OCTOBER 25: Celebrating Lou Wilson of MANDRILL's 73rd Birthday Anniversary - Peace and Love Be Unto Him

By Gloria Dulan-Wilson


Well, it's here again, and I'm in a lot better space this year than I was last year - Lou's birthday is today, Saturday, October 25, 2014 - and, though I was a basket case leading up to this occasion, I've actually walked through the valley and come out on the other side in a much better space - emotionally, spiritually, psychologically, mentally and even physically than I went in.  


Truth be told, I spent the better part of this week tripping on how I was going to handle October 25 without him being here - without surprising him with at least 3 zany birthday greeting cards (I could never ever choose just one); without all the silly, mushy stuff we said to each other.  So as it got closer and closer to the date,  I allowed myself to wallow in the blues for the past few days - literally - and when I say wallow, I mean I wallowed.  I bawled, I cried, I sobbed, I prayed, I vividly relived all the treasured times we spent together - all the agonizing times we spent apart.  I looked him in the eyes and traveled all the way back to the first time we met at Temple University's McGonigle Hall (in Philadelphia) -  all the way to January 5, the date of our the last conversation we had about travel plans and moving arrangements. I remember reminding him that it was our grandson's birthday (as if he would forget that!), and laughing at how fast time was whizzing by.

I literally went through all the  agonizing "why me?" "it's not fair"  moments.  I think it's what most of us call the blues - and I had it soooo bad, I didn't come outside for two days!!!

And just when I thought that I would surely cry my eyeballs out, I felt the most amazing aura of peace and love I'd ever experienced in my life come over me and permeate the room.  And I heard Israel Houghton's song:  "It's Not Over," in my mind - as if he and New Breed had just stepped into the room and started singing, as if to tell me that everything was gonna be okay; and this was not going to be ongoing pain, but the end of pain, which was now transformed into treasured moments.   

It was if God had just stepped into the room and said it's time to come out of the valley and move forward ("Moving Forward" by EH).  I sat on the edge of the bed and started smiling into the darkness, as I heard him say, "Hey Glo, between you, me, and the what? Lamp post - the lamp post can't talk; it tells no secrets - so really between you and me, we had a wonderful time here; we did a lot of things - they are all in here; that's what really matters. Right?  It's time for you to get up and get your glow back." 

So as I celebrate Lou, I honor all that we shared, and what we were able to complete in our walk together.  I take all that I've learned from him -  all those wonderful 3:00AM conversations and thank him for the blessings, the fun, the lessons - and yes, the trials and tribulations we went through to get to the point of reunion and resurrection before his transition.    I can now smile and listen to his music with enjoyment; I can  remember the times he spent over that Fender Rhodes picking out the lyrics for a new song that suddenly struck him; or recording into the tape recorder a sound that he wanted to inculcate into a new song idea that struck him;  impromptu jam sessions at the hotels where we stayed while on the road; or pulling out the old classic crooners like Johnny Hartman,  Latin vocalists and others that he so admired to go over why they were great.   (He loved Joe Cocker - I could never understand that one); revered the Beattles (I learned to enjoy them too) - and we both were comedy nuts - from Richard Pryor and Bill Cosby and Saturday Night Live and beyond.

Fiercely proud of his Caribbean heritage - Jamaican Dad, Barbadian Mom, born in Panama (Jamaica/Basha/Manian man), he would start the day playing Sparrow, Lord Kichener, and all the others he'd grown up listening to in Panama and Brooklyn.  All that culture and music was infused into this wonderful 6'4" giant, and he embraced it all - and melded it into his new found cultural base as an African American Caribbean brother from Bed Stuy.

I'm rejoicing that his genius has been passed through our DNA to our children and their children, and that it's blossoming in them in so many wonderful ways - not necessarily as musicians, but as wit and wisdom; masters of humor and conversation; outgoing, friendly, warm hearted generosity.  I have come to realize that Lou may have made his transition to the ancestors, but he's not dead - because he lives in each one of his children; he lives in that great body of music he gave to the world via MANDRILL - a great deal of which is still sitting on tapes in his brother's garage.  He may have even lent some of his DNA to his nieces and nephews - via his words of wisdom, his love of children, his love of education was transmitted to them every chance he had to be with them. 

Celebrating the Birthday of Lou Wilson of Mandrill:

Saturday, October 25, 2014, marks the 73rd Birthday of Lou Wilson, the love of my life.  It's been a challenge to make it through the month of October with so many memories and realizing that his Birthday will soon be here, but he won't be here to celebrate it with us.  Birthdays are a big deal in our family and it would usually be planning some way to surprise, shock and awe each other with some outlandish gift or homage.  But now, I'm dealing with the memories, the fun, our beautiful children - Kira, Rais & Adiya; our fantastic grandchildren - His brothers: Ric (Doc), Carlos (Carl), Wilfredo (Wolf) = the Group; and his wonderful parents Doris & Wilfred Wilson, and his kid brother Alonzo, who made their transitions before him - All that went to make up this wonderful, creative, talented, big hearted, complex Fine Black Man. He exuded music; his life was one long series of lyrics.  So Happy Birthday Lou Wilson (Tall/Dark&Chocolate)  - I celebrate you and the joy you brought to so many of us while you were here among us, and the treasured memories while you are with the Ancestors - Say hello to Gil Scott-Heron, Mom & Dad (yours and mine); Jitu Weusi, Amiri and all our friends.  I know you're all having a blast.

- Love You Always -

Stay Blessed -



Stay Blessed & 
       Gloria Dulan-Wilson


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