Friday, April 17, 2009

Good Thoughts and Caged Birds

When I got out of graduate school in 1994, I got a job in a hospital in one of the ghettos of Brooklyn (Bedford-Stuyvesant/ Crown Heights). I was working with a lot of poor Black folks for the first time. And for the first time in a long time, I didn't have school stuff that I needed to read. So I decided to start reading a lot of novels that I had missed in my education. And many of the books I chose were also Black authors - because a lot of the patients were Black and I thought it might be helpful.

One of the first books I read was I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. That set me to reading the rest of her books, none of which is the crazy best seller that the first was. But they're all good. They are her life story, which has sort of been like Forrest Gump in that she's met a lot of people and was in just the right spot to meet a lot of people during the Civil Rights Movement. Reading her books also put her in my radar and - as these things are wont to do - I started seeing her on tv. (These were the days before the Internet - before me on the Internet anyway.) She's pretty good for a quotable quote. I used a lot of her poetry with the patients and they loved her.

Maya Angelou loves Oprah and Oprah loves Maya. I saw her on Oprah a couple of times in those days. One day she was talking about something going on in the world. She was talking about sending positive energy to it. It might not have even been a specific problem. She asked everyone to say a prayer, "and if you don't pray, think a good thought," she said.

I thought that was nice to include everyone. Not everyone prays. My parents are big prayers and I pray a good amount, but not everyone does, and I think it's important to get as much good energy as possible flowing around, in what ever form people are willing or able to do.

My dear friend, Patty, is ill. She's going to be fine, but she's ill and it's on my mind a lot. Patty and I have been friends since high school - which was a long time ago. She's the Grace to my Will. She's the yin to my yang. She's where I go to every Thanksgiving. She my heart - as they used to say in the ghetto. It's hard to write about how important she is to me. The world needs more people like Patty. I wish everyone had a friend like her.

So I'm asking you, if you pray, to say a prayer for Patty. And if you don't pray, think a good thought. She's in good hands, but good energy is good energy. Send it up. It'll get where it need to go.


bill said...


This is Bill. I am responding for Patty, because she is busy weeping after reading this beautiful blog offering. You are the most fiercely loyal and truest friend she has. We were so touched by your words- I am printing this entry and taking it to the hospital with her. That way you can be there, too.

Unknown said...

dear andy,

we are connected in thoughts and prayers this week, and in the days to come. i know that patty carries your love in her heart. we are all watching over her, near and far.


Anonymous said...

I just ran across your blog ... by chance ... or maybe not. I pray .. and I will pray for Patty.