The year was 1963. My parents were just about 30 years old. My older sister, younger brother, baby sister, and I were driving across country with my parents in a small two door Renault Caravelle. This was one of those many trips we took on our way to another one of my father's assignments in the Air Force. We were driving some place in the South in a terrible rain storm. It became clear to my parents that it was dangerous to drive further. They began searching the highway for the nearest shelter. We finally found a motel after quite some time.
All of us kids went in with my parents. It was one of the first times I can remember being in a motel. I always thought we never stayed in them because we were in too much of a hurry to get to another Air Force base. While we children were all huddled together in a corner, my parents were attempting to negotiate a room. I use the world negotiate because that is exactly what they were doing. It turns out that the only motel for many miles around, during a dangerous storm, was one for whites only. I watched my father and mother plead with the clerk, then the manager for a place to sleep that night. They asked if there was a place away from guests where we could stay. My father appealed to the manager as one father to another. All was to no avail. No Negroes were allowed at that motel under any circumstance.
A white couple I judged to be a little older than my parents had entered the lobby at some point just before the final edict from the manager. They apparently lived in the area and had been there to visit someone they knew who was staying at the motel. They watched the negotiations for a time, then asked my parents to have our family as guests at their house that evening. Although absolutely stunned, my parents accepted their generous offer. Not long afterwards we children were tucked away on cots in a large family room. I drifted to sleep as my parents and those people stayed up to talk about adult things. The next morning we were treated to a pancake breakfast before we went on our way. I have never seen those people since then, but their act of compassion has been indelibly etched into my consciousness. Now, that I am older, I understand that I need to add courage to this list of virtues because their compassion and generosity probably came at some cost to them in the community where they lived.
This YouTube video is of the service Carol and I did at the Unitarian Universalist Church in San Mateo, CA on August 16, 2015. Paul Zawilski and I played the Brahms E Minor Cello Sonata. Then Carol and I played together. Then I did the "Compassion" Sermon.
About this blog.
This blog is a place where many of the confluences of my life can be shared. I am, at the core, a creative person. I approach everything from that basis... whether composing symphonies, playing the cello, being a serial entrepreneur, writing sermons and essays, flying airplanes, or creating software apps. I am deeply passionate about creativity, issues of social justice, and spiritual enrichment. These are fundamental to everything I do. Welcome to my journey!