Monday, January 17, 2011

thirty-fourth visit: Jan 17th 2011 Baptist, MLK Day observance

12 noon monday
Metropolitan Baptist Church
MLK Day observance
22-24 Sampsonian St, Pittsburgh PA 15212

north side

It felt good to spend time focusing on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s life. Ten speakers or so, with hymns between. Children's performances and solos. Community citizenship awards presented. I didn't know that Martin Luther Sr. was born as Michael Sr. and known a such until he changed his and his son's names to MLK Sr. and Jr., in honor of the Protestant leader, after visiting Germany in 1934. Timing can be everything, or can create curiosity, at least.

I remember learning about Dr. MLK jr for the first time when I was 6 or so, preluded by the Rosa Parks story. I was in kindergarten on a rug of pea-green shag, just before resting-time—when we would all lie still for a minute. I truly think that it was the first bit of history that I really fully grasped, as much as I could at that age. The kind that made me quite sad as we lay still, but left me wanting to learn more. I also remember the day that someone explained to me what the phrase "different race" meant. That was when I was even younger. I remember noticing the difference from that point on. I remember having no concept of it before that moment.

There are some visits during which I have very little interaction with those around me. This is one of them. Maybe that's why I decide to stop into the Sacred Heart of Jesus Store on my way home. (It's only four doors away from where I needed to return a movie.) I am greeted warmly by the two nuns running the spot. "You've never been here? But you are an artist, right? And we have artists in here all day long. You are an artist, aren't you?"
"She always can tell," the other chimes.
"Only, the others are all dressed in black, head to toe. You, in white, think for yourself, I can tell that, too. And that is what artists are really supposed to do." Well, that's what she said.

The shop is a hoarder's visual feast. Most items look second hand. Porcelain Marys and Saints, drawings and prints, candles and holders, books topsy-turvy in floor-to-ceiling shelves. Black and gold rosaries to serve the devout all Sunday long. We talk religion, football and art. I am, indeed, in Pittsburgh.

So I tell her about gatherings, since I am wearing the dress and all.
"Have you been to St. Mary's on Fifth." I know exactly the place, but no.
I ask if that is her church. "Oh, I am a true Roamin' Catholic. I go everywhere. I take Holy Communion every day. God knows I need all the help I can get."

I'll be teaching a painting class at MICA this semester called "Obsessions." It starts tomorrow. Oh, how I wish I could put her in my car, drive her to Baltimore, and introduce her as our guest speaker.

No comments:

Post a Comment