My Privacy

There are so many things the children say that I want to remember. I realized Yessa has a quirky one that we’ve just taken for granted, that I really needed to get written down.

When she’s talking about the area covered by her bikini bottoms, she refers to it as, “my privacy,” as in, “I got hit in my privacy.”

She knows the accurate names for all the parts of the female and male bodies, because that’s what we use, so I’m not sure where this particular verbal tic came from, but it makes me smile. I love that she created a phraseology in her own mind that makes sense for her.

National Children’s Museum and Camera Thoughts

Aunt A had the superb idea of the moms and kids enjoying the cousins’ day off from school together and heading to the recently opened National Children’s Museum. Bless her, she even drove since we can all fit in their SUV.

I realized three things:

1) I had subconsciously been thinking the Museum might be free since it was the National Children’s Museum, and many of the other museums of the D.C. Variety are free. But, this is no Smithsonian. $10/person.

2) I don’t care for this other lens on my camera. Buds assures me it is great for portrait shots, but I take lots of candids, and often I’m taking them from a distance so as to not disturb the participants. I’m going back to my big zoomer, though it is a heavy beast.

3) I am frustrated with myself for continuing to be a camera novice. By taking sheer numbers of pictures, I get several that are lovely. But, when I have the potential for a great shot, and it needs to be given a little care in the moment to make it outstanding, I do not know how to do that.

Case in point:

Two beloveds.

This should be a beautiful shot, and with some post-production rendering, I can make it decent, but with some simple camera adjustments, I could have made it superb at the time…I think.

So, I’m going to work on that. I’ve printed off several tutorials, several infographics, and made a board on pinterest for keeping track of the essays I want to read. I don’t aspire to be a Gina, but I would like to be the best Blog Photographer I can be.

Funny Yessa Moments

Yessa and I were listening to the radio, which we seldom do, choosing Pandora instead. But for whatever reason we had the radio on.

We heard a song that Yessa really liked and she said, “Mom, can you go back to that song? I want to hear it again.”

I explained that there wasn’t a way to get back to the song. It was like when we watched television at Grandma Iowa’s house. We couldn’t rewind back to the same story. The TV just decides what to play.

She gave me a very long look and then said, “Mommy, are you for real?”

For real?!

And another Yessa moment actually reflects quite poorly on me, but I’ll still record it for journalistic integrity.

I tend to be a lippy driver. I have toned it down a great deal since having children, but sometimes it is still difficult for me.

I may have just happened to briefly use a pejorative when referring to a female driver who caused me frustration. The word is accurately used to describe a female of the dog variety.

Always being honest with the children, when they piped up with, “What did you say, Mom?” Or, in the case of Zoe, who is quick to reprimand me when I’m naughty, “Mom!”

After I apologized and explained, and said the word again so they could hear it clearly, and explained why it was not a good choice of words, and examples of other things I could have said, I could hear Yessa, and see her in the rear-view mirror, rolling the curse word around in her mouth like a fine caramel that she was savoring.

Ahhh, parenting guilt combined with laughter. A delicious combination…

Clothes Purge

Yessa and I finally settled in to go through her clothes.

This sweet child has definite preferences for certain types of clothes. She always wears pants, even under a dress. The clothes have to feel and look a certain way. She tends to find a particular item or two and cling to those for as long as propriety and leg movement will allow.

Remember the fishy swimming suit?

It was a dress up outfit.

Oh, yes! It could also be worn as a swimming suit on the beach…in Costa Rica!

She loved these shoes:

Shoe self-portrait

This princess pajama shirt was worn everywhere, all the time, for months!

Princess pajamas, also good for rockin’.

These shoes finally broke, but they provided many hours of wearage.

These shorts were the go-to pants for a very long time. If she wore them now, she wouldn’t be able to walk.

Monkey’s original rain coat–a share from Gina, oh, so many years ago.

When I saw the raincoat, I always thought of our vacation on the Outer Banks with Aunt A and Uncle Z, back when Zoe was the only grandchild.

Aunt A and Monkey in the rain.

Here’s The Buster in the coat at Pumpkin Glow Night at Great Country Farms a couple years ago. Yessa is also wearing a coat from Gina, and a dress from Jenny. I love my friends!

We’re at a magic show at church in this picture. She’s wearing her heart pajamas.

Luckily, Kate and Betty have been so kind in sharing many clothes and shoes with Yessa over the years. Having an abundance of new clothes to choose from has made it much easier for her to pass things along.

Here are the items we recently decided to pass along.

This red dress was made by Grandma Vermont with fabric Monkey picked. It was very much loved! Hero is wearing Zoe’s flower girl dress for Aunt Ami and Uncle Jim’s wedding in this picture. Another dress that saw much wear.

The dress is even too small for Yessa now.

Didn’t see much wear, but Yessa loved how this shirt looked.

The purple Tinkerbell nightgown, from Beloved Ms. Jenny, was another outfit that was worn everywhere, day after day after day.

The Princess Dress my dad brought home from Target for Zoe many, many years ago. Can’t believe he’s been gone for 6+ years…

I wish she could remember more of my dad. Many positive feelings around his memory for her, though. And she knows he always got her apple juice whenever she wanted…and as much as she wanted…

Frilly socks Monkey wore for Aunt Ami and Uncle Jim’s wedding. Too small for both girls now, but I love having a memory of that magical day.

Beloved purple skirt. From you, Gina? Maybe a Kelly and Paula donation?

A gift from Sir Brendan on one of his advance scouting trips to China.

Yessa finding the floor of her closet.

