"Old friends pass away, new friends appear. It is just like the days, an old day passes, a new day arrives. The important thing is to make it meaningful, a meaningful friend or a meaningful day." Dalai Lama
In two weeks, I’ve attended the funerals of four of my lifelong friends’ mothers each mother died in the winter of her years, unique and special in the legacy they left and the memories I shared with them.
“The death of a mother is the first sorrow wept without her” unknown
Our prayers to Gloria Siler and Salima Siler Marriott on the death of their mom the stylish Cordie Siler at the age of 97. I remember Ms. Cordie’s delicious Sunday dinners, her willingness to share her wisdom and her guiding words. Wendell “Pete” France’s mother Kathleen France was a strong family woman that instilled music and Christian beliefs in her large family. Her legacy of 112 grand, great grand and great- great grandchildren will keep her memory alive.
“Sometimes one creates a dynamic impression by saying something, and sometimes one creates as significant an impression by remaining silent.” Dalai Lama ?
My “funny valentine” Carrie Anderson was Elsie’s mother and Albert Maddox’s mother-in-law. I met Carrie when Elsie and I were in the 6th grade; I immediately became Carrie’s girl. I would spend days sitting, talking and laughing with Carrie. Carrie was the mom that we could share our innocent secrets; she wouldn’t laugh but her eyes would twinkle as we talked about our first crush. She would say, “Tomorrow you won’t remember his name.”
From the day I met the dynamic Onily Carter, Del’s mother and Danny Henson’s mother in law, she embraced me like a family member. She always had a place for me at the Christmas dinner table, no matter what time I got there after spending Christmas with my family.
The “pride and joy” wreathing her glowing majestic face, as she set the massive table with roasted duck, turkey, stuffed fish, stewed tomatoes and more while watching family and friends enjoying the fruits of her labor will forever be etched in my “book of memories”. The disappointment lodged deep in my throat when I arrived at Del & Danny’s house this Christmas and Ms. Onily was not feeling well enough to attend. The disappointment lingered throughout the evening; who would caution me not to drink Danny’s potent homemade eggnog or make sure I had enough gravy for her delicious stuffing.
“Don't worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.” Robert Fulghum
Christmas 2010, Ms. Onily supervised her nieces and granddaughters in preparing Christmas dinner making sure every dish was perfect. Umm did she know that would be her “last supper?”
“Ye shall know them by their fruits.” Matthew 7:16
The distinctiveness of these four mothers is their uniqueness, unknown to each other, woven together like a quilt, raising a village before the term was popular, sharing their love, talents and skills with their children and their children’s friends. Now they are walking hand in hand in a “field of gold;” Cordie restyling the angels wings, Kathleen playing the piano for the choir, Carrie listening with that twinkle in her eye and Onily preparing a feast fix for the KING.
“I'm not a person who wants to die. I'm a person who has life and wants to live, always have.” Whitney Houston
“Here we go again” Still recovering from the death of Etta James, the shock of Don Cornelius’ suicide, and then blind-sided with Whitney Houston’s death. The irony as we watched Soul Train footage showing a young Whitney posing with Don Cornelius. We watched her rise, fall and rise again like a parent watching a child stumble, praying that they’re slightly bruised but not battered. We triumphed at her victory and despaired with her failures, praying and “waiting to exhale” knowing she would again be victorious. In the difficult days ahead, we should strive to remember her music, her soulful, powerful rendition of the National Anthem that left us “proud to be an American” breathless with emotions. Whitney, take the “hippest trip in America” knowing “I will always love you.”
“Love is an ideal thing, marriage a real thing." – Goethe
“Love and marriage.” Congratulations to Napoleon Sykes Jr. and Christy Williams on their engagement and upcoming nuptials in the windy city Chicago. Little Napoleon and Christy asked friends to send song request for the DJ to play. You know, I grabbed my James Brown playlist. Hard to believe Little Napoleon has grown and is “going to the chapel.” Napoleon Sr. & Brenda were thrilled when he asked his dad to be his best man.
It’s your birthday make some noise! The Honorable Paula Johnson Branch, Mert Evans, Vanessa Cassidy, Henry Peele, Jonae’ Degross, all celebrating their birthday February 22; Michele Brown, Ed “Caddy” Oliver, Colleen Jackson, Gwen Pinder, Doreyce Keston-Greene, Victor Clark, Paul Gardner, Eileen Hubbard and Yolonda Allen, A special birthday wish to Jai Matthews and Terrence “Mickey” Shields birthday every four years.
“With realization of one's own potential and self-confidence in one's ability, one can build a better world.” Dalai Lama
After a winning season, it’s hard to imagine a Sunday without football. It is always great when I see Ravens #55 Terrell Suggs at my favorite Baltimore County restaurant dining and mingling in the aftermath of a great year. Terrell I wanted your fans to know how much you appreciate them. I kept my word and didn’t mention the restaurant so you won’t by deluged with appreciative fans.
“As always in parting I wish you love peace and soul.” Don Cornelius