The Swan

The swan is mysterious, silent.

She is graceful.

Her dark eyes are impossible to read.

Covered in intricate white;

No bright plumage demanding to be seen;

She is an angelic glimpse from the corner of my eye.

As if in disbelief, I look again.

Bound by her beauty, I stop to admire her,

Knowing this moment won’t last.

Walking to the water she joins her lifelong mate.

I wish I could keep her, but she belongs with him.

Together they are a perfect pair.

Dedicated to my daughter, Morgan. These words don’t only describe the swan, they describe Morgan on her wedding day.

My Aunt Reenie

My Aunt, Irene was easily the most beautiful woman I had ever seen with my own two eyes. Teresa Smith was a close second.

My cousin used to go my Aunt Irene’s house without me. I didn’t know when she was going. I just knew when she came back.

In all my years, I only went to Aunt Reenie’s house a handful of times. Usually because someone needed to use the phone. And she had one.

Aunt Reenie had a vicious, pekingese dog appropriately named, “Rowdy.” (Rowdy is the southern word for vicious.) Whenever I went there, Rowdy was always outside in the yard on his leash, and he would bark up a storm at the sight of me!

Mouthy dogs always scared me as a kid, and Rowdy was no exception. But I so wanted to go into Aunt Reenie’s house; so I would wait nervously at the gate until she came out and calmed Rowdy down. Then I would run through the yard and up the steps to my Aunt Reenie’s porch.

Aunt Reenie’s house was always so clean and organized. She had wooden, plank floors that were always waxed and shiny. She had a couch and a coffee table that got pushed out of the way when she did her aerobics. (The coffee table, not the couch.) I don’t remember much about the kitchen, except that’s where the phone was. She also had a modern washer and dryer, not a washing machine with a washtub, like the one on Mamaw’s porch. In my mind, I always thought of Aunt Reenie’s house as a “real” house.

My Uncle Melvin drove a Mack truck full of coal. Driving a coal truck or being a coal miner were the only man-jobs I knew of as a kid. Later, I would find out about car salesmen, but that’s a different story. I always thought my Aunt Reenie was rich.

Aunt Reenie had beautiful hair. She was as beautiful as Dolly Parton. Everyone said Aunt Reenie wore wigs. I guess I never did see my Aunt Reenie’s natural hair. Aunt Reenie’s make-up was even more perfect. Long, dark lashes, rosy cheeks and full, shiny lips every time I saw her. Every. Time. Did I mention, she was the most beautiful woman I ever… Oh yeah, I did. Well she was.

I never understood why I didn’t get to go to my Aunt Irene’s house when my cousin did.

My Aunt Reenie was always nice to me. She even let me smoke her cigarette once. I asked her if I could try it, and when she was sure I really wanted to, she handed it to me. I put it in my mouth. I was smoking Aunt Reenie’s cigarette! (I thought I was something.) Then she told me to take a deep breath in. It was the nastiest thing I ever tasted! Not to mention, I almost choked to death! My Aunt Reenie took the cigarette back, and she never said a word about it. She’s the reason I never smoked.

My Aunt Reenie used to take us to beach. She had a tan that would rival Lonnie Anderson’s. I should know, my uncle Stevie had a poster of Lonnie on his wall. Or maybe it was Farah Fawcett. Either way, my Aunt Reenie’s tan met the highest standards.

My Aunt Reenie also bought me my first record. Oh, I paid for it myself. It cost me a dollar, forty five. But my Aunt Reenie got it for me. She was going across the mountain into town, and she picked it up for me. Hungry Like The Wolf by Duran Duran. It was a single. It had a green label. I don’t remember the song on the other side.

I get emotional when I look back at my Aunt Reenie. We moved away when I was 14. The adult me never got to know her. Sure, we visited a few times after we moved, but you can’t build a relationship in a couple of hours once a decade.

I will always look at my Aunt Reenie with kid-eyes. My memories of her are preserved in time. She will always be beautiful. She will always be fashionable. She will always be admired.

And, like all my mother’s sisters, she will always be one of my favorites. I love you, Aunt Reenie.

The Year of Vision

20/20, these numbers are synonymous with the word vision. Yet the year 2020 seemed to lack vision completely. It was easily the most confusing, fear-filled, hopeless year of my life, I imagine yours too.

In 2020, I watched helplessly as my son and his classmates had senior year snatched from their hands in broad daylight. Instantly they became virtual students forced to spend their long-awaited senior year at home, cloaked in hoodies and pajama pants, chained to a laptop all day.

Instead of counting down their final days of high school with pep rallies and prom, they counted the days of lockdown, restarting the clock again and again with each announcement from the powers that be.

The year of vision was clouded by hopelessness. Uncertainty and tragedy was the daily forecast. Isolation and loneliness bred fear, anxiety, and depression- so many demons.

But God was merciful and man’s disaster did not end the human race. (There were days I wondered if it would.) We will always mourn those who were lost. Their deaths were uncalled for. Their isolation, cruel. Their final farewells, forbidden. I honor them now.

