Wednesday, January 24, 2018

The first books arrived almost at the same hour that my friend, Farai Chideya popped in ... .

Farai is a noted media person, a dear person who lives in New York, and whose visits to the West Coast are far too rare.  She has a sister, Sekai, a physician on the staff of LifeLong Health Care in Berkeley, so that means a guaranteed meeting of we three on occasion.  The Chideya's are originally from Zimbabwe.  Farai's career had taken her around the world many times.  She just returned from a trip to South Africa.

Having arrived early, we stopped off at the magnificent sculpture, Remember Them, a monumental work of Mario Chiodo where Farai took the first photos of the author, Betty Reid Soskin, at the site of that great work.  The leaders memorialized there were those who had served as inspirations for me over my long and eventful life.  This is where I would launch my book, here where all of that greatness has been preserved forever in bronze by my friend, Mario.

Farai had planned that we would have dinner somewhere near the Paramount theater, and then would make our way to see W. Kamau Bell's sold-out appearance with Conductor Michael Morgan's Oakland Symphony -- and it was glorious! An evening of the symphony playing Nina Simone, Prince, Coltrane, etc., with occasional participation by a great group of jazz singers as well as the symphony chorus!  What a time it was!

Some months ago I'd received an invitation from Kamau to be on his show.  Shyness took over and I simply ignored his request -- didn't even respond.  Arsenio Hall had been experience enough for this lil ole lady, and I wasn't looking forward to a repeat. After all, surely he wouldn't know what to do with me when I turned up at his studio.  I gave myself all sorts of excuses, but in the end, simply pretended that he simply had made a mistake and had never intended ... silly, right?

Not only were there 3 tickets provided, but an opportunity to meet him in his dressing room at the  end of the performance.  He was gracious, almost little-boy-like, and I was so sorry to have not been as welcoming at his invitation months ago.  Met his proud mother, his wife, his two lovely little girls, and came home smiling into the night at a most memorable evening of great music, and an amazing experience of fellowship and joy.

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