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December 2022 Community voices | The Homepage

Thoughts on assumptions and the need to grow our food

By Jim McCue

A light-skinned elderly man with a white beard, thick glasses and tan bucket hat looks into the camera. He is wearing a tan windbreaker with red and blue lining. Behind him are green leaves and a few sunflowers in full bloom.
Jim McCue. Screenshot from 2017 video about Everybody’s Gardens.

We all have assumptions. No one has a hold on the whole truth. We each have our own unique version of what is, formed by our past. The brain is a reducing valve, limiting our perceptions mostly to what is necessary for our survival and well-being.

With the United Nations’ warning that food shortages will create a “Hell on Earth,” it is vital that we return our biodegradable waste to the soil rather than put it out for the trash to be taken to a landfill where its rotting emits greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

Everybody's Garden, at the corner of West Elizabeth and Lytle streets, is in disrepair, but leaves are being dropped off to improve the soil. AmeriCorps volunteers, working with Hazelwood Initiative, are laying mulch in between the raised beds and will be planting pawpaw trees. I am grateful for having been able to work in this community garden and urban farming site since 2009 when we started it after a three-story apartment building was torn down.

The solutions are here; we just need to implement them. Millions of Americans are growing at least a little of their food nowadays.

You save money by not spending it on things like cigarettes, which cause shortness of breath and other problems. Tobacco, sugar, stimulants like caffeine, and alcohol can be terribly addicting if they are not taken in moderation.

I can still talk and write, so you are welcome to please call or email me.

Jim McCue is a composter and sustainable biotech advocate. Reach him at 412-880-7237, email him at and read more of his work at his blog, Appropriate Biotech.

Family makes this the most wonderful time of the year

By David Wenndt

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” This classic ditty released by Andy Williams in 1963 is still a perennial hit heard all over the USA at this time of the year. Though the song was almost 60 years old, it actually reached its peak popularity in 2020, reaching number five on the Billboard Top 100 chart. This song continues to have popularity in our culture because it is a wonderful time for many people. People look forward to the holidays, the gifts and the decor. It is, for many people, the only time that snow and winter are acceptable. For many people, the wonder of the time is wrapped up in nostalgia; we see children have such joy and glee. We’re reminded of our own childhoods and the unadulterated bliss that accompanied those wonderful times.

But this time is about far more than just nostalgia and decor, more than the weather and the gifts. It’s about family. Much of the joyous nostalgia of the season is linked to happy times with family and friends; times we remember fondly, but are now long gone, often with loved ones who are also long gone. Family is still at the heart of the holiday season. Even for those who don’t have great relationships with their families, they take this time of year to bond with friends and make lasting memories.

We at Holy Cross Lutheran Chapel pray that you have a happy and blessed holiday season, and invite you to come spend time with our family. Join us for a community dinner on December 4 at 4 p.m. Our Christmas toy giveaway is on December 16, and cookies and cocoa will follow our Christmas Eve service on December 24 starting at 7 p.m. We would love to see you all! God bless your December, and have a Happy New Year!

David L. Wenndt is the vicar at Holy Cross Lutheran Chapel in Hazelwood.


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