Wednesday, January 18, 2017

A Reflection on Booker T.

It was a blue sky sunshine January 18th kinda day with temperatures hovering in the low 60’s.  Yes, in mid-January!  My wife, Meg, went to Rocky Mount in the morning for a new hairdo and then off to a Master Gardener meeting in the afternoon, also in Rocky Mount.  I went to the gym in the morning for my workout such as it is, then a quick stop at Kroger for a few items and to home for a quick bite to eat.

So what to do in the afternoon on such a beautiful day?  Yes! Hiking boots, walking stick, fanny pack quickly thrown into the Miata.  Throw the top back on the Miata and off to Booker T. Washington National Monument for a short hike.  During the hike a snapped a few pix with my trusty cell phone which you can see below.
Hardly anyone else there to share the park with.  Ah, solitude.  The kind of solitude that lets the mind wander.  I was thinking about my first visit to BTWNM with Meg about 8 or 9 years ago.  We were just in anticipation of the day we could retire and move in to our new house on beautiful Smith Mountain Lake.  We enjoyed walking through BTWNM and learning about Booker T.

After reflecting on that first visit, my mind continued to wander.  I thought about the life that Booker T. had at his homeplace as a slave.  He had to have worked incredibly hard, but he didn’t let that stop him from learning about the wonder of nature and learning about life. He didn’t let that stop him from achieving greatness under the worst of conditions.

My reflections continued.  How incredibly lucky I am.  I have been retired for 7 years now without having to worry about our next meal or health insurance.  I live in a beautiful house on a beautiful lake with my beautiful wife.  Lucky indeed.

Before I left Booker T., I stopped in the visitor center and my friend and fellow Virginia Master Naturalist Don Kelso was behind the desk doing his volunteer duty as Greeter.  After exchanging pleasantries, and we discussed some books we were reading.  Don is a special fellow himself.  I’m sure Booker T. would have liked him very much.  Although Don has some health issues, I don’t know anyone who works harder than him.  And besides that, he is a very smart guy and very personable.  I am very lucky to know him. Yes, very lucky indeed.

Thank you Booker T. for allowing me to share your homeplace and causing me to reflect.  I hope others will come to visit you too and reflect on their lives as well.

Very lucky, indeed.

Rich Brager

You can learn more about Booker T Washington here in Hardy, Virginia. There is no admission charge and open year-round.

From Slave Cabin to the Hall of Fame
On April 5, 1856, Booker T. Washington was born a slave on the 207-acre farm of James Burroughs. After the Civil War, Washington became the first principal of Tuskegee Normal and Industrial School. Later as an adviser, author and orator, his past would influence his philosophies as the most influential African American of his era. Come explore his birthplace.

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