Maybe a month or so ago, I finished reading a book that my mother bought decades earlier and has held onto all these years. Its paperback cover is battered and mended with thick clear tape and the pages are yellowed and whisper thin. Five Smooth Stones was published in 1966 and the story takes place during the turbulent Civil Rights Era.
It was my sister who first pulled the novel from my mother's "library" and began reading. Each time we were together she would expound on the book's virtues stressing how it was a must read and that I would be reading it next. I love my baby sister probably more than any brother should, but she can be pushy at times. Yet in this case, as in most, her strong hand was greatly appreciated. Five Smooth Stones is a triumphant tale of how love can overcome the worst odds, but I was stunned and completely thrown off-guard at the book's conclusion. In fact, the night that I finished the book I found it difficult to fall asleep. I had been drawn into the narrative and had come to know the characters like they were my friends. Feeling their pain, my mind was crowded with their tribulations and disappointments. The book candidly holds a mirror up to the history of our country exposing some of the ugliness of years past. In fact, the author's true identity has been carefully guarded even to this day because the publisher feared she would suffer almost certain retaliation. It is not "light" reading, but it certainly deserves a closer look.
Tomorrow evening is my final fitting with the legendary Lonette McKee before her almost month-long run at the historic Algonquin Hotel begins next Tuesday, April 5. I am psyched and excited for her. I am positive that she will not only be putting on a great show, but she'll be looking great doing it. And you know when music & fashion converge, magic happens. Make sure you come out and watch the magic happen.
Peace & Fashion!