xactly 368 days ago god called my father home. he lived 80 years & suffered a short bout with lung cancer. my father transitioned three days after his earth day & three days b4 barack hussein obama was inaugurated as america's 44th president - the seventh of african ancestry. also, my father shares the same earth day as miami heat all-pro guard dwayne wade, whom, like my father, is a proud chicago native.
i felt compelled to acknowledge this milestone of sorts. something ritualistic about a year later makes me wanna reflect. reflection is good 4 the soul: the soul yearns to know itself thru its own experience. nana imhotep gary byrd taught me experience is always the best teacher. coming to terms with my father's homegoing was not difficult, primary bcuz god has granted me the serenity to accept the things i cannot change. seems this writer has matured in some ways.
still, i miss dad. i miss his annoying phone calls at no o'clock in the morning. i miss his reply of 'prosperity' when i'd answer my phone (his call) with the standard greeting of 'peace.' i miss our spirited dialogues about black people, family values, history, movies, religion, sports, world affairs, i.e. i miss his nervous, somewhat vulnerable, laughter when i'd catch him off-guard with a funny, goofy or silly remark. i was pleased to make him laugh & appreciated him more when we shared those moments.
my father, slowly over a period of time, began to truly listen to his son. he listened to my joy, my pain, my dreams, my struggles, my sexuality, my spirituality, my goals, my failures, my needs & my shortcomings. my father, slowly over a period of time, began to share with his son what his life was like as a fatherless little boy, as a teenager, as a korean war veteran, as a newlywed, as an entrepreneur, as a divorced man, as a retired adult & as an elder. we cultivated a relationship based in honesty, mutual respect & trust.
part of sanity is effectively relating to others...
oddly enuf, he boldly predicted obama would win. he said america was ready 4 change & america would not, in 2008, elect a white male, whom, in his mind, did not represent change. he also said america was neither ready nor willing to elect a female, especially, if she was white, bcuz, again, a white candidate symbolized past/current political failures. of course, i dismissed his prediction with my usual rebellious nature. but what do i know about politics? in the '04 prez election i voted 4 ralph nader, knowing damn well he was gonna lose.
when i was a kid my father taught me to respect all people, no matter who they are & where they come from. he taught me to work hard, make sacrifices & try to do the best that i can in whatever i endeavor. he said he never met anyone who "wanted to be unsuccessful." he believed in self-determination, asserting, "if you want something done in this world, you better do it yourself, or you'll be waiting for other people to do things for you the rest of your life."
just b4 he left this earth he insisted i become a sportswriter. why? good question. bcuz there are very few black sportswriters in america & he thought i could make money (to eventually buy him the black mercedes benz he joked about incessantly) doing two things i love: sports & writing. sounds logical, right? but i'm not a logical person. my heart is not in it. maybe if i were a quarter century younger i could shift gears & go 4 it. just 4 him. maybe in my next lifetime. 4 now, i'm happy being me. grateful we connected as men.
- mark j. tuggle
- harlem, usa
- same-gender-loving contemporary descendant of enslaved africans. community activist, feminist, health educator, independent filmmaker, mentor, playwright, poet & spiritual being. featured at, in & on africana.com, afrikan poetry theatre, angel herald, bejata dot com, bet tonight with tavis smiley, blacklight online, black noir, brooklyn moon cafe, gmhc's barbershop, klmo-fm, lgbt community services center, longmoor productions, nuyorican poets cafe, our corner, poz, pulse, rolling out new york, rush arts gallery, saint veronica's church, schomburg center for research in black culture, sexplorations, the citizen, the new york times, the soundz bar, the trenton times, the village voice, upn news, uzuri, venus, vibe, wbai-fm, wnyc-fm & wqht-fm. volunteered with adodi, bailey house, inc., black men's xchange-new york, colorofchange.org, drug policy alliance, east harlem tutorial program, imagenation film & music festival, presente.org, save darfur coalition, the enough project, the osborne association, the sledge group & your black world. worked on films with maurice jamal & heather murphy. writing student of phil bertelsen & ed bullins. email@example.com.