Surely!

We all remember the fable of The Tortoise and the Hare which taught that slow and steady wins the race. It truly applies to the game of life. As people race to the proverbial top, they often trample over others like an unbridled herd of cattle. They are desperadoes who will lie, cheat, steal or slander the names of those who they perceive as in their way as they make a mad dash towards their temporary thrones. 

Shakespeare wrote tragedies like Macbeth and many others as he tried to warn the attentive ones that ‘easy come, easy go. But, as Sonny and Cher sang, “The Beat Goes On.” Folks continue to put their fragile egos ahead of sound thinking or making good choices.

The fruit of one’s labor may appear slowly and take time quite like any maturation process; but it is sure and everlasting. The Bible says, “Ye shall know them by their fruits.” {Matthew 7:16) Thus, wiser ones take cover and shield themselves when they hear the hoofs of the ensuing stampede. Or they may pull their turtle heads inside of their protective shells and wait for the storm to pass over. For yes, cooler heads do prevail, as they whisper, “Slow and steady win the race,” as their personal mantras.

When the fickle and feckless are no longer walking around in a puffed-up fashion and the coast is clear, those patient, silent ones can quietly emerge from their hidden spaces. They can let out a big sigh of relief and breathe and say, “Ah!! They have stayed the course and remained steadfast and unmovable. Then, they can surely amble their way over to their predestined spots, sit and just be! 

Lynn M.  
August 6, 2022 

Haute Couture!

In the movie, Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris, Mrs. Harris is a cleaning woman in 1957 London. She is a widow and in living in sparse conditions and one day she sees a designer dress in one of her client’s closets and falls in love with it. Each day, she admires its beauty and wants one for herself. She starts thinking of ways that she could go to Paris to visit one of the fashion houses.

She and a friend go to the dog races and she bets all of her money on a greyhound called Haute Couture.  He stops mid-race and she is devastated. But then a series of events heave good fortune her way. She receives a surprise military pension back pay from her late husband, the man from the betting booth at the dog race returns her lost money and she receives a reward for returning an expensive piece of jewelry that she found on the street.

She decides to book a flight to Paris and has an abundance of cash on hand. Once there, she finds her way to the House of Christian Dion with the help of some local guys from the station. Of course, she doesn’t fit in with the high-end fashion clientele, but once they discover that she has cash, they are willing to work with her. And, a debonair gentleman asks her to be his guest at the fashion show when he sees that she is being ostracized by the others.

The fashions are breathtakingly beautiful and when she sees the dress she wants, a well-known snob sitting next to her bids on the dress first. She is forced to make another choice, but soon discovers that they make each dress for the buyer. Thus, she needs to stay in Paris for at least another week.

Things work out because one of the young workers has an extra bedroom and she is even allowed to wear his sister’s clothes. She enjoys Paris, is wined and dined and even hits a few hot spots. There are a lot of twists and turns but she makes friends and even encourages the workers to voice their concerns to Mr. Dior. She ultimately leaves with her tailored gown in tow.

Watching this movie reminded me of my own roots with fabric. With two designer sisters who could make coats and wedding gowns without a pattern, many memories flourished as I watched Mrs. Harris tour the fashion house. The cutters, the button sewers, the fitters all made me remember the hours that I painstakingly waited as a child as my mother slowly turned the pages in the huge pattern books at the fabric stores. I was so bored, but quite like osmosis, my first piece of furniture was a Singer sewing machine in a cabinet when I moved into my first apartment.

This movie was a great escape and I am happy that I caught it before it left the big screen. As the credits rolled at the end, they creatively put fashion designs on both sides of the screen. They changed every few seconds quite like a display window. Mrs. Harris ultimately discovered that there is no place like home where she returned to find even greater joy.

In the African American culture, when one visits the Mother Land (Africa), the best gift upon return for a true friend is a piece of fabric. Once that fabric is unrolled, there are so many possibilities.  Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris was another golden nugget in my 2022 summer adventures!

