My son is getting married. Oh did I mention he is a big white boy from the south I met shortly after my divorce when I just needed time to find myself?
But the man whom I thought was my father was just the opposite. A womanizer and sometimes even a thief- a non churchgoing heathen
How I ended up at that record player is an interesting story. I was too young to swim with the big kids so my dad would sit me in a tiny row boat tied to the pier. I would watch everyone swim. During one picnic my older sister thought she saw a water moccasin and yelled “SNAAAAKE!!!”.
All this leads me back to one day when he was sitting with his friends who were drinking beer- dad only drank pop. They were always finding something to bet each other on. Somehow the subject got on the subject of catching ducks.
At the time he was working as a custodian at an elementary school on a military base. Each year there were electronics that got broken and they would throw them out instead of fixing them. Dad got permission to start bringing the broken stuff home. Pretty soon I had a little shop in the bedroom I shared with my other brothers. I was hardly 10 at the time fixing record players and reel to reel tape decks..
How can you tell a child that nothing is wrong when it is a child a discerning as me? I was a bright shining reminder of everyone’s sins. It would have been easier if everyone had simply told the truth.
He just grumbled and said “ok as long as you hear me now get this cleaned up so I can take a shower.” Well it messed me up so bad that I didn’t even feel like watching the movie. I was determined to make it right so I got right to work on that bathroom.
I hated my turn. Because that always meant I was going to get stuck on the sand bar. It was a place in the middle of the bay that was only a few feet deep that boats knew to avoid. It was where dad would kick me off the boat if I missed a crab. I would have to watch him drive and dip alone and then he would come pick me up.
Those were the days where most of us black folk used to tape all our music off the radio and would be so mad when the announcers talked over it. After a while we knew which deejay to call the radio station and ask for the song and we had the nerve to even tell him we were going to record it so could he please be quiet? Wow. Those were the days.
As the boys ran off with the cart, my son tapped my leg and said “but daddy we don’t have money to eat. Why are you giving them your money?” And I said “baby we don’t have money, but you got me, and we got God. Most of these kids only got their mama. If they can make money honest then they won’t steal from the store. They won’t go to jail. And they won’t steal from us.” I don’t know how much my son understood but he accepted my answer.
I learned that you just can’t fake kids out with store bought love. Even if it is a little late and a little less in your mind, anything done by the heart of your hands is always going to be the best.
Mine is a dying breed. I know because you keep telling me. I am an old skool father because a man was in my life to raise me. I am thankful for this young lady’s mother and the other mothers who have listened to their spirits and allowed me help with their children.
Not one for wanting to settle for eating prepackaged food, I learned to cook. I experimented with all the things I liked that she used to cook and I took every opportunity to watch my grandmother who I also visited each weekend with my father.
No longer afraid, the little bugger raised an eyebrow. He learned that from watching Buzz Lightyear and had perfected it. Then in a very irritated tone said, “but I need to sleep.” Well, me not thinking I simply said, “then I guess that is between you and God” as I tucked him in and left the room.