Kate and Bets shared two of these shirts, and they both have gotten tons of wear.

Close up of a hand-made dress Mom brought back from one of her mission trips to Mexico for Monkey. It was so comfy and cool.

The fruits of our labor.

A gift from Best Babysitter Jessica

This picture reminds me why I love remembering where clothes have come from. I look at the Buster and the Monkey’s laughing faces in these pictures, both wearing clothes from people who love them, and it’s just good feelings all around.

An awesome sundress my mom bought for Monkey, or maybe it was Aunt Rebecca? Uh, oh, memory fail.

We’re Going On A Tree Hunt

It’s been nearly three months ago now, but we did go out on a Christmas tree quest with Uncle Z and Aunt A and crew, and it was a great time, so I’d like us to remember it in years to come.

One of my favorite aspects of the day was that it was The Day Of “O,” meaning Cousin O spent the whole day with us, then we went to get our Christmas trees together as the ending to the day. It was awesome!

Dad had many suggestions for potential trees.

The children ignored all of his ideas.

We could lloooovvveee this tree, says Dad.

It was a cold, gray day, so though we took our time finding the right tree, we quickly got over the original vision of finding the “perfect” tree.

We searched near and far…

Monkey with saw, ready to drop any tree in her path.

We did find the infamous yet elusive candy cane tree, which helped the littles pass the time.

Sticky!

Please, please, please let me cut something down!

Okay, this is the one!

Guess where the chosen tree was finally found?

Right in front of our car.

After a stop at a coffee shop to warm up and have some snacks, home we went with our piney friend on the roof.

Home for some decorating and Christmas Carols.


I love that the children are old enough to truly take care of the tree decorating.

Thank you, Wonderful Tree, for making our holiday better.

Besides child-created ornaments, this little fireplace is my favorite Christmas decoration. The kids convinced me to leave it out year-round. How wise they are.

Back To Museum Mondays

Taking advantage of the free admission in celebration of MLK, Jr. Day, the children and I headed up to Baltimore to visit the American Visionary Art Museum. It may have just become my favorite museum.

When we first walked in, all of us had flashbacks to the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum. We even saw some toast art. But it didn’t take long for us to be drawn in by the amazing creations we were seeing.

Because I wasn’t sure, I thought you might also appreciate reading the museum brochure description of Visionary Art:

Like love, you know it when you see it. But here’s the longer definition, straight out of our Mission Statement:

“Visionary art as defined for the purposes of the American Visionary Art Museum refers to art produced by self-taught individuals, usually without formal training, whose works arise from an innate personal vision that revels foremost in the creative act itself.”

In short, visionary art begins by listening to the inner voices of the soul, and often may not even be thought of as ‘art’ by its creator.

We walked around for an hour, then decided to take a break for lunch. We hadn’t dressed warmly enough for the day, and the directions we received from various people sent us on a couple wandering journeys, but eventually we found Sorso Cafe. We were so glad to be in out of the warmth, though the food didn’t quite hit the sweet spot for us. I would have been thrilled to try their coffee, but that isn’t on the menu right now.

Settled in and warming up.

As luck would have it, we were able watch President Obama being sworn in! Yeah!

Four More Years!

My favorite exhibit was Gretchen Feldman: Love Letter to Earth (1934-2008)

In addition to creating beautiful works of art:

Picture from here: http://i.ytimg.com/vi/3gT39RXod2M/0.jpg

the write up on the wall in the exhibit sums up the sort of life I’d like to live:

Introduction to
GRETCHEN FELDMAN: Love Letter to Earth (1934 – 2008)
Master of the Universe / grant me the ability to be alone; / may it be my custom to go outdoors each day among the trees and grasses, / among all growing things, / and there to be alone, and enter into prayer, / to talk to the One to whom I belong.
—Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav

Toward the end of an exceedingly happy, family-filled life, artist Gretchen Feldman declared her garden on Martha’s Vineyard, “My best friend.”
Views of sea, sky, and swaying grasses combined with the play of seasonal color and natural light to flood Gretchen’s island home and art studio with inspiration and peace. Dominating her subsequent artistic explorations that were intensified by a surprise diagnosis of lung cancer in the last year of her life, are Gretchen’s luminous paintings depicting exquisite and eternal themes: where land meets sea, day embraces night, sky kisses earth, and all the color and radiance inherent to that balanced and alchemical, sacred cycle of union and touch.
Born Gretchen Lvov Vogel on February 19, 1934 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to
parents of Romanian and Russian Jewish parentage, Gretchen’s family was of modest means. Gretchen’s father worked in a steel mill and her mother as a seamstress. Raised in Baltimore, Gretchen and her only sibling—older brother Robert—attended on full scholarship the progressive and private, The Park School, where her father, Ned, secured a position teaching English and her strikingly beautiful mother, Vera, was hired as assistant
to the School’s principal. On graduation from Park, Gretchen attended Swarthmore College for two years, changing to Maryland’s Goucher College after she met her future husband, Sam Feldman, on a blind date. Both experienced that great rarity—a lasting “love at first sight.” Married in 1955, Gretchen worked as a textile conservator, while Sam became a successful men’s clothier and retailer. They raised two daughters in Baltimore, Dene and Leigh, sending them, also, to The Park School.
Gretchen sewed her children’s clothes, made their costumes, and loved providing her family nightly home cooking. She and Sam shared many passions—classical music, politics, art and a dedication to community well being. Together, they were among the first to support the establishment of the American Visionary Art Museum.
Gretchen and Sam’s wooded Baltimore garden was filled each spring with many
thousands of daffodils. After their two daughters, Dene and Leigh, were grown, Gretchen light-heartedly declared Baltimore, “a tight shoe,” and carefully scouted a nature-filled site to make a home in Chilmark, on Martha’s Vineyard. There, they nurtured barn owlets in their field, kept sheep, and benefited from indigenous garden expert Wolfgang Oehme’s respectful vision of the land that was wholly harmonious with Gretchen’s goal to replicate a natural meadow. Gretchen’s joy was in finding and collecting nature’s worn, heart-shaped, beach rocks—an ongoing hunt whose delight she passed on to her friends, children and
adored grandchildren.
Quiet, but possessing a lively sense of humor, Gretchen was a voracious reader who clipped New Yorker cartoons for her adult daughters and dinner guests as apropos place settings. She requested the following quote by Woody Allen be read at her funeral:
“In my next life I want to live my life backwards. You start out dead and get that out of the way. Then you wake up in an old people’s home feeling better
every day. You get kicked out for being too healthy, go collect your pension, and then when you start work, you get a gold watch and a party on your first day. You work for 40 years until you’re young enough to enjoy your retirement. You party, drink alcohol, and are generally promiscuous, then you are ready for
high school. You then go to primary school, you become a kid, you play. You
have no responsibilities, you become a baby until you are born. And then you
spend your last 9 months floating in luxurious spa-like conditions with central
heating and room service on tap, larger quarters every day and then Voila! You
finish off as an orgasm!”

