July 2, 2009 - Issue 331

A Homegoing For My Father
Color of Law
By David A. Love, JD
lackCommentator.com Editorial Board



Welcome to my fatherís homegoing!

He was a simple man with an extraordinary life,
A Georgia boy, born and raised in a wooden shack in Augusta,
In the heart of Jim Crow,
With segregation all around,
And with lynchings always waiting just around the corner,
Born to a Black Mama,
And his old man was Irish, as he always told us.

Was sent to the Korean War and came back with medals,
Then chose the printing trade, where Black men were mostly kept out,
He married my mother, the love of his life, and found a home in paradise, in Laurelton, Queens.

He was a simple man who had a lot to say,
About anything and everything you can imagine,
You might not have agreed with all he said,
But what he said often made you laugh.
And he liked to tell jokes, even when the punchline was not apparent,
Except maybe in his own mindÖ

He had many loves, my fatheró
He loved his God and he loved his country,
He loved helping others, serving others,
With his church and with his fellow veterans.
He loved Monday night football,
And I dare you to find a bigger Knicks fan,
Actually, I dare you to find any other Knicks fan, anywhere.
And of course, he loved his family,
And his two grandchildren Kris and Zora,
He bragged about them so much.

We grew up in completely different times,
And I know he didnít always understand our world, my brotherís and mine,
Of Ivy League opportunities and overseas excursions.
But it didnít mean he wasnít proud,
Or that he wasnít responsible for us being what we had become,
But in any case, he left us with a lot,
With memories of sitting on the back porch in the summertime,
And of the one-dollar matinee, and our shopping trips,
And that ice cream shop,
And most importantly his work ethic.

I know my father would have preferred a different way to leave,
Maybe in his leather chair at home with a pipe in his hand,
Watching wrestling or listening to B.B. King and Bobby Blue Bland,
Maybe with a big plate of lima beans and rice.

But my biggest regret was that he never got to meet my son Ezra,
That baby boy who died last season, on the day before he was born.
But now I know that things have come full circle,
And the two of them have found each other in that spirit world,
That land where the ancestors dwell and conduct their business.
And now my son is sitting on my fatherís knee,
Listening to my fatherís colorful stories, his life experiences,
And all sorts of jokes of course.

And all along, that was the way it was supposed to be,
With my son sitting on his grandfatherís knee,
And you canít ask for a better homegoing than that.

BlackCommentator.com Editorial Board member David A. Love, JD is a journalist and human rights advocate based in Philadelphia, and a contributor to the The Progressive Media Project, McClatchy-Tribune News Service, In These Times and Philadelphia Independent Media Center. He blogs at davidalove.com, NewsOne, Daily Kos, and Open Salon. Click here to contact Mr. Love.


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