Lynn M.
July 30, 2022

Wooden Pieces!

The other day, I ventured into the lumber department of Home Depot. I had a creative project in mind. Others watched as I browsed the area with a level of ease because there were no other women visible at that time. 

As I found what I was looking for, a memory resurfaced from my past childhood. In the mid-50’s, our family lived at 12 East Fay in Memphis, Tennessee. There were six of us with four girls and of course our two parents. We had a small house at the end of the street and next door? There was a lumber yard. 

So, all those sawmill smells and memories rolled forth at the same time as I looked at wooden planks in the store. We not only lived next door to the lumber yard entry, but we took it one step further as children. We used to walk through the lumber yard to go to Southgate Mall, mostly to probably buy candy. Back then, we could choose the candy of our choice, and have it weighed and put in a little, small bags.  

Interestingly, each of us had different tastes and we left happy after leaving the store, Katz. The store’s logo was a sign of a huge cat that hung high outside. There were several other shops in the mall including a Pic Pac or Kroger grocery store. There were sometimes small carnivals for children with rides held there and stationed in the mall’s parking lot. 

Somehow, we never got lost when we used the lumber yard as a shortcut. I suspect that our father showed us the way and depended on my oldest sister, Cheryl, to lead us through safely. When we emerged from the winding path through the lumber yard, it was like re-entering civilization whether we were going to the mall or returning home. 

Thus, wood has and still plays a special role in my life. My father had an on-going workshop where he built things such as cabinets or tables. We sometimes had to sit on one side of the plank as he sawed and worked on getting his specifications down to perfection. Later in my life, I even purchased an unfinished roll-top desk and had a good time sanding it and adding shellac to give it the finishing touches. Thankfully, I had a pair of helping hands to get the job done. 

So, as an adult, I gleefully embrace the daintiness of choosing choice fabrics for house decorations like my mother or maintaining a skeleton tool case like my father. There must be a screwdriver, a hammer, a wrench, some nails and screws and yes, a paintbrush and some shellac on hand at the home front. It takes all the particles and pieces of our lives to make a composite whole. 

 Every snippet of life is a story, and we all have trillions of life events that emerge as we make daily choices. Sometimes, we must get still to remember why we like what we like and why certain things are easy for us. Who would have thought that down in Dixie where Cotton Was King, there would be a lumber yard that made a huge impact on this appreciator of wood? 

Lynn M. 
July 23, 2022 

Vegas: Life Off the Strip

Most people know Las Vegas for its night life and shows on the strip, but believe it or not, many live there who go about everyday life and rarely go on the famous strip. I spent four months there with my older sister in the summer of 1997. I only saw Vegas at night one time when another sister came and while with her, I ventured to gamble only two dollars in the slot machine as I watched she and her friend play the gambit. 

But there is another entire side that most visitors do not see or even think about while in the city of lights and fun. After arriving there, I found a temp agency called Apple One Employment Services. I like to have my own money and thus my own independence. So, I was sent on a host of jobs such as working at a toy company sorting small items, answering phones at a real estate company, helping at a printing company, as a receptionist at Wells Fargo Bank and my longest job was filing medical folders at Sunrise Hospital, where I met a woman from Chicago, who later became my lifeline. 

The biggest challenge for me was getting to the job locations. First, it was hot. Second, the buses ran once an hour so if I missed it, ‘Oh well!” My sister helped me figure out the bus schedules and I kept one handy. Her apartment was around Spring Mountain and Wynn which did have a swim pool. I often walked to a nearby Chinese grocery store to get items, or I went a little further to buy fresh bread at a Hostess Bread place. 

People were kind and helpful as I traveled in the hot desert. It always felt foreign to me, as a Midwesterner, used to flat land as I looked at the nearby mountains. Two thoroughfares which helped me regain my bearings were both Rainbow Boulevard and Paradise Road. Once, I reached one of those, I could navigate my way back home. 

