Monday, October 19, 2020

Wondering What Daddy Would Say

 I desperately miss my father.

His wisdom, political analysis, spiritual guidance.

How I wish I could talk to him now

When I was a girl, I heard all the political, social justice talk he and his friends engaged in. Our family room at 311 Gordon Street, once had these tall, giants of ministry, government, education, all Black except for one White man, who came to gather and imagine a different possibility.

It was 1974. I was ten years old.

Of course, my world then was playing with dolls that didn't look like me, imagining what my late mother would tell me, riding my bike, and simply trying to breathe as a skinny asthmatic.

A few years later, when President Carter became President, there were these same men and a few more. There was this energy buzzing about the place. A hope and possibility for a new, modern era. 

Daddy had been offered a job in the Carter Administration. He even went to D.C. for a tour and house hunt. He declined it. His imagination for us was different than 1976 D.C. Sometimes I wonder what life would have been like had he made that career enhancing move. 

I listened to my father for years. He talked about Selma, reminded me of my family member and namesake who marched, told me what Dr. King told him and why he pursued the law and ministry, taught me about Shirley Chisholm and the hope for women, told me I could do anything, and admonished me that we must study history or be doomed to repeat it.

By 1980, there was a darkness that set over the conversations my father had. I was sixteen by then and starting to think about what life would be like. I had no idea that the doom my father felt would be realized in my young adult life.

Reagan came to office in 1980 and with him, came the polarizing of American religion with the "moral majority" and Phyllis Shaflay bunch crying for women to remain in the kitchen and bedroom. It was after Jim Jones massacre and my father making us watch Roots, The Holocaust, Jim Jones, and Helter Skelter, to name a few. He wanted us to know what was happened in places outside our middle of America town in the middle of our state. 

My father lived to January 1999, well before his time to go. 

He never saw the 2000 or the fiasco of democracy that followed from the Supreme Court decided election to 9/11 to the economic downturn to the first Black President to the first clown President to this modern explosion we have lived in since our breath stopped in 2011. 

I want to talk to him.

He was wise and thoughtful. 

Maybe he can help me ease the tension in my neck, when I look across the street at my neighbors' desperate attempt to make a stake for whiteness. Daddy would warn me about how dangerous these times are and admonish me to vote (I already did). I think he would hold court with his grandsons and granddaughters and tell them to remember these dark and evil days.

Then, Daddy, in his booming voice and deep smile, would also tell me to have hope.

He would tell me that we can and should still do good. That good will outlast and outwit evil.

So, 15 days to the election, I will hold onto that which can not be taken from me.

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