I picked my soon to be 90-year-old Dad (March) up this afternoon for his daily trip to dialysis. After I helped him into the car and waved at my 85-year-old Mom, I pulled out of the driveway.
Unsolicited, he said to me “Babe (my Mom’s nickname) and I were watching all of the inauguration on TV. Man, I think back to when I was coming up and for a Black man to be the head of the country and the head of the whole world; we surely have a come a long way.”
Dad spoke of his youth and having to use the “colored” entrance to the restaurant in his home town of Jackson, Mississippi. “The food was the same; it’s just that we had to go in the colored entrance in order to eat.”
He told me of a time when he had to be sure that he left Cicero, a neighborhood in Chicago, before it got dark. He would work there for the next 40 plus years. The unwritten curfew would insure his safety from racial intimidation or attack. He arrived in Chicago after his stint in World War II as part of the great migration of African-Americans, who left the south and either went north or west in search of a better life. We spoke of the fact that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed in my lifetime, legislation that afforded African-Americans basic civil rights.
The historic synergy that occurred today, with the celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King’s life and the celebration of the inauguration for a second term of our President, caused Dad to speak about things that I have rarely heard him mention over the years.
I was riding yesterday passed a sprawling estate in one of our contiguous counties. I looked out of the window and saw a huge sign near the road, but obviously still placed on the property of the estate. The sign read in big red letters “we voted for the American.”
I will never tell my Dad about that sign, unless he reads this post and asks me about it. He was very happy and proud today. He has been through a lot in his lifetime, from being wounded on the beaches of Normandy, to having to leave Cicero right after work, to seeing his sons become members of the law enforcement community, and his daughters graduate from college. He even has a granddaughter who is a physician.
He was grateful and proud today of our Country, his President, and Dr. King, a country that he fought so bravely for, when it was not at its best in terms of its treatment of him.
Back in November, he too voted for an American, but he also voted for the America that he has watched for almost 90 years evolve each day into a better and better place for all of us to live.
I am so happy for him, my Mom, my elderly aunts, uncles and all the rest of us! We have so much to celebrate and be proud of today.
Read, learn, and share…Have a Family Meeting!