Gretchen asked her family to be sure to note in her obituary, à la other dedicated liberals, “In lieu of flowers, please vote Democratic!”
—Exhibition Co-Curators: Dene Feldman and Rebecca Alban Hoffberger

What an amazing, lovely, loving woman.

We also had the joy/sorrow of reading through the Esther Krinitz display. In amazing quilted, embroidered, beautiful texture creations, she tells the story of her life before and after the Nazis took over her village. There was a video to accompany the exhibit, and the big kids spent time watching that, though they didn’t want to talk about it. Monkey took the time to read through the entire display, which had probably 20 different pieces. The Buster read some, turned to me and said, “Mom, are all these stories true?”

Sadly, yes.

Pictures aren’t allowed inside the museum, but I so wanted to take pictures of the children looking at the exhibits they found most intriguing.

Yessa loved looking at the display case filled with Pez dispensers, finding characters she recognized.

We were all fascinated by the rainbow, glass angel rising and falling in the entryway. It wasn’t until we returned from lunch that we realized the life-size angel was moving.

We spent a long time looking at The Fairy Castle and The Fairy Tree House.

All the children mentioned that they thought Dad would love this museum, so I know we will return.

A great start to the new year’s Museum Mondays.

Letter From A Birmingham Jail

For Future Discussion. From here: Letter

“Letter from a Birmingham Jail [King, Jr.]”

16 April 1963
My Dear Fellow Clergymen:
While confined here in the Birmingham city jail, I came across your recent statement calling my present activities “unwise and untimely.” Seldom do I pause to answer criticism of my work and ideas. If I sought to answer all the criticisms that cross my desk, my secretaries would have little time for anything other than such correspondence in the course of the day, and I would have no time for constructive work. But since I feel that you are men of genuine good will and that your criticisms are sincerely set forth, I want to try to answer your statement in what I hope will be patient and reasonable terms.

I think I should indicate why I am here in Birmingham, since you have been influenced by the view which argues against “outsiders coming in.” I have the honor of serving as president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization operating in every southern state, with headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. We have some eighty five affiliated organizations across the South, and one of them is the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights. Frequently we share staff, educational and financial resources with our affiliates. Several months ago the affiliate here in Birmingham asked us to be on call to engage in a nonviolent direct action program if such were deemed necessary. We readily consented, and when the hour came we lived up to our promise. So I, along with several members of my staff, am here because I was invited here. I am here because I have organizational ties here.

But more basically, I am in Birmingham because injustice is here. Just as the prophets of the eighth century B.C. left their villages and carried their “thus saith the Lord” far beyond the boundaries of their home towns, and just as the Apostle Paul left his village of Tarsus and carried the gospel of Jesus Christ to the far corners of the Greco Roman world, so am I compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my own home town. Like Paul, I must constantly respond to the Macedonian call for aid.

Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial “outside agitator” idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.

You deplore the demonstrations taking place in Birmingham. But your statement, I am sorry to say, fails to express a similar concern for the conditions that brought about the demonstrations. I am sure that none of you would want to rest content with the superficial kind of social analysis that deals merely with effects and does not grapple with underlying causes. It is unfortunate that demonstrations are taking place in Birmingham, but it is even more unfortunate that the city’s white power structure left the Negro community with no alternative.

In any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; negotiation; self purification; and direct action. We have gone through all these steps in Birmingham. There can be no gainsaying the fact that racial injustice engulfs this community. Birmingham is probably the most thoroughly segregated city in the United States. Its ugly record of brutality is widely known. Negroes have experienced grossly unjust treatment in the courts. There have been more unsolved bombings of Negro homes and churches in Birmingham than in any other city in the nation. These are the hard, brutal facts of the case. On the basis of these conditions, Negro leaders sought to negotiate with the city fathers. But the latter consistently refused to engage in good faith negotiation.

