Happy Mother’s Day

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Merry Christmas!

Sending holiday greetings to you and yours in the True Spirit of the Season!

 

 

More Fun With The Neighbors

Happy Mother’s Day!

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Part 2: “Hitting the Ground Running!”

(cont.)

“Those must be my ladies”, I thought when I saw the small group of tired black women struggling with their luggage carts just on the other side of the glass doors at the customs gate. ‘Boy, do I know that feeling!’ After spending the better part of eight hours cooped up together with total strangers in economy on a transatlantic flight, no one emerges looking particularly pressed or smelling especially fresh. I figured it would be a minute or two before they got themselves coordinated enough to discover me in the crowd, so I put the time to good use and studied them as they interacted with their respective customs agents.

It’s always fascinating to see a group of sisters setting out on a new adventure together. Sometimes I can tell right from the beginning which ones will love it here, and which ones will hate anything that’s not exactly like it is back in their corner of the States. For some of them a trip like this is a real eye-opener. For others it’ll be like they never unpacked their mind the whole time they were here. As the first woman made her way through the automatic doors, I held up my sign a little higher and waved. ‘You’re here for the ‘Sisters on the Rhine’ tour, right?’, I called out to her. Her eyes darted around the sea of faces before locating me at the front of the crowd. An open smile lit up her face. ‘I think she and I are going to get along’, I thought intuitively as I felt myself easily returning her smile and rushed over to give Tasha a big welcoming hug.

“Hi”, I said. “I’m Katherine Moore! Welcome to Germany, and welcome to ‘Sisters on the Rhine’!”

“Hi Katherine, I’m Tasha Griffin”, she answered as she returned my friendly embrace. “I am so glad you were here when we got here. I kept having nightmares about us landing and there being no one here to meet us.”

“You shouldn’t have worried yourself about that”, I chuckled. “It’s all part of the sisters’ package.”

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Part 1: “Coming in for a Landing”

The plane landed on the runway with only the slightest bump. As though on cue, the women all let out a collective sigh of relief. With increasing intensity they joined the other passengers in clapping to congratulate the pilot on their smooth landing as the plane slowly taxied past the Düsseldorf International Airport sign .

“I don’t know what we’re clapping for” Monie whispered to her cousin, Tasha, who was sitting right next to her. “It’s his job to set this bird down safe and sound! If someone clapped after I gave them their booster shot I’d pass the heck out.”

Before Tasha could even answer, Monie looked over at Peaches in her seat across the aisle and immediately began to laugh.

“Girl, don’t tell me you were really that scared!”, she said as she suppressed her laugh to a giggle.

“I told you I don’t like to fly”, Peaches answered defensively, hastily brushing away a single tear of relief that was making it’s way down her dark cheek. “And for me take offs and landings are the worst part,” she added. An old hand at soothing the savage beast in a classroom full of nine year olds, Peaches’ eyes were still wide with anxiety and there was a faint mustache of perspiration quivering on her upper lip. Although she had pretended to sleep when everyone else did, she had actually spent most of the flight praying silently to herself to ward off visions of their plane turning into a fireball somewhere over Greenland or crashing into the lush green coast of Ireland.

“I don’t know about you, but once this baby was in the air, I didn’t notice a thing!”, Kenya piped in as she folded up her  sleep mask and stashed it in her handbag along with her iPod and headphones.

“We know, girl” Monie laughed out loud again, “you were calling hogs before we hit open water!”

Kenya picked up her pillow like she was going to throw it at Monie, but decided against it. Instead she – like everyone else – loosened her seatbelt and began collecting her things in order to disembark.

In the next few minutes the six black women gathered their belongings from both under their seats and in the storage areas above their heads. Loaded down with their carry-ons and hand bags, they made their way off the plane and headed towards passport control.

For all but one of them, it was their first trip to Europe.

All but four of them had had to get their first passport especially for this trip.

Seven of them had taken a foreign language in high school or college.

None of them had taken German.

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Happy 20-10!

“The secret to a rich life is to have more beginnings than endings.”
(David Weinbaum)

At the beginning of the New Year,
as well as the beginning of a new decade,
I wish you many inspiring and productive beginnings!


„Beginne nicht mit einem guten Vorsatz,
sondern mit einer kleinen Tat.“

Am  Anfang eines neuen Jahres –
Am Anfang eines neuen Jahrzehnts –
wünsche ich Ihnen die vielen “kleinen Taten”,
die große Ziele ermöglichen!

Love is not Concerned

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I am a big fan of Alice Walker. I make no bones about it. I felt blessed to have discovered “The Color Purple”. I remember the summer my mother and a girlfriend came to visit me in Germany for the 1st time.  Although my mom’s not much of a reader, she did read “The Color Purple”, as well as “Rubyfruit Jungle”, that summer while in Germany.  “The Color Purple” is also one of the few DVD’s I actually own.

I have also read many of her other novels with relish and revelation. Other personal favorites: “By the Light of My Father’s Smile”  and “In Love and Trouble: Stories of Black Women“.

Evelyn C. White’s insightful work, “Alice Walker: A Life” also stands high on my list of favorite biographies.

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Poem – Derek Walcott

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I haven’t thought about the fact that I don’t copy any of my own poetry here. Except one. A long time ago. I had planned to do just that and comment on how I remember my frame of mind when I wrote it and/or what the poem means to me today.

But just now I looked over at the window sill behind me and a poem I framed several years ago caught my eye. I framed it because it resonated with me then. It resonated with my soul’s best intentions. It used to hang on the wall in my apartment in Düsseldorf; now it sits in its frame on my window sill along with a statuette of a dancer, a small plant, a candle and some cards.

This poem is taken from Derek Walcott‘s “Collected Poems 1948 – 1984”

The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other’s welcome.

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, who you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the lover letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

Garden (April 2009)

I have promised myself to keep a better documentation of the progress we make in the garden this year. After having worked in the garden on average one hour a day this week, these are some of the first pix of the pulsatilla and the ranunculus:

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