Thanks for the memories, 2013!

As I wind down 2013 and begin a vacation that takes me to 2014, I want to thank everyone whose spirits touched my life, whose goodness made my heart soar and who forgave me when I forgot to do the same! It was a pretty daggone good year. (Yes, I’m still from North Carolina. I still say daggone.)

derek lukeI won a National Headliner Award. I dined with really interesting people (Spike Lee) and met quite a few others (Derek Luke among them).

I kissed a boy, and I liked it (Hollywood actor who shall not be named. No, it wasn’t Derek Luke.).

I watched women ascend to top spots at one of the Big Three and got to write about them – Mary Barra, the soon-to-be CEO of General Motors and Alicia Boler-Davis, a senior vice president who is one of the top two African American women in the entire auto industry. They were huge news event and ones that, as a woman, I had to privately applaud.

Screen Shot 2013-12-15 at 12.39.18 PMI was honored to be part of a United Way for Southeastern Michigan campaign to inspire children.

I didn’t go to Africa this year, as I did for the past three (to Senegal and Kenya). But I spent a great deal of time planning my trip to South Africa in the spring.

Instead, I did further exploration of my own country, eating oysters every day for a week in New Orleans and drinking great wine for a weekend in Napa, walking parts of New York, that even after all these years, I had not seen.

I hosted the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame inductions and watched my friend, the late, great photographer Hugh Grannum, join the number.

I went to the Final Four with my cousin Roderick for the third year in a row, keeping intact our promise to go together every year. God, I love NCAA basketball.

Screen Shot 2013-12-27 at 3.19.19 AMI saw “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” and loved it. Yes, a Peter Jackson movie is still an event.

But it was the little moments that mattered most. I visited my mother, and she knew who I was. I made a dish, for the first time, uh, ever, at Thanksgiving dinner, and my family loved it.

My daughter sent me a note about my Mandela column – “Good job, Mom!” – I felt like I was 9 and had gotten an A on a major test!

I survived illness, and last I checked, my brain works just fine.

Thank you, my friends and fellows, for being parts of my life. Thank you, my Face Friends, colleagues and inspirations, especially you inspirations, you sisters and brothers who do what you do (Gwen Ifill), who provided opportunities I would never have had otherwise (DeWayne Wickham, John Yearwood), who introduced me to great wine Jocelyn K. Allen), who made me laugh (all my classmates from Tarboro Senior High School and THE mighty University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Bird and Bonita Perkins Newby), who taught me new things every day (Revka Stearns), who listened for hours during my dark times and who trusted me during theirs – and who connected with me without spoken words across untold universes (Charlie Haviland).

IMG_6324And thank you to Desi, the Wonder Dog, the world’s best dog, whose infinite patience is unbelievable – even for a dog!

See you next year!