Thursday, April 19, 2012

Dinner Dates

For the next 30 days, I will be participating in the WEGO Health Activist Writers' Month Challenge by blogging about a predetermined topic each morning.  Please visit to learn more - and please check back each evening for your regularly scheduled programming.

If you could have dinner with five people - dead or alive - who would you choose, and why?

First, I would invite Jesus to my dinner party.  While I am not a religious person, I consider myself tremendously spiritual.  I grew up singing in the church choir, attending church at least twice a month, living my life the way the Church said I should.  However, as I have gotten older, I have realized that there is quite a bit about organized religion with which I do not agree.  Furthermore, there is quite a bit about Christian theology in particular with which I disagree.

That being said, I strongly believe that Jesus was an extraordinary person.  I think He did amazing things 2000 years ago, and I think individuals' belief in Him today leads them to continue to do compassionate deeds.

At my dinner party, I would love to discuss life, philosophy, religion, and spirituality with Jesus.  I believe we would have a wonderful conversation.

Second (and somewhat similarly), I would like to invite the Dalai Lama to my dinner party.  I am a big fan of the philosophies surrounding Buddhism, and I would love to discuss these with the Tibetan leader.  Furthermore (and perhaps more importantly), I greatly admire and respect what the Dalai Lama stands for: upholding human values such as compassion, love, forgiveness, and understanding; and promoting religious harmony, showing that the great religions are much more similar (in that they strive to make individuals better human beings) than they are different.

I would love to pick his brain about what we as individuals can do to make the world a better place.

Third, I would like to invite Robert Kennedy to my dinner party.  When I was preparing to teach a unit on the 1960s to my tenth-grade students several years ago, I asked my mom what I should include.  When she mentioned Bobby Kennedy, she kind of teared up and said that the world would be a different place had Bobby Kennedy been president.  As I researched him, I realized what a truly remarkable man he was, how pivotal he was in the Civil Rights Movement and the quest for social justice.  

Because I am so passionate about creating a gentler, more equal world for everyone - especially the students I see suffering due to issues of race, ethnicity, social class, etc. - I so greatly respect and admire Robert Kennedy.  

I would love to hear his opinion on how things have (or, more interestingly, have not) changed since his assassination.  And I would love to ask him his opinion on what I can do to further help the underserved.

Fourth, I would like to invite my nana (my mom's mom) to my dinner party.  As I have mentioned before, Nana died unexpectedly on New Year's Eve when I was in eighth grade.  Throughout her life, Nana had her share of hardships, but she overcame them and used her strengths to assist others who were struggling with their own circumstances and battling their own demons.

Furthermore, Nana was extremely passionate about making the world a better place.  She cared so deeply about so many things and so many people: the environment, those tormented by mental health issues and substance abuse, women's rights, etc.  And she did everything in her power to help those who needed more assistance than they were receiving, those who could not help themselves.

Finally, Nana was a carefree spirit; I refer to her frequently as the ultimate hippie.  She was a painter and a calligrapher and a sculptor.  She wore earrings down to her shoulders, many of which she beaded herself.  She wore tube tops, sans bras, to our soccer games when she was in her 50s.  She was amazing.

I carry my nana with me every day: the tattoo on my back, the scarf around my neck, the AA coin in my purse, the chain around my neck.  And I know she is with me all the time.  I know she is looking down on me and is proud of me.

But, I miss her.  And I want to hug her.  And I want to talk to her.  And I want to tell her I think she was a phenomenal woman.  And I want her to know how much I love her.

Fifth, I would like to invite my mom to my dinner party.  First, I want my mama to be able to talk to her mama again.  Second, everyone on this list is on here because of my mom's influence on me.  Third, my mommy is my best friend in the whole wide world, and I wouldn't want to experience something this cool without her.

Really, this would be a pretty perfect dinner party if it were just Nana, Mom, and me.


  1. Replies
    1. Love you, Mama - more than all the world.

  2. Hi Emmy, I have been reading your blog for a while and just wanted to say I love reading your posts. I am an English teacher and am training for my first marathon, and everything you write really resonates with me and has really helped keep me motivated! Thanks for the great blog. Melissa. Ps germaine Greer is on my dinner party list!

    1. Thank you! I promise I will be posting more regularly very soon - it's been a busy, stressful few weeks (as I'm sure it has been for you, too, finishing the school year). Thanks for reading!