My uncle, Mac Secrest, was more than an uncle, but a wonderful mentor and friend (who posted occasionally to this blog). I've posted links to his obituary and to the dozens of comments from friends and admirers on his own blog at
http://jimbuie.blogs.com/mac. I also created this slideshow of pictures from his life to the tune of Frank Sinatra's "My Way."
He was a well-known newspaper editor from Cheraw, South Carolina in the 1950s and 1960s who crusaded for an end to segregation. He worked with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma, and told funny stories about how he provided comic relief amid the racial tension. He later became a professor of Journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and helped establish the Department of Communication at North Carolina Central University in Durham, NC.
In an article for Today's Zaman called "Individualism Vs. the All for One and One for All Approach," I compared the Turkish sense of collectivism to American individualism. I concluded: "The Turks could teach us Americans a thing or two about the 'all for one, and one for all' approach to living. Or maybe, as a result of the Great Recession, Americans are having to reclaim such values for themselves."
Indeed, new census data proves my hunch about American behavior quite correct -- 16 percent of Americans lived in multi-generational households in 2009, compared to only 12 percent in 1980. Report Finds Shift Toward Extended Families (NYT). Of special interest are the comments from readers.
From the 1930s to the present, five generations of Secrests, Buies, their relatives, friends and descendants have gathered at Riverton, a "suburb" of Wagram NC during summers, frequently attending the annual July 4th picnic. July 4, 2009 was no different.
What a sense of PLACE, along with a sense that our ancestors are looking down on us:
Glimpses of the Beyond.
Photos from five generations at Riverton are here. Nearby is Cypress Bend Vineyard.
I'm glad to see there is an effort to change the river's name from "Lumber," suggesting commerce, to the more poetic and historical Lumbee.
I was honored to introduce my niece, Eve Vance Fleishman, at a concert attended by 100 people at the Storytelling Art Center in Laurinburg, NC. I said Eve emerged from the womb singing, and she has been doing so ever since. Jan Schmidt recounted the evening for the Laurinburg Exchange, calling it "perfect." The concert was dedicated to the memory of my mother, Lillian Secrest Buie, Eve's "mima," who she was very close to. Eve brought happiness to my mother's final days in 2006, and gave her the peace to pass on.
A professional singer in Nashville, Eve has a new CD, "Peace or Drama." (Eve's MySpace Page.) Daniel Dennis of Prime Cut Records says of it: "With a solid lineup of self-penned and well-seasoned songs, "Peace or Drama" marks the debut of Eve Fleishman, encapsulating the serenity of Norah Jones with the swagger of Erykah Badu....This album is a joy to listen to, and with the stellar musicians creating some serious magic, this is one album that you must own."
I had nice birthday, but while my wife, son and I were with neighbors for a few minutes, Shiloh the dog leaped up on table and gobbled up the birthday cake (we
only got one slice each), and stepped all over the laptop keyboard, apparently crashing it. I'm hoping he
dies of chocolate overdose.
The recent revelation that Vice President Dick Cheney and Senator Barack Obama are distant cousins, combined with the revelation in 2004 that Senator John Kerry and President Bush are cousins reinforces the often invisible connections between human beings. There was a touching piece on "60 Minutes" about a white Missouri rancher and a black arts director in Harlem using genetic genealogy -- DNA testing -- to discover that they are cousins. Public comments on the CBS News web site reveal differing reactions to these newfound links between people. Some express bitterness at the unfairness of life while others express joy and warmth at the new links between diverse peoples being discovered.
Ed Cone writes of dreams he had of his deceased dad, and others discuss their dreams of their deceased parents and loved ones. According to the Wall Street Journal, these "visitation" dreams are common.