We honored Martin Luther King, Jr. by skiing at Loon Mountain in some fresh lovely snow this morning. Like car rides, chair lifts and gondolas also allow for a captive audience with one’s children. The snow fell in big, fat flakes. We carved through inches of powder. We fell and laughed, and I dug our children out of the woods when small side jumps didn’t go their way. But more importantly, we covered a lot of ground on the chairlift and gondola rides. We talked about Martin Luther King, Jr. and what he stood for– how he fought with his words and not his hands, or guns, or bow and arrows (this was a question). We talked about how he wanted people to treat each other better, all people, including people of different colors, races, and religions. Carver asked if he was still alive, and I said no and then explained how he was assassinated by a man who was afraid of change. This did digress our talk a little bit, and we then covered some ground about poor Gibbs, the white bunny with black ears, in Greta’s preschool class who passed away over the weekend. We aren’t sure how he died, but he will be missed. The children loved Gibbs as they did Elsa and Anna, two pet crabs who didn’t live long lives either.
“Gibbs was two different colors, Mom. Would Martin Luther King, Jr. really have liked him?” Greta asks.
“Yes, he would have,” I agreed, imagining the kinds of questions kids today would ask a man like MLK, Jr. had he lived longer. “But he didn’t only like kids who were different colors,” I tried to clear up any confusion. “He wanted everyone to accept the fact that we can be from different backgrounds and still be friends.
We talked about how Martin Luther King, Jr. was a minister.
“Wait a minute,” Carver interjects,”a minister like Minister Marcus?” Marcus Corey is the minister for Loon Mountain Ministry whose warm personality, gregarious voice, and incredible family has captured the hearts of Lincoln and Woodstock and Loon Mountain itself.
“Yes, sort of like Minister Marcus, only Dr. King spoke to hundreds and sometimes thousands of people at a time.”
“But he was nice like Marcus, right?” Greta asks.
“Did Martin Luther King, Jr. also ski like Minister Marcus?” clarifies Carver.
I do not believe MLK, Jr. had a lot of time for skiing, but I said we could look up this information when we got home. However, at this point, I’ve realized that perhaps we have maxed out the MLK conversation. So we settle for talking about the different kinds of religions out there in the world and how that is a form of diversity. How we can live in a country where it’s okay to be Congregationalist (like us) or Catholic (like Gram and Pop and the gospel according to Olivia Nestor) or Muslim like some of Mommy’s students at school or even Jewish like Auntie Courtney who lives in CT and went to college with Mommy and always tells us how she loves Peeps before Passover (peeps are those awful marshmallow chicks out around Easter).
“Mom, what kinds of choice do people from China have for their religion?” Carver is asking this because his very best buddy is learning English, and he moved here from China last year when they were in preschool together.
For being located between two tiny towns, our school is more diverse than some might imagine. We recently joked over dinner the other night with friends who relocated here from Jamaica that despite Greta and their son knowing each other for two years now, she just whispered to me not too long ago, “Hey, Mom, did you know DJ is black?” as if this would also be a surprise to me.
DJ is five and considers himself to be brown and says that Greta is pink, which is also fairly accurate.
So we talked on the chairlifts and gogo rides. We talked about what it means to treat each other with respect, what MLK meant to our world, what Gibbs the rabbit meant to the Lincoln Woodstock Community Childcare Center, and what minister Marcus means to our mountain and community. We talked about how lovely it was to be able to ski together on this day off from school and that we even got to take our first chairlift ride with Daddy. But mostly we skied, laughed, and loved spending the morning together on our favorite big mountain. Loon Mountain. We had to share our mountain with a whole lot of tourists this weekend too, but Mother Nature showed up to make her all the more beautiful. So many colors, shapes, sizes, ability levels, and countries represented on the snow-white trails…I think Martin Luther King, Jr. would have approved. With that said, we have a long way to go to fully achieve the dream he believed for our world.