Then, last September, came the opportunity to talk with leaders of Birmingham’s economic community. In the course of the negotiations, certain promises were made by the merchants–for example, to remove the stores’ humiliating racial signs. On the basis of these promises, the Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth and the leaders of the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights agreed to a moratorium on all demonstrations. As the weeks and months went by, we realized that we were the victims of a broken promise. A few signs, briefly removed, returned; the others remained. As in so many past experiences, our hopes had been blasted, and the shadow of deep disappointment settled upon us. We had no alternative except to prepare for direct action, whereby we would present our very bodies as a means of laying our case before the conscience of the local and the national community. Mindful of the difficulties involved, we decided to undertake a process of self purification. We began a series of workshops on nonviolence, and we repeatedly asked ourselves: “Are you able to accept blows without retaliating?” “Are you able to endure the ordeal of jail?” We decided to schedule our direct action program for the Easter season, realizing that except for Christmas, this is the main shopping period of the year. Knowing that a strong economic-withdrawal program would be the by product of direct action, we felt that this would be the best time to bring pressure to bear on the merchants for the needed change.

Then it occurred to us that Birmingham’s mayoral election was coming up in March, and we speedily decided to postpone action until after election day. When we discovered that the Commissioner of Public Safety, Eugene “Bull” Connor, had piled up enough votes to be in the run off, we decided again to postpone action until the day after the run off so that the demonstrations could not be used to cloud the issues. Like many others, we waited to see Mr. Connor defeated, and to this end we endured postponement after postponement. Having aided in this community need, we felt that our direct action program could be delayed no longer.

You may well ask: “Why direct action? Why sit ins, marches and so forth? Isn’t negotiation a better path?” You are quite right in calling for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. My citing the creation of tension as part of the work of the nonviolent resister may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word “tension.” I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth. Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, so must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood. The purpose of our direct action program is to create a situation so crisis packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation. I therefore concur with you in your call for negotiation. Too long has our beloved Southland been bogged down in a tragic effort to live in monologue rather than dialogue.

One of the basic points in your statement is that the action that I and my associates have taken in Birmingham is untimely. Some have asked: “Why didn’t you give the new city administration time to act?” The only answer that I can give to this query is that the new Birmingham administration must be prodded about as much as the outgoing one, before it will act. We are sadly mistaken if we feel that the election of Albert Boutwell as mayor will bring the millennium to Birmingham. While Mr. Boutwell is a much more gentle person than Mr. Connor, they are both segregationists, dedicated to maintenance of the status quo. I have hope that Mr. Boutwell will be reasonable enough to see the futility of massive resistance to desegregation. But he will not see this without pressure from devotees of civil rights. My friends, I must say to you that we have not made a single gain in civil rights without determined legal and nonviolent pressure. Lamentably, it is an historical fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily. Individuals may see the moral light and voluntarily give up their unjust posture; but, as Reinhold Niebuhr has reminded us, groups tend to be more immoral than individuals.

We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was “well timed” in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word “Wait!” It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This “Wait” has almost always meant “Never.” We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that “justice too long delayed is justice denied.”

We have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional and God given rights. The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jetlike speed toward gaining political independence, but we still creep at horse and buggy pace toward gaining a cup of coffee at a lunch counter. Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, “Wait.” But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six year old daughter why she can’t go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five year old son who is asking: “Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?”; when you take a cross county drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading “white” and “colored”; when your first name becomes “nigger,” your middle name becomes “boy” (however old you are) and your last name becomes “John,” and your wife and mother are never given the respected title “Mrs.”; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of “nobodiness”–then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait. There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience. You express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws. This is certainly a legitimate concern. Since we so diligently urge people to obey the Supreme Court’s decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in the public schools, at first glance it may seem rather paradoxical for us consciously to break laws. One may well ask: “How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?” The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that “an unjust law is no law at all.”

Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality. It gives the segregator a false sense of superiority and the segregated a false sense of inferiority. Segregation, to use the terminology of the Jewish philosopher Martin Buber, substitutes an “I it” relationship for an “I thou” relationship and ends up relegating persons to the status of things. Hence segregation is not only politically, economically and sociologically unsound, it is morally wrong and sinful. Paul Tillich has said that sin is separation. Is not segregation an existential expression of man’s tragic separation, his awful estrangement, his terrible sinfulness? Thus it is that I can urge men to obey the 1954 decision of the Supreme Court, for it is morally right; and I can urge them to disobey segregation ordinances, for they are morally wrong.

Let us consider a more concrete example of just and unjust laws. An unjust law is a code that a numerical or power majority group compels a minority group to obey but does not make binding on itself. This is difference made legal. By the same token, a just law is a code that a majority compels a minority to follow and that it is willing to follow itself. This is sameness made legal. Let me give another explanation. A law is unjust if it is inflicted on a minority that, as a result of being denied the right to vote, had no part in enacting or devising the law. Who can say that the legislature of Alabama which set up that state’s segregation laws was democratically elected? Throughout Alabama all sorts of devious methods are used to prevent Negroes from becoming registered voters, and there are some counties in which, even though Negroes constitute a majority of the population, not a single Negro is registered. Can any law enacted under such circumstances be considered democratically structured?

Sometimes a law is just on its face and unjust in its application. For instance, I have been arrested on a charge of parading without a permit. Now, there is nothing wrong in having an ordinance which requires a permit for a parade. But such an ordinance becomes unjust when it is used to maintain segregation and to deny citizens the First-Amendment privilege of peaceful assembly and protest.

I hope you are able to see the distinction I am trying to point out. In no sense do I advocate evading or defying the law, as would the rabid segregationist. That would lead to anarchy. One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty. I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.

