Celebrating My Birthday & The Anniversary Of My Best Friendship

Carlye at Disney World; both of us at the opening night of ‘Hello, Dolly!’ on Broadway

Today, France celebrates Bastille Day, or as we say in my house, my birthday.

I am not a ‘birthday person.’ I never have been, not that I mind getting older.

The best part of my birthday really isn’t about me.

The best part of my birthday is the anniversary of one of the best parts of my life.

The best part of my birthday is that on July 14, 1980, I found my best friend, the foundation of who I am and how I got here.

Today is the anniversary of the day Carlye and I officially became best friends. Yes, officially. We decided on that day.

I can never write enough about how I was made better the day we met.

I can never write enough about how Carlye and her family made me feel like I belonged.

I can never write enough about how Carlye and I survived New York City and life together:

• being briefly homeless at midnight on October 30, 1985
• living in what we called ‘the hovel’ in a six-floor walk-up on the Upper East Side
• waiting tables and auditioning, and waiting tables and auditioning, and waiting tables and auditioning
• getting to opening nights
• getting through funerals
• getting through illnesses – hers and mine

I could all go on and on. But I’ll leave it at that – for now.

The best part of my birthday is not about ‘me.’ It is about ‘we.’

Happy birthday to me, but more importantly happy anniversary Carlye.

Carlye and I at a holiday party some year in NYC

 

Mother’s Day 2021

L-R Bishop Carlye Hughes, me and Jackie Hughes

Regular readers of The Randy Report know there are a few posts that I share annually.

I originally wrote this in 2015.


Happy Mother’s Day wishes to all those fabulous, wonderful mothers who teach and nurture us all.

When I was young, people felt sad for me because my mother passed away at a young age.  But the universe had another (maybe better?) plan for me.

Because so many women were sent my way to teach, support and love on me to bring me to here.  I think wisdom greater than mine knew it would all be more than ok.

This Mother’s Day is my first without Jackie Hughes, who I called “Mother” for over 30 years. She passed last summer and nothing will ever be the same. But what she gave me, and shaped in me, lives on.

I loved the smile in Mother’s voice. When she said my name it was musical and lilting. “Rannn-dy.” She made me feel like I belonged.

She was the center of the Hughes family. And we all knew it.

Mother speaking at Carlye’s wedding reception after my toast

Memory:  Mother was an expert shopper. EXPERT. She knew how to befriend all the ladies at Neiman Marcus so they would hide items she wanted until they went on serious sale. Double markdowns. Triple markdowns. Then she’d buy. And hide the dresses in the back of the closet for months.

When she’d finally wear them, Coach (Father Hughes is the winningest high school basketball coach in the history of the U.S.) might compliment her, asking if that was new. Mother would reply – in perfect ‘Texan’ – “This? I’ve had it for months. But, thank you.” Always followed by a warm, secret smile.

I didn’t share Mother’s passing here on The Randy Report when it happened. I kept thinking I would, but I never felt any language worthy of Mother’s memory come to me.

I did come across these two quotes that feel right. So, thank you to all the mothers out there – the women who make up more of us than we’ll ever understand.

“To describe my mother would be to write about a hurricane in its perfect power. Or the climbing, falling colors of a rainbow.”
— Maya Angelou

“But there’s a story behind everything. How a picture got on a wall. How a scar got on your face. Sometimes the stories are simple, and sometimes they are hard and heartbreaking. But behind all your stories is always your mother’s story, because hers is where yours begin.”
― Mitch Albom, For One More Day

My birth mother, Joyce Ann Slovacek, back in 1958.
You can see it, right…?

Rev. Carlye Hughes to be installed as new rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Fort Worth

I am not a regular churchgoer.  I am a spiritual person, but not religious.  But I believe in good things that make people feel better.  Among the many, many other things that make me proud of my beautiful best friend Carlye – I’ve always been proud of the work and difference she makes as an Episcopal priest.

When I visit Carlye I always attend her service because she’s excellent at what she does.  And I love excellence. 

The word communion comes up in Episcopal services.  And when it does, it makes me think of “community.” “Community” makes me think of family.  “Family” makes me think of Carlye.  And completing the circle – everywhere Carlye goes, she creates community.

I’m thrilled for my hometown of Fort Worth, TX.  The announcement was made today that Carlye will be the new Rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Fort Worth – where Carlye and I are both from.  

I hear, and am not surprised, that her selection was unanimous.  Who doesn’t want an MVP on their team?  Or in their community?

Sharing the announcement because I’m so happy for her.  And btw – the Rev. Hughes will be the first female African-American Rector in the Fort Worth Diocese.  Check out her credentials in the release below. 

