Monday was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. I have to admit I did not think much about it until I pulled up to the bank to make a deposit and it was closed. Our family appreciated not having to get up in time to make the bus that day because there was no school.
As the phrase, “I have a dream,” echoed through my subconscious several times later that same day, I wondered if I, as a middle-class white person in the middle of a mostly Caucasian county, was missing something.
Just to be sure, I read Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous dream speech online. It was then I realized I needed to pay closer attention to the whole issue of dreams.
We all have dreams at some point in our lives. Unlike Martin Luther King, Jr., my early dreams were a bit selfish in nature.
As a child, I was determined to be a horse jockey when I grew up. I loved racing my fat little Shetland pony, Trixie, over hill and dale, along the highway to my friend’s house, and around the fun-show arena to win trophies.
Unfortunately, I grew up and Trixie did not. Her little legs were too short to ever be a serious race- horse contender. That dream died because we just did not have the legs to carry it into reality.
Legs played a part in my next dream for the future. As a high school athlete, I wanted to be an Olympic volleyball player. It is almost funny to consider now, but I lived and breathed volleyball in those days.
When I was a freshman at Goessel High School we started the first ever Goessel girls’ volleyball team. We did not win a single match that year, but I learned to love the game … so much so that by the time I was a senior I earned Heart of America All-League first team honors as a setter, and a nice scholarship to play at the junior college level.
A coaching switch my second year of juco level volleyball brought my Olympic dreams crashing down around me. I was told I was too short, end of story, big dose of reality, end of dream.
When one dream ends, another often begins, and so began my quest to be a journalist, a wife, a mother, a coach, a dairy farmer, a magazine editor, a newspaper writer, and so on.
The thing about dreams I discovered along the way, and I believe Martin Luther King, Jr. knew as well, is that it takes legs, and action, to make them come true.
It used to bother me when I saw protesters marching down streets on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, carrying signs that said, “Black Power,” or “We shall rise,” among other things. But I think the reality is that some people need empowerment to put legs under their dreams.
I believe we all want the same thing, no matter where we live, walk, jump, or run. We want the freedom to put legs under the dream of becoming someone or something. It is called opportunity, it is an American right and liberty, and I believe that is the dream Martin Luther King, Junior wanted all to remember during the week of his remembrance day celebration.
It also does not hurt to keep in mind that dreams need legs to become reality.