Beeing on Inauguration Day
Beeing on Inauguration Day
(Mr. Bob Jones pictured above at the Senior Center)
7:30am – Waking in The ‘Port
“ Where am I going to be when Obama becomes president today? “, I asked the Lord and myself on this inauguration morning. My choices were abundant; hanging with Daddy or sister; at home with my daughter on the couch; at the Central Square Library (where my future began) or St. Paul’s Christian Life Center. Hmmm…but after remembering how I connected with my elders this past Saturday at Margaret Fuller House’s Area 4 Senior Tea, a resounding DING uttered on my heart and the decision was made: girl go check out your people at the Cambridge Senior Center in Central Square.
10:40 a.m. –Walking from the Coast
A rumbling excitement crept through me as I danced and hummed on the streets. (I had hoped for a parade down Mass Ave., but since that wasn’t happening I had to celebrate - even if it meant embarrassing myself) Song coursed throughout my bod when I saw my nephew Justice then black fisted my sister Tracy (Right On!). The inner smile remained while drinking coffee in the Harvest - until I looked in my “Annie Purse” and noticed that this Mama forgot her notebook…
11:04 a.m. – Walgreens, Central Square
Brought a mini notebook (black ‘cause I had to represent) Then I popped into City Hall to see the few folk watching the big screen in Sullivan Chambers where I met an employee who said about Obama “I wish him luck and send him prayers” before she dashed off to work. I got teary eyed after calling my daddy in Dorchester, then gathered my bearings and bounced across the street to be among those who had lived the struggle, and would see the future unfold this day.
11:15 a.m. – first floor, Cambridge Senior Center
An emotion filled quiet encompassed me upon entering the Milne Ballroom. More than 60 elders and their friends sat rapt facing the big screen, all eyes on Washington D.C. I sat behind 73 year-old Bob Jones a black historical writer from New York. We simultaneously smiled when CNN showed Bush’s belongings being moved out of the Whitehouse. Jones’ great grandfather was a slave in Georgia and his humble excitement about this historical day was evident as he recalled how “they shot us with the water hose, and the dog bit my feet” during the Civil Rights era. That confession reconfirmed I was in the right place, and I had to shout out to God who led me to this right moment in time.
11:39 a.m. - speaking to Lillian D. Lowe
I was tentative rolling up to my elders for a quote or three. After all this was the moment they created for us so to disturb their groove was close to blasphemous. Suddenly I caught Miss Lillian’s eye and I had to at least say “Hi”, which allowed her to admit that she was, “looking for the people of the United States to assist him (Obama) with his needs instead of criticizing him all the time” Retired nurse Jan Richards who went to the Margaret Fuller House as a child sat with her husband Bob; he gave “props” to Lyndon Johnson who pushed the Civil Rights bill, but noted that “Segregation still continues to a degree…it’s a lot more closeted”
11:43 a.m. – “Obama, Obama, Obama!”
As I sat behind the ever-youthful Nancy Ryan, the crowd in Washington D.C. chanted Barack’s last name, and a smile burst forth as “my Man” came out onto his presidential platform. Ryan said she came to the Senior Center because, “It’s a day to be in the community with people, and to hope for the best”. Joy Yeager, from Detroit “marched with M.L.K.” and the feisty 70 year’s-young said her father threatened not to pay her way through college – but she headed off to march anyway. When Rick Warren prayed, the entire U.S. of A.’s head bowed; as the Queen of soul Aretha Franklin soul shouted “My country Tis of Thee” tears fell in my heart and on the faces of those surrounding me. My mind said, “Okay God we are almost there”.
12:02 p.m. Glitches D.C., then smiles abundant
By this time Barack Obama was officially President, but musicians had to finish blowing and strumming their instruments (laa Dee Dumb) on the presidential stage. I held back from saying, “Dag a brother can’t get a break” while the nation and the world sat on edge waiting to see Barack’s hand on the bible, to see him utter the words that would make him the 44th President of the United Sates. ‘Yay, yay, woo hoo!” hollered so many of us who haven’t even breathed since November 5th. I gave a hearty hug to Mr. Jones, a ‘Hey now!’ to Mr. Harris, and Sister Montgomery then sped out the door to CCTV. I had to speed because although I’m a rather smooth sister, I fell apart when Rev. Dr. Joseph E. Lowry started President Obama’s benediction off with “God of our weary years, God of our silent tears…” - the Black National Anthem. Now THAT THERE hit me heartily because everyday of my middle school life in Roxbury, MA I recited that anthem. And you know what - I just didn’t know how much it would mean until today
2:57 p.m. – blogging @ CCTV
For me part of the dream has been fulfilled. You see, the image of the Presidential family is from whence I came – light-skinned Daddy, chocolate Mommy, and two caramel little girls in tow. That inspires me to begin life anew; to make changes; to stop “beeing” as trifling, as tardy, as Toni as I used to be. Newness, reformation, and national pride sings out to me from D.C. I was reminded to follow my passion of poetry when Elizabeth Alexander read “Praise Song for the Day”, sharing stage with our new President. And speaking of praise – folks we must stay praying! Obama said during his acceptance speech it’s time to dust off our boots and, “Begin again the work of remaking America.” The new “Prez” said ‘The ground has shifted beneath” the feet of critics – and I say haters will continue to play their games so prayer is crucial. We’ve gots to be ready when “the stuff “comes down - like a reporter with her pen and paper ready for the ‘illest quote.