Evelyn C. Fortson

African American Author of Women's Fiction


Do you remember walking down the street and a total stranger would greet you as their brother or sister? Now, we hardly speak to each other. I look into the eyes of people as I approach to see if they would be receptive to me greeting them. Often times, people walk pass without looking in my direction. But there are times when I greet someone, and we strike up a conservation; that for a few moments this world does not feel so harsh.

I make a point to speak to the youth, especially the young black boys and young men, because I want them to know that I value them. There is a hard look in some of our children’s eyes. They have had to grow up too fast and they are already hardened by life.

Some of the reactions that I get from the young people that I say hello to is usually a surprised look on their face that an adult is speaking to them. Some look at me strangely and keep walking, other recover from the shock and say hello back.

The children that I speak to in my neighborhood had that same surprised look the first time I spoke to them. Now, they say hello or wave when they see me. Some of them still wait for me to speak first, but I see them watching me, waiting for the greeting.

It cost me nothing to say hello, but what I receive when someone says hello back is always uplifting.

I encourage all of us to use wisdom and discretion when we are out in the streets. These are strange times that we are living in, but fear cannot be the basis of how we live our lives. Make an effort to greet each other, especially the children when it is safe and appropriate to do so. By doing so, maybe we can learn to value each other.

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If you read 2 Timothy 3:1-5 you cannot help but believe that we are indeed living in perilous times. But when haven’t we been living in perilous times? We were in peril from the moment that we touched the shores of America. Our existence continues to be in serious and immediate danger as we drive while black, jog, go to a convenience store, or sleep in our own beds. We are in peril whenever a crime is committed, and it is more expedient to convict than to seek justice.

During the holiday season when families gather to create memories for the future. A spirit of discourse, and chaos lingers around the edges. Unresolved issues pull up to the holiday table and threaten to disrupt the uneasy truce.

But…what would it look like if we could extend grace to each other? In these perilous times can we be grateful for the breath of life that flows through our bodies. Grateful for another day to make things right. To ask for forgiveness and to forgive.

The thing that has helped me regarding forgiveness is I tell myself that people are doing the best they can. I also tell myself that I am doing the best I can, and when I mess up, I tell myself that tomorrow is another day, one in which I can try to do better.

This holiday season when we sit at the holiday table where a loved one maybe missing let’s try to give each other grace. Let’s try to think the best and not the worst of others. Let’s truly be thankful for one more day to make some things right and to do better.

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The holiday season if you are blessed is a time of joy. It is a time when families and friends gather. If you had a childhood where someone made the holidays special than you remember Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year with a sentimental longing.

Every holiday was special for me especially Thanksgiving and Christmas because my parents made it special. My mother cooked, cleaned, and decorated; she made the holidays magical. And my dad played his part, he helped my mother and made countless trips to the supermarket to get a forgotten item. Now, that I have become my mother and my husband has become my father. I cook, clean, and decorate the house in an attempt to replicate my childhood experiences. My husband helps me and makes countless trips to the supermarket.

At some point in a woman’s life the baton is passed to her to continue the holiday traditions. If you are lucky enough to be the one assigned to keep the traditions, consider it an honor and not a burden. Yes, it is a lot of work cleaning your house, and preparing food days in advance for a one-day event. But it is so worth it.

Before I moved to the Victorville area, I hosted Easter every year. I cannot tell how touched I was when my teenage niece told me she always loved my themed tablescape. That’s when I knew how important it is to give the kids in the family something beautiful to remember.

By continuing family traditions, we create wonderful memories. When we are no longer able to cook, clean, and create a beautiful theme décor hopefully we would have inspired someone in the family to pick up the torch and continue the tradition.

I’m getting older and it takes more out of me to clean, decorate, and cook the holiday dinners, but it’s so worth it.

The holidays may be the one time of year that families are able to get together and enjoy hanging out with each other. Our holidays may not be Hallmark moments, sometimes they are more like a reality reunion show. They are however memorable, and in the end that is what makes life enjoyable.

It is important to create memories, because when our loved ones are no longer with us, memories of them comforts and sustains us, especially during this season of family togetherness.


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