The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Wednesday, February 05, 2003  

A Belated Tribute to Martin Luther King Jr.

Yes, I know, everyone’s nieces and nephews are adorable and all kids say the darndest things, but my nieces and nephews really are the most beautiful and brilliant children in the world.

A short story. Indulge me.

Last month my second-oldest sister was taking her daughter, my niece Janna, 6, to a friend’s birthday party, the party of a friend, let’s call her “Amy,” whom Janna hadn’t seen in six months due, I believe, to a change in assigned schools.

During the drive Janna and my sister passed the home of another of Janna’s former classmates, a girl we’ll call “Sally,” an occasion that sparked a mother-daughter conversation about Janna, her friends, and her relationships with them.

Janna told her mother that she’s friends with all of her classmates, past and present, even Sally, a girl who had acquired the unfortunate reputation in school for being “the smelly one,” an attribute my sister sadly confirmed.

Janna insisted that even as she made new friends she would always keep her old pals, adding that she is friends with everyone no matter what the other kids think about them, because “God made everyone.”

After pausing for a moment of quiet reflection, Janna observed, “You know what, Mom? Me and Martin Luther King have a lot in common.”

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