Saturday, November 28, 2015

In Memory of My Dad

My father died early morning on Thanksgiving Day.  There was some symbolism to his passing on Thanksgiving.  To me it was an expression of being thankful for 85 years of life. Thankful for the opportunity to experience and see a range of events.  As a teen he lived through the World War II years and even joined the military towards the end of the conflict.  He survived the 1950s when the civil rights movement in the United States began to flourish.  As he was growing up black men were typically referred to as boys and worse. He was a black man in his 30's during the turbulent decade of the 1960s admiring Dr. Martin Luther King.  My dad did what he had to do to survive with a wife and a family of four.  My dad survived the antics of a racist society to live 85 years. He lived to see the election of the first Black President of the United States and a Black family in the White House.

Eighty five years.  That is more than 3-4 lifetimes of the black men police have murdered in the past few years.  Murders recorded on video tape.  So I am thankful he was not the victim of that negative aspect of the American police justice system.

Health wise, the last 10 years were not the best for him.  As we get older the facts of life are that the body starts to break down.  Eventually our life in our human form has to come to an end.

My Thanksgiving thoughts were that I am glad that I had a father whom I could see.  Some men go through life never meeting their father, or their father may have passed on early in life.

My earliest memory of my dad may be of when I was around 6 years old.  It was Christmas Eve night/early Christmas morning.  I awoke to the sounds of someone in the living room area of the second floor apartment we lived in.  I walked in and discovered that there was a tricycle by the Christmas tree and my dad and mom were near it.  I think that was my first inclination that maybe Dad was Santa Claus.  My father loved to barbecue.  He enjoyed cooking ribs using a charcoal grill.  He continued that art well into his 70s before finally retiring from his rib master duties.  I recall his Santa Claus yawn.  "Ho, ho, ho!" he would yawn anytime during the year.  I or one of my brothers would say, "Santa Claus is here."

He didn't have the benefit of having a formal education that would open doors to him in this world.  So he survived through old fashioned hard work.  He would wake up early, especially once he retired, and start being busy.  It's a trait I've inherited from him.  Even when he came to visit me and my sons during the Fall season he would spend time outdoors raking leaves.  His legacy continues in the many grandchildren he has.  His legacy continues in me.

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