[From the diaries by susanhu — read this through — it’s chock full of great tips and info!] From Crawford (Friday, August 12), and missed the anti-protesters by about two hours. The big story–sorry. I didn’t see Cindy, either. I didn’t want her to waste her energy being glad to see a total stranger, so I didn’t seek her out. THE FUN STUFF IS BELOW:
We left Austin at 9 a.m., got to Waco about 90 minutes later, and got lost looking for highway 6 west (the signage in Waco needs work). We got to the Crawford Peace House around 11, and double-parked in front to unload the supplies we brought, which were nearly identical to all the supplies everyone else brought. The Crawford Peace House has as many cheap loaves of bread as it can use. Ditto on peanut butter, paper towels, coffee, and singly wrapped snacks. They may run out of those things next week, but what they need now is money (they had to have a plumber out today) and a good set of kitchen knives. They go through a lot of sodas and potatoes and tomatoes and green beans, and we wished we’d had tomato paste. They use a big wok outside on an iron column in which they burn mesquite wood. If you’re going, buy a bag of mesquite (I guess charcoal would work, too) for the wok, and at the last gas station, stop and buy a couple of bags of ice.
Their refrigerator is completely stuffed (hint to the rich). They have slabs of brisket and ribs to cook, and one oven. (We put a brisket in the oven to be ready for dinner; I hope somebody remembered it.) The main grilling guy is vegetarian, so somebody else needs to bring a grill and man it and make BBQ history. (Better bring sauce, too.)
The Peace House is very small, and the kitchen is tiny. There were reporters all over the place, one from the Christian Science Monitor. They took our pictures as we cooked. The Peace-House regulars are each trying to do all things at once: answer phones, direct traffic, get food on tables, give interviews, fool with the computer, arrange the shuttle, arrange the parking, get new volunteers occupied–they’re tired.
We went right to work in the kitchen chopping potatoes (Potatoes for Peace, someone said). People came in asking us where to put the supplies they brought. We kept telling them we’d only just arrived ourselves, but after ten minutes of that, we realized it was easier to pretend we were old hands and show them in to the storeroom.
After cooking a couple of hours (and leaving the kitchen a bit better organized, if I do say so myself), we rested outside and drank water and had some food, then we took the shuttle to where Cindy and the protesters are. We’d heard when we arrived at the Peace House in late morning that the road to the protest was closed because the emperor’s caravan was about to pass through (he was on his way to par-tay! for pay). A few hours later, they opened the road, and the shuttle started running again.
After a 10-minute van ride, during which we debated whether Bush is a religious zealot or a corporate figurehead caring nothing for the Constitution if it stands in the way of returning the globe to 15th-century feudalism (we pretty much agreed it’s a bit of the former and a lot of the latter), we arrived at Camp Casey, which is a long, skinny line of camp chairs, coolers, tents, and news trucks, hunkered down in a ditch against a line of trees and a barbed-wire fence, the whole thing about a quarter-mile long. There is a triangle of grass (nice and green–we’ve had a lot of rain lately) probably 50 yards on each side around which the roads run. The road to Bush’s cedar-chipping operation runs perpendicular to and behind the camp, and cars are parked along it. Cindy’s tent and the graveyard of white crosses are perpendicular to the camp and in front of it. There were three or four police cars parked along the side opposite the camp. One cop all in black was friendly and seemed to have a good relationship with the people in charge of Camp Casey. Somebody announced that the police had been nothing but helpful and were absolutely going to protect us from the anti-protesters arriving soon from Irving.
There were kids, a dog, sign-up tables, people making posters. As we got off the shuttle, a meeting was being called. We had at once to gather round and stay off the road, which wasn’t possible. (The “stay off the road” rule was being very loosely enforced, at least right then.) Speakers told us through a bullhorn mike that we were not to react to the anti-protesters. We got further strategic tips, but I don’t want to give them away to the enemy (they involve making sure the police can see who it is that’s causing the trouble. One of the organizers told us that when the anti-protesters had been there before, they’d formed a wall of people around part of the graveyard and kicked over some of the markers. I guess that’s what they call supporting the troops.)
We (my friend and I) hung out for an hour. We talked to a couple from north Texas for awhile; he was wearing a “Veterans for Peace” button. There was an independent film crew there with a tiny video camera. They found an interesting veteran to talk to. He showed them his tattoos. We probably should have waited for the action, but we’d been on our feet for three hours, and I had another two hours’ driving home to do, so when the shuttle came for the return trip, we took it.
We rode with a Japanese journalist and a woman from Iraq on the way back. Everyone I met today, except for these two people, was from a few hours’ drive away. The journalist wondered how we commemorate V-J day. We told him we pretty much skip right over it. The woman from Iraq said her family lives about 100 miles southwest of Baghdad and are living day-to-day.
The shuttle dropped us off at our car on the football field. After driving for an hour we got within hearing distance of KOKE 1600 in Austin and tuned in Air America. Laura Flanders was talking about the anti-protest that we’d missed.
Tomorrow (Saturday) at noon (last I heard–things could change) there will be a rally at the football field near the Peace House.
Potatoes for Peace!
Crawford Peace House
Meet with Cindy