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It is going to be a wild and fun ride.

This magazine is designed to be published four times a year. Each issue will stand on its own bringing helpful and encouraging information to its readers. It will have data that helps people become better people. It will have information that inspires and encourage those about to give up.

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What Do You Pack?

When you go somewhere most of the time you need to take a few things with you.  I know depending on where you go determines what you take with you. What do you pack it in?

Opening Suitcase

The idea of a suitcase was an afterthought. At the time it was created, only rich people traveled, and they used large trunks because they could also bring servants to carry them. The chosen method of travel were ships, and trunks worked best in the bottom of a leaky ship that tossed items around. Trunks were made with metal bases, sealed with rubber to keep water from getting in. It made it difficult for a person without servants to travel.[1]

According to the Smithsonian, more people began traveling for the sake of traveling at the beginning of the 20th Century.  Transportation was better with many more ways to travel and it was not just for rich people anymore.

The suit case was originally created to hold a suit. There was a compartment inside for the shirts, and sometimes even an attachment box for a hat. It was designed to hold a suit and had a handle to be carried. Before that, there was a carpet bag which could hold a few items and was also able to be carried.

Once the idea of suit cases caught on, it became an industry.  Historians said that our luggage reflects our modes of transportation. This is very true today as we have to pack our suitcases based on whether we drive, fly, sail or travel by train.  Each mode of transportation has its own rules about what we can/cannot bring.

As I think about what I will take on this journey, because I know everything and the kitchen sink can’t go, I have to think about what will I carry it in. I think about this a lot when I travel because I know, whatever I take, I will carry.  Let me say that again, whatever I take, I will carry.

One of the things I learned in 2018 was that I have to carry the things that I want. I do. Not my kid, or family, or friends. I should not load things up in a car or a cart unless I intend to keep the car or cart as long as I keep the things. I have to carry my own things.

I try to choose suitcases that make that job easier. I like smaller ones that I can lift. If they have a handle and wheels that can rolls then I am a superstar.

I know choosing the suitcase before I decide what to put in it is the best way for me. So how do you pack for your trips

[1] https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/history-humble-suitcase-180951376/

Fascinating Places

2019 will be a fascinating journey for me. It has started with a bang.  I have spent the first part of January reading books that take me deep into the jungles of the African continent. I read the story of one of the last people brought to the United States on a slave ship. He spoke of what his life was like before being captured. He spoke of his family and their customs, the rituals to become a man and get married.

More important, he spoke of the process of being captured to be a slave and what it was like watching everyone he loved being murdered. Like the author of the book, for many years I thought that the Europeans had seized the Africans from their native homes. But in Barracoon by Zora Neal Hurston, the old African man told a different story.

He spoke of other African tribes who ruthlessly killed entire villages just to capture the young and strong people to sell to the Europeans.  These killers left their regular way of life, which was farming, to become slavers. Motivated by greed, they created soldiers that could terrorize and take out a whole village. These soldiers were paid by the number of heads they brought back. The skulls were collected as a prize by their king.

It made me think. As these greedy people sold off all of their strength for material wealth, they were not prepared to fight the colonization that would overtake and suppress them. It reminds me that the greedy people today won’t get away with their evil deeds. They are just getting prepared to be undone by something more evil than themselves.

Another book took me into a different part of the continent. I loved reading how Nelson Mandela’s father was the family historian. He could recount the family’s history for hundreds of years, yet he could read or write.  Our history was repeated by word of mouth through the generations.

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It reminded me of my own family who would sit and tell stories of the way it used to be.  Even today I question older relatives to the point of annoyance because I want to know more. I want to know what it was like and what they did. But I am finding that some of the secrets older people tried to keep, are coming to light.

But this part of the journey makes me appreciate a history told orally and through art, like masks and other sculpture. It tells us what is beautiful. What is powerful. What is important. The thing I appreciate about African Art is that it finds beauty in the work. It is not an exact replica of someone or something. It just is.

We need to do the same. We need to tell our children the stories orally of our family. We need to create art that represents what legacy we leave behind. Many of the previous generations of my family were poor and undereducated. They did not think they were leaving much behind, but the truth is they left a lot.

I love the story Nelson tells of the first pair of pants he wore. They were not a brand new pair fresh from the tailor. They were an old pair of his father’s pants. His father cut them off so they would fit, and used a rope around the waist to hold them up. Nelson said it was one of the proudest moments of his life.

Think about what legacy you are leaving your family. What kind of objects are you making to represent it? Do your children know your family’s story? Do you? Remember when you carve out your part of your family history, it does not have to look like someone else’s. Like the African mask, it only represents what you want it to.

For One Reason

you go into a business but figure out later that something different was planned.  Artist go into entertainment to entertain people, but later see that their messages impact peoples lives. Artist like Sammy Davis Jr have carved out legacies that impact generations.  They did more than entertained.  They asked the questions we all needed to ask.

Sammy

A Celebration to Remember

When I was a kid, I didn’t understand much about the world around me, but I knew what a bolo sandwich was. It was a thick cut of bologna with a little barbecue sauce between to slices of white bread. It was our answer to McDonald’s, especially during June. When you have four kids and a little money, bolos go farther. This week, I ran into a bolo sandwich, but now it looks like it comes as combo.

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On June 19, 1865, Union troops landed in Galveston, announced to the slaves that the war had ended and they were free.  Slaves and their descendants have been celebrating this day ever since. Some people love it. Some people hate it. Sometimes it is good just to see that our condition has improved.

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When I was a kid, we would get our hair done for the special occasion, and possibly a new outfit. I remember going to the park and watching the men play softball. As a young kid, I could not understand why we celebrated a separate independence day. My parents believed in celebrating Juneteenth. It wasn’t until many years later that I realized that my people were not freed on July 4. Matter of fact, my enslaved relatives probably prepared the meals for their independence celebrations.

This reminds us that there are storms in life. And sometimes those storms are so bad we can hardly see past them. We are wet, cold and feel as though we are going to drown in it. I can’t imagine what it was like to work while my slave owner celebrated freedom from oppression.  But I am sure there was a light in there somewhere.

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But take courage.  There is someone outside your storm looking in on you. They have the power to stop it, but they know this is going to make you stronger. One day you or your children will look back and see it was all worth it.

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This week I got home in time to see the Juneteenth Parade. It was led by Fort Worth Police Officers. They were men and women from different races. In the first car was Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price. I thought how my parents would have gotten a kick out of seeing how far this event had come.  To see that Juneteenth was not just celebrated by African Americans, but by many different Americans in a city in the South. Wow.

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Models Needed

The Queens of Freedom is a photography project that will tell the story of 17 women who did extraordinary things in the fight for freedom. If you are interested in being a model for the Queens of Freedom project please email me your headshot.  If you have an idea which of the 17 Queens you would like to portray, tell me that and why.

Queen

My email address is uppcreative@yahoo.com.

Queen

If you need to send it snail mail: PO Box 11082 Fort Worth, Texas 76110.