“You wanna go outside and play?
Boy, it’s dark, you better go over there and play with those books! I paid good money for those encylopedia’s,” my Father bellowed while pointing over at the bookshelves stacked with the World Book and Childcraft encyclopedia set in the corner of our living room.
My countenance dropped and I remember starting to cry, but seeing my tears did not grant me a reprieve, actually it seemed to incense my Father.
And he erupted:
“Oh, you want to cry?”
He looked me over for a split second and scowled, before telling me:
“Write me a report on why you should go outside and use all of these words in it,” pulling out a crumpled piece of paper from his pocket and handing it to me.
After glancing over the words, I began to sob uncontrollably and I looked for my Mother to rescue me, but she might as well been light years away, as she was ensconced in the kitchen, making dinner.
“I expect this before I leave for work tonight boy! Black folks died trying to read and you gonna cry? Better yet, I want to write this.
He took a pencil and scribbled out a phrase on some notebook paper that was on the cocktail table.
“I will be intelligent”
Write this 100 times, neatly and bring it to me when you’re done… If there is a letter out of place, you writing it again, you hear?”
It was at that moment that my Father spoke words that he would always revisit whenever I lost my way.
“Son, you’ve got to keep your nose in these books, these words Youngblood, these words will save your life!”
With that he made his way upstairs, leaving me there with pencil in hand and tears in my eyes that made their way onto the paper.
As I started copying the words, I glowered at the books in the corner, convinced that I had the meanest Daddy ever.
I couldn’t have been any older than 7 years old, as I remember my baby sister sitting in her walker staring at me with a puzzled expression on her face.
It was at that moment that my Father saved my life, providing with a segue for purpose.
His words continue to echo and to ensure that he would live on forever, I wrote a book that I hadn’t intended to write and dedicated it in his memory.
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