Las Vegas is a piece of Americana that holds different memories for each person. Some see it as a big playground where they frolic, drive fancy cars and live it up as in Elvis’ song Viva Las Vegas. I remember seeing Natalie Cole’s name every day on one the marquees either at The Flamingo or Ceasar’s Palace. I know that it sat on a corner close to Bally’s. Once I ventured into the shops around Bally’s and I saw a white suede pant suit. It was beautiful and it made me want to cry because I couldn’t take it home! That boutique had some memorable pieces, and some had that Native American influence. Also, there was a lot of turquoise jewelry there and I am certain that came from that entire Southwestern region. 

To keep myself anchored, I listened to Chuck Swindoll’s radio broadcasts and attended a church every Sunday which was a division of Ernest Holmes’ Church of the Religious Science. It was close to the University of Las Vegas (UNLV) campus which I did explore in detail one day. When I was feeling overly anxious one time, the minister, Dr. Carlo, merely said to me, “God is still creating.” I thought that he was being quite cavalier, but now, all these years later, I see that he was right. 

While visiting the friend that I had met on the job from Chicago, I was sitting in her living room, and she descended the stairs giving me the news about Princess Diana. It’s one of those things that you always remember exactly where you were when you received the news. Time froze for a few moments. She was a Buddhist and at her invitation, we both kneeled before her Buddhist altar, held beads and chanted for a period, until we felt calmer. 

At the end of the summer, I flew back to Chicago to the Hyde Park area to rejoin my mother. I put Vegas in my rear-view mirror, went on to work in the Loop, catching buses and carrying on.  I was happy to once again be on flat Midwestern soil. Yet, I must say, “Viva Las Vegas made me all the wiser! 

Lynn M. 
July 15, 2022 

Release!

When tragedy strikes, we should become still and let the silence permeate our beings. We should speak less and listen more for instructions from on High. Women, especially, have been known down through history to wail or scream when the unthinkable happens in their lives. We have all heard of the wailing walls.

 And then, we hear of men who moan in their sleeps as their souls look for some sense of release from pain. They have too often had to display a stiff upper lip and give off the appearance that they are strong and not hurting.

We all process anguish, feelings of helplessness, shock and disbelief in different ways when we see our children being killed in front of our eyes. We feel anger, rage and we need to know what to do with these harsh emotions.

So, it is okay to cry. It is okay to be angry.  It is okay to scream and yes, it is okay to even wail.  In Edwidge Danticat’s book, Breath, Eyes, Memory, Sophie, the main character, screamed and cried after losing her mother. When the tears subsided, her grandmother asked, in essence, “Are you now free?” This was a telling lesson in the grief process.

In the South, when someone died, the elders became very quiet. No televisions. No radio. Few, if any words. Though the thoughts were plenteous, the spoken words were minimal. The children knew to be quiet or to be absent and away from the sorrowful adults.

So, after being wet with tears and soaked in perspiration and after witnessing lives being shattered like shards glass, we must pause. Quite like emerging from a long shower, we dry off and stand up. We move forward with a calm resolve, as we are more mindful and recall how our ancestors handled their grief. We walk on at a mourner’s pace, but being in the present moment, we can least offer the next needed hug.

Lynn M.
July  8, 2022

Elvis: A Sidebar

The year was 1956. My mother, me and my three sisters, had recently arrived in Memphis. We came down from Detroit where we four were born. She was leaving my father, or so she thought but as in Little Bo Peep, he showed up soon, wagging his tail behind him. 

We were thrust into a segregated town where blacks lived on one side and whites on the other. The one thing that we had in common? Elvis Presley reigned supreme. We all rocked to his You Ain’t Nothing but A Hound Dog or Get Off of my Blue Suede Shoes. Women of both colors swooned when he sang Are You Lonesome Tonight? Love Me Tender or Falling in Love with You. Or many cried with him as he sang Crying in the Chapel, to name a few. 

