The social distancing constraints have confined most of us to our homes. The first few days is fun getting acquainted with spaces in the home, collecting groceries and checking in with family and friends. In my case I received a list of “honey dos” that I have been neglecting under the guise of work demands. As the days extended to weeks, Zoom calls and daily walks became routine and a lot of people started to expand their activities and reflections. I received a call from a young man who wanted to talk about his business and family focus. The time at home permitted personal self reflection and he realized he needed to do some things differently now and during the Covid-19 recovery.

My friend L.Duane Jackson decided to tinker in the kitchen with his spare time and curated a fabulous chicken and fresh vegetables soup that he dropped off on my porch for us to sample. It was delicious. It had a spicy aftertaste. Perhaps it was ginger or maybe white pepper? But it could have been his blend of hot sauce. Or maybe it was just the flavor expansion brought on by the Dominican Rum made by Ron Barcelo Imperial that I drank just before the meal?

Many people have done more reading then they have done in a long time. I reached out to Chief Polar Bear Caroline Hunter to see what the Polar Bears were reading.

Caroline shared Cry The Beloved Country by Alan Paton and Illumination Night by Alice Hoffman. Joanne Meyer Lambert offered There You Are by Mathew Morias. The wildly popular Becoming Michelle Obama is being read by Gladys Thomas Toscano. Trace Gaskin has a heavy bedside book list including Blindside by James Patterson, The Treadstone by Robert Ludlum and Meditations Across the Kings by James Weeks. Katy Laskowaski is digesting The Other Einstein, The Nickel Boys, The Books Woman of Troublesome Creek, Conviction and A Hundred Suns.

I have been enjoying learning about all the musical talent that came through Pittsburg as told by Mark Whitaker in his book Smoketown. Billie Strayhorn, Billy Eckstine, Earl Hines, Mary Lou Williams, and Errol Garner all claim Pittsburgh. Candacy Taylor penned the Overground Railroad which chronicles the homes, inns and restaurants that were available to African Americans traveling across the country by car during the era of segregation. The book was made from the travel guide published by Victor Green from 1936 to 1967. I caught Ambassador Rice being interviewed by Vineyard regular Prof. Skip Gates in Cambridge over the winter and just settled in to her book, Tough Love: My Story of the Things Worth Fighting For. I have also dug deeper into the Third Volume of Vineyard Voices, the Words, Faces and Voices of Island People curated by Linsey Lee.

My favorite has been the 800-page book by Prof. Jeffrey Stewart on the life and complicated legacy of Dr. Alain Locke. The New Negro sheds fresh light on the Harlem Renaissance and many of its most notable luminaries including Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Countee Cullen, Claude McKay, W. E. B. DuBois and so many more.

Please let me know if you have kids, grandchildren and family that have graduated this past May/June and where they are going to college,to work or to graduate school. Paradise on earth is the Vineyard experience. Enjoy it as life is fleeting!