Bea Gaddy knew what it was like to be down on her luck. Coming
from a family of domestic violence, Bea went between low-paying jobs to homelessness
and living on welfare. Her luck took a turn for the better in 1981 when she
purchased a 50-cent lottery ticket and won $290. Instead of spending this on
herself, she decided she would feed the hungry on Thanksgiving. This would
become known as the “Thanks for Giving” feast and year after year, people were
touched by Bea’s kindness and would follow in her footsteps.
The “Thanks for Giving” feast was first held on a sidewalk with
Bea providing and cooking all of the food. With the popularity growing, more
and more diners wanted to attend and local grocers and farms started to provide
food. Over the forthcoming years, Bea was awarded with a number of awards
including Unsung Hero Award, Afro American Woman of the Year and Baltimore City
Council Award. She passed away on 3 October, 2001, due to breast cancer.
I dream of you and I on silent nights I dream of love and peaceful skies I dream of peace on Earth without those crimes That shatter lives and ruin times
I dream of friends and holding hands I dream of ways to understand I dream of those where at command Can expand beyond what they had planned
I dream of a world where no on falters You are free to worship at an alter Everyone has worth with things to offer A burning sun and crystal waters
I dream that no one feels alone I dream of acceptance in broken homes With a pathway marked with stepping stones To lead you where you need to go
I dream at night when I can see How I’d want the world to be A harmonious globe, do you agree? Won’t you run away with me?
But then I awake and clearly see This is not how things are meant to be But things are not so bad as of now We are all getting by somehow We are all doing the best we can In our lives with hearts and hands But that doesn’t mean we can’t dream Of how we’d like our worlds to be
“I’m not here to cause trouble, Katara,” Zuko says, and he looks truly repentant while doing so. “I’m here to train Aang, to help him get ready to face my father. I’m not going to cause problems.”
Katara makes him wait an extended moment while she stirs that night’s soup before she answers. The others may have accepted him into their group here at the Western Air Temple, but she can only see him in cavern-dark light, and she remembers the feel of his scar beneath her fingertips.
The fire flares under the soup pot—is Zuko doing that? Does he have an unconscious reaction with his element when he’s nervous, or angry, or out of control? She used to do that much more often, but now she controls her bending with honed skill. But so does Zuko. So if that is him, he must really care about what she says.
Still, words come that she knows he won’t want to hear. “What good reason do I have to believe you? You’re a traitor, and traitors always lie.”
She glances up enough to see that the barb hurts.
“You only have my word.” He looks dejected and, for the barest hint of a second, Katara feels a spurt of pity. If he’s telling the truth…
She shakes her head. “That’s not enough.”
After a mission to Whale Tail Island and an Agni Kai gone wrong, Katara decides that Zuko’s word is enough.
A few years later, after the war has ended, after Aang and Mai are gone from their lives, letters fly by messenger hawk between the Fire Nation capital and the South Pole. Old friends arrange a visit, and when Katara steps off of the boat with Sokka in the Fire Nation harbor where Zuko waits for them, she realizes that he’s about to cause trouble of an entirely different kind.
How did she fail to notice before that he has such a nice smile?
A dramatic and overjoyed Sokka (she’s happy to see her brother in love, but she could do without the theatrical declarations to that effect) spends most of his time with Suki, and Katara finds herself alone with Zuko most of the time when he’s not in meetings.
Not that she minds.
A difficult first few years of reign have lessened his temper and increased his confidence, but he still blushes furiously the first time she takes his hand in hers.
They talk about politics and how their respective nations are handling recovery after the war. They take palanquin rides through the city (which Zuko only agrees to because Katara wants to see the capital and his guards won’t let him out unattended) or walk in the gardens, and one night they manage to sneak out of the palace to walk through the city itself. They spend a good deal of time at the turtleduck ponds near his childhood home and talk about his search for his mother.
The weeks of their visit pass with more speed than seems fair, and Katara doesn’t expect Zuko to kiss her first, or for her heart to hurt so much when she and Sokka leave to go home to the South Pole.
They exchange letters more frequently after that, but Katara doesn’t realize quite how obvious her feelings are until Gran Gran takes her hand one afternoon to help her stir the pot while she cooks turtle seal soup.
Gran Gran hasn’t helped her cook since she was young and just learning how to do it on her own, and her grandmother’s words that accompany the aid hold knowledge but no accusation. “You were letting the soup burn, child; you have to keep stirring it.” A pause, then, “Who is he?”
Katara blinks in surprise, and her hand stops again until Gran Gran clears her throat and points to the pot again. “Oh.” The wooden spoon moves out of habit, pulling glistening rivulets through the soup’s fatty top layer.
“One of the Northern warriors who’ve come to help rebuild?”
Katara stirs in silence.
“One of the men who fought with your father?”
Only the bubbling soup talks.
Gran Gran sighs. “You love the Fire Lord.”
The way Katara’s eyes widen when she looks up must tell her grandmother all she needs to know, and she continues speaking without Katara’s input.
“It won’t be easy for you. There’s a world of trouble for this peace you young people are trying to build, especially if you want to marry the enemy.”
“He’s not our enemy any—!” Katara’s protest ends when Gran Gran interrupts.
“But I ran away when I was younger than you to earn myself the right to live my life as I chose, to make my own rules. That’s what you’re doing, but there’s more at risk than just your own life, girl.”
The soup bubbles as Katara stirs. “I know.”
Gran Gran nods. “So long as you do.”
When Katara leaves the South Pole on a ship sailing to the Fire Nation with a letter she’s read so often that she’s memorized it clutched in her hand—I’ve secured support from enough councilors that we could make it work. I can’t leave right now—there have been too many assassination attempts lately (Suki and the other Kyoshi Warriors have been busy), and Uncle advises that for me to disappear would be seen as a sign of weakness—but I wish I could come for you and bring you here myself. I can’t, but—if you come, we could get married. Will you come?—she has only Zuko’s word that she will find a welcome and a life on foreign shores.
And even though the world’s against them, that’s enough.