This blog is about memories. Things I have experienced. Stories I have lived through. Chapters in my life’s novel. I attempt to take current and seasonal events and connect them to my life journey. With varying amounts of success. Most of the memories I write about are happy ones, but of course I have painful memories too. Everyone does. And coming from two parents who were raised at either end of the Shenandoah Valley in rural, Southern, white factory towns, some of those memories are ugly indeed. Comments, snide remarks, ignorance, and ugly crude jokes that make me physically cringe to think of them. I feel so much shame to have racism as an ugly, gnarled branch in my family tree. I shut it out, ignore it, hope to forget about it, but of course I can’t.
But something happened last night – something switched off with a definite click inside my soul. Something long held onto was let go, and it was the weirdest thing. I felt lighter. And as I traveled to work this morning, through the colorful hills and winding roads near my home, the rainy skies finally broke after three solid days of gray, cold rain and a brilliant sun appeared lighting up the reds, oranges, and golds of the autumn leaves. And I thought of change. Real, possible change in this country. I was so proud to cast my vote for Barack Obama yesterday, to be a part of history. And today, I can’t stop smiling. Because I have just added a new memory to my life experience. One that I will be proud to write about someday. One that I’ll be eager to remember – to say, yes, I was there at the start of change. After so many years of being embarrassed for us as a country, once again I am proud to be American. Once again, I am proud to have come from Virginia. To be a Virginian. Thank you Barack.