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December 2021

I am excited to take my winter break from adjunct teaching. Daddy and I have spent time together traveling to Atlanta for Kenny Leon's True Colors Theatre reopening. Marie and Rosetta was a wonderful production and I am looking forward to the rest of the season. Sister Rosetta Tharpe's rich musical legacy was featured. Dad enjoyed himself as well. He was not familiar with Sister Rosetta's music. She was the founding mother of Rock-n-Roll and an innovator of gospel music. Our next trip was to Savannah, Georgia to the Telfair Museum. I was looking for events on the website and noticed that former Mayor Otis Johnson was giving a lecture. It looked interesting so I read the biography. Professor Johnson's first year at Savannah State College, now University was 1971 the same year my parents were freshman. My parents and maternal uncle graduated from Savannah State College. I asked my father about him and we decided to go. The lecture was entitled: FROM “N WORD” TO MR. MAYOR: EXPERIENCING THE AMERICAN DREAM, A BOOK LECTURE BY FORMER SAVANNAH MAYOR OTIS JOHNSON. He gave a rich picture of segregation in Savannah and the progress the city has made and the progress the city still needs to make. I got a signed copy of Mayor Johnson's book and he and Daddy exchanged a fist bump. While we were in Savannah we ate a meal at family favorite Cary Hilliard's where one of Mom's favorite songs played on the radio: My Favorite Things from the Sound of Music. We ended the evening with an ice cream from Leopold's.

As we are moving through grief Daddy and I are finding ways to maintain traditions my mother loved. Putting up the Christmas tree was challenging as she invested time in collecting Hallmark ornaments and their are stories behind each one. I could hear her voice while putting the ornaments on the tree. I remember shopping with her for most of the ornaments and her telling stories about an early trip to Helen, Georgia where she got her ornaments before I came along. Daddy insisted that we put up a tree this year. I insisted that we get pictures with Santa. Mom always made that special when I was little. After she had a stroke, I ran into a Santa at Kroger and had my picture taken. When I returned home and showed it to her, her face lit up. Two years later an opportunity to take a picture with a Black Santa in Macon was available and although I was grown I took one to put a smile on her face. After all, I did not have an opportunity to take a picture with a Black Santa growing up. The pandemic shut everything down last Christmas so I did not get one more picture before she passed in August. This year, I made it a point to put on an "ugly" sweater and take another picture with Black Santa. I even got Daddy in on the action. The photos were taken by DSTO Moore a native of Macon's historically Black Pleasant Hill community. This is the neighborhood were Little Richard lived. I am focusing on finding ways to remember and honor my mother this season and taking time to rest and cry when needed. I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season.



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