The Washington Times - July 3, 2008, 09:22AM

                             “After The Storm  singing at Gallery Place Metro.”



On June 1, I posted a commentary entitled “The Ugly Hours of Washington.”  It was about the morning and evening commutes in the Washington Metropolitan Area. To be exact I said:
“It’s a time when I feel that many of the folks who populate The Washington Metro Region feel entitled not to be polite or civil. They shelve some of the standard traditions and practices that make life more bearable and pleasant. The traditions that I am referring to are simple things like saying “Good Morning” with a heartfelt smile and meaning it. Or, how about an “Excuse me” when you bump into someone, step on their shoes accidentally or abruptly jump in front of them in the subway.  Oh! Let’s not forget the ones who flip you the finger from their cars and cut you off in traffic. Yes, I am saying that many of our commuters are rude and angry!”

Since I posted that comment, I have ventured out into “The Ugly Hours Of Washington” several times and I have to sadly say, not much has changed. However, I am happy to report that I have found a bright spot or something to give me hope that our angry commuters can reach way down inside and access some semblance of civility and happiness even if just for a brief moment.  Now they do need some motivation to do it, but they can get there. Yes they can!

I saw it happen last Friday, when I exited a train on the lower level of the Gallery Place Metro Station. There was this group called “After the Storm“, who was singing some of my favorite oldies in a nice crisp four part harmony that reminded me of the groups of 50’s and 60’s. You know the groups I’m talking about.  The ones like the Temptations, Miracles, Platters, Spaniels, and the Intruders to name few. (Notice I did not provide links for these groups. I want you to honor them by doing a little research.) I have to tell you it was an awesome thing to hear and see.
You know what was even more awesome? Some of our angry, hurried and detached commuters paused and listened while smiling and dropping coins and even a few dollars into their box. They deserved it and even more, because for that one moment as those commuters stood there and just simply listened, they stepped out of the hostile mentality of The Ugly Hours and were temporarily transformed to a more civil and better place.

So for that, I say” thanks” to Tyrone Cloud, Jamie Lewis, Henry Miller and Reggie Washington, the members of “After the Storm,”  because you have used your gifts to make a few out of the hundred of thousands of commuters in this region finish their journeys with a smile. Who knows, perhaps they even passed on their transformed state of mind on to others they encountered as they made their way through “The Ugly Hours of Washington.


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