Saturday, July 25, 2009

The day has come when the Charbonnet -- from across the ages will reach out and touch for the first time in 300 years of American history ... .

Suddenly, on an ordinary day less than a week ago, my cell phone rang and a voice at the other end of the line asked if it would be convenient to talk. His voice was vaguely familiar, and my heart raced as if somehow I knew the next few minutes would be like no others. It was Paul. I was sitting at my desk at the office working on confirmations for next week's bus tour and he was somewhere in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and the "Twain" is about to meet.

"Things have eased up here and Shirley and I have reservations to arrive in San Francisco for our visit on Tuesday. We have a suitcase filled with family historic items to share and can't wait to see you."

After several centuries of separation, we are slowly moving toward reunification of our black and white families -- and the excitement is almost palpable! Neither of us knows how many cousins will follow our lead, or how many generations more it might take for full realization of our hopes, but it matters not one whit. We're taking the first steps with eyes wide open and arms outstretched!

What an amazing time to be alive ... would that our fathers and theirs could have seen this day!

If you notice a slight shift in the pull of gravity on Wednesday morning at around 9 o'clock, it won't be an earth tremor or an errant comet striking the planet. It will be the moment when we meet for the first time to begin the long march toward a new future as one great Southern American family no longer apart. It is my hope that we will -- from this day forward -- be unified on the same side of the racial divide facing up to racism, together, by the simple act of an embrace that will be as significant to the two of us as the electrifying touch of fingertips between God and Adam on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel!

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