Helping Create the NEXT GENERATION of the Web: GENERATOR 21 - The World's Magazine
To read this article in Deutsch, Francaise, Italiano, Portuguese, Espanol, copy and paste the complete URL("http://www.generator21.net/amdream43.html") and enter it in the box after you click through.
|The World's Magazine: generator21.net
Event # 251: DESTINY'S CHILDREN
G21 Digital Internet Postcards
G21 Barnes & Noble Search Engine
G21 E-MAIL NEWSLETTER
G21 LATIN AMERICA
MEMOIRS OF THE INFO AGE
MY GLASS HOUSE
THE SEX COLUMN
RECOMMENDED DAILY REQUIREMENT ARCHIVES.
MEMOIRS OF THE INFO AGE ARCHIVES.
G21 STUFF: Look, we have to be honest with you. We don't want Rod to be the only person on the planet to own a G21 t-shirt. Help us out here. Thank you so much!!!
LAST WEEK's EDITION
MEET THE G-CREW! These are the people behind this jam-band every week. AND there are GUIDELINES FOR YOU TO JOIN THE BAND...
A few years ago, when otherwise unemployed and seemingly unemployable, I was driving a taxi in Columbus, Ohio. (Bob Powers, the hundred-column man, probably remembers those days.)
Like the evening I got a call to the east side and wound up a half hour later at the cab stand in front of the Marble Gang (a Black nightclub and restaurant - the owners were pals from childhood and played marbles on the very ground where they later built their club).
A beautiful hooker came walking up to the cab, her diaphonous white gauze pants suit revealing much more of her than it was concealing. She came to the window and signaled for me to roll it down or open the door.
I rolled down the window.
"Well," I thought to myself, "at the ripe old age of fifty-two I probably still exhibit that spark - remember, just because there's frost on the roof doesn't mean that the pilot light in the furnace has gone out!"
She approached the cab and leaned down. I saw that beautiful pair, seeming to float unsupported in midair below her chest, a treacherously gorgeous young woman. She motioned for me to put my head closer to hers.
"May I sit in your taxi for a little while?" she asked.
"Get in," I replied.
She walked around and got into the front passenger seat. She reached into her bag and pulled out a black box. "I just needed a boost for this," she said, as she plugged the battery pack of her telephone into the cigarette lighter.
I recovered in time, of course. But it was not easy.
Some time later - it was just after midnight and leading to the early dawn of Dr. Martin Luther King Day - I got a call to a public housing complex in the northeast part of the City of Columbus. It was one of the very roughest areas of the town. Many of the young men and women were armed. The toughs walked around with canes - on closer inspection they were actually carrying lengths of iron pipe with rubber tips on each end, so as not to cut themselves on burrs or threads.
The complex was filled with mothers and children, a few males, a few elderly. The parking lots were given over to late-night gatherings of toughs and occasionally major fights.
The dispatcher said to me when he recognized my voice, "You do not have to go in there, you know. I could send someone else."
"I'm there now, and I can handle the situation," I said, sounding much more confident than I actually was. I spotted forty to fifty young men and women standing at the end of the inner parking area.
I parked in front of the building where the call had come from - a woman and two small children, taking the children to her mother so that she could go to work in the kitchen at the University Hospital. I had had that call before and I looked forward to seeing her beautiful little ones.
A small group of five or six left their colleagues and walked to the taxi, one of them tapping his "cane" in the palm of his hand and eyeing the windshield mischievously.
"Cabbie, do you know what day it is today?" one of the girls asked.
"Of course," I said, "it's King Day."
The woman came out of the apartment building with an infant carrier and the toddler, half asleep, stumbling alongside her. I got out to help her.
"Whadda you know about King Day?" one of the toughest said.
"Well, I met the man. I heard him speak. I am a convinced King-ite in many, many ways," I replied.
"You met him? What is he really like? Is he really a skirt-chaser?" the girl asked.
"I only met him in very public places. I was in the audience. He was the speaker. Afterward there were questions and answers. Then he agreed to meet folks who wanted to greet him. This happened three or four times - I met him and shook his hand. I never was a 'friend' of Dr. King."
The girl signaled to the others at the end of the parking lot, and they joined us.
"He had a way of reaching into the innermost parts of you. He spoke and you wept. He spoke some more and you wept and laughed at the same time. He spoke poetry. The Bible was so much of him that he spoke Bible verses, even when he was doing ordinary things. You could not sit through an entire speech or sermon by Dr. King, then get up and leave, and go away unchanged. You had to change. Your entire orientation changed. You suddenly saw that north is not where you thought it was. North is over here, and you changed the way you moved through life. It is very hard to explain, to put it in words."
One of the young men helped the woman into the cab, held the infant carrier as she straightened her clothes, then put it on her lap. Another young man took the toddler at the other door and leaned the little one against the mother, the child was instantly asleep again. The mother reached over and said to him, "Leave the door open. I want to hear more."
"When Dr. King was through with his talk, you said to yourself, I have been mistaken my whole life about that matter - and now he set it straight for me. He read voraciously and he remembered. He interpreted difficult matters of inarticulate theologians in common, everyday speech. You wanted to reach out and hug him and hold him. You wanted to tell him, don't go away. I need you. Stay. Teach me. Tell me."
That same young woman came closer and said, "You actually shook his hand, eh?"
"Yes, I did."
She took my hand in hers and shook it. She raised it up and said with a loud voice, "I shook the hand that shook the hand!"
The others lined up. One after another they shook my hand. One after another, they raised that hand. One after another they paraded to the end of the parking lot chanting, "I shook the hand that shook the hand."
We dropped off the little ones at their grandmother's, and I took her to the University Hospital. It was a night I will always remember.
COMMENTS? QUESTION? Why not e-mail Ron Diener.
© 2001, GENERATOR 21.E-mail your comments. We always like to hear from you. Send your kudos, brickbats and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.