I remember when I broke my foot. I was so afraid. I had never broken any part of my body. I felt like I might never recover. I can’t remember what I said, it was something like, " I do not really want to go to the doctor today." But Daddy knew better. When he felt my fear he just said, "You’ll be alright, kid." Just those words helped quench all my fears. I relaxed and felt a self assurance I had not felt before. I did recover with flying colors. The doctor’s visit was not as scary as I had thought it would be. The words "You’ll be alright, kid" were playing in my head, and my consciousness. And I knew that I would be alright, no matter what.
I loved the way Daddy kept his front and back yards. They were beautiful, one of the best on the block where we lived. He found a peace about keeping those yards manicured, looking green and beautiful. He invested in fertilizers, soil, flowers, weed killers, seeds and his equipment (which I cannot even begin to name, except for the lawn mower). I really appreciated when he planted the vegetables in the backyard: tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and bell peppers. I especially loved the tomatoes. They were sweet and succulent, wonderful to the taste buds. He took pride in making that garden and sharing the harvest with me and others. I loved going out there and sitting in that yard and relaxing. Sometimes, we would just go to the backyard, talk, and share with neighbors and other family members. I loved that. It gave me a feeling of comfort and safety that I cannot begin to explain.
That backyard holds a lot of fond memories, because we used to have barbecues when Momma was alive and both of her sisters lived here in town. Our cousins would come over and Daddy would barbecue all sorts of meats: steak, sausages, chicken, ribs, hotdogs. And he would make the barbecue sauce. He also had barbecues after Momma passed. Boy, he had talent. He enjoyed the barbecues as much as we did: the preparation of the meats and sauce, entertaining the guests, sharing his stories. It gave me joy to see him engaged in those activities. He was happiest preparing foods, sharing his stories, cleaning, maintaining his house. He did not mind using his wisdom, knowledge and talents and seeing others happy and enjoying themselves. He had the ability to lift other people’s spirits by just being himself.
Shucks, Daddy was a dapper dresser. He really knew how to coordinate his clothes when he dressed up. He cleaned up good. He loved his hats, shoes, suits, shirts, ties and his colognes. He had a dark brown cashmere coat that he bought in the 50’s that is still in style today. He wore it whenever the weather or an occasion permitted. He really knew how to wear those hats. He kept them in boxes and had them cleaned when needed.
Always supportive of my endeavors and pursuits in life, he was there for my graduations, except for the one from Central Y Community College. He had to work that night. When I had speaking engagements at church or on the poetry circuit, he was there. He would come and be supportive. Boy, do I miss him!
I did not know it then, but I loved being around him when he was into his creative, giving mode. I learned a lot from him, like how to interact with people, how to get along with animals, how to maintain a house, how to use herbs, spices, and vegetables to season and prepare food. I learned so many things. I cannot name them all. I took so much for granted. I sort of always thought he would be here with me on this physical plane.