Tools To Build A Dream: King’s speech

Let the current lift your heart and send it soaring
Write the timeless message clear across the sky
So that all of us can read it and remember when we need it
That a dream conceived in truth can never die

Black Butterfly, by Deniece Williams (YouTube)

Man, I loved that song the first time I heard it. Reminds me of my recently written about first trip to the beach, as that’s the first time I remember hearing it. I’m sure I had before, as my sisters had and wore out a Deniece Williams cassette, (you know those blocky things with spools of tape that you had to flip sides in order to continue hearing?) But I think we had little else to listen to on the radio during that trip, and so that cassette was played several more times. The song was then indelibly etched into my memory. Anyway, you’ll see its relevance to this entry in a bit.

The Second Leg (Cont)

The train rattled first westward, into the small town of Belmont in Gaston County, then made stops in Gastonia and Kings Mountain NC, Greenville, Spartanburg and Clemson SC, and a town called Taquoa or some such then Gainesville Ga before arriving. There may have been more, but if so I missed those in what little sleep I managed. I found that if I turned my body just so and pressed my head against the seat, I could drift off for minutes at a time. I’d set my timer for two hours, because I didn’t want to take a chance on missing Atlanta if one could remain onboard past that point. I don’t think we could have anyway, but better safe than sorry.

As we approached, the cabin stirred and began coming to life. Someone wouldn’t or couldn’t stop coughing. A baby cried. The woman next to me told me a little of her story, particularly that she would be babysitting a tribe of grandchildren, including a rambunctious 4-year-old whom she had little hope of keeping up with. I didn’t ask that woman’s name, just enjoyed the conversation.

On disembarkation, it took staff so long to come and assist us that that woman decided to walk me in herself. We took an elevator up a level, popped out, and my sister was already there waiting.

A Place With Space

Ever been somewhere that just makes you feel like the Chinese ideals of feng shui probably intend? Just a certain openness, where the walls are curved and thus the energy seems to flow effortlessly throughout. That’s the feeling I got when I walked into my sister and her partner’s apartment. Or maybe it had to do with being tired and slightly loopy after such a long and bumpy ride, but whatever. They currently reside about 20 minutes outside of Atlanta proper, in a town called Duluth. Man, I don’t think any other US city has as many parts to it as Atlanta does.

Anyhow, I discovered that my eldest sister’s twin, along with her partner, were also there. Party time! Dogs came to say hi, as I sat on their comfortable sectional and tried to keep my head from bouncing up and down too many times. It was about 9 AM, but after a delicious breakfast of bacon, eggs, and grits, I finally gave over to an hour or so of sleep on stationary ground. It felt great.

We passed time catching some of the early football games, especially watching Georgia Tech, the local public university, smack Waford, a private school in South Carolina, around. Then we wanted to find a little something to get into.

Off to See King

Pic of my sisters and I standing near the MLK fountain

We decided to visit the Martin Luther King Center, to which I had been before but always seem to learn something new when I come. The most interesting part was going down into the fellowship hall at the old Ebenezer Baptist Church, where we listened to an individual first give a bit of a history lesson. I can’t recall all of what he said, but others in King’s family had also been assassinated after his death. Those were sad and turbulent times, and I’d recommend taking a look at the King Center site as well as a supposedly pretty good Wikipedia article on his life. I plan to once I finish writing this, as there is no doubt much that I don’t know. And from what I’ve been told, school kids nowadays are learning even less than we did.

“The number one question I get” that guy said “is are services still held in this building. The answer is no.” That church has been designated as a historical landmark, and services now take place in a newer facility across the street.

The speaker concludes with a near spot-on impersonation of Dr. King’s I Have A Dream speech, even capturing the right inflections and King’s tendency to almost ram sentences into each other. I hadn’t realized that we had permission to record it, or I may have. The only thing that would’ve ade it more real is audience interaction, but still it was pretty powerful to hear those words spoken where King himself had delivered countless other speeches.

Saturday Wind-down

The rest of the day was the kind of relaxation I’d come for: first in a spacious townhome on comfortable leather couches that we left as my sister said “let’s get out of here before you go to sleep!”

Back at their place, someone cooked up some delicious nachos with meat, sauce and the works, and I got my fingers all sticky. I loved every bite, though. Then we sat on the deck with a couple of beers and talked about life while enjoying the sweltering night.

And that pretty much made up Saturday. Finally inside to bed, sliding under sheets and, after listening to the Florida State Seminoles just manage to stave off an upset bid by the Oklahoma State University Cowboys, diving headlong into the first real, sweet sleep I’d really had all week.

2 Responses to Tools To Build A Dream: King’s speech

  1. Happy birthday, John!!
    We are sitting in Linda’s townhouse: Linda (who just retired last Friday), Sarah (post-doc Linda befriended), Teresa (works at the Duke eye center), and me (Helen!) No, late breaking news: Katie just got here (she works at Duke Children’s center). We want to wish you a very happy birthday day and I hope you are with friends to celebrate your day.

    • Thanks, it’s been pretty good. I didn’t see my old friends, but I made some new ones. Have heard from so many, though. Hope you all had a great day!

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