There's been a lot of holidays in the past week. Lunar New Year, Galentine's Day, Valentine's Day President's Day, Mardi Gras, Ash Wednesday; all bundled within the shortest month of the year. And yet, as I watch the snow, now black with dirt and almost completely melted, I find myself thinking of the plans I made in the past few months or years; wondering how much they'll change in the future. The Best Day is just as much about introspection as it is about sharing stories. Today's stories feature older buds thinking about their lives and the struggles they face, and how it will inform their future.
Letter to Myself
You have at this point in your existence attained a state of peacefulness, something that has alluded you throughout the decades of your hectic journey across the corridors of life. For years your spirit was in the clutch of fear, uncertainty, and self-doubt. The trials and errors that you have encountered during your life’s journey have enabled you to understand the law of cause and effect. That law prompted you to armor yourself with a thick coat of perseverance. You began to attain goals that you had at one time felt unreachable.
You did not receive your PhD and become a professor at a Historical Black University or a professional basketball player or a renowned author. However, you did receive a bachelor’s degree in Education and became a teacher in the Philadelphia public school system. You played in high level basketball leagues.
In addition to having been published in newspapers and anthologies you were the author of a chapbook that was published by a publishing company.
You are particularly proud of your five children and 7 grandchildren. They have embraced scholarship, became model citizens, and have careers in their professions. You have learned to grow old gracefully but there are some societal problems that aggravate you. Systematic racism, police brutality, lack of affordable healthcare and climate change.
You like most African Americans have been experiencing segregation in places of employment, educational institutions, and housing. You have been for no apparent reason repeatedly stopped by the police. You have experienced policemen pulling their weapons on you on 5 occasions. The experiences you have had as a juvenile probation officer and parole agent allowed you to work closely with the police departments in various court systems. They in your opinion do not recognize the rights of brown and black people.
You cannot understand how America, with its wealth, research institutions and medical facilities have not been able to ensure that each American would have a form of health insurance. You also do not understand why America leads the world in Coronavirus deaths.
Having lived in Pennsylvania, the Pocono Mountains, the West Virginia Blue Ridge Mountains, rural South Carolina, and a block away from the ocean in Ocean City, Maryland you have learned to enjoy and respect the gifts from nature. It saddens you to see the areas where nature once thrived become infested with hastily built homes with gentrification mobs and shopping centers.
Likewise, you are concerned with the Nation’s fragile infrastructure. You cannot understand why those in power don’t understand that global warming, which is being perpetuated by their greed, will eventually lead to a world to uninterrupted famine, earthquakes, volcanoes, eruptions, floods etc.
There is much more that I would like to write to you about in this letter. I hope that the words contained within this letter will invoke memories and give food to your body as it continues on your life journey as an Elder. In closing I beseech you to continue to fight the good fight, give no quarters to those that do not respect humanity.
I Still Give Thanks For Life
I’m just thanking God. This is a new decade to this century, praise God. And thank God that we are all able to participate and having our right and sober minds that we can all think and feel and act and move about and that’s a blessing within itself. Even though some people have different kinds of ailments, especially those of older years that may be experiencing some things, but nevertheless, I still give thanks for life. I’m grateful to be in the year 2021.
So I just thank all of you and that this year will be a much better year even because of the confusion and chaos and all kinds of things that’s going on that’s so reprehensible, and I say “Oh my god.” And this country being a country that’s been kind of the one that’s been the leader around all the globe there of nations because so many countries mimic and follow our country and things and the traditions that we have. But to see what happened, what’s been happening, not only yesterday, but what’s been happening over these years, much better is expected. People need to be able to have differences without having to argue and fight and go to an even lower degree in order to hurt or take somebody’s life, to prove or say that they’re right. We all have some things that we need to think about and try to do better in our actions. This nation, we need prayer. If we believe in God, we need to pray and ask God to help us so that we can come to an amicable, you know, decision. Things will get better. We need help. Everybody needs help.
Curated by Caitlin Cieri