Back in time for May are Bill and Brenda Dillon Covette, who just returned from a whirlwind trip to Bangkok and Bali. Although the weather was hot and humid, with temperatures in the 90s, the trip was totally cool. The American dollar is very strong, so who could resist a full spa package for only $30. The food was delicious and the shopping unbelievably great. That assessment, of course, was all according to Brenda and Bill, because unfortunately, I wasn’t on the trip.

The area specializes in leather goods and everything is handmade, on the spot, so expect to see the happy travelers wearing the latest in leather fashions in the fall. Although the thermometer has been jumping up and down, a leather jacket might feel good.

Also touching down for a landing are members of the New York Chapter of the Guardsmen, who hosted their meeting in Dubai. Where else? The group, whose membership is bursting at the seams, also planned a side trip to Bangkok, which obviously is the new in spot. However, some members decided to go to Rome instead. Don’t you love it when you have choices? Among the members were Mel and Debbie Jackson, Dr. Al and Bebe Cujay and others too international to mention.

A little closer to home, good but distant friend Grant Harper Reid, cousin of Kyndell and good friend of Glenn Hunter, has just had the release of his latest book, “Harlem Bible: In the Beginning.” I refer to Grant as my good friend because I am mentioned in the book. Wow! However, I also call him distant because I don’t believe we’ve ever met, or if we did it was quite some time ago. In the book, which details Grant’s growing up in Harlem, he recalls my having written about him in “The Cosmopolitan Review,” April 19-25, 2001. My how time does fly! Has it been that long?

Grant wrote, “Grant Reid’s great-great-grandfather, Friday Hamilton, has his name etched on the Wall of Honor at the Afro-American Civil War Memorial in Washington, D.C. He even drew a family tree, and low and behold, who is right smack dab in the middle of it? Grant’s cousin, Harold Hamilton. Now Harold, you know has a daughter named Rhonda who is a radio personality on FM station 88.3. He also has a lovely wife name, Myrtle. Yes, this is the very same Harold and Myrtle who now live permanently in Sag Harbor…”

Reading this passage brought tears to my eyes because although Rhonda is still a host on WBGO 88.3, both Harold and Myrtle have died. Oh for the good times.

That is just a very small inkling of “Harlem Bible.” The book is a fascinating historical account of Harlem, long before gentrification. I asked Grant about his inspiration in writing such a book and what has kept him believing the cause. His reply was somewhat of a ripple effect. One incident, although loosely connected, led to another.

“It all started when I decided to put my stamp collection together that I received from Count Basie’s jazz guitarist, Freddie Green, who lived in my building the Little Riverton,” he explained. “From that, I decided to move on and make a copy of a page from the book about making ‘Do the Right Thing,’ by Spike Lee, who mentioned that he had to have a meeting with me and Robert DeNiro. I found the location street that Spike used for the film.”

Shortly thereafter, Grant recalled a visit to the Countee Cullen library, where he noticed a Harlem Renaissance book on the table. “Once I opened it,” he said, “I found a paragraph that mentioned my grandfather, producer Leonard Harper, and his theatrical works. Fifteen years went by as I dropped everything to explore the family treasure chest of my grandfather’s world during Harlem’s great jazz age. I interviewed my people just before they went on to the afterlife and I remember those of my youth. After attempting to mount a Broadway musical, I decided to pen ‘Rhythm for Sale,’ about my grandfather and his friends. During my research, I found that the white authors defined us as just singing and dancing happy niggers soliciting tips from the rich whites who traveled uptown for entertainment before the depression. My book tells the real story—straight with no chaser.

“After the City of New York co-named 132nd Street and Seventh Avenue into Leonard Harper Way and ‘Rhythm for Sale’ became a Five-Star award-winning book, I said, ‘What’s next?’ Thus I wrote ‘Harlem Bible,’ the true tale of my upbringing in Harlem and my family’s upwardly mobile move to Teaneck, N.J., during the civil rights era and educational and relational integration. My nuclear family’s story is not unique, and I hope it serves as a historical map. Hopefully, other Harlemites will write their stories as well before the total redefinition of our history is fully enacted.”

The book is full of photos of days gone by and once familiar names such as the late, great, Rev. Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Both books, which are available at the Revolution Book Store, 132nd Street and Lenox Avenue, and from Amazon.com, vividly portray a bygone era. They capture the imagination and take the reader back to a time that the young don’t know of and the elders have forgotten. They are perfect reading on a rainy day or while relaxing on a sunny day in the park. Either way, once you pick them up, you won’t want to put them down until the very last page. Thank you, Grant.

Speaking of a time gone by, did you know it’s been 35 years since the movie “Scarface” came out? Although I have seen the movie several times, it’s only been on television, not in the theaters. In fact, I can’t remember the first time I saw it—it’s one of those movies that has just been around forever. I still watch it occasionally when I see it listed in the guide. I am one of those people who can watch the same movie over and over again because each time I see something I hadn’t seen before. A psychology major friend of mine said people who do that do it because they find something comforting in seeing the familiar. I thought that was what my husband was for.

Until next week … kisses.