The Day of the Mahogany Daughter


The average person would send a THANK YOU card that says:

Thank you for attending my birthday festivities.
Your presence was greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,
Andrea

Of course, my name is DREA, and I couldn’t just do that. It’s not how I’m WIRED! For those for whom the above sentiment suffices, there is no need to read any further.

For the rest of you:

Picture this…
Drea’s House, December 2008

It is Saturday morning… Drea is sitting on the couch in a bit of a daze. As she glances around her living room, everything seems pretty normal… the Christmas Tree, Gene’s HD television, a coffee table, the artificial tree by the steps and other insignificant objects that assure her that she is indeed at home in her usual surroundings. As her ‘eye tops’ become heavy from the exhaustion she worked up the night before, a picture flashes through her mind. They come briefly at first, like snapshots and then full scenes begin to roll out in her mind. It is as if she is half sleep/half awake. (Kinda like when they began her endoscopy before the anesthesia had taken effect.) She is very much ‘in the moment’, even though it’s not apparent to anyone else.

Had all of this really happened?

She sees familiar faces that seem so real that she could reach out and touch each one. In her ears, she hears the smooth, raspy voice of the poet, ‘JO-SEEPH!’, as he spits lyrics about LA FAMILIA, the virtues of the mahogany woman as BLACK DIAMONDS and shares his admiration for his CA-DIL-LAC! (There are a lot of mocha sisters in the room, but she swears that he must be talking directly to her!) She observes the ‘ExtraTerrestrial’ Puerto Rican Percussionist, Edwin, on the congas. He is out of this world! The Latin minstrel, JC, serenades her on his guitar with his song, Love Within, that he dedicated to her, and the sound he creates with six strings mesmerize her.

Reliving those moments in her mind, she turns to gather a panoramic view of the room. Her thoughts bounce from one memory to another:

AAAAHHHHHH!!!!! I CAN NOT BELIEVE THAT GENE DID THIS FOR ME!!! OH, MY GOODNESS!!!! Joseph Dominic and JC are in my living room! I LOVE THESE GUYS! Oh my! This is for real! THIS IS SO COOL! THIS IS JUST FOR ME! I think these guys just moved up into MY FAVE FIVE of musical artists! AAAAHHHH!!!! ~ Look at my FANTABULOUS sister standing over there by the camera. I’m so glad she is here… and that she didn’t get lost and miss the party this year, too! ~ GIJoeBro?! He came! Dang, he makes me so angry sometimes… but I love him and I’m so glad he’s here… I won’t let him know that tonight though… ol’ busta… ~ HA HA HA!!! Bill Cosby? You gotta be kidding me! I always knew my big brother was a nut! After twenty years of marriage, my sister knows he’s crazy, too, that’s prolly why she is just staying behind the camera helping us make memories. ~ Look at my sister… I can’t believe that all of her men came! Very cool! Pregnant and all, ‘she still got it’! She has such a beautiful voice. Yeah, she’s right I am SPECIAL, but I’m CRAZY, too. ~ This Chick is a NUT! She really came! I thought for sure that office party would keep her from making it. It’s after 10:30… I know it’s about to be hoppin’ in here now! ~ I can not believe the sounds that I am hearing coming from the left of me. God, You really DO love me. I feel like I am in Your throne room… It’s been a while since I have had an opportunity to enter into worship with people who value Your presence the way I do. They have MADE my entire year. ~ Man, it’s good to see her out and about with the baby. She and my brother brought HARMONY into the house in more ways than one, as my nephew used his voice to stir the presence of God around our home. I am so proud of him, but I see his dad is prouder. ~ Listen to the angel that is sitting to my left as we sing about our worthy Lord. She interweaves her voice like colored threads through tapestry… simply beautiful. ~ Did he just call me AMAZING? I can not believe he employed such eloquent speech to describe me… just listen… wow, my brother is comparing me to the stars and other celestial bodies… he says even the way I’m WIRED is simply AMAZING! ~ Oh, wow… why the tears? I said I wouldn’t do that this year. But this night is all about family and why each one of these people are so important to my journey. Most of them really only know one … or maybe two sides of me, but they don’t even know that I have about as many sides as an OCTAGON! Maybe it’s okay if I am transparent and show them who I really am. But what will they think of my tears? Forget everybody! IT’S MY PARTY! ~ Wow, I have heard my sister recite this poem… ‘Drip, drop…’ I’ve heard it before so many times, but tonight it’s for me. She’s talking about my tears. So precious… just what I needed. ~ I wonder if this was as much of an EXPERIENCE for them as it was for me? Well, see… yeah, he’s calling it an ENCOUNTER. That’s what I mean. I wonder if this time has changed them as much as it has changed me.

I began this email many drafts and several days ago. I wanted to find just the right way to say THANK YOU, but I haven’t found it yet. How do you show appreciation for what you all did for me Friday night? How do I explain the JUMPSTART I feel in my spirit or the EMPOWERMENT I sense for the next phase of my life? How do I talk about the INSPIRATION that was expressed through so many of you? I don’t think I can, so I’ll just settle for…

thank ya!
Thank Ya!!
THANK YA!!!

Pardon the drama, but I must say this….
YOU GUYS TOTALLY RUINED MY BIRTHDAY MONTH!!!

I felt like I was in a comatose state most of Saturday. I thought it was just fatigue and out right exhaustion at first, but as December 7, the day of the Mahogany Daughter, has come and gone, I realize that the pinnacle of my birthday season has been reached and it would be near to impossible to top what you all have given me with your presence and L-O-V-E. I want that evening to be seared in my mind as a life altering, defining moment in time. Just when I thought that 35 could not be outdone, you made 36 unforgettable for me. YOU ALL HAVE MADE MY ENTIRE YEAR SPECIAL!!! YOU ARE AMAZING!!!

I have been officially shamed into dealing with my CREATIVITY (that’s what Gene calls the mess on my side of the room) that my wonderful husband allowed you all to see in our bedroom. He insisted on using our bed as a coat check even as the surrounding space sat in its POST-BOOK WRITING ERA. I went through and collected the 20 or so books used for design ideas, several styrofoam cups that held my nightly ice slushies, pieces of paper, sticky notes and THE CLOTHES… (outer and under… OMG! I will leave those unmentionable…) I think that you got to see every outfit I contemplated wearing that night flung some where around the room. My brothers and sisters, I have accepted the fact that if we weren’t FAMILY before, WE IZ NOW!

I LOVE YOU ALL!!!

We are planning the book release for a Saturday afternoon in May and would love for the FAMILY to be a part of it. We will keep you posted about the exact date.

Hugs and Kisses…
Honey and Molasses…
Peaches and Cream…
And all the rest!

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