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Asking the Tough Questions

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By Michael Silver, on June 4, 2014

Last week I was invited to the Governor’s Mansion to watch the Durham Rescue Mission graduation ceremony. I was fortunate to be invited to the ceremony by Gale Wilkins, Executive Director for the North Carolina Council for Women.

The Durham Rescue Mission is Durham’s oldest long-term shelter that provides food, clothing, vocational training and education and job placement to its residents. It also teaches accountability and works with residents to stay drug free after leaving the mission. The First Lady of North Carolina spoke at the graduation and, based on her numerous visits to the shelter, obviously had a strong bond with the graduates. Two of the graduates who spoke at the graduation gave personal accounts of the First Lady at the rescue mission. Dan Forest, the Lt. Governor of North Carolina, also spoke to the graduates.

Being from Durham and currently living in Winston-Salem, I bonded with one of the founders of the Durham Rescue Mission who is from Winston-Salem.  He talked about his journey of working at the Winston-Salem Rescue Mission and taking that organizational structure to Durham. He felt it was best to spread the Rescue Mission values and successes across the state.

Also, I learned a practical lesson. A week earlier, I was at a fundraiser at a mentor’s house and he had a china cabinet with a lot of plates with the presidential seal. He told me that when you eat a meal at the White House it is customary for you to keep the plates. So, on the following Tuesday when I am at the Governor’s Mansion at the reception for the Durham Rescue Mission graduation someone pointed out how the plates have the North Carolina seal. I thought this was my chance to start my china collection!

Immediately before I was going to take a picture with the First Lady a person asked if they could take my plate. I asked if it was customary for guest to keep the plate and everyone looked at me and photoI immediately realized that, sometimes, there are bad questions.  

Besides it being 100 degrees in Raleigh, the afro I am growing for the music festival and the embarrassment from my own question made me start sweating. The look on my face in the picture could be captioned, “get me out of here, now!” So, if you ever find yourself eating at the Governor’s Mansion, do not ask to keep the dishes. And, remember, I asked the embarrassing question so you don’t have to.    

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