Last evening we celebrated Kayla's sweet 16. What memories that day brings back. An auto accident on June 18, and a rush to the hospital the next day to deliver a baby girl nearly 3 months early---then many weeks of neonatal visits. We had a small get-together at the river with Carlton, Melissa, Melissa's folks, and Danielle, Kayla's good friend. My camera batteries went dead, but I did manage to get these snaps.
Earlier in the day we went to the wake for our dear friend Clareatha Taylor----a close neighbor for 28 years when we lived in the old neighborhood in the city. We had a rocky start to our friendship. Only days after we moved in we caught a couple of young boys climbing over our back fence. I chased them out and raced after them down the street, thinking I could catch them and haul them back to their houses for a scolding. They outran me and in the process I infuriated Clareatha and family, thinking my actions were racially motivated----and they may very well have been, though I think to this day I would have done the same had the boys been white. But we were new to the neighborhood and feared the urban legends of crime in the area. I wrote Clareatha a long letter of apology, and that was the beginning of a friendship that has lasted all these years. When her son Michael was shot and killed I held her in my arms and wept. When Carlton was seriously acting out in his late teens, she held me in her arms, though always defending "my baby." Carlton and Kayla went to the funeral home earlier in the afternoon and he felt almost like part of the family. Dear, dear, Clareatha, we miss you!