Who is Ribbie? Good question. Difficult to answer. One thing is clear, Ribbie defies definition. An artist, no. A poet, twice, as in two poems. A writer of note, not. A gambler, never. A fisherman of sorts, as a child. Never cared much for comic books, did Ribbie. Music lover, with musical genes and no gift. But what kind of music? Jazz – Miles, Coltrane, Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny to name a few. Classical too. Beethoven, Bach, Chopin and others. Some old stuff – the Rolling Stones, Curtis Mayfield, the Beatles, Muddy Waters, the Who, Led Zeppelin, old Genesis records, Pink Floyd, Yes, Jeff Beck, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Joni Mitchell and Nick Drake. By these ancient references, it is not hard to guess Ribbie’s age…but Ribbie may surprise a few with other musical interests like Steve Reich, Stereolab, Jimpster, Radiohead, Brian Eno, Bill Frissell, Derek Trucks and Kruder & Dorfmeister.
A devoted husband and father, Ribbie delights in the simple pleasures of life – day trips with family just to get out, barbecues, birding, a stroll in the arboretum, making hillbilly chilly and chillin with Ella the cat. Reading is one of Ribbie’s passions. Ribbie reads voraciously. In fact, he reads 3 or 4 books at a time, for Ribbie can, despite evidence to the contrary, focus on one task and complete it in a timely fashion. He can. What is Ribbie currently reading you ask? War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. I wonder if anyone every called him Leon, or Leonard? Anyway, I started it in July of 2013, and as of April 28, 2014, I’m 79% through it and I have to say, as brutal as this may sound, the war bits (and I’m no hawk) are far more interesting than the peaceful bits. I’m also still reading The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson, and it’s a good one, and I’m 21% into Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin on my Kindle.
Speaking of books, there are two that have influenced Ribbie the most and inspired him to become a teacher: A People’s History of the United States, by Howard Zinn and Pedagogy of the Oppressed, by Paulo Freire. Ribbie teaches English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) at a Community College and formerly directed a community based Adult Basic Education (ABE) program. An advocate for increased funding for ABE programs which include literacy, Pre-GED, GED, ESOL, college transitions, and Citizenship classes, Ribbie believes that all adults have a right to free basic education.