Two years later, those of us who made it through, now stand on the main street of society. We have wiped the ash from our eyes, gathered our scattered hopes and resolutely placed them in our backpacks, reluctantly adjusting to the new skyline.

At times, we comply and mask our faces but we will no longer mask our need for true connection. We won’t take anything or anyone for granted. It took some time, but I think 2020 truly was the year of vision.

I Am A Writer

Hi, my name is Mechelle. I am a writer, and I have an opportunity to publish my first book!

This book is a collection of poetry inspired by the people God has placed in my life, especially the little people. When I use the word “little,” I don’t mean insignificant I am referring to children.

I began working with children when I was 16, and when I was almost 20, I married a children’s pastor. My husband and I pastored kids for over two decades before becoming lead pastors at our church. Our most crucial pastoring role, however, has always been pastoring our own two children.

When my kids were very young, I was a stay-at-home mom. Although the unofficial slogan for The Peace Corps is, “The toughest job you’ll ever love!” these words also apply to motherhood.

The days (and nights) of motherhood are often taxing, long and lonely. You learn to be creative and inventive when you’re home all day with a one-year-old who has their own language and an iron will. You also learn to cling to optimism because utter despair lurks around every leaking sippy cup and potty seat. It was during this wonderful, trying time I began to use rhyme to help teach and encourage my children. With each new experience or challenge came a new jingle. We sang and rhymed our way through the day. We sang about the sun in the morning, the foods we ate at noon and the Lord’s watchful care before going to sleep at night. Now, I am the Nana of two precious little boys who are continuing the constant inspiration for life and poetry.

I believe now is the time to publish some of my writing. You can help me do that by giving any amount to my GoFundMe campaign. (To find out how, click the navigation button at the top of this page and visit the page entitled, “Help me publish my first book!”)

Perhaps you have read my poetry or other writing before.

It could be, you’re a writer yourself and long to publish a book one day. Maybe you are a writer who has already been through the process and understands the expense.

For whatever reason you are reading my story, thank you. Thank you for your time and for considering to give. Any amount, no matter how small is a shake of pom poms. Not just any pom poms, the glittery, metallic ones with two colors. Thank you for cheering me on. I hear you and I am thankful.

The Eyes of a Young Man

The room was abuzz with excitement as we waited for a table. This was my first time here, but my friends insisted this was the best place in town.

The best place for what you ask? For breakfast of course. Did I forget to mention that? It’s probably because I’m so hungry. Well, I was on the morning of this story.

I looked around from table to table- my eyes saw only strangers. My ears, now part of dozens of conversations already in progress, had only one question: “What was everyone talking about?!”

Well for one thing, they were talking about the fact that the owners were there. But don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t as if the staff was on high-alert; they weren’t walking on egg-shells. They were standing tall and doing their best, much like children who had practiced for weeks for their school recital, ready to perform for Momma and Daddy.

We took our seats. I looked around again but now with a mission- to find the owners. Surely it must be the two men sitting next to us. Dressed in business-casual, they talked intently without looking up. “Is that them?” I asked my friends. My instincts were wrong.

Soon after we placed our order, a lovely lady, dressed in red came by our table. Her personality was just as vibrant as her clothing. She welcomed us to her restaurant and asked a few questions to get to know us better. She told us a little about herself as well; and in just a few minutes we were old friends! The moment her story began to mirror my friends’, she excitedly called her husband over. (I had never met him before, but his City Grits are infamous!)

His age was no secret. His wife shared it with us right away! He was more than 70 years old, but he had the eyes of a young man- lit up from within and filled with purpose. Each wrinkle on his face told a story and he shared a few of them with us.

The one that immediately stood out to me was about integration. “You know what I mean,” he said. “When they integrated the schools, I moved (schools) across town.” Because of this, “move across town,” this 77 year old man graduated from the same school my friend graduated from, albeit several years earlier. My friend tells stories of how rough the school was when she went there; but if the walls could talk, they would tell stories of an even rougher time. A time when students of color became pioneers, trailblazers, if you will. A time that those who saw it first-hand will never forget. A time that, in part, shaped who they are today.

He didn’t say anything negative about those days. He didn’t discriminate against us because our skin happened to be the color of the people whose lips spewed hatred and contempt in the face of human rights.

Today, we sat around the table and talked and laughed about the things we have in common. Today, our differences weren’t dividing factors, but beautiful colors in masterful paintings. Paintings that are still being perfected by the divine artist.

I enjoyed meeting the owners today. They made me feel at home. I left happy, well-fed and with this thought: We are no longer chained to the past. We can’t rewrite history; but we can leave a different legacy for our children and grandchildren. A legacy that looks like Heaven- people of all colors, loving one another because of God who is love.

He had the eyes of a young man. I’ll never forget those eyes.

Dedicated to Turan & Sheryll Strange- the owners of Another Broken Egg, Pooler, Georgia.