Of course, there is nothing new about this kind of civil disobedience. It was evidenced sublimely in the refusal of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to obey the laws of Nebuchadnezzar, on the ground that a higher moral law was at stake. It was practiced superbly by the early Christians, who were willing to face hungry lions and the excruciating pain of chopping blocks rather than submit to certain unjust laws of the Roman Empire. To a degree, academic freedom is a reality today because Socrates practiced civil disobedience. In our own nation, the Boston Tea Party represented a massive act of civil disobedience.

We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was “legal” and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was “illegal.” It was “illegal” to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler’s Germany. Even so, I am sure that, had I lived in Germany at the time, I would have aided and comforted my Jewish brothers. If today I lived in a Communist country where certain principles dear to the Christian faith are suppressed, I would openly advocate disobeying that country’s antireligious laws.

I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and that when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress. I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that the present tension in the South is a necessary phase of the transition from an obnoxious negative peace, in which the Negro passively accepted his unjust plight, to a substantive and positive peace, in which all men will respect the dignity and worth of human personality. Actually, we who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with. Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.

In your statement you assert that our actions, even though peaceful, must be condemned because they precipitate violence. But is this a logical assertion? Isn’t this like condemning a robbed man because his possession of money precipitated the evil act of robbery? Isn’t this like condemning Socrates because his unswerving commitment to truth and his philosophical inquiries precipitated the act by the misguided populace in which they made him drink hemlock? Isn’t this like condemning Jesus because his unique God consciousness and never ceasing devotion to God’s will precipitated the evil act of crucifixion? We must come to see that, as the federal courts have consistently affirmed, it is wrong to urge an individual to cease his efforts to gain his basic constitutional rights because the quest may precipitate violence. Society must protect the robbed and punish the robber. I had also hoped that the white moderate would reject the myth concerning time in relation to the struggle for freedom. I have just received a letter from a white brother in Texas. He writes: “All Christians know that the colored people will receive equal rights eventually, but it is possible that you are in too great a religious hurry. It has taken Christianity almost two thousand years to accomplish what it has. The teachings of Christ take time to come to earth.” Such an attitude stems from a tragic misconception of time, from the strangely irrational notion that there is something in the very flow of time that will inevitably cure all ills. Actually, time itself is neutral; it can be used either destructively or constructively. More and more I feel that the people of ill will have used time much more effectively than have the people of good will. We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people. Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be co workers with God, and without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation. We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right. Now is the time to make real the promise of democracy and transform our pending national elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood. Now is the time to lift our national policy from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of human dignity.

You speak of our activity in Birmingham as extreme. At first I was rather disappointed that fellow clergymen would see my nonviolent efforts as those of an extremist. I began thinking about the fact that I stand in the middle of two opposing forces in the Negro community. One is a force of complacency, made up in part of Negroes who, as a result of long years of oppression, are so drained of self respect and a sense of “somebodiness” that they have adjusted to segregation; and in part of a few middle-class Negroes who, because of a degree of academic and economic security and because in some ways they profit by segregation, have become insensitive to the problems of the masses. The other force is one of bitterness and hatred, and it comes perilously close to advocating violence. It is expressed in the various black nationalist groups that are springing up across the nation, the largest and best known being Elijah Muhammad’s Muslim movement. Nourished by the Negro’s frustration over the continued existence of racial discrimination, this movement is made up of people who have lost faith in America, who have absolutely repudiated Christianity, and who have concluded that the white man is an incorrigible “devil.”

I have tried to stand between these two forces, saying that we need emulate neither the “do nothingism” of the complacent nor the hatred and despair of the black nationalist. For there is the more excellent way of love and nonviolent protest. I am grateful to God that, through the influence of the Negro church, the way of nonviolence became an integral part of our struggle. If this philosophy had not emerged, by now many streets of the South would, I am convinced, be flowing with blood. And I am further convinced that if our white brothers dismiss as “rabble rousers” and “outside agitators” those of us who employ nonviolent direct action, and if they refuse to support our nonviolent efforts, millions of Negroes will, out of frustration and despair, seek solace and security in black nationalist ideologies–a development that would inevitably lead to a frightening racial nightmare.

Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. The yearning for freedom eventually manifests itself, and that is what has happened to the American Negro. Something within has reminded him of his birthright of freedom, and something without has reminded him that it can be gained. Consciously or unconsciously, he has been caught up by the Zeitgeist, and with his black brothers of Africa and his brown and yellow brothers of Asia, South America and the Caribbean, the United States Negro is moving with a sense of great urgency toward the promised land of racial justice. If one recognizes this vital urge that has engulfed the Negro community, one should readily understand why public demonstrations are taking place. The Negro has many pent up resentments and latent frustrations, and he must release them. So let him march; let him make prayer pilgrimages to the city hall; let him go on freedom rides -and try to understand why he must do so. If his repressed emotions are not released in nonviolent ways, they will seek expression through violence; this is not a threat but a fact of history. So I have not said to my people: “Get rid of your discontent.” Rather, I have tried to say that this normal and healthy discontent can be channeled into the creative outlet of nonviolent direct action. And now this approach is being termed extremist. But though I was initially disappointed at being categorized as an extremist, as I continued to think about the matter I gradually gained a measure of satisfaction from the label. Was not Jesus an extremist for love: “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” Was not Amos an extremist for justice: “Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever flowing stream.” Was not Paul an extremist for the Christian gospel: “I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.” Was not Martin Luther an extremist: “Here I stand; I cannot do otherwise, so help me God.” And John Bunyan: “I will stay in jail to the end of my days before I make a butchery of my conscience.” And Abraham Lincoln: “This nation cannot survive half slave and half free.” And Thomas Jefferson: “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal . . .” So the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice? In that dramatic scene on Calvary’s hill three men were crucified. We must never forget that all three were crucified for the same crime–the crime of extremism. Two were extremists for immorality, and thus fell below their environment. The other, Jesus Christ, was an extremist for love, truth and goodness, and thereby rose above his environment. Perhaps the South, the nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists.

