I’ve come a long way from being a young man buffeted by the waves of racism during the age of Reaganomics on Chicago’s North side in the 1980’s.
My innocence fled one afternoon when my 5th grade teacher told me:
“You little Black Boys aren’t anything but hoodlums in training at best.”
That statement in and of itself – could have served as a death knoll of sorts as the anger that I felt swelling within would have made it easy for me to fulfill her prophecy.
But her vile stereotypes met an obstacle in the form of my Father – who demanded that I make her and anyone else who doubted my worth – to make them eat their words.
He told me that if I kept my nose in a book – that it would save my life, little did I know how prescient his mandate would serve to be.
I grew up and became the antithesis of a hoodlum – I got my undergraduate degree in journalism and circled back a couple of years later and got my MBA – always remembering the mandate from my Father to make people eat their words.
Throughout my life my Father harbored a faith in me that served to be redemptive and I always made sure to convey my love and appreciation to him whenever the spirit moved me – expressing them in the form of the words that he said would save my life.
So, when my Father died a couple of months ago – it sent me spiraling into a dark place.
I was consumed with grief and angry with myself – because I never considered the reality of living in a world without him in it.
So, I did what I always do when burdened – I walked.
I walked along the winding trails of the State parks of Maryland and I stood at the water’s edge and let the clapping of the waves wash away the static.
And I remembered something that I wrote…
Ironically, it was something that my Father quoted during one of our last conversations.
That love is the conduit to immortality.
And it was then that I realized that my Father wasn’t far.
So, as I stood out on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay, I came up with an audacious idea, one that would have brought joy to my Father’s heart.
Dedicating a book, a collection of poetry in his honor – from my lips to God’s ears…
I can’t think of a better way to honor my Father.
“From the Water’s Edge – A collection of poetry while wandering…” is available for sale on Amazon in paperback and e-Book.
This material has a focus on subject matter such as the workplace, arrogance to racism and injustice and run the gamut of emotions from melancholy and introspection to the realities of joy and pain.
Be forewarned, I’ve taken liberties to embed messages in the form of metaphors, but the question is….
Do you have on your walking shoes?