Friday, June 18, 2004

Things My Father Gave Me (Which I Never Asked For)

Life. A backyard with a pitching mound. A home plate. A split-finger fastball, a slider, a curve. How to break in a glove. When to slide head first. A family name to uphold. Open arms.

Time. A Huffy bike. How to crack pecans. A sandbox. How to piss. How to be a rock. When to till the Earth. How to make a fist. When to fight. When to smile. How to trap a rabbit. How to catch a liar. How to play dumb. How to talk when White people are present. How to talk when White folk ain't. Prejudice. The difference between a flathead, a Phillips head, and a hardhead. A roof over my head. A good whooping. Room to grow.

How to shoot a free throw. When (and when not) to call a foul. How to drive. A high-top fade. Marvin Gaye. Confidence. How to ask out a lady, how to let her be a woman. How to put out a brush fire. How to pump gas. A pimpstroll. How to use a level. How to keep your cool, when to be cool. Cool.

How to mow the lawn, how to hammer, to saw. How to change a tire, when to change the oil, how to jump off a car. How to smoke out wasps. Where to get good fish. Funk & Wagnalls. Skepticism. How to pick good watermelon. When to ask for help, when to give it. How to speak up when you have something to add, to listen when you don't. A love of brown. Talbotton. How to tie a tie. How to lead, how to follow. How to read the spread. When to swallow your pride. Quiet strength. How to raise a fence. How to use a knife for a pencil sharpener. When to shoot a gun.

A Black hero. How to earn an honest dollar. A key. How to shake a man's hand. How to look him in the eye. How to tip. How to save. A day of rest. Humility. Sunday drives. A thirst to learn. A bookcase. A peaceful home. Muscadines. Nights to dream. Dreambooks. A reason to cry. Dark skin. Strong teeth. Full lips. A narrow frame. Forgiveness. The thickness of blood. A brother. How to care for elders, how to honor elders. How to buy a suit. How to admit when you're wrong, how to apologize before the funeral. How to love. How to always come home.


Anonymous said...


BLUE said...

beautimus ... simply breathtaking journey. but when don't i have those with you???


Anonymous said...

thanks for this one. i enjoyed out convo last week at drc's. thanks for sharing this with me. peace, brah.