I had hoped that the white moderate would see this need. Perhaps I was too optimistic; perhaps I expected too much. I suppose I should have realized that few members of the oppressor race can understand the deep groans and passionate yearnings of the oppressed race, and still fewer have the vision to see that injustice must be rooted out by strong, persistent and determined action. I am thankful, however, that some of our white brothers in the South have grasped the meaning of this social revolution and committed themselves to it. They are still all too few in quantity, but they are big in quality. Some -such as Ralph McGill, Lillian Smith, Harry Golden, James McBride Dabbs, Ann Braden and Sarah Patton Boyle–have written about our struggle in eloquent and prophetic terms. Others have marched with us down nameless streets of the South. They have languished in filthy, roach infested jails, suffering the abuse and brutality of policemen who view them as “dirty nigger-lovers.” Unlike so many of their moderate brothers and sisters, they have recognized the urgency of the moment and sensed the need for powerful “action” antidotes to combat the disease of segregation. Let me take note of my other major disappointment. I have been so greatly disappointed with the white church and its leadership. Of course, there are some notable exceptions. I am not unmindful of the fact that each of you has taken some significant stands on this issue. I commend you, Reverend Stallings, for your Christian stand on this past Sunday, in welcoming Negroes to your worship service on a nonsegregated basis. I commend the Catholic leaders of this state for integrating Spring Hill College several years ago.

But despite these notable exceptions, I must honestly reiterate that I have been disappointed with the church. I do not say this as one of those negative critics who can always find something wrong with the church. I say this as a minister of the gospel, who loves the church; who was nurtured in its bosom; who has been sustained by its spiritual blessings and who will remain true to it as long as the cord of life shall lengthen.

When I was suddenly catapulted into the leadership of the bus protest in Montgomery, Alabama, a few years ago, I felt we would be supported by the white church. I felt that the white ministers, priests and rabbis of the South would be among our strongest allies. Instead, some have been outright opponents, refusing to understand the freedom movement and misrepresenting its leaders; all too many others have been more cautious than courageous and have remained silent behind the anesthetizing security of stained glass windows.

In spite of my shattered dreams, I came to Birmingham with the hope that the white religious leadership of this community would see the justice of our cause and, with deep moral concern, would serve as the channel through which our just grievances could reach the power structure. I had hoped that each of you would understand. But again I have been disappointed.

I have heard numerous southern religious leaders admonish their worshipers to comply with a desegregation decision because it is the law, but I have longed to hear white ministers declare: “Follow this decree because integration is morally right and because the Negro is your brother.” In the midst of blatant injustices inflicted upon the Negro, I have watched white churchmen stand on the sideline and mouth pious irrelevancies and sanctimonious trivialities. In the midst of a mighty struggle to rid our nation of racial and economic injustice, I have heard many ministers say: “Those are social issues, with which the gospel has no real concern.” And I have watched many churches commit themselves to a completely other worldly religion which makes a strange, un-Biblical distinction between body and soul, between the sacred and the secular.

I have traveled the length and breadth of Alabama, Mississippi and all the other southern states. On sweltering summer days and crisp autumn mornings I have looked at the South’s beautiful churches with their lofty spires pointing heavenward. I have beheld the impressive outlines of her massive religious education buildings. Over and over I have found myself asking: “What kind of people worship here? Who is their God? Where were their voices when the lips of Governor Barnett dripped with words of interposition and nullification? Where were they when Governor Wallace gave a clarion call for defiance and hatred? Where were their voices of support when bruised and weary Negro men and women decided to rise from the dark dungeons of complacency to the bright hills of creative protest?”

Yes, these questions are still in my mind. In deep disappointment I have wept over the laxity of the church. But be assured that my tears have been tears of love. There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love. Yes, I love the church. How could I do otherwise? I am in the rather unique position of being the son, the grandson and the great grandson of preachers. Yes, I see the church as the body of Christ. But, oh! How we have blemished and scarred that body through social neglect and through fear of being nonconformists.

There was a time when the church was very powerful–in the time when the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. Whenever the early Christians entered a town, the people in power became disturbed and immediately sought to convict the Christians for being “disturbers of the peace” and “outside agitators.”‘ But the Christians pressed on, in the conviction that they were “a colony of heaven,” called to obey God rather than man. Small in number, they were big in commitment. They were too God-intoxicated to be “astronomically intimidated.” By their effort and example they brought an end to such ancient evils as infanticide and gladiatorial contests. Things are different now. So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an archdefender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church’s silent–and often even vocal–sanction of things as they are.

But the judgment of God is upon the church as never before. If today’s church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century. Every day I meet young people whose disappointment with the church has turned into outright disgust.

