Welcome to my blog where I share whatever is on my "Lane" brain. I've been an editor, columnist, freelance writer, teacher, and lecturer. I've written everything from greeting cards to web content to feature stories and advertisements.
***My fifth novel, OUR LADY OF THE ROSES, a romantic comedy set in Rome and featuring Janetta from my first book, ST. ANNE'S DAY, is now available!
Our Lady of the Roses in Presale Now
Friday, March 6, 2020
I had the great fortune to take a break from winter and embark
on a cruise in the Caribbean at the end of January beginning of February. We
stopped at 12 islands, and in addition to enjoying the feel of the sun on my
face, refreshing saltwater washing over me and the warmth of powdery sand
beneath my feet, I enjoyed something else—freedom.
If you have never been on a cruise, you may not know that
there are people aboard, passengers and crew alike, from all over the world. In
addition, the islands are inhabited by people who have mixed races of African,
Dutch, Spanish, English, French and local Indians, depending upon which port you visit.
Unless they were presenting a false face to us or it was the
euphoria of escaping snow, not once did the citizens of any of the islands we
met stress that they despised Columbus, felt oppressed, or focused on what
color skin they had or you had. We were just people. Different in skin pigment
and cultural practices but just people.
Slave huts on Bonaire
But they weren’t ignorant of their history, and they showed
us the impossibly austere huts on Bonaire, where slaves lived while forced to make
salt. We saw the Hato Caves on Curacao and the soot from fires on the cave's
ceiling left from the slaves who had hidden in there from their slave masters.
In Puerto Rico, our taxi driver proudly showed us the monuments to Christopher
Columbus and Ponce de Leon and told us proudly that Puerto Ricans are a mixture
of Spanish, Taino Indian, African.
In Antigua the store owners looked at us in amusement when
we asked them if they knew where we could buy more sunscreen, implying do you
think with my skin color I need sunscreen?
Christopher Columbus Memorial in San Juan, P.R.
Ponce de Leon Memorial, San Juan, P.R.
On board ship, it was no different.
My husband explained some things about the Super Bowl to an inquisitive man
from India while watching the big game, and I chatted for an hour with a man
from Toronto who had immigrated to that city from Trinidad back in the 1980s.
We laughed when he told me how cold his Caribbean-weight cloth pants left him
when he arrived there in December.
People on board engaged in games, enjoyed music, laughed,
drank, swam, conversed, held elevators doors, and dined with people who did not
look like them. It was so freeing. There was no looking back to the past and
all the mistakes made there. There was only now.
So, imagine my sadness when I recently interviewed a black businessman
who had traveled the world and told me that he found Pittsburgh to still be
very racist. I couldn’t argue with him; I don’t know. I’m not in his skin, but
if it is, I’m very sad. Not only for him but for all of us.
In the Bible they often describe heaven as a wedding feast,
but sometimes I think it’s more like a cruise ship where all God’s children
from around the world are enjoying themselves, laughing, dancing, and feasting
and the lyrics of Bob Marley are playing: “One love; One Heart. Let’s get
together and feel alright.”