Yeah – I don’t hang with slackers…  🙂

***********************************************

The vestry of Trinity Episcopal Church announces that the Rev. Carlye J. Hughes has been called as the 18th rector of Trinity Episcopal Church. Founded in 1893, Trinity is one of the oldest parishes in the diocese.

She is currently rector of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Peekskill, NY, in the Episcopal Diocese of New York. Under her leadership St. Peter’s Church has grown from a family-sized church to robust pastoral-sized parish with a team of lay leaders. Stewardship levels in the parish increased by 50 percent.

“We are convinced that the Rev. Hughes is the answer to God’s call to us for a faithful servant who will minister to us and with us for years to come,” said Senior Warden Jerry Nanna. “She clearly has the gifts of preaching, teaching, and pastoral care we were looking for to lead us into the future life of Trinity.”

The Rev. Hughes has deep roots in Fort Worth. “Fort Worth is my home town, the place where I first discovered my love of the church and my call to religious vocation,” she said.

The Rev. Hughes graduated from Virginia Theological Seminary with a Master of Divinity and was ordained in 2005. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Drama from the University of Texas, Austin. She attended Texas Christian University and Boston University. She was a Lilly Fellow at St. James Church, New York, NY from 2005 to 2007. Prior to entering seminary she worked as regional training manager for the Crown Plaza Manhattan. She co-chaired the Committee to Elect a Bishop for the Episcopal Diocese of New York. She is a current member of the New York Diocesan Standing Committee and the Commission on Ministry. She also served as Diocesan Convention Chaplain in 2008. She is active in the Peekskill Area Pastor’s Association, working on their Hunger Subcommittee and chaired the Diversity Subcommittee. She also has facilitated Diversity Awareness Training for Virginia Theological Seminary. She is married to David Smedley.

“I have a steadfast commitment to recruiting, nurturing and empowering lay people for ministry,” she said.

The Rt. Rev. Wallis Ohl, provisional bishop of Fort Worth, said, “I am delighted with the prayerful way that the Succession Committee at Trinity Parish has exercised its ministry throughout their search. I am also thankful for the vestry in electing the Rev. Carlye Hughes as their next rector. The Rev. Hughes will bring her incredible gifts and joyful personality to the work of continuing to develop the ministry of Trinity in new and exciting ways.”

She is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Hughes. Her father was the long-time basketball coach at Dunbar High School and her brother, Robert Hughes Jr., is the current coach.

“Call Me Carlye”

Carlye and I at a holiday party a few years ago

Today is the birthday of my best friend and the most beautiful person I know. Today is Carlye’s birthday.

There is so much to celebrate when I think of Carlye. Her laugh, her smile, her fortitude, her inspiration, her conviction – her life.

Carlye and husband David at their favorite place in the world

Happy happy birthday Carlye!  I wanted to write something that would reflect her spirit and beauty, both inside and out. So, in my best attempt to write in the style of my favorite poet, Maya Angelou, here goes:

“Call Me Carlye”

Imagine a newborn, big-eyed, brown, baby girl
Waiting to see her world.
 Waiting to receive a name.

Let’s call her Fannie Mae,

She’ll stay in this place.

No, let’s call her Bonnie Brown,
She’ll never leave this town.

Then the universe had an aha! moment,

and said,
Carlye.

Inspired by beautiful – beautiful woman, beautiful mind,
And a spirit for life.

The town laughed and said it was sure

This child was special, and sure to explore.

The universe whispered,
Carlye.
And a world leaned forward.

A grandmother, Mrs. Wilson, lifted her up
To show her to God,
And God said,
I’m going to show you a road to your future.

And in a land named Texas she began to see herself.
Someone said,
What’s your name?
She said, Carlye.

And, what do you do?
She said, I am being Carlye.

And then she stood tall.
She saw no one higher than herself,
And no one lower.

New York asked Carlye,
“Come, by the shining river and the beautiful city
Will you come here
And share your gifts and talent, Carlye?”

She said, “Yes.
And in doing so, I want to give voice to those in and around me,
To the voiceless. To the quiet. To the less sure.
Call me Carlye.”

Those around her began to know her and call her by her name.

Carlye.

And wherever she went, she created community.
Carlye.

And she said, Yes.

Yes.

Everyone who sat by her had a place to be.
Carlye.

And people listened to her
For more years than were actually there.
And she listened.

She said be strong,
be kind,
and call me Carlye.

I am Carlye.

Carlye.

Carlye.

Carlye.