Perhaps I have once again been too optimistic. Is organized religion too inextricably bound to the status quo to save our nation and the world? Perhaps I must turn my faith to the inner spiritual church, the church within the church, as the true ekklesia and the hope of the world. But again I am thankful to God that some noble souls from the ranks of organized religion have broken loose from the paralyzing chains of conformity and joined us as active partners in the struggle for freedom. They have left their secure congregations and walked the streets of Albany, Georgia, with us. They have gone down the highways of the South on tortuous rides for freedom. Yes, they have gone to jail with us. Some have been dismissed from their churches, have lost the support of their bishops and fellow ministers. But they have acted in the faith that right defeated is stronger than evil triumphant. Their witness has been the spiritual salt that has preserved the true meaning of the gospel in these troubled times. They have carved a tunnel of hope through the dark mountain of disappointment. I hope the church as a whole will meet the challenge of this decisive hour. But even if the church does not come to the aid of justice, I have no despair about the future. I have no fear about the outcome of our struggle in Birmingham, even if our motives are at present misunderstood. We will reach the goal of freedom in Birmingham and all over the nation, because the goal of America is freedom. Abused and scorned though we may be, our destiny is tied up with America’s destiny. Before the pilgrims landed at Plymouth, we were here. Before the pen of Jefferson etched the majestic words of the Declaration of Independence across the pages of history, we were here. For more than two centuries our forebears labored in this country without wages; they made cotton king; they built the homes of their masters while suffering gross injustice and shameful humiliation -and yet out of a bottomless vitality they continued to thrive and develop. If the inexpressible cruelties of slavery could not stop us, the opposition we now face will surely fail. We will win our freedom because the sacred heritage of our nation and the eternal will of God are embodied in our echoing demands. Before closing I feel impelled to mention one other point in your statement that has troubled me profoundly. You warmly commended the Birmingham police force for keeping “order” and “preventing violence.” I doubt that you would have so warmly commended the police force if you had seen its dogs sinking their teeth into unarmed, nonviolent Negroes. I doubt that you would so quickly commend the policemen if you were to observe their ugly and inhumane treatment of Negroes here in the city jail; if you were to watch them push and curse old Negro women and young Negro girls; if you were to see them slap and kick old Negro men and young boys; if you were to observe them, as they did on two occasions, refuse to give us food because we wanted to sing our grace together. I cannot join you in your praise of the Birmingham police department.

It is true that the police have exercised a degree of discipline in handling the demonstrators. In this sense they have conducted themselves rather “nonviolently” in public. But for what purpose? To preserve the evil system of segregation. Over the past few years I have consistently preached that nonviolence demands that the means we use must be as pure as the ends we seek. I have tried to make clear that it is wrong to use immoral means to attain moral ends. But now I must affirm that it is just as wrong, or perhaps even more so, to use moral means to preserve immoral ends. Perhaps Mr. Connor and his policemen have been rather nonviolent in public, as was Chief Pritchett in Albany, Georgia, but they have used the moral means of nonviolence to maintain the immoral end of racial injustice. As T. S. Eliot has said: “The last temptation is the greatest treason: To do the right deed for the wrong reason.”

I wish you had commended the Negro sit inners and demonstrators of Birmingham for their sublime courage, their willingness to suffer and their amazing discipline in the midst of great provocation. One day the South will recognize its real heroes. They will be the James Merediths, with the noble sense of purpose that enables them to face jeering and hostile mobs, and with the agonizing loneliness that characterizes the life of the pioneer. They will be old, oppressed, battered Negro women, symbolized in a seventy two year old woman in Montgomery, Alabama, who rose up with a sense of dignity and with her people decided not to ride segregated buses, and who responded with ungrammatical profundity to one who inquired about her weariness: “My feets is tired, but my soul is at rest.” They will be the young high school and college students, the young ministers of the gospel and a host of their elders, courageously and nonviolently sitting in at lunch counters and willingly going to jail for conscience’ sake. One day the South will know that when these disinherited children of God sat down at lunch counters, they were in reality standing up for what is best in the American dream and for the most sacred values in our Judaeo Christian heritage, thereby bringing our nation back to those great wells of democracy which were dug deep by the founding fathers in their formulation of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

Never before have I written so long a letter. I’m afraid it is much too long to take your precious time. I can assure you that it would have been much shorter if I had been writing from a comfortable desk, but what else can one do when he is alone in a narrow jail cell, other than write long letters, think long thoughts and pray long prayers?

If I have said anything in this letter that overstates the truth and indicates an unreasonable impatience, I beg you to forgive me. If I have said anything that understates the truth and indicates my having a patience that allows me to settle for anything less than brotherhood, I beg God to forgive me.

I hope this letter finds you strong in the faith. I also hope that circumstances will soon make it possible for me to meet each of you, not as an integrationist or a civil-rights leader but as a fellow clergyman and a Christian brother. Let us all hope that the dark clouds of racial prejudice will soon pass away and the deep fog of misunderstanding will be lifted from our fear drenched communities, and in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty.

Yours for the cause of Peace and Brotherhood, Martin Luther King, Jr.
Published in:
King, Martin Luther Jr.

Inaugural Poem For Tea Time Tuesday

For the kids and I to read together tomorrow:

The following poem was delivered by inauguration poet Richard Blanco during ceremonies for President Obama’s second inaugural Monday. The text of the poem was provided by the Presidential Inaugural Committee.

“One Today”

One sun rose on us today, kindled over our shores,
peeking over the Smokies, greeting the faces
of the Great Lakes, spreading a simple truth
across the Great Plains, then charging across the Rockies.
One light, waking up rooftops, under each one, a story
told by our silent gestures moving behind windows.

My face, your face, millions of faces in morning’s mirrors,
each one yawning to life, crescendoing into our day:
pencil-yellow school buses, the rhythm of traffic lights,
fruit stands: apples, limes, and oranges arrayed like rainbows
begging our praise. Silver trucks heavy with oil or paper — bricks or milk, teeming over highways alongside us,
on our way to clean tables, read ledgers, or save lives — to teach geometry, or ring up groceries as my mother did
for twenty years, so I could write this poem.

