Monday, February 16, 2009

What Money Can Buy

Watching the Super Bowl with both Cardinal and Steelers fans was a thrilling experience. With each unexpected twist or spectacular play, someone erupted with jubilant yelps while someone else groaned in agony. As a former fullback on the soccer field, I was beyond pleased to see Defensive Player of the Year James Harrison run a hundred yards with an interception to score a touchdown. (Huzzah! Can't keep those defenders down!) Someone remarked that such a close, exciting game must also make the advertisers happy, especially those whose ads aired in the second half.

While there were some commercial gems, what
Washington Post writer Thomas Boswell once said about the halftime show was true of this year's pricey, inane productions: "[they] will make you wonder if Western Civilization deserves to survive." One bright spot, however, was seeing Richard Dean Anderson on screen again, facing yet another ticking time-bomb. Pepsi's production was hardly worthy of MacGyver, but we recalled the great Mastercard commercial he did years ago and smiled. Tube sock: $4. Paper clip, ballpoint pen, rubber band, tweezers, turkey baster: $14. Little things that get you through the day: Priceless.

And it reminded me of why I am helping Lola and Taiye raise funds to go to Nigeria. Some may wonder why employed professionals need financial assistance to take a trip. Well, it is more than just travel expenses that need to be covered and it is more than just a trip, of course. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet a parent. And a trip to Africa means taking time off from one's life here (taking an unpaid leave of absence from work, for example), and that gets expensive.
Airfare, visa/passport fees, recommended vaccinations, in-country accommodations, in-country travel: $$$. Spending a month becoming father and daughter at last: Priceless.

To learn more about how you can contribute, please email us at (On-line donation capability coming soon!)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


I begin this blog on a snowy January day in the nation's capital, just two weeks after the historic inauguration of our 44th President. My desire is that through this blog, I may share a story with many people -- maybe even as many as the throng I stood among on the Mall, stamping our feet in the cold as a new President's inspiring challenge washed over us. It is my hope that, in the end, the people who read this story will respond to what I believe is another inspiring challenge. I seek to raise support to send my dear friends Lola and Taiye to Nigeria to see their father – a father they have never met, about whom they had no information until two years ago, but a father they have been missing and hoping for all of their lives.

On Inauguration Day, Lola and her twin sister Taiye magically managed to be in the right place at the right time to receive a wave from Barack and Michelle Obama as they walked during the parade. This was a truly fitting experience, for Lola became a fan of Barack Obama long before he appeared on the national radar. After hearing him speak and reading his books, she was convinced—and proceeded to tell everyone— that he would be President of the United States (though even she was surprised at how quickly her vision came to fruition). Even some of her politically savvy friends scratched their heads and asked, "Obama who?” Lola was ahead of us all, rallying the troops around the vision of Hope and Change long before it was popular, long before it seemed expedient to do so.

So when she told me that she had decided to sell some signed Obama memoirs to finance her trip to Nigeria, I swallowed hard. She asked me for appraisal advice and I referred her to a collector friend. But I could not stop thinking about how beautiful and simultaneously sad such a transaction would be. I applaud her priorities, but I want her to be able to keep her memoirs so she can share them with her new-found father. Indeed, those signed volumes are valuable symbols of who she is, where she has been, and how she is impacting many people for good. If ever there was a means of catching up on a lifetime of experiences with her dad, it is Lola’s sharing of these memoirs. With her voice and her eyes she will fill him in on the details of her life story, but the special place these books and their message have in her heart give shape to her narrative, a framework for communicating so much of her journey. She deserves that. She has been through so much, hopes for so much, and gives so much. I want her father to meet her in person soon, with fire in her eyes, love in her heart, wisdom on her lips, and treasured volumes in her hands.