Sometimes, living in a hometown your whole life can become routine and boring. Luckily, my imagination can turn any street, block, or event into a journey into another world. So join me on an adventure in my hometown.
Driving home before an evening of local music downtown, we happened upon a celebration in the park. Driving closer, the smell of scrumptious food, always a tempting delight to me, I witnessed the humbling convergance of our local townspeople and others from far away here to celebrate their heritage and hope.
Junteenth in Central Park.
Juneteenth celebrates the Union Soldiers enforcing the Emancipation Proclomation in Texas, freeing the last slaves on June 19, 1865, in Galveston, Texas.
Lets clarify...our fellow humans were finally freed from the horror of ownership by another.
Horror of ownership by another.
Because of skin...color...
There was once a time when this day would not have occurred. I would not have stopped and talked with a friendly older man holding a pan filled high with the smoky scent of sweetenss and spice. Would not have talked with him about this event and his attendance. Would have not sighed deeply as he described greens sauteed and cooked down, cabbage wrapped ribs sweeteened by the sour taste of leaves, the contrast, a study in why opposites attract. Cornbread layers softened by the melted bliss of fresh butter. I would not have smiled at his NAACP hat, honoring his beliefs and affiliation, understanding his honor in wearing this hat, his pride and his passion. I would not have felt the warm strong handshake, new friends saying hello. Would not have felt my soul still in the presence of the angels voices lifted upon the wind, winding through our neighborhood, awing even the birds.
I do not know if this event will happen in Central Park next year but if it does, I plan to attend. I plan to eat the food of my neighbors history, their family heritage mingling with my breath, my mind evolving into the fabric of us, united.
To my neighbors, Happy Juneteenth. May your weekend be a celebration and bring many smiles and feelings of hope and peace. May we who share in this history acknowledge, apologize, accept, find grace for one another, and work together to create a better world for us all.
I look forward to enjoying this adventure, in the years to come, in our hometown.