All of us as vital as the one light we move through,
the same light on blackboards with lessons for the day:
equations to solve, history to question, or atoms imagined,
the “I have a dream” we keep dreaming,
or the impossible vocabulary of sorrow that won’t explain
the empty desks of twenty children marked absent
today, and forever. Many prayers, but one light
breathing color into stained glass windows,
life into the faces of bronze statues, warmth
onto the steps of our museums and park benches
as mothers watch children slide into the day.

One ground. Our ground, rooting us to every stalk
of corn, every head of wheat sown by sweat
and hands, hands gleaning coal or planting windmills
in deserts and hilltops that keep us warm, hands
digging trenches, routing pipes and cables, hands
as worn as my father’s cutting sugarcane
so my brother and I could have books and shoes.

The dust of farms and deserts, cities and plains
mingled by one wind — our breath. Breathe. Hear it
through the day’s gorgeous din of honking cabs,
buses launching down avenues, the symphony
of footsteps, guitars, and screeching subways,
the unexpected song bird on your clothes line.

Hear: squeaky playground swings, trains whistling,
or whispers across cafe tables, Hear: the doors we open
for each other all day, saying: hello, shalom,
buon giorno, howdy, namaste, or buenos días
in the language my mother taught me — in every language
spoken into one wind carrying our lives
without prejudice, as these words break from my lips.

One sky: since the Appalachians and Sierras claimed
their majesty, and the Mississippi and Colorado worked
their way to the sea. Thank the work of our hands:
weaving steel into bridges, finishing one more report
for the boss on time, stitching another wound
or uniform, the first brush stroke on a portrait,
or the last floor on the Freedom Tower
jutting into a sky that yields to our resilience.

One sky, toward which we sometimes lift our eyes
tired from work: some days guessing at the weather
of our lives, some days giving thanks for a love
that loves you back, sometimes praising a mother
who knew how to give, or forgiving a father
who couldn’t give what you wanted.

We head home: through the gloss of rain or weight
of snow, or the plum blush of dusk, but always — home,
always under one sky, our sky. And always one moon
like a silent drum tapping on every rooftop
and every window, of one country — all of us —
facing the stars
hope — a new constellation
waiting for us to map it,
waiting for us to name it — together

The Floridian

Buds and I were so excited. We planned a trip for the children and me to Florida, and we didn’t tell the children. They thought the trip to Atlanta would conclude with Dad flying back to Virginia because he had an important meeting he needed to attend, and we would be driving back…because that’s what we do.

Several people I told about this escapade were sure the children would notice. I suspected they underestimated our children’s ability to disappear into a book. Monkey told me afterward that she had noticed the signs saying, “St. Augustine,” but then before she could ask, she’d be drawn back into what she was reading. Yup, she’s our kid.

As we drove to Matt and April’s through their very Florida-looking sub-division, Yessa said, “Mommy, this reminds me of Disneyworld. Remember when we visited Ms. April when we were down there?”

I cackled in my head.

I told them, “I just have to drop off a package at a client’s house for the business. It will just take a minute.”

When we got to the house, “I’ll just run inside. Why don’t you all get out of your seat belts and stretch your legs a little.”

“No, thanks. We’ll stay in the car.”

“Okay, look,” I said. “Does this place look at all familiar to you? Do you have any idea where we are?”

Completely blank faces.

“Merry Christmas,” I said, as the young ones came streaming out the door. There is no better way to be welcomed to Florida than to be greeted by Naked Sam.

Where are we?!

Let me out of this car!

WE’RE HERE!

So happy and so surprised!

Happy hugs and photobombed.

Getting settled in…and seeing our first Christmas tree of the season.

Cutie Patooties.

Playing outside on the warm days.

Learning to use the juicer.

The girls pick out fabric to make doll clothes.

The sweet boys.

Laughter with friends.

More juice making.

Hairstyling.

April trying to teach me to French Braid.

The weather was so beautiful while we were in Florida that a trip to the beach was in order. All the kids spent at least a little time in the water. The big girls were like fish, and ventured so far out April and I felt compelled to ask them to swim closer to shore because we certainly didn’t want to go in after one of them. Kids don’t mind blue lips, adults…do.

Bravery in numbers.

Okay, maybe not so much.


The sand castle master is back.

The rainbow we saw on the way home from the beach…

The end of the rainbow was at April and Matt’s house.

For another adventure, we took the older kids to the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum. It was quite a mind-blower in so many ways. Some parts were scary, some parts were just gross, and some parts just made us say, “Huh?” Lots to read and see and wonder about.

Toast Art

My hand compared to world’s tallest man’s hand.

Toothpick construction

Watching one of the old Ripley’s TV shows.

My mom would love to own one of these.

The great pictures you can get when people don’t know you are behind a one-way mirror.

Reading the instructions…

Then Ms. April tells them the truth.

Busted…

The spinning room

Ha, ha, she’s back for more.

The shadow picture room

Treasure!

Always they find books to read.

Checking out the giant stallion made of car bumpers.

Back to the kitchen table.

April and “The Check Process.”

Photo by Alex.

Then we tried to get a picture where everyone looks at the camera…

Oh, and maybe not yawning…

Losing ground…

We’ll call this a win.

This was easier to capture.

We also had a night of driving around to see the beautiful Christmas lights around St. Augustine, and many evenings of quiet times. We took a trek to the flea market, and overall had another tremendous visit in Florida.

Can’t wait till we visit again.