On our side of town, we soon learned to enjoy events such as The Cotton Carnival or going to colored theatres like The Old Daisy or The New Daisy. We even advanced to the integrated show called The Malco (now The Orpheum). Children of color climbed the fire escape in the rear, entered the back and sat in the balcony. Whites sat on the lower level and kids being kids, sometimes dropped popcorn on their heads from up above. There, I remember seeing the movies Tamango and The Defiant Ones with Sidney Poitier and Tony Curtis.

We had the radio stations, WLKO and WDIA with deejay Rufus Thomas. His daughter, Carla Thomas, had her one hit, Gee Whiz! But despite that, it was a well-known fact that Elvis was the one who put Memphis on the map in the mid-50’s. It was like the painting on the wall. It is there as a huge backdrop. We knew he had a mansion on the then, Bellevue, (later renamed Presley Boulevard) but we did not see it from our side of town.  

Then, fast forward. We left Memphis in 1963 and moved on to Chicago. I did not think of Elvis that much anymore though I always liked his slower songs. His gospels, which few people know, are quite spirited as well. And, then as fate would dictate, I returned to the South in 1977. When he passed in August of 1977, I was in Mississippi, his birth state, attending grad school. It was a stunner and one of those events where you remember where you were when you received the news. 

But was it over? Not really. I returned to Memphis in 1980 and stayed for another 10 years as an adult. Again, though he was no longer with us on this earthly plane, his spirit remained and remains. Every August, around his death date, the radios played his music for days. If I remember correctly, Colonel Parker was still around and wielding his power.  

Then, I got a job as a bookseller at Waldenbooks in the early 80’s. It was in Southland Mall, and I had to drive by Graceland every day. There were always world tourists on both sides of the highway, and I just knew to slow down until I passed that crowded location. I could easily see the Lisa Marie, his airplane, parked across the street from the white-gated Graceland

And, yes, though Memphis was much less segregated, going to Graceland was just not a black thing, for many reasons. Yet, Elvis impacted us all in so many ways. I think about some of the clothes my Memphis cousins have worn, which reflect Elvis. His hair styles, his choice of clothing, his highly ornate belts and so much of him are still so Memphis, though some may not admit it. 

In the 80’s, the famous Beale Street was still and is still a Memphis hot spot. We often left work at a nearby college to order the fried chitterlings. Or on weekends, we went down to Blues Alley or W.C. Handy Park. All those places are still just as crowded today as it was portrayed in the new Elvis movie, which inspired this writing. 

There are so many stories for those who grew up there in the shadow of Elvis’ greatness. I still watch his movies when they come on and I certainly enjoy his music whenever I hear it being played. I lot of people say he staged his death to get out of the abusive concert bookings. For years in the early 80’s, there were multiple Elvis sightings. Often, people would say they saw him up around the Michigan area. This was a regular conversation in Memphis back then, but that is the stuff of legends. They are always surrounded by rumors, myths, suppositions and wonderings.  

I was the last one to leave the theatre when I went to see the new Elvis movie the other day. I like to read the credits for lots of reasons. But at the end, they showed the real Elvis, though both Austin Butler (Elvis) and Tom Hanks (Colonel Parker) were quite superb. When Elvis sang his last song with his eyes wide open, I was mesmerized. I lingered so long because it was like saying goodbye all over again. Rest in peace EP. 

Lynn M.
July 1, 2022

Buckhead Days

I returned to Atlanta in August of 1979, after going back to Chicago in April when my father passed. During those four months in Chicago, I assisted my mother in cleaning out his with personal effects and made money by subbing at a school and working as a payroll supervisor at my old summer job at the YMCA. I was determined to return to Atlanta because I felt that we had some unfinished business.

My friend that lived across the lake from me in College Park was marrying her Prince Charming and heading to the Pacific Northwest. While at the wedding, I was able to sublet an apartment located in Buckhead, from one of her friends. I moved into the one-bedroom which was right off of Peachtree Street.  Actually, there are several Peachtrees in Atlanta such as roads, streets, circles, avenues, etc to truly confuse any driver new to the area.

