Wednesday, February 7, 2018


I walked in and found her sitting up in bed with pieces of the Atlanta Journal Constitution spread all around her. Her face was hidden behind the crossword page but those elegant, espresso-colored fingers gave it away. That was my patient. And I could tell she felt better.

Me: “Good morning! How are you feeling today?”

Her: *puts down paper and smiles* Well hello, sweetie! Other than being cold, I’m fair to middlin’.” *gestures for me to sit down*

Me: “Ha! Did you say ‘fair to middlin’?’” *sitting down* “Wow. My granddaddy used to say that.”
Her: “Is that right? The Tuskegee granddaddy or the Birmingham granddaddy?”

Me: *smiling wide because she remembered* “The Tuskegee one.”

She jutted out her bottom lip and shrugged. Just then I realized how much of myself I’d shared with her during this hospitalization. Even though she was the patient and I was the doctor, she asked far more questions than I did. I reflected on what a privilege it had been to soak up her wisdom in that bedside chair each day. Listening to her stories unfold through that gravelly voice was the best thing ever.

*The dress code they used to have when she was at Tuskegee (long skirts and stockings always!😳)
*When they used REAL china and REAL silver in the Tompkins Hall cafeteria!😮🍴 🍲
*When she and her friends were giggling at George Washington Carver’s funeral because somebody had on a crooked wig. 🙊🙈

Yes. THE George Washington Carver, man. I’d be sad to see her go.

Me: “Guess what? I have something for you.” *reaching down to pull a package from my bag* “You ready?”
Her: *eyes widening* “For me?”
Me: “Yes ma’am.” *opening it up* “Look. It’s a Tuskegee blanket just for you. And it’s right on time since you feel chilly. Here let me help you.”

For the first time since I’d been caring for her she was speechless. Her eyes glistened with tears as I lay the soft fabric over her lap.

Her: “You got this. . .for me?”
Me: “Actually it wasn’t me. It was someone else.”
Her: *eyes widening again*
Me: “Remember that picture of our hands? The one with the pin that you gave me permission to share?”
Her: “You mean share on the Facebook?”
Me: *chuckling* “Yes, ma’am. The Facebook.”
Her: “Where I had all the people that like me?”
Me: *laughing* “Yes ma’am. They sure did like you a whooooole lot, too!”

Now she was holding the cover up to her cheek rubbing it against her face. My face started feeling super hot.

Me: “A classmate of mine shipped it to my home. Just for you. And he said to thank you and your parents for the legacy you helped leave for us at Tuskegee.” *clearing my throat so I wouldn’t get emotional* “He also sent you a pin just like the one of mine that you liked so much.”
Her: “He did? Isn’t that something!”
Me: “Yes ma’am.” *handing her the pin*

Her mouth fell open. Then she stared at me so tenderly and incredulously that my eyes immediately filled up with tears. She was genuinely touched.

Her eyes then cast down to the blanket and pin again. She spoke softly:

“Mother Tuskegee sure made some good ones, didn’t she?”

I gave her a big smile. “Indeed she did.”

Indeed she did.

Happy Wednesday.


  1. Okay, now you got this Morehouse devotee crying. Good crying.
    Thank you, Dr. Manning.

  2. These are just some gorgeous posts, Kimberly. We're listening.

  3. What a lovely woman and a lovely gift to give her. Thanks for sharing these posts with us. I would love to give you a hundred likes on facebook :) My family from Delaware and Maryland all say fair to middling as well, and always add can't complain on the end. Your hand photos capture so much more than just hands. And that joyful picture at the bottom of the post made me smile.

  4. Loved this sequel! LN


"Tell me something good. . . tell me that you like it, yeah." ~ Chaka Khan

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