Ode to Hazel and Harlem

One year ago today I was aboard a flight to New York to celebrate my 40th birthday and the 80th birthday of my amazing cousin Hazel Dukes.

Obviously my dreams aren’t wild enough because never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined the life-changing trip I was embarking on. We laughed, we ate, we shopped, we saw Porgy and Bess, we dined on the corner and on high-class cuisine, we toured all parts of the area, lounged at Hazel’s Harlem high-rise, were treated like royalty at our hotel and enjoyed every moment of it.

On that trip I came away with a sense that part of me belongs in Harlem. (No wonder the “fake” Harlem shake is so popular. There’s just something about that place!!!) I loved, loved, loved Harlem, and sharing that experience with my cousin Hazel, my sister and cousins Rikki and Nishia! Walking the streets, shopping with vendors, visiting the Apollo, dining at the famous Sylvia’s, hearing music blasting, seeing beautiful people of all shades each representing different stories made me come alive. I felt a sense of pride and purpose on my journey there.

I also came away from that New York trip with some irreplaceable notions:

  1. I’m blessed.
  2. I want to live in a way that allows me to always have more than enough of my life, love, resources and wisdom to share with others.
  3. I want to live to be vibrant, feisty, bold, sassy and impactful like my cousin Hazel.
  4. New York hotdogs are best eaten on the street in the cold. And a stain of mustard on my clothing is a badge of honor.
  5. Cheese and fresh honeycomb taste great together especially when delivered via room service from a fancy-smancy hotel.
  6. There is an amazing world outside of my world.
  7. Everyone deserves happy memories. Memories are the best way to be where you want to be when you can’t be where you want to be and that’s a blessing.
  8. Family is a blessing that’s to be treasured.

So as I reflect, enjoy these snapshots of my 40th birthday in the Big Apple.

418198_337507502967156_165852765_n 418404_337580139626559_96362490_n 423258_337596809624892_2044934096_n 425927_337507929633780_1163188470_n 428720_337589296292310_974827239_n 430134_337579896293250_975519376_n 431042_337512296300010_457113713_n 431148_337507142967192_735720522_n 431986_337507302967176_162695241_n

2 thoughts on “Ode to Hazel and Harlem

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s