When I was younger I promised that I would never again ride a roller coaster. Praying I promised that “if I could just get safely off this roller coaster I promise you God that I will never again get on this roller coaster or any roller coaster again”. So to my surprise, one day I agreed to get on a particular ride. It was shaped somewhat like a giant ship. There were a couple of decks …I sat in the middle not knowing if I should sit at the bottom or at the very top. I sat next to Mrs. Geraldine Johnson. She is an elegant lady. I was afraid that if I lost myself and cried out, I would really offend her. As the ride ascended and then ventured out, I began to feel it in my stomach and in my heart. I looked over at her and she must have guessed what I was thinking because she shared my thoughts out loud in such a way that it made it okay for me to grab on to her arm and squish my eyes shut tightly…but it was okay because she made me laugh so hard that I had forgotten to pray that “if I could just get off of this ride I will never” – well you know the rest.
Anyway, that day was one of my fondest memories. I felt that I had really gotten to know Mrs. Johnson more so that day than any day. She had put me at ease with her elegance and her grace. I am sure that she raised her children with the same qualities that I had discovered in her that day.
Mrs. Johnson is one of the most refined women that I have ever met. Growing up around her since I was a teenager, I had admired her. She was the "Phylicia Rashad" of my day. Yet she was always hospitable, putting me at ease. Mostly, her laugh is contagious and that is how you know she is in the room. She seemed to always be there and when she was not, she was surely missed. The event just was not the same. Therefore, it will be strange, downright uncanny to not see her just sitting there, chuckling, commenting making people laugh in the way that only she can.
But I will think of her fondly for her beauty, good energy, her good taste, her elegance, her intellect, her wit and her grace. When we are united one day in Paradise, she will turn to me and smile and chuckle wittingly and exclaim “What a ride!” Mrs. Johnson, I really hope that you will go on this ride again-and that I – no that we all can look forward to the future journey and the chance to hear you laugh like only you can ...again.
Le Ann Womack – I Hope You Dance –
I hope you never lose your sense of wonder,
You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger,
May you never take one single breath for granted,
GOD forbid love ever leave you empty handed,
I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean,
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens,
Promise me that you'll give faith a fighting chance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.
I hope you dance....I hope you dance.