Featured letter: Thanks, B.I., from Sendai
Labor Day weekend on Block Island was significant this year for many reasons. For me personally that was because of the event my cousin Sue Black had organized. She had planned a wonderful evening to promote my book “From the Ground to the Heart,” which is in support of the survivors of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. (Net proceeds go to a homeless program in Sendai called Yomawari.)
The entire evening from beginning to end reflected the warm sense of community that makes Block Island particularly special. So with gratitude I wish to thank all those who contributed to make the event a success. First, Island Bound and Mabel’s, who allowed us to use the space in front of the bookstore and restaurant, where the first part of the program occurred. It was a perfect place with beautiful decorations and gorgeous views. Brian Penry, the editor and mastermind behind the book, was there to sign books with me. And there were Japanese decorations lent by Judy Durden’s 3rd grade, mouth-watering sushi and Asian food donated by local restaurants and island cooks, and delicious beverages of sake, plum wine and beer donated by the Red Bird, along with various kinds of tea.
After an hour of book signing, everyone stepped over to the Harbor Baptist Church. There we were honored with an impressive concert by Manabu Takasawa of the University of Rhode Island. I wish to give many bows of appreciation to him for his superb playing, along with his very informative introduction to each piece. Manabu kindly came to Block Island in support of this event, even though he was busily preparing for several major concerts in Japan within a few days.
Many thanks, too, to Michael Mendillo from Boston University for the third part of the program. Dr. Mendillo had been at Sendai Airport when the tsunami struck. His account of that time was personal, amusing in parts, and very moving. Like me, he was very impressed by the dignity of the Japanese people during that traumatic time. He also wrote a book about his experiences. It is called “An Earthquake, a Tsunami and a Meaningful Life.” Net proceeds from that go to the American Red Cross Japan Fund.
And of course, very special thanks to Sue Black for superbly organizing the entire program.
When I look back on that “Japanese Evening,” I especially remember the generosity of those who contributed and the kindness of those who attended. I feel privileged to have been allowed to experience the best of humanity while on Block Island.
Thank you all very much. Hontou ni arigatou gozaimashita.
Further donations to this cause can be given to the Block Island Ecumenical Ministries, PO Box 134, Block Island, RI 02807, with Sendai in the memo.
Signed copies of Thomas’ book are available; email Sue Black at email@example.com.