Answering someone’s prayers

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 6, 2003

Vermelle Byrd has discovered for a fact that prayer and performing good deeds bring good results.

About one month ago, Byrd called me to cover the May Week Observance of her sorority, the Suffolk Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. She said at that time the reason she was calling me so early is that she wanted to make sure that I would not make any more appointments on that date. I wrote it down and promised her that I would be there.

In the meantime when the week came, I was beginning to get really stressed out. Part of the pressure was from concerts, and extra obligations that I took on without planning and with little rest from the previous week. Our two digital cameras needed some repairing. Trying not to feel guilty, I called Byrd to explain the problem. I also told her to obtain a camera, take some pictures, get information, and I would still print a good article.

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I was almost out the door when Stephen Cowles, managing editor, asked me if I would do a picture for him early Sunday morning. &uot;But Stephen,&uot; I said, &uot;the cameras are non-workable and we have no batteries.&uot; After a small discussion with him, I left the office at 9 p.m. and headed to the store to get some batteries.

When I came back he was on deadline and didn’t have time to fix it, so he said, &uot;Here, Evelyn, you take it home and fix it enough to take pictures.&uot;

I was really tired by the time I arrived home at 10:30 p.m. because I had also purchased groceries when I had bought the batteries.

By the time that I showered, rolled my hair and then ate at 11:30 p.m., which I definitely should not do, I went to sleep only to be awakened at 4 a.m. by a mosquito constantly humming in my ear. I got up to look for some insect repellent but couldn’t find any.

By that time I was fully awake. I looked at the camera and thought about Byrd. We both lived on Lee Street when I was in high school and we were very close friends. When my son was in the fifth-grade at Thomas Jefferson School, she did me a big favor. A teacher was trying to say that he couldn’t read. Byrd had taught Mark and knew that she was wrong because he had made excellent grades in her class. Byrd took action in my son’s interest and he succeeded to advance in reading and to move forward. He had maintained the honor roll all of his 12 years in school and when he graduated in the class of 1989 at the former John F. Kennedy High School, he finished at the top of his class and gave the welcome address at his commencement exercises. He also received a full scholarship to The College of William & Mary and graduated with a BS degree in 1993. How could I not report on an event so special to Byrd.

I then thought about all of the other dinners and luncheons that I had made. On Friday, April 25 I had attended the St. Mark’s Day Church Dinner and Dance event at the Holiday Inn. I had attended the Literacy Luncheon on last Wednesday, and am scheduled to attend the Chum’s Club Mother-Daughter Banquet at C&C Restaurant on May 9, and afterwards a graduation celebration for James Lewis Sr. at the America Legion in Portsmouth.

Oh what a life! How could I not show up at an event so special to Byrd?

I started working on the camera and after 45 minutes I solved the problem.

I wanted to wear the Delta’s colors, red and white, and realized that my fingernails were green from the outfit that I had worn the day before. I polished them red and called Byrd at 6 a.m. to let her know in time that I could now make the event.

&uot;Are you up,&uot; I asked.

&uot;Oh, girl you don’t know how I have been praying. I have been up ever since 5 a.m. wondering where I could get a camera in time for the program,&uot; said Byrd.

I said, &uot;Can I wear red and white if I’m not a Delta?&uot;

Byrd said, &uot;You can come without any clothes on if you want to, just come. If you can’t make it on time, I will save a seat close to the front.&uot;

The program was scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. and I arrived at 8:45 a.m.

The program was excellent, and I got good pictures of nearly everyone who was on the program.

In the end, Byrd’s prayers were answered.

Evelyn Wall is a staff writer and regular columnist for the News-Herald.