I was off the main one at 25th Street not far from where I-75 and I-85 come together. The partying days of Cedarwoods were long over as life had truly taken on a more serious tone. I slowed down and thought things through more carefully.  I turned off the disco songs and evolved into enjoying smooth jazz radio stations. I mellowed a bit and took life more easily.

I again worked as a temp at my old reliable TempForce Agency that I had used in the past.  I was working at an insurance company that I sometimes walked to when either gas was low or if I just wanted to have a meditative walk. And, one day I was getting on the elevator at work and poof, there stood Charlotte. She was one of my sister’s best childhood friends from Memphis.

Our mouths fell open and yes, she was my proverbial ‘ram in the bush.”  She worked in the building too and had a nice, steady job with the Department of Agriculture. From that point on, we bonded, hung out together and supported each other during my second act in Atlanta. She even lived about five minutes away and eventually moved on up to Sandy Springs; but we remained close during my stay in Atlanta.

Life was relatively calm and here are a few highlights from living on the north end of town. I took a Gregg Shorthand class at Georgia Tech to stay busy. I found the wonderful Oxford Bookstore where the books of the Florence Scovel Shinn fell into my lap.  Her, The Game of Life and How to Play It was my study guide, along with her other writings.

I enjoyed driving up to Lenox Square where I once found some really soft leather walking shoes.  Across the street at Phipps Plaza, which was more high-end, I splurged and bought some green suede open-toe low heels. They were the bomb, so to speak, and I kept them for years!

Around November of that same year, I was led to a temp agency called Temporary Talent. They were looking for proofreaders and I was an English major, so I applied.  I was hired and to my astonishment, I was a proofreader for the Georgia Legislative Counsel. I held on to the name tag for years. There, I met Alisha from Cleveland and Bea from Rochester, New York.  We were all Northern women of color and up to that point, they had not been able to keep any proofreaders.

The hours may have been a factor because we reported at 8 or 9 in the morning at the gold-domed Georgia Capitol Building and did not leave until 11 pm or even midnight. We played Scrabble until legislation was over and then the typed bills came over for us to proof starting around 5 pm in the evening. Alisha and I were single with no kids and Bea’s kids were older and her husband was very supportive. Thus, we made it to the finish line of the 1980 Session in June. That experience alone could easily be a novella!

Around that time the political scene became troubling. because of the Atlanta Child Murders. It was a national story and an old friend from my journalism job contacted me to say that James Baldwin was coming to Atlanta. His arrival from France was in the headlines, but she gave me a heads-up and we rushed out to Emory University to at least get a glimpse of him.

When we arrived, there were only about 15 to 20 of us in a small lounge. He sat on a couch with large twinkling eyes. He was diminutive, yet powerful. We sat at his feet on the carpet just staring up at him as if he was a mini god. I don’t remember him saying anything, but I will never forget being in his presence. I did get his autograph which I held onto for years but lost during my many moves.

His publicist said that he rarely went to the American South because seeing the condition of his people made him ill for a period of time upon his return to France. But, he had been commissioned to write an article on the topic and I believe it was later published in The Esquire Magazine. I am honored to have seen him before his passing in 1987, some seven years later.

The proofreading job ended and I was able to get a position with Upward Bound in Ohio through Twiggy, another writer-friend. It was time to move on so I put my things in storage, went to my friend Marty’s house and we partied at a club like it was 1999 (Prince) with her Bahamian friends. Me and Atlanta ended on a good note and I felt that I had left my mark and it definitely left its mark on me!

Lynn M.
June 25, 2022

College Park, GA

We had just marched across the stage to get our master’s degrees from Jackson State University. It was the summer of 1978, and I was moving to Atlanta, Georgia and my friend helped me drive there. We had left a bland, serious academic setting, but when we arrived in Hot ‘Lanta, we stepped onto a Live Stage! Things were popping! 

