Thursday, July 23, 2009

My Mile High Tales In this Big World

I'm in first class taking food orders and drinks and I see the name, "Mary Wilson," before I make eye contact with this person I say, "wow, you have the same name as Mary Wilson from the Supremes." I look up and see that it is indeed the legendary singer sitting pretty and elegantly dressed in black on her way home to Las Vegas.
Another time I'm standing at the bottom of the jetway awaiting a seat on the plane and at the top of the jetway I see the silhouette of a coke bottle figure, slightly bow-legged, and a little pigeon-toed heading my way. She gets closer and I see that it's Ms. Bey, the bootylicious queen herself clad in black spandex wearing the cutest gladiator sandals en route to New Orleans to perform at the Essence festival.
At the height of their career, KCi and JoJo sipped Courvoisier on a flight from Midland to Houston. The 90's group, "Sugar Ray," were on their way to El Paso when one of it's members decides to join the mile high club with a girl he just met on the flight.
Mike Tyson must've ate a whole cabbage because he had the whole first class lavoratory stinking like it. Although I've never attended her personally, I hear Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee can get a little stinky herself. I believed she was banned for a short time after flight attendants complained of her harassing them with her haughty demands.
Jazz vocalist, Al Jarreau has to be one of the sweetest guys. He and I talked about his upcoming show and he was gracious enough to autograph a CD for my father. Jermaine Jackson was cool even though he sat in a center seat in coach and had what seemed to be a million kids traveling with him.
Broadway actress, Bernadette Peters was sweet. Cornell West was engaged in a book about Antigone. Basketball Star Rashard Lewis and his homeboys must've partied all night because they slept the entire four-hour flight. But the most poignant and proudest moment to date for me when was I sat with George Mitchell, one of the original Tuskegee Airmen. He had just gotten an award for his bravery and he was on his way home to San Diego. Mr. Mitchell was 83 years young, soft spoken, and a very proud dad. He carried a little brag book with him and inside were old pictures of himself and other airman from their WWII days. There was a picture of his wife, who was now deceased and a picture of his son, Tony award wining actor, Brian Stokes Mitchell. I could tell he was a very proud dad.
Celebrities, politicians, athletes, I've come across them all and I am remembered of the day I sat and talked to former NAACP Ceo, Kweisi Mfume. He had just left the funeral for James L. Byrd in Jasper, Texas. We talked about my travels and his travels and I told him that since I was a kid I had always dreamed of traveling the world. He said calmly, "It's a big world." To that I replied, "Yes, it is."

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