police; they had not been shooting at her, but at a young black man as a “person of interest.” The man survived; paralyzed. Ingrid, who was waiting for the #5 bus, did not. The settlement from the city had paid for Amethyst’s rehab stays. Over and over and over. Agnes had grown up speaking Swedish on a farm outside of Lindstrom. She had picked up quite a bit of Spanish when she worked in one of the earliest pre-schools in the city. And her Somali neighbors at the senior building had taught her how to say “Salaam Alaykum” and “Eid Mubarak.” But most of all, her nearly 90 years living in Phillips had taught her the hard language of love and the even harder language of reality. Agnes could not imagine sacrificing her granddaughter, her only family member left. She knew it would break her own heart. But she could not imagine little [...]

RETURNING CHAPTER 22: WHERE IS SHE?

RETURNING CHAPTER 22: WHERE IS SHE?

by Patrick Cabello Hansel As Angel and Luz and their son travel through space and time, we need to look in on the object of their search. That is, little Lupe, who has been missing. Remember her?! Although, I shudder to think of her as the object of her search, but more as the subject. The Brian Flemings of this world, and the forces they represent, deal with people as objects. Those who are striving to be fully human do not. What do we know? We know that Luz and Angel arrived at Lupe’s daycare late. Angel had fallen into a deep sleep with his son, still tired from working a double shift at the hospital. Luz had been sidetracked by an unexpected trip with an unexpected man down a secret chamber at the bookstore. Neither one of them could remember who was supposed to pick up Lupita from daycare. They rushed there through the slush and wind to find the center closed and part of a strange note that read: We have your light blessing. You will know where she is. They decided to walk to the place where they had met many years ago. There they ran into Agnes, the kindly elder who had met them in the church on their first journey together (see “Searching” chapter 34). She promised to lead them to their darling little girl. What we didn’t know is that Agnes, who seemed so kind and wise (and strange) was actually taking care of little Lupe. Agnes, who led them to the feast in the community room of the senior apartment building, had been charged with the little girl’s caretaking. But “care” was not exactly the right word. For she had been charged by Brian Fleming and his gang with holding Lupe until he had finished his plan. To make clear what that meant, he had told Agnes that if she told Luz and Angel anything about the plot, he would come back and “take care of her and her stupid granddaughter.” So you see, Agnes’ betrayal was done under extreme duress. Her granddaughter, Amethyst had been one of Brian’s “girls”. He had [...]

RETURNING: CHAPTER 21: GO BACK!

RETURNING: CHAPTER 21: GO BACK!

By PATRICK CABELLO HANSEL The two men on horses did not wear cowboy hats or chaps or boots; they didn’t have belts of bullets crossing their chests; they weren’t drinking rotgut or chewing on a blade of grass or smoking the butt ends of cigars. In other words, they were not born out of a common psyche determined by movie moguls. They weren’t hallucinations either. Or ghosts. Or bits of undigested beef in Luz’ or Angel’s stomach. They were visions that each of them held, deep within them; united in their common lineage, and united in their desperate search for their dear daughter. So, what did our beloveds see in these two figures? There is a saying in Spanish, taken originally from a poem by 17th century Mexican poet Sor Juana Inez de la Cruz: “Todo es de acuerdo al color del cristal con que se mira.” That is: “Everything you see depends on the color of your lenses.” What were the lenses our loving couple had on? Rose colored glasses? They had lost those a long time ago. Mirrored sunglasses to project an image of invulnerability while hiding fear? Nope. What they saw was the beginning of the blessed, twisted lineage they shared. Without speaking a word to each other, they knew the two men were Marcos and Mateo Kelly Hidalgo, their broken ancestors. Distant in terms of the century and a half since the twins were born in 1868. Not at all distant in terms of their shared inheritance: one born not of blood or the will of any flesh but of spirit, of a fierce and holy struggle. For the whole of their life together, Luz and Angel had wrestled with an inheritance of joy and trauma that had been passed down. They had talked many times about how their lives were linked in a history, and how their future depended on not being chained to that complicated past. Both of them had so many things to ask Marcos and Mateo, especially Mateo. Was his death a violent one? Did he still haunt the swale as a ghost? Could he help them? But when they [...]

RETURNING CHAPTER 20

RETURNING CHAPTER 20

by Patrick Cabello Hansel Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,your old shall dream dreams,and your young shall see visions. Joel 2:28 Yes, there is a difference between dreams and visions, but the miracles and the catastrophes they portend can be hard to distinguish. Angel and Luz had a vision of creating a new family, one not chained to the trauma of their past, one based in the twin angels of love and justice. They still occasionally had dreams of the terror they had faced, but with the support of spiritual guides and each other, they were seeking to learn from their fears instead of being swallowed by them. Brian Fleming had stopped listening to his dreams a long time ago, and thus his vision had become warped by the three angels of greed, violence and humiliation. All he could see and all he could want was power. Not power to create, but power to control, to coerce, to dominate. He wanted Luz to submit to him, as he had forced her to do when she was a young teenager. But Luz had discovered a strength beyond fear: the love she had for Angel, Angelito and Lupita. The two men on horses were not a dream, as little Angel had wondered. They weren’t exactly a vision either, but an invitation to see into the past. What you saw depended on what you longed for. They were twins, and if you knew the legend of Mateo and Marcos Kelly Hidalgo, you would know that both Luz and Angel were descendants from their line. You would know that they were born in the swale two years after the Civil War. And you would know that many believed Mateo’s ghost still haunted the land our four time travelers stood on. What you see is often what you get. What you see beyond the eyes of seeing depends on what you are searching for. Luz and Angel saw their ancestors, and the tangled webs of their families’ histories. They instinctively moved towards the two riders. Brian Fleming saw his ancestry as well, but not the blood he shared with those who came before, but [...]

CHAPTER 19: LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL?

CHAPTER 19: LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL?

RETURNING by PATRICK CABELLO HANSEL Imagine finding yourself in the same place you just left, but in a different time: 140 years before the time you left, to be exact. You wouldn’t just be in a different time though; you’d be in a whole different world. For our four travelers -- Luz, Angel, little Angel and their captor, Brian Fleming -- well, to say it was a shock would be an understatement. Fortunately for them, it was a moonless night, with fog all around. The reality that they were “some-when” else didn’t strike them at first. Brian Fleming thought that the tunnel he had discovered when remaking the garage into his enterprise was just an escape route in case of a police raid or some other calamity. He and his “associates” had excavated the tunnel until it reached the cemetery a little over a block away. They had not reached the end of the old tunnel; there were large boulders, railroad ties and debris that blocked it. With their flashlights, they had seen that it went on for aways. But it was clear walking into the cemetery a good 40 yards, which for their purposes was enough. They dug an entrance that led behind a large pine, and practiced running through it at night, with only the flashlights from their phones. What they didn’t know was that someone else had been working on the tunnel for a long time. Actually many people had been working on it for a long time from a long time ago. People who hid out from wars old and new, people escaping slavery, people escaping the law. When war was threatened, people took shelter there. When liquor was illegal, people hid it -- and even made it -- there. Some of the tunnel users were innocent people looking to survive; some were people making a buck by hook or crook. It took all kinds, and all kinds of people had left their mark on that sacred space. As the four of them got accustomed to the fog and the darkness, it began to dawn on each of them that they were not in any place they [...]

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