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Holy Holidays

Originally published on Amani Resources website, December 5, 2012

Welcome to the Amani Resources Blog, where we offer SOUL STORIES to inspire and inform. Through storytelling we harness the power of prose and of poetry to share our personal healing journey. We hope you’ll visit often and share some stories of your own.

This Soul Story is written by Tasneem Grace Tewogbola, and based on a series of interviews and conversations with Amani Resources founder, Panya Walker.


Soul Story: Holy Holidays

‘Tis the season for memory’s sacred song.

We hear jingle bells and belly laughs and tinkling sleighs

We savor food and fellowship, twinkling lights and merry Santas,

flying reindeer and loaded rum cake.

It is the holy holidays.

Memory sings a special tune and

makes this girl’s neck sway.

Smiles slide into her speech

as she glides down memory avenue

snapping her fingers and humming as she recalls her youth.

Memory’s melody filly her throat.

Mmmmm, those were good times.

She sings of a love spread wide across two families – Southern folk and island folk wise enough to create arithmetic that insists marital division can multiply goodness to an infinite degree.

She remembers the days of spinning, squealing joy.

Thanksgiving with Dad meant special time with her bonus mother and big brother,

Grandma and Grandpa Lewis and a crowd of aunts, uncles and cousins all sitting at a big table in a small apartment in Queens.

Turkey and dressing, black-eyed peas and greens

Macaroni and cheese, pies and ice cream

Plates loaded with soul food succulence and heaping helpings of love.

Christmas with Mum meant special time with her bonus father and little sister in a brownstone in Brooklyn.

An evergreen tree, dressed in Mum’s handmade ornaments, filled the house with spicy scent and celebration.

Cameras caught her mother looking lovely at sunrise and the sisters looking wild-haired and wild-eyed as they opened gift after gift after gift.

Mmmmm, those were fabulous times.

And now she is a woman, a wife, her own memory-maker.

She has graced several continents, changing zip codes and time zones

And she has missed the merriment and the meals and the moments of yesterday’s parades.

Across the miles loneliness has set in

And she has grieved the scenes that live in photos and remember-whens.

But, over time, the music of her girlhood

has birthed a desire for new songs to add to her soul soundtrack.

After all, these are still the holy holidays.

Today she reaches within and creates her own compass.

One that points backward and forward

And inspires her to extend her family once again.

She adds to her clan, bonus friends and fellowship.

She holds new rituals in her palms, testing them for ripe sweetness

And creates new rhythms with new lyrics.

Her home is scented with nouveau soul food.

There is a new “we,” a revised “us”

There are new menus

And creative gifts

In this self-made celebration of all that has been

and all that remains

and all that will be.

She still sings memory’s sacred song

Her neck sways, her fingers snap, her backbone dips

as she hums

Mmmmmmm, these are wonderful times.





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