A long road trip always guarantees new books, bunches of them.
A few weeks ago in the Bay Area, I was visiting one of my favorite haunts, Keplers. A most excellent bookstore in Menlo Park.
A new book about James Brown by a man whose work I love caught my eye.
I bought a dozen tomes I’m anxious to dive into, but no question what I was reading first.
From his new book, Kill ’em and Leave, talking about the South he writes, “..the land that produced him is a land of masks. The people who walk that land, both black and white, wear masks and more masks, and then masks beneath those masks.”
In the Color of Water, he wrote this about his mother:
“Family love: It is firm footing, something to cling to in a frightened world, that seems to be out of control with war, turmoil, terrorism and uncertainty. It is our highest calling and greatest nobility.
So if you see a woman driving in Trenton with her blinkers on. Look out. Back off. Give her some space. She could go left, she could go right. She could go into Heaven clear out of sight! But no matter which way she goes, she’s not likely going your way.
And if she is, don’t bother her with any questions about it, or you’ll get an earful of God.”
And in “Family. A Celebration of Humanity”, he wrote this about mine:
“Many years ago, a young American mother named Agnes Frakes pointed out images all around her tiny Nebraska town to her four-year-old son Bill: a cat’s shadow, a pool of oil beneath a car, his own name etched in a cookie tray of caramel popcorn. The boy looked at the objects and saw nothing. ‘Look again,’ she said. ‘There is always more there than what your eye sees…’ Years later the boy became one of the most accomplished photographers in the world.”
I think of my mother often, and every Mother’s Day find time to revisit a short film I created about her and her time teaching in a one-room school house in rural Nebraska. I invite you to view, A Teacher Remembered.