Recently, I was on the phone talking with my niece Shannon about how quickly children grow up. We started by discussing her kids and then drifted into a conversation about this, that and the other. Somehow, we got onto the topic of the NEXUS Days, in the context of her life at that time. 

Back then, she was way too young to even think about going to the club but she certainly knew about NEXUS. Shannon had a partner-in-crime, another one of my nieces whose name is Tynia. They were born three weeks apart to two different mothers who are my sisters. Throughout their lives, when you saw Shannon, you also saw Tynia. These two girls used to interrogate my nephew, Troy, who worked for me at NEXUS. Will some famous celebrity be there? Would any of the Saints football players show up? Who was performing that night? 

Shannon cracked me up telling a story about a Friday night when she and Tynia double-teamed Troy, as he was getting ready for work. They were trying to convince him to sneak them into the club, Troy said, “Are y’all trying to get me fired?”  Tynia shot back, “Uncle Noah is your boss. He’s not going to fire you.” 

They wanted to go so bad because this cute, young singer with hit songs played on the radio, was coming through NEXUS that night. His name was Al B. Sure and they just knew they would die if they missed seeing him. Troy ignored them, got dressed, left the house and got into his car to drive off but surprise, surprise.  Guess who was already in the car, ready to ride? The two partners-in-crime, Shannon and Tynia. Needless to say, Troy did not take them to the club and they both survived. 

Shannon Marie Smith lives in California and is married with three wonderful children. Professionally, she is in a leadership position at Global Operations Centers. Her co-conspirator has an earned Ed.D. and is now Dr. Tynia Marie Hopkins, an educator who teaches in foreign countries and is currently a vice-principal at a school in Naples, Italy. 

Separated by distance, they are so close emotionally, it’s like they share the same heartbeat.  And they are still partners-in-crime!


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