Maynard Jackson was the first black mayor of Atlanta, then known as the Black Mecca. Blacks from all over the country converged there to hopefully get at least a slithering of the American pie. Fortunately, I had a network of former Chicago teachers who had already moved there, and I stayed with one for a couple of weeks until I could get my bearings. 

We took my friend to the airport to say a painstaking goodbye, but my tears soon dried. There was too much to do to stay sad for long. As fate would have it, my cousin, his wife and their three young daughters had also moved there from Memphis and lived close by. His wife used her connections to help me get my own apartment in Cedarwoods which was in College Park, a southern subdivision of Atlanta. 

It was a beauty and a gift from the gods to me for having passed the last test. The complex was a wooden-like structure, and I was upstairs. I had a large balcony which overlooked a small lake. It had ducks and I soon discovered that their leader’s name was Charlie. If we called him, the others obeyed him, and followed his moves. My furniture soon arrived and with it came a host of visitors. Everybody wanted to come to Atlanta! It was like running a hotel as many came from Chicago, Memphis and Jackson. 

My sister and her two children came down from Chicago and stayed a month. Cedarwoods had a huge children’s pool and a large adult pool. When I came home each day from my harrowing job as the boss lady at a journalism program, they hugged me, still wet from being in the children’s pool all day. Cousins came, friends came, and my mother came. The biggest challenge was keeping toilet tissue for my continual guests. 

When my mother came, I went out with co-workers and danced in her glass-like slippers until my feet were swollen. I was so happy that she was there, and I knew that she also needed a break from the Chicago scene. I found friends and I attracted foes, as life goes. I met people from all over the United States who shared their stories.

The apartment complexes had both unique names and characteristics. One friend, also a former Chicago teacher, lived across the lake in Nu Dimensions. My cousins lived in Candlewood and another teacher-friend lived in Windjammer. Most had beautiful, stretched pools which were sorely needed in the humid heat and as stated earlier, mine had two! 

I could write a novella about that summer, but here is an overview. We lived close to the airport and often teased that we could wave at the passengers as they landed. Here are some things that brought us joy. My little cousins could beg to go to Piedmont Park in a such a way that melted our hearts, and we often found a way to get them there. It is a huge, beautiful park up in central Atlanta. We partied hardy at nightspots such as Cisco’s or Mr. V’s. We preferred Cisco’s and we danced to tunes like Shame by Evelyn Champayne King, Boogie Oogie, Oogie by Taste of Honey or Bustin’ Loose by Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers, to name a few. 

We shopped at Greenbriar Mall and often scrambled to find money to have breakfast at McDonald’s off Camp Creek Parkway. It was like eating on the French Riviera to us because money was quite scarce.  We were used to Chicago’s abundance but being broke in Georgia heightened my spirituality. We had to lean on a Higher Power to simply cope and we often made it to one of three Sunday services at Hillside Chapel to help us remain steadfast.

We also searched for the illusive celebrities who lived nearby. We looked for the singer Peabo Bryson who supposedly lived in Cedarwoods. We looked for the famed writer Toni Cade Bambara and we drove quite a distance to try to see Yolanda King (MLK’s daughter) at an acting workshop. All were in vain, but I did see Toni Cade Bambara years later in another city.

Our quests kept us on the move because in Atlanta, one can easily drive for over an hour to get from Point A to Point B. That summer is forever etched and my friend who lived across the lake is still in my life. We often relive those times in Hot ‘Lanta during the summer of 1978. Push play and enjoy the music from back in the day!

Lynn M.
June 18, 2022

Bookmobiles!

“Nothing is pleasanter than exploring a library.” Walter Savage Landor

The other day, I saw a small bookmobile parked outside a nearby middle school. The library staff had set up a table displaying books on the school lawn. Middle schoolers hungrily gathered around as they thirsted for knowledge and new books.

