The Story I told Him, Part 4


He watched the sun sink.The sky was growing dark. He hiked higher, higher, higher.Then, directly above him, but far too high for him to even imagine touching, there was a pin prick of light. A few moments later, another appeared, and then another, and another. The darker the sky got, the more these lights revealed themselves. It was as though the sky itself had little holes in it, and each hole let out a hint of the brightness behind it.How would he describe these lights? … [Read more...]

Dayenu! (It would have been enough!)

Susie Mae Young Thomas and Me

(During some Passover celebrations, Jews drop bits of wine on a napkin, citing each plague which G-d caused to come upon the Egyptians and saying, "Dayenu!", or "it would have been enough with only that!")In 1998, when I was beginning to learn about black pioneers, Susie Mae Thomas started coming to my ward, though she didn't live in my boundaries. In retrospect, her presence was a miracle for me. Though she couldn't speak because of a stroke, she was my first guide into the race issues … [Read more...]

Darius Gray: Atlas with the Flu

Darius from Gene Heath 2

Elsie Gray was close to miscarrying her baby, and had already had several miscarriages. She summoned the "Sisters"--Pentecostal women, who anointed her womb with consecrated oil and ministered to her, dedicating the fruit of her womb to God. Darius Aidan Gray was born healthy on December 12, 19?? (no, I won't reveal his birth year), though he suffered health problems for much of his childhood.As a teen, he read about Sampson and decided that he would do as Sampson did. He would not drink … [Read more...]

The Story I told Him (part 3)


David of Nebula Part 3 of 4 Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here.David walked towards the nearest armchair, glancing around. There were paintings on the walls—of big rocks and many hues.“But you did see the lights back then,” David said.“Of course. I waited thirty years before I wrote it down, though. Perhaps I left out a detail or two. And perhaps I missed a few things. Well, I didn’t see the rainbow, did I. Apparently, I did miss at least one thing. . .”David sat in the so … [Read more...]

My brother–in an Otavalo cemetery

Dell and Me in Yucatan, 1963

This beautiful essay is by my brother, Dell Blair. Dell and I love Central and South America. Dell speaks Quichua and Spanish. Our siblings tended to go more to China. Dad went everywhere. This is one of the great Blair legacies. We do not tour. We root ourselves in places and people. Dell's essay shows it so movingly.Amado Maldonado.Shoulder deep into the dark soil the shovel tip snagged the edge of another casket.“Good,” said Rafael. “Dig to the end and down. Just make a l … [Read more...]

The Story I Told Him, Part 2


David of Nebula Part 1 (of four parts) is here. An audio CD of the story is free with a tax-deductible donation to the film Heart of Africa.Part 2 Again, David faced the door and knocked—three times this time, as hard as he could. He glanced behind him to see one last trace of the arc. It was gone.He could hear steps. They stopped just inches away, right behind the door. The knob moved, and the door opened—just an inch at first, and then fully.The old man stood before him, ben … [Read more...]

The Story I Told Him

double rainbow

Several years ago, I was sitting on a cabin porch with my son. We watched the stars and talked openly. It was a hard but needed talk, the beginning of our deeper friendship. At one point, I told him a story. I will post the story here in four parts, beginning today. I have made an audio CD of it, which I will send to anyone who donates to the Heart of Africa film. (Honor system. If you tell me you've donated, I'll send you a CD.)DAVID OF NEBULAA Short Book Written for a young … [Read more...]