Or The Land Of Confusion
No rest for the wicked.
Saturday morning, the alarms went off at the regular time. Arrg. Remember the contest that The Daughter won a while back? (LINK) Well, earlier in the week, Walgreens called again and said that another group wanted to honor the winners. The group was the Rainbow PU$H Coalition. They apologized for the fact that their founder, Jesse Jackson, may not be there due to a high profile funeral he would be attending later in the day. But, they wanted us there by 9:00, and sent 2 emails with the address:
930 E. 55th St.
So, we got ready to go and headed out by 8:00 am, since it was going to be a haul down to the south side. We decided to take Lake Shore Drive down for the scenery, instead of the expressway like the GPS wanted us to. Now, earlier in the week, I'd Googled the directions, and I was a little confused. The address on the email didn't sound right, but Cora had it on two emails, so, who am I to trust my Swiss cheese memory? As we drove south, I noticed out of the corner of my eye a huge classical looking building with "Rainbow PU$H" on it…
but I decided to trust the emailed addresses, thinking they may have multiple locations. So we drove on…
And arrived at a 930 E. 55th, which was somebody's townhouse.
So we turned around and headed back to the building that I thought was a repurposed old church (once inside, I changed my mind to "old synagogue" and was right (LINK))
We entered the lobby (or was it a community center with all the people hanging out?) down the side street, and the receptionist didn't have any clue what we were talking about, but had us sit down anyway.
With Jesse's statue giving us the eyeball.
After a bit, they called us back thru the door and into the hall, and that's when I met Jesse. He stuck out his hand, I shook it and greeted him as "Reverend Jackson" (regardless of how I may feel about some of his politics, the man has earned a level of respect) and then we passed.
They led us and some other groups into an office/conference room where the lady in charge kept talking about "the program". The Program. Going over the timing for the program, etc. And it slowly dawned on us.
This is going to be TELEVISED!
Thanks for warning us. And thank goodness we dressed up.
Then Jesse popped in said a few words, and like a flash, he was gone before my cell phone camera could focus properly.
But he did pose for a genuine photo-op before he had to leave and we were ushered to the auditorium.
Maybe we should have known it was going to be on TV/Internet, but the 11:00 Saturday broadcast from Rainbow/PU$H just isn't something that I'd ever been exposed to. Well, I was upfront and center for the Full Monty exposure this day.
At this point I want to reiterate a point: I was a fish out of water, and it had nothing to do with skin color. I was raised Catholic; Roman Catholic. Our church services are, umm, sedate. And the only time people talk back to the priest is in a scripted chant. In the last 2,000 years, no one in a Catholic church has ever shouted back at a priest "You got that right" during mass.
But more on that stuff later. Back to the real star of the show.
The celebration started, and after a touring Swedish gospel choir finished, her group was called up to the stage. And she looked a little nervous.
But when she was on stage, she smiled with confidence (as I fought the 10,000 watt light bulb trying to bleach out every picture I took.) And see, they spell "PU$H" with a dollar sign. I wasn't being snarky!
And there's that light I was talking about, oh, and in the door frame, above the plant, you can just make out a Star of David.
But the child managed to step out from behind the plant and give me a good smile before she left the stage. So grown up looking.
And as she was leaving the stage, the camera did catch her mom & me in the audience.
Then the program got interesting.
Jesse's son, Jonathon, who has a strong background in business and finance (WIKI) seemed to tell us that the credit reporting agencies didn't have the right to grade investments, and that banks shouldn't use people's credit scores when determining who to loan money to, because that was all in the past, and spoke nothing about their potential. Maybe he has some crystal ball he wants them to use? Or should everybody just get charged the same rates? I didn't get it.
But then a real charismatic speaker (so can't remember his name) got up and started talking about weeping. And boy did he work himself and the crowd up. He was pretty moving and all (got the wife crying), but since he was talking about how (in his words) the Black community can lead thru the moral virtue of weeping for their dead, I didn't feel the message was really aimed at me.
And then they asked for $100 donations from the audience. And then read the names of the donors. Out loud. ON THE AIR. And my Catholic sensibilities needed CPR.
But I survived Rainbow/PU$H and Rainbow/PU$H survived me. After the broadcast, they invited the Daughter back for a round table discussion next Saturday. Starting @ 7:30 am. Yeah, we think we'll pass on getting up 4:00 am on Saturday, thanks anyway.
On the ride back, I pulled off toward the planetarium to see one of my favorite views of the city.
And as we parked the car in the garage, the Daughter gave me a long hug.
And that made it was all worth it.