I paused as I walked by and smiled because it triggered precious memories from my past in Memphis. When I was about that age, we were always excited when the bookmobile rolled into our neighborhood. We were very quiet and respectful as we anxiously waited for our turn to explore the shelves and check out the latest books. 

The bookmobiles back then were very large and they could accommodate several people at a time. Somehow, the ding of the check-out machine always intrigued me and as fate would have it, I later became both a children’s and young adult librarian.

So, yes, whenever I see a bookmobile either parked in the library parking lot or certainly in action while being parked outside of a school, my heart still skips a beat.  I am happy to know that some library districts still have the will and wealth to include bookmobiles in their host of library services.

Bookmobiles include those who possibly cannot go to a physical library for multiple reasons. They bring books to the community whether they are children, teens or seniors. and they are highly valued as they minister to many souls When they pull up and park, they still bring smiles to those patrons who have been patiently waiting for its timely arrival!

Bless the bookmobiles in 2022!

Lynn M.
June 12, 2022

Greyhound!

A couple of weeks ago, I was channel surfing, and I came across the movie, A Trip to Bountiful starring the accomplished Cicely Tyson. She made the movie in 2014 at the age of 88 and she played a woman who escapes her relatives and takes a Greyhound bus back to her hometown of Bountiful, Texas. She felt that she had to go back to her roots so that she could begin to accept her current life while living in the home of her adult son (Blair Underwood) and his not-too-kind wife. (Vanessa Williams)

The movie touched me on so many levels and I have now seen it over and over, whenever Grio TV replays this highly artistic piece. Cicely Tyson (Mrs. Watts) smiles and feels her freedom as she hangs her head out of the bus window after sneaking away from her son and his wife. She meets a young married woman (Keke Palmer) and they talk about their lives, and air out their personal concerns. 

It made me think of the many Greyhound bus trips I took to see my older sister in Evansville, Indiana. During the 80’s, I traveled there from Memphis to also air out my concerns. It is my father’s hometown and that is where he always went to get away from it all. Whenever I called her long after his passing, she simply said, “Come and unravel your thoughts.” We called her Tiny and sometimes, she had to get up at 2:30 in the morning to pick me up at the bus station. That is the way it works when going to those small towns in the wee hours of the morning, as the movie also highlighted. 

Those trips allowed me to think, see middle America and to meet several interesting and memorable people, just like Cicely Tyson met Keke Palmer. I often had funny stories to share with Tiny once I arrived at her home. Once, a woman was telling the bus driver how she had been trying to help her sister and how her sister did not appreciate her efforts. He said emphatically, “Then, go home!” She said that she was on her way home. I never forgot that short but powerful lesson. Know when to leave, period. 

Another time, I was going to see Tiny but this time, it was in the 90’s and I was leaving from the south suburbs of Chicago. A woman was loud and out of control before the bus even left the station. The driver walked back towards her, and she shouted, “Don’t start in on me.” We were all very quiet and the next thing we knew, we saw her and her traveling companion deboarding the bus. Another passenger turned and said, “He could not drive with all that going on.” We all nodded in agreement, as the then serene bus pulled out towards the highway. 

I truly related to Cicely Tyson’s sense of freedom as she took flight from her troubles though she knew that it was only for a short period of time. During that time, she was able to breathe and flap her wings for a few moments until she could remember who she really was and what her life had been up to that point. Those Greyhound bus trips allowed me to also breathe, think and listen to multiple stories from other travelers.  

I had highly skilled drivers who treated their buses like ponies on a racetrack; I had talkative drivers and quiet drivers and even a couple of sick drivers who had us all wondering if we would make it. Somehow, we always did make it to our destinations. The Hound (as we affectionately call Greyhound) can still get people to locations that airplanes and trains do not go. Trailways, its competitor, is now extinct and fell by the wayside, but Greyhound remains. It truly is one of small-town America’s national treasures! 

Lynn M.
June 4, 2022