More than a week ago I (and many others) had the pleasure of seeing Misters Harry Belafonte and Sidney Poitier on television. I called the Wunderkind and said "you have to witness this because you very likely will never see this again". I'm not one to fawn over celebrities but it was so heart warming to see these guys - these trailblazing Titans of American stage and film together again in their golden years. The Wunderkind's bedroom wall is decorated with black and white images of that twosome when they were steamy, young hunks as well as young Lena Horne, Audrey Hepburn and Omar Sharif. Being "an old soul" as the saying goes, she could truly appreciate the divinity of that encounter. It was one of those moments that is hard to top.
Until ...she informed me that another awe inspiring octagenarian, Ms. Maya Angelou, was in our area. Despite the fact that she was appearing at York College which gave students first preference for tickets, we trekked the 20 miles to watch her being streamed in an overflow auditorium on campus. There she sat on stage donning dark glasses, accompanied only by a book laden small table. She was warm, vibrant, painfully candid, surprisingly funny - especially in admitting her mistrust of those who lack the ability to laugh, and ever true to her words - a Phenomenal Woman indeed!! She spoke of her childhood abuse, her decades long love of Shakespeare, the physical ailments that have befallen her only child but she also spoke of how language, any and all, belong to everyone and that no matter how painful our journey we are never the only ones who have ever traveled that path. What a gift, an absolute treasure she was to everyone under the spell of her voice. Even though I've never been a fan of poetry listening to Ms. Angelou made me heed her words to petition my local librarian to route out some African American poetry for me in hopes that I might relive the pleasure that evening. And all this in African American History month no less...what Grace.