This has been a miscellaneous day, thankfully. My last two Tuesdays have been intensely heavy: the murder of my favorite student and my case for limits to freedom of speech after the incident in Garland, my favorite school district in which to substitute teach. I hoped/prayed that I’d see a long-lost friend, and I saw two. A friend of 18 years showed up at my door a few days ago, and he’s moved closer. We met in East Dallas and he’d lived in North Tyler previously. Little could we have predicted that I’d move to Tyler, teach at the HBCU in North Tyler, and teach or live there for 11 years. Then he moved back to Tyler. Now Greg is just a few miles west, as he’s moved from North Tyler.
Then I saw a former student , turned friend, whose uncle was my pastor for a while. Turns out, Windell survived an attempted murder in 2013 and showed me his six knife scars. It really meant something extra the week after mourning Kemell’s passing. At least his assailant was captured and given life without parole. I couldn’t bring up the tragic slaying of Kemell to him.
One of my newest best friends, Wharton, has hired me for a proofreading assignment. It’s an African-American self-help booklet written in the style of an AA text–really profound and touching. Extra paragraphs is really the main thing he needs; it’s nothing like grading a Developmental English essay. I’m half-done and taking a break, partly to deal with misty-eyes. Playing Bobby Womack probably compounded the intensity.
Mothers’ Day was unexpectedly good. On my way back from church, I acknowledged that I better leave folks alone because they either have living parents and/or kids. Much to my surprise, a favorite neighbor friend girl/bartender, Heather, drove up with her mom (younger than me) and her grandmother to say, “Hi.” I mentioned Facebook messaging the lyrics of “She” by Halford https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KwuFLRLKmFY to a bass player friend buddy of ours. I played this tender ballad at Mom’s funeral, for it was written in honor of the singer’s mom and my Mom liked it too. However, Mom was stunned to see Rob Halford in his leather-and-metal uniform..lol! You can’t always predict who will touch or break your heart.
I almost forgot to mention the account of our second transportation committee field trip of the East TX Human Needs Network (ETHNN) to the new south-most shopping center, Cumberland Park. I took notes, partly to enhance the outdated bus map, which doesn’t go that far south. Tyler is a very rectangular city that grows south away from I-20. We ate at Rotolo’s Pizzeria, and it was great and filling, as I took a doggie box home. We hope to increase bus ridership through our efforts, but we don’t have to worry about this route, as it’s a service-job mecca. Later I wrote an essay about the experience and once again proposed that we build a pocket park across from the central transit depot. There’s already a cement slab with steps and a ramp there! Stay tuned.