Whatever mutant illness I was attempting to battle last week, fully ensnared me. Medicines and cough drops and teas and vapor rubs were useless. I surrendered by Monday and went to Patient First because I was too tired to venture out Sunday after a week of hacking. Luckily for me, I was prescribed some heavy-duty medicines and think I may be officially on the mend. It has been a rough week. The cough is quite menacing and I am going to all lengths to be rid of it. Today is the start of my official birthday extravaganza and I keep having this vision that while I am gleefully sitting in the balcony at the Met completely awed by the strength and grace of Misty Copeland, that I have a coughing jag and she stops in mid arabesque and looks up in disgust, as if to say, “really, Carla, you are killing my vibe.” We can’t have that happen. As much as I would love to meet here, I don’t think that is the way to start.
With that said, I am putting my “Gone Fishing” sign up. I was not mentally equipped to breath and sleep at night, let alone put any thoughts together, especially not in the midst of preparing for my birthday weekend. I will leave this bit of a nugget in its place. Over the weekend, we celebrated my grandmother’s 91st birthday. The entire immediate Graham family was there along with some friends. I can tell that my grandmother was soaking it all in, enjoying the lay of the land and all that she and Benjamin are ultimately responsible for, quite the legacy. I remember that this entire documentary project started because of the notion of legacy. My first interview concept with the Grahams was over 10 years when the organization StoryCorps had a series of questions that they were asking with the theme of African American griots. At this time, I was only really at the crux of thinking about the unique story of the Grahams and how I could best expose it and preserve it for future generations. The thought of having the story of the Grahams archived at the National Library of Congress seemed like a fantastic opportunity. In a full circle moment, the StoryCorps mobile trailer is now literally parked right out front of my job. It will be here through June. I was excited about the chance of bringing my grandfather to the booth to record. Then, I changed my mind because it almost feels like a default now that I have pushed this idea much further and am making a documentary. I may go back and forth about this for some time because I will have nothing else to do but think about it when I go to work.
Photo courtesy of Tavis Smiley show, PBS
The last thing I would like to add is a media share about another nonagenarian who is creating her own influential legacy. Betty Reid Soskin, is the oldest national park ranger in the United States at 94 years old. I have not written a full post for this individual yet because she deserves a thoughtful acknowledgement that equals her compelling story. However, this Friday, yes, tomorrow, she will be on the Tavis Smiley Show (part 1 of 2). Please hear her story in her own words. I can’t wait. Ranger Soskin serves as a marvelous example of what it means to live and lead a full life. Age ain’t nothing but a number yall’ and I shall march proudly towards 40!