Things That Matter

That Grandma Who Accidentally Invited A Teen Stranger To Thanksgiving Hosted Him Again This Year Despite The Loss Of Her Husband To COVID-19

Four years ago, the feel-good story of how a grandmother accidentally texted a stranger an invite to Thanksgiving dinner went viral. In the years since Wanda Dench (the grandmother) and Jamal Hinton (the teen stranger) have celebrated each Thanksgiving together.

This year has, despite the pandemic and terrible heartaches, been no exception.

For a fifth year, Wanda and Jamal gathered around a table for a bittersweet Thanksgiving this past Friday in Mesa, Arizona.

For their fifth Thanksgiving together, Wanda and Jamal sat down at the dinner table, this time without Wanda’s husband. Lonnie Dench, who Wanda had been married to for 43 years, passed away in April from complications induced by Covid-19. According to Wanda, he suffered from double pneumonia brought on by the virus.

“I didn’t believe I would have to go home without him,” Wanda revealed to CNN. “Even when he was in the hospital, I thought he would get better and come back to me. He was my soul mate. He was my biggest cheerleader.”

“I wasn’t looking forward to it at first because Lonnie wasn’t going to be there. The past seven months have been so difficult, but this was really important to me,” Wanda explained. “I can’t even explain how much joy I had, having good food with my favorite company. We laughed, we had a great time, we reminisced about the past. It was so good for all of us.”

Dench, her daughter, and grandson gathered together with Jamal and his girlfriend a little earlier this year. They decided on a Friday Thanksgiving celebration so that they could all receive coronavirus tests before sitting down with their own families. They wanted to avoid spreading the virus.

“At first it was sad. We had a photo of Lonnie at the table with a candlelit, and we were all shaky in the beginning but it lasted five minutes before we were back to ourselves,” Jamal told CNN. “We just told jokes and stories and shared our memories of Lonnie, so it was amazing.”

Four years ago, a misfired text brought Jamal and Wanda together.

Twitter

In 2016, Wanda who is the grandmother to six children meant to text her grandson an invite to her family’s Thanksgiving dinner. Instead, she accidentally sent a message to Jamal, who was 17 at the time. Confused that someone claiming to be his grandmother had texted him, Jamal asked for proof. Wanda replied with a selfie of herself at work. And even though she wasn’t his grandmother, Jamal asked if he could still have a plate. “Of course you can,” Wanda replied. “That’s what grandmas do … feed everyone!”

Jamal kept Wanda to her word, showed up at the family thanksgiving and the two became fast friens.

According to Jamal he and his girlfriend went on regular double dates with Wanda and Lonnie.

“It all has to do with this feeling. There’s just this connection. It feels like we’ve known each other in past lives,” Wanda explained. “There’s absolutely no generational gap between us. The conversation just flows, we never run out of things to talk about.”

Jamal explained to CNN the obvious concern of having an awkward encounter with Wanda and her family at their first Thanksgiving. The opposite was true. “Whenever we met, we would spend four or five hours, just talking and talking. It was never awkward, Wanda and Lonnie became two close best friends to me,” he said.”There’s nothing about her that is mean, or uncaring. It feels like I have told her my whole life story, and she always listens and shares her own story. She’s just the most loving person. She’s pretty much perfect.”

Their gatherings have become so important that Wanda and Jamal say they hope to never stop their tradition. Even with Lonnie gone.

“Lonnie was missing this year, and he was a big part of the Thanksgiving story and a big part of our lives, but that’s one thing Wanda and I know for sure. Lonnie would have been very angry if we didn’t have Thanksgiving together,” Jamal explained “Lonnie was never the quiet guy. Right when I walked in the door the first time I met him, he didn’t even reach out for a handshake. He just immediately pulled me in for a hug… He was the kind of guy to always bring your hopes up whenever you felt down. Losing him was losing a best friend.”

While still mourning their great loss, Wanda wants people to continue to have hope. “Just have patience,” she told CNN. “I know it isn’t easy, and everyone is frustrated and just wants to get back to normal. But we need to have hope and always care about other people.”

