SANDERS: A day off can be better for everyone

Published 4:15 pm Saturday, February 3, 2018

It was Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018. It was a legislative day for the Alabama State Senate. It was also the 48th anniversary of my marriage to Faya Rose Toure. Tuesdays and Thursdays are legislative days during the early months of each year. I was not present for the legislative day. It was a day off/a day on.

Marriage impacts everything I do. It impacts my state Senate service. It impacts my legal service. It impacts my community service. It impacts my political service. As I said, it impacts everything. And everything I do impacts my marriage. That’s why we had a day off/a day on.

Faya Rose and I decided that we would gift ourselves with a day off/a day on for our 48th anniversary. We would take a day off from all that which we are involved. For me that included the Alabama State Senate, the practice of law, numerous community activities and extensive political work.  For Faya Rose, that meant a whole horde of legal and community activities including the annual Bridge Crossing Jubilee. We were also taking a day off from our families.

We were also taking a day off from our other families:  our law office family, our New South family, our SOS family, our community family, our political family, our national families of fellow strugglers, etc. Sometimes we just have to take time away from most everything, including that which is very important. Our 48 years of marriage is a foundation for all we do.

As we took a day off, we were also taking a day on with each other. We were taking a day on for the marriage. We were taking a day on for all the things that are connected to us. A day on was our spending 24 hours together. In addition to families and activities, we put away cell phones (mostly).

On Monday, Jan. 22 I had to be in Greene County for a meeting at 4:30 p.m. Therefore, Faya and I agreed to meet in Tuscaloosa at 7 p.m. to commence our day off/day on. At 7 p.m., I was still in Greene County. Faya, who is sometimes late for our appointments, was early.

I arrived in Tuscaloosa about 8 p.m. We met leisurely for dinner. Then we decided to go to a late night movie. Proud Mary was a powerful movie with over lapping themes of love, childhood abandonment, violence, revenge and redemption.

We arrived at our boutique hotel after 11 p.m.  A good friend had located it for us. Instead of watching cable news as we usually do, we talked and talked. We did not even turn on the television. That was so strange for us.

I am usually awake at five something in the morning. In fact, we are both up early. This morning, it was after 9 a.m. before we got up. Then we shared a late breakfast and separated. I went back to our room while Faya went “out.”  I am certain that “out” meant shopping, but I did not inquire.

While we were breakfasting, we decided to have lunch with Martha Morgan and Mike Adams who live in Tuscaloosa County. We wanted lunch with a couple who we both liked and both liked us. Martha is deeply involved with us in various litigation and community struggles. Mike Adams is her life partner.

An Indian restaurant was chosen because Faya and Martha love Indian food. Mike and I have other food preferences, but it was a great lunch without any discussion of legal or community issues.

While we were having lunch, I received a text.  Senate Bill 116, of which I am the sole sponsor, was on the Special Order Calendar. I phoned my assistant to ask Sen. Vivian Davis Figures to handle the bill.

It was not too long after that I received a text informing me that the bill passed the Senate by a vote of 22-0. I was not needed. I understand that, at the urging of Senator Figures, Alabama State Senators publicly applauded our 48 years of marriage. The day on/day off came to an end. Faya and I went our separate ways. She went to Birmingham to see her sister in ICU, and I went to Selma to handle various challenges. It was not quite 24 hours, but it was a great day. Faya called as she traveled to Birmingham just to say how much she enjoyed herself. I confessed the same. We are both the better for the day off/day on.