by Rev. Audette Fulbright
published on May 2, 2015
Wyoming Tribune Eagle
Got less than 2 hours of sleep last night, so all the posting I wanted to do will have to wait. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any cell service in the hotel so could not do all the tweeting I had hoped! But spent most of the day with Opal Tometi, transnational Black feminist, co-founder of #BlackLivesMatter and the ED of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration – at her workshop Not One More Day of Inequality: Immigrant Justice, Racial Justice. Then I joined Chris Crass, UU & organizer, working to build “powerful working-class based, feminist, multiracial movements for collective liberation.” In a post below, you’ll note I purchased his powerful book Toward a Collective Liberation when I was at the seminal Teaching for Change bookstore Busboys & Poets in DC!! Chris gave us a solid overview of how to work Toward Justice:
* work from an ASSETS BASE
* be OPPORTUNITY ORIENTED (not extra critical/judgmental as UUs have a habit of being)
* take a DEVELOPMENTAL APPROACH – see what small steps you can build on
Tomorrow is going to remarkable – and a little difficult to navigate. But it will undoubtedly be better with some food and sleep in me.
Arrived in Montgomery late last night, and now today is the day of getting registered and choosing – among all the hundreds of things going on in Birmingham, Montgomery, and Selma, what to do. Today will be a Twitter day for those of you who tweet – but I hope to write again tonight about today’s events. But first the drive to Birmingham (where the UUs are) and a prayer for parking.
I am back in Greenville, SC, where I grew up and where most of my family lives – my grandparents, my father, my brother and sister-in-law, my nieces, my step brother and sister….and lots of friends who knew me back when. WAY back when. Long before I was a minister, surely. Back when I had long blonde hair and usually went by the name Trixie Belden, or sometimes (quite randomly) “Daisy.”
It’s been deeply soul-satisfying to sit and chat with my grandparents and dad, and Ember & Matt when they were down. My grandparents built their house the year I was born. That was a long time ago. It’s still the absolute best place I know – the place where I feel the most at home, the place where the ground reaches up and gives me a hug, and the air is always sweet and earth-scented and greening. While here, I got to celebrate my grandmother’s 89th birthday with her. Ember and I brought a green tea and pomegranate cheesecake made by one of Ember’s baking compatriots. It was sweet and fleeting taste, like these moments, like the years.
There’s been the blessing, as well, of seeing my brother – who had a long, hard walk in the wilderness for many years, my friends – seeing him home and in love and well-settled. He and his wife have a nice house, pets, and he has a chance to be part of raising a really neat kid. He gets to cook and play drums and laugh and he’s just almost another person. He cooked for me this week, and he’s his mother’s kid through and through – boy, does he want to please you with food and how deeply he cares about getting it right and loving you with just the perfect meal. He did a glorious job, he and his wife. I very nearly licked the plate, and then we laughed and laughed as we played games until it was time for bed.
Meanwhile, one of my oldest friends awaited on the other side of downtown. In the years I’ve been away, Greenville has stretched and decided to become one of the most impressive cities in the country, and certainly in the South. Now with a nearly European air, it bursts at the seams with culture and flair and is an absolute food heaven. This is the same city that nurtured me into the deeply liberal and artistic woman I am, but lord – has it ever outdone itself. Glorious. Here are a few of the city views…
My good friend (we were besties when we were 7-9, and she was Nancy Drew to my Trixie Belden) and I had a great time, hanging out with her cool and artistic daughter, her 5 cats, her new guy, and some great Mediterranean food. Her fella reminded me of how fantastically fun it is to West Coast and East Coast swing, and then she and I discussed books and lamented how little real history of the civil rights struggle we’d been taught in school. She, like everyone else on m journey, was glad I was going to Selma. She’s waiting to learn more, even now, about the struggle.
Me, I’m moving on. Selma is closer every day. But god, do I miss home.
So far, all the places I’ve been have been owned by cats. I’m very good with cats, fortunately. I have offered up the proper sacrifices in terms of blood and scratches, but I assure you, compared to the average Guest of Cats, it’s the bare minimum. I know how to make shy cats visit me and mean cats let me pet them. I am the cat whisperer.
So here are the cats I have visited:
In DC, I spent a couple of days in a lovely flat with Romeo and Rune. Romeo is a ginger long hair, and Rune a long hair muted tortoiseshell calico. Romeo lived up to his name quickly, and allowed me to romance him for most of the visit. Rune usually cuddled when she didn’t fully realize it was me – such as when I was sleeping.
Oh, these two cats have a housekeeper who just happens to be my very best friend since 7th grade.
I’m writing this post from a cat boarding house. There are three cats here, who require a staff of four to serve them properly. The smallest and least prepossessing of these is Bobbie, aka Tiny. She’s a cat.
The largest is Booty. He has boots, but apparently was named after butts.
The reigning king of the household is Tiberius. Also known as Tibs, also known as “argh, get off my face!” Tibs and I have spent a lot of time together, because he wishes it to be so.
Along the way, there have also been other cats, because, cats. My friends Rob and Erin have the most dynamic cat, which is another way of saying “evil.” Also beautiful, but definitely sharp-clawed youthful evil. I can’t remember evil kitty’s name, but I remain proud that I was able to ninja zir enough to pet. I bled the most at zir’s altar.
The last cat was my friend Cathy’s cat. I almost didn’t see this one, because – well, she burrows. Here she is in her natural state, where I found her:
Cathy then decided her sheets needed to be changed, so she pulled Miss Nora out. Turns out she’s a chocolate point Siamese. Who knew?
So, I m actually heading away from catcivilization tomorrow, which will just be weird. But one last photo, to remind you of the power and pain of visiting cats….my sacrifice to these lovely gods:
May all your travels have cats –
in faith –
First full day of the trip, and it couldn’t be better. First things being first, I’m with my best friend again – it’s been a while. And she’s back in our nation’s capitol, kicking tail and taking names, working in women’s international reproductive health. Just being around her is inspiring.
Fortunately, her local friends aren’t big into Ethiopian, so she didn’t hesitate when I asked f we could make our first food stop at one of DC’s finest. We had the buffet, which was good but not great – buffets usually aren’t as good as a la carte. Still, there’s barely such a thing as BAD Ethiopian food, and this definitely was not that! As for getting around, she’d picked me up from the airport in a ZipCar and we took Uber to the restaurant. The sharing economy is really convenient and affordable! The bus system is pretty fly in DC, as well.
After lunch, we almost passed the best thrift shop ever but a guy heading in said we should check it out. We did, and I found a great sweater I needed for less than $8. BF got a birthday present silky shirt for next to nothing.
Then we ducked in from the cold into Busboys and Poets, my dream spot. With its mission justice and change, it was hip, comfy, delicious and inspiring. I came out rehydrated with fresh pomegranate juice and with the fantastic world-changing books shown below. I also cameout determined to host some “A.C.T.O.R” sessions – A Continuing Talk About Race. Take a look at their other offerings here: www.busboysandpoets.com.
Next up: games and burritos. A perfect day.
Things are off to a bumpy beginning. Snow and a nasty intestinal thing have set the schedule off by a day. Here’s hoping things smooth out soonest. Thank goodness SouthWest is a decent airline – and with the change, maybe I can get a ride from the airport…
So, I’m heading out from Cheyenne, and the next 24 + hours will be transition time. I’m also on my daughter’s netbook so the keyboard is new and there are typos galore. Still, I look forward to bringing folks along on this journey. I hope it will be a good one.