Black and White

Black and White

Sept10-4I went to a banquet I attend yearly.  This year’s theme was “Hats Off”.  I found a black and white hat and dress.  My boyfriend and I walked up toward The Olmstead together and we crossed the path of a man that was walking out into the parking lot.  He walked up to me and joked that maybe we should have arrived together since he too was dressed in black and white.  I mean, this dude was dressed to the “T” in black and white combinations.   We all laughed, my boyfriend and I went on in the building and started looking at silent auction items.

The guy came up to us again and started talking with us.  This time he touched my boyfriend’s chest, removed his nametag and said “Remember, your nametag always goes on the side of your body where people can easily see it when they shake your hand”.  He asked me if my mother approved of my boyfriend and I said unfortunately she passed away before she could meet him. The entire time this guy talked to us he had a very friendly personality and a smile.  It was just interesting that he took so much pleasure in us.

More minutes pass on.  We are still looking at various bid items.  I feel something at my shoulders and look back.  This guy presents me with this bag.  In it are a pair of earrings, a necklace and bracelet.  The colors of the jewelry are black and white!  (At the time I actually didn’t have on any of that type of jewelry).  I looked at him funny at first and jokingly asked him if he stole it off one of the auction tables.  He laughed and told us that he does auctions on the side and he keeps random items in his car.

Once the banquet started and we sat at our table, I decided to put on the jewelry.  It matched perfectly.  I looked around the banquet hall for the guy because I wanted to thank him for such a kind gesture.  I found him sitting at a pretty distinguished table surrounded by all of the oncologist doctors that treated many of the cancer survivors at the banquet.  I walked to the table and said hello to all the others at the table and found out the guy was married to one of the female oncologists.

As the banquet came to an end, I went and said my goodbyes and saw my boyfriend once again talking to this guy.  This time they were exchanging phone numbers.  My boyfriend mentioned the field of work he was in and this guy knew a great mentor that he should talk to.  Here is a guy that is just genuinely a nice human.  He wasn’t flirting with me.  He wasn’t trying to hustle my boyfriend.  He is a guy with a great personality and our paths just happened to cross at just the right time.

Everyone enters our lives for a reason.  Be careful of who you block out of your life just because they look a little different from you.   There are positive people on every corner, you just must keep your eyes, heart and mind open when they come near.

M.Y. September 2010

In Her Shoes

In Her Shoes

Feb08-4Late last summer, I received a phone call from The Center For Women and Families.  They wanted to honor my mother at their annual “Women of Distinction” banquet and wanted me to accept the award in her memory.  I instantly agreed.  For the next several months I collected various artifacts, pictures and footage of my mother for the video they would compose.  At times it was stressful to think about what she would have wanted said/shown about her for the award.

I didn’t honestly realize the magnitude of the award until a couple of weeks before the presentation.  In the 20 years of the award, my mother was the first woman to be honored posthumously.  If only it were that simple. With talks of her and the wonderful contributions she gave to our society, ALSO came this talk about this fantastic daughter that she has who is following in her footsteps and giving back to the community in her own ways.  During those weeks, with each mention of my mother’s award came words about me and the similar characteristics she and I share.

My uncle drove down from Michigan to be my official escort for the program. I knew I in some way wanted to physically represent my mother at the banquet.  So, I put on a pair of her gold shoes and matched it with her gold earrings.  I was literally in her shoes.  If you know me, you know I’m not one to easily tear up and get emotional.  However, as I stood in front of the thousand seated guests and Denise Troutman-Vasquez made comments about my mother (and then me) I realized that this was the official passing of the torch between my mother and I.  It was an emotional and spiritual moment.  I came close to breaking down in route to the front, but I held my head high with the dignity and grace my mother always showed.

The banquet was beautiful and many of my mother’s closest friends were able to attend.  The video they made of my mother included an interview she recorded less than a month before she died.  I wasn’t sad while watching it, I smiled with pride.  I favorite moment of the video was the footage they showed of she and I doing the electric slide.  Her memory lives on and my life continues.  I would say that I have large shoes to fill, but actually they are just the right size!!!

M.Y. February 2008