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Fans Think This Photo Of Barbie Is Proof She’s An Out And Proud Lesbian

Entertainment

Fans Think This Photo Of Barbie Is Proof She’s An Out And Proud Lesbian

Mattel/ Instagram

The fact that the early days of Barbie were not quite so inclusive to all of us comes as no surprise. The blonde, impossibly figured doll with a penchant for similar-looking friends is a far cry away from the Barbie of today who has friends of all shapes, races, sizes, sexual identities, and abilities. Even better, today’s Barbie crew includes dolls who give queer children a broader playgound for their imagination.

Recently, Barbie has added a new addition to her friend group whose bringing more power to her LGTBQ fans.

Social media has dubbed the LGBTQ positive Aimee Song doll Barbie‘s girlfriend.

Twitter’s latest excitement is about a theory that Barbie and Aimee Song are dating. Photos of Mattel’s doll Aimee Song doll show her wearing a “Love Wins” T-shirt that supports LGBTQ+ rights. The Mattel doll was inspired by fashion blogger Aimee Song and recently caught renewed attention in a viral post shared to Twitter.

The “Love Wins” photos are only now going viral but were actually released in November 2017.

The photos of Barbie and the Aimee doll were shared to Twitter last Monday by user @kissevermore and now has Twitter debating whether the two are dating.

The pictures of Barbie and Aimee show the two dolls eating avocado toast. petting a dog, and smiling at each other. The images have fans questioning when Barbie came out and how she managed to nail a hot girlfriend before they did.

Even REAL Aimee Song weighed in on the images to confirm the relationship.

“I am the girlfriend,” she tweeted with a photo of herself and the Aimee Song doll. 

While Mattel has yet to officially identify Barbie as a lesbian, the original Instagram posts related to the Love Wins Barbies are proof that she is at least an ally.

Confirmed or not, true or not, one of the best parts of Barbie is that she is meant to be whoever her fans want her to be.

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Christina Haswood Wore Traditional Navajo Clothing Made By Her Bisabuela To Her Swearing-In Ceremony And It Was The Most Powerful Look Of 2021 So Far

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Christina Haswood Wore Traditional Navajo Clothing Made By Her Bisabuela To Her Swearing-In Ceremony And It Was The Most Powerful Look Of 2021 So Far

H. Armstrong Roberts/ Getty

Newly elected member of the Kansas House of Representatives, Christina Haswood, paid tribute to her heritage on the day of her swearing-in ceremony with the ultimate power look. Dressed in traditional Navajo attire, the 26-year-old made history on Monday when she became the  youngest member of the Kansas legislature, and only its second Native American member. 

Haswood took her oath of office wearing traditional Diné regalia which she made with the help of her mother, and partner.

Wearing moccasins, a velveteen skirt, and a red blouse embellished with silver string made a point to highlight her heritage and identity. Speaking to Vogue in an interview about her clothing, Haswood explained that she “wanted to honor my ancestors and all their sacrifices for me to be here and in this job. I wanted to honor my family, who has taught me how to be a strong, young, Diné woman while growing up in Lawrence, Kansas.” 

In addition to her dress, Haswood wore heirlooms given to her by family members which included a squash blossom necklace, a belt given to her by her uncle, and an additional belt given to her by her shimá sání (grandmother). Her great grandmother also gave her the earrings she wore. In addition, she wore a tsiiyéé (a Navajo-style hair tie) that she made with her shimá sání.

“The significance of these pieces are priceless,” Haswood explained to Vogue. “Many of the pieces I wore that day only come out on special occasions, because of how old they are. I don’t have the funds to be a collector, so many of my pieces have been passed down to my mother, who lets me borrow them.”

Haswood gave a behind-the-scenes look of her swearing-in attire on a TikTok video that has gone viral with more than 500,000 views.

In the video, Haswood readies her hair and does her makeup before eventually getting help from her mother and grandmother to get dressed.

Haswood won the Democratic primary after running unopposed for a seat in the Kansas state legislature that represents District 10.

With degrees in public health from Haskell Indian Nations University and Arizona State University, Haswood also received a master’s degree in public health management from the Kansas University Medical Center.

At the moment, she also serves as a research assistant with the National Council of Urban Indian Health and the Center for American Indian Community Health. There she studies nicotine addiction in tribal youth and researches the impact of COVID-19 on indigenous groups.

“Just two years ago I was in graduate school, and my greatest worries were about getting a job and student loans,” Haswood said in an interview with the Daily Kansan. “Today, the world has changed.”

According to Esquire, four Native candidates ran for office in Kansas. This week, each of them won their primary elections.

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