A musical odyssey of sorts

Image by Smith Pereira (Pixabay)

It was love at first plink when I could stand on my tippy toes with my chin scrapping the edge of the keyboard of my grandparent’s piano. Fascinated by the sound I’d plunk, bang, thump — do whatever my tiny fingers could do to make the instrument talk back to me.

Music is in my DNA. My paternal grandmother was a classically trained pianist who played and sang with the Fisk Jubilee University choir in the early 1900s. The touring ensemble composed of African American students sang spirituals acapella to raise funds for college. My dad could play too.


Love transcends time and space

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As sure as the sun rises each morning, I know with certainty she will come. She’ll glide over mountain tops — skim the ocean blue. Test her wings with doves in flight to land within my view.

Anyone close to my heart who passes over will find a portal back to me in my dreams. I never know the day or time of their return. Family and friends drawn to the light can see the door stays ajar — enough for them to squeeze through.

They come to share eternal bliss found in freedom from mortal pain. To assure me…

Love has everything to do with anything

Photo by Jessica Felicio on Unsplash

LOVE can seldom be returned in the exact manner of which it is given.

LOVE is the singular reason for all joy and pain.

LOVE is all encompassing in that it can heal a wound or prolong the suffering.

LOVE is never enough in and of itself — it thrives on nutrients of compassion, empathy, sensitivity and understanding.

LOVE is not a concept, commodity or control mechanism — it’s a vehicle of freedom from constriction and ALL that binds.

LOVE is the ultimate sacrifice of oneself — a generosity of spirit where vanity…

A brother’s dying wish is the gift that keeps giving

Photo: 95C (Pixabay)

Some stories breathe to take shape through other people — to deliver an extraordinary message of the human spirit that can motivate us all. This story was told to me twice. Could have been the original storyteller forgot he told me the first time, or the universe needed me to hear it again until the proverbial penny dropped.

There are no coincidences. Everything happens for a reason. I don’t believe in chance encounters either — we meet people for a reason, even when it’s brief. …

Christmas past and the bittersweet memory of a lost recipe

Photo by Rodion Kutsaev on Unsplash

A thin sliver of creamy lemon goodness sat waiting, smudged in a frosty, glass pie dish. The last piece hidden behind a large container in the back of the refrigerator and her last pie. Every holiday, my mother-in-law would bake the entire family’s favorite dessert using lemons from her own tree in the front garden. They were always plentiful — in full golden bloom, as if she had a personal relationship with the lemon gods.

This Christmas would be different. It wouldn’t be at my husband’s parents’ home. They were aging and no longer able to host such a large…


She’s not above siccing the groom on you…

Photo by Allan Franco Carmo ( pexels)

Dear Brides,

Stop stalking me. If I don’t call or email you back within an hour, don’t keep calling me and leaving annoying messages that escalate in emotional pitch with each call. It’s not my fault you waited until the last minute.

You’re not the only person in the world who’s had to reschedule their nuptials because of the pandemic. There are literally hundreds of you. Do you have my number on speed dial?

I’m not your personal wedding planner. …

It’s not complicated

Photo by Dom Aguiar on Unsplash

After reading a well-articulated article about women remaining second class in the workforce, a long-forgotten path in my earlier career resurfaced. I hadn’t thought about it in such a long time it surprised me I could still recall the memory with such mental and emotional clarity.

Microaggressions do that to the bodies of Black people. We’re so accustomed to the sting of societal indignities from the power structure — it numbs the surface of our skin so our being doesn’t shatter into a million tiny pieces. We wear a built-in defense mechanism that allows us to keep moving — breathing.

A deed is just a piece of paper

Photo by Thought Catalogue (Unsplash)

Every time I receive an offer to sell my land at a pittance I cringe.

Throughout childhood, I overheard conversations between my grandmother and her siblings about the land in South Carolina. The land I would inherit from my maternal great grandfather. His will stipulated 99 ½ acres divided amongst his eight children — passed down three generations to his children’s, children’s, children before anyone in the family could sell.

Born in 1869 on a plantation, my great grandfather signed his will with an X. I guess he couldn’t read or write enough to be considered a learned man but…

Dear Black mothers of the world

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

Dear Black Mothers,

We feel your pain from all terrain: the shores of Africa across mighty oceans, canals, rivers, desserts, forests, lakes, mountains, levies, and waterfalls. To you — mostly brick walls. We see your tears in sheets of iridescent rain — hear your cries through a live video of passersby.

You are beautiful wearing all your scars. In your glorious hues and landings from all parts of the world.

Let your spirit not be darkened by hate. He or she may be gone, but not forgotten. Their tiny footprint imbedded in the depths of your heart is proof of…

Toya Qualls-Barnette

Living, loving and observing the absurdities of life/Writing about the impact of relationships and the human experience

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