Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers.
I never dreamed that we would be celebrating this wonderful spring holiday that salutes moms everywhere, via Zoom and FaceTime. I never thought I wouldn’t be able to get a Mother’s Day hug from my grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
So, we make the best of the situation by being grateful for all the blessings we still have. After all, the hugs will still be warm and wonderful as they always have been, whenever we get to share them again.
This COVID-19 virus that has permeated the land has changed many of our beloved customs. At my church, and many other churches, Mother’s Day was a special time. We had special programs to honor the mothers of the church — from the youngest to the oldest.
In my church, the Church of God Tabernacle (True Holiness), my godmom Missionary Ludie Mae McDaniel, at 102, is our oldest mom. Today, if we were having a service, she would be showered with hugs, cards and gifts. While we will still shower her, and other mothers (via U.S. mail) with cards and gifts, the hugs will have to wait a while.
Celebrating Mother’s Day in church isn’t the only custom that has changed as we battle this virus.
There was no gathering for our annual Easter pageant, where the children of the church would normally act out the ageless story of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. People who knew of the pageant usually packed the church.
After Easter, we looked forward to 50 days later, when we would celebrate Pentecost — the church’s birthday.
We started getting ready for our annual Pentecostal celebration by giving ourselves a spiritual “bath” by praying and fasting days before we begin our celebration, 10 days before Pentecost, which this year falls on May 31. Pentecost has always been a joyful time. The missionaries and deacons would gather, en masse, to clean the church and make it ready for Pentecost.
Sister M. Chenise Pompey, the church’s musical director, would start weeks prior to Easter, getting the choir ready with new and old music for what we call our Pentecost Feast.
Then, on the first Sunday of the Feast, the women would come dressed in white, the men in dark suits and white shirts, ready for the celebration. The church would be filled with praises and great music and preaching.
Traditionally, our pastor, Bishop Walter H. Richardson, would open the Feast with a prophetic and inspirational message and praises of thanksgiving, which would be echoed joyfully by the entire congregation.
We will now celebrate these wonderful occasions in a different way. But still, we celebrate — via Facebook and Zoom and in whatever way we can. For this I am thankful, because I realize that it is not a bad thing that we live in a time of great technology (although I am pretty illiterate).
And while some people do not have access to such technology, those of us who do should reach out to them. Sadly, mental health is a side effect of the coronavirus, which is why it is so important to stay in touch with others — especially those who live alone.
Since the virus hit our land, I have been recuperating from knee replacement surgery. I have only left the house for doctor’s visits. I am so thankful for family and friends who have not neglected me. They call and ask for my shopping list, then shop for me and drop off my groceries at my front door with a smile and an “I love you.”
It means so much to hear the happy sound of someone’s voice when you are sheltered at home. It makes me realize that although I am sort of homebound, I can still make a phone call to someone else who is shut in.
I have learned that the taken-for-granted phone call is priceless in these times. Some people are hurting and they need encouragement to make it through these often dark days.
Those of us who know the Lord can spread the good news of Jesus Christ — which is love. I don’t mean that you must preach to everyone you speak to —just let them know that this, too, shall pass.
And that God is still in control.
Saturday, May 9, marked the 75th anniversary of the historic “wade-in” that resulted in the opening of the then Colored-only Virginia Key Beach. It was on that day in 1945 that a group of African American protesters waded into the water at what is now Haulover Beach. They demanded establishing a public bathing beach for the county’s Colored population.
On Aug. 1, 1945, Virginia Key Beach was opened.
At first, blacks could only get to the beach by boat — for 25 cents a head for children, 50 cents for adults. Rickenbacker Causeway would not be opened until Nov. 9, 1947.
To celebrate Virginia Key’s opening and history, the City of Miami’s Virginia Key Beach Park Trust is reaching out to families, descendants and friends of those who participated in the wade-in at Haulover Beach, to help tell the participants’ stories for future generations, said Gene Tinnie, chair of the organization’s Trustee Board.
To participate, and for more information call 305-960-4603, or visit the website, www.virginiakeybeachpark.net.