Sometime I forget where my father grew up. It seems so impossible to me that such a good natured man could come out of Alabama in the 50’s and 60’s, but he did. He’s only touched on stories about his life growing up. He’s never told me anything truly horrible. But I know there are horrible stories. I can see them there. I’m scared to even ask, to even know.
He told me about this one time they played a prank on his neighbor. How they cut the seat in her outhouse so that she fell through it one today. I remember laughing and saying, “Did she deserve it?” and his reply being, “Yeah, she was mean to us.” I looked at him saying, “She was mean?” Like I couldn’t understand it. I watched him look away and say, “Yeah, really mean.” It hurt me because I knew there was something there, something he wasn’t saying. It also made me feel really ashamed of the easy life I was leading.
Buy that’s who he is. He didn’t want me to know about those things. He wanted me to live an easy life. That was his goal, that’s still his goal. To this day people have still said racist things to him and have treated him unfairly and he laughs it off, saying he’s been through worse and heard worse. He’s happy and joyful and tells me constantly to live life to the fullest because you don’t know about tomorrow. He dedicates his life to making other people happy and he never caves to pain or hardships. I’ve seen people give up over far less.
I GIVE UP OVER FAR LESS.
I don’t know how I could ever become the type of person he is. But I owe it to him to try.
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” – Martin Luther King Jr.