BALTIMORE _ Sitting in Baltimore-Washington International Airport at 4 a.m. is no one’s idea of fun. But after a whirlwind three-stop book tour over four days, I was eager to get back home to Detroit, to Desi, to rest and to the next project.
But what a joy this has been. The tour began on Wednesday, the morning AFTER Mayor Mike Duggan gave his annual State of the City speech at a west Detroit high school, appropriate since his focus was education. Our intrepid City Hall reporter Katrease Stafford and I joined Ryan Garza to capture the event. I, of course, was there for the children.
The next morning, I headed to Louisville, Ky, my old stomping grounds, where I was a columnist at The Courier-Journal for four years. I was the guest of the Rev. Kevin Cosby, pastor at St. Stephen Church and Simmons College, where old friends teach. As expected, an audience of more than 100 offered insightful, poignant and heartfelt comments and questions, and Pastor Cosby was brilliant as always. I’ll add a transcript soon.
But the day began with a lovely woman from Simmons, Von Purdy, picking me up and insisting that we have coffee at the just-opened, $315-million Omni Hotel, which the paper described as “an upscale blend of guest rooms, apartments, bars and eateries that backers bet will spark new waves of investment downtown.” The first floor looked like an upscale mall with eateries, bath products, wines and restaurants. Hotels, even in smaller cities, cannot just be hotels anymore.
Oh, forgot to mention that Von drove me past my old neighborhood on the way. We went looking for the first home I bought in Louisville, a fixer-upper in Old Louisville that I worked on years before Chip and Joanna Gaines became my inspiration for everything. It was right where I left it, still in decent shape. (Someone needs to trim the front shrubs, but the revitalized neighborhood is holding).
After coffee, we headed to St. Stephen, where Rev. Cosby has built a community, a place where not just his congregation but where so many people can find everything they need. The Family Life Center, in addition to the auditorium where I spoke, had two full-sized gyms, a new football field across the street, classrooms and a soul-food restaurant. (I’d show you a photo of the baked chicken and best-green-beans-I’ve-ever-had, but I ate them).