I hadn’t noticed the puppy until now. I didn’t remember my daddy being the dog lover mama was. But, here we are.
Me, almost three with daddy and a puppy following along at our heels. I’m looking down and he must have been watching for roots to trip me up or something that might harm my tiny little feet. I keep this photo on my desk and I cling to the love it portrays, an image of his kind and quiet heart.
My daddy’s life was badly bruised by tragedy. His daddy was murdered by a black man over some sort of dispute, at the well drawing water. Daddy never spoke of this, I only know through stories saved for my grown-up ears. The knowledge of my daddy’s pain brought clarity and forgiveness for hurtful and scary words that would come easily when alcohol was salve for his wounds.
The story of my daddy’s heart is a timely story, an important story.
Mainly, for the children I love, grown or still small who need to know.
A story of a friendship between a white man and a black man.
Thomas, my daddy’s friend helped him when no one else would.
Thomas checked on my daddy, had long talks on lonely cold nights with my daddy and drove him home on many nights.
Stood by his friend through cancer and watched him, with us, become kinder and more humble each day. Every day spent in searching conversations centered on ammends making and making right of perceived wrongs.
Thomas and his wife, Mary cried at my daddy’s funeral and then stopped by to sit with, listen to my mama on lonely cold nights in her lonely country home.
Thomas fished in their pond, cut her knee high grass in summer.
Just checked on her, kept her going. And then, when my mama died, we gave Thomas and Mary her car. They cared for my mama’s best friend, her dog, until it’s grieving and aging heart passed on too.
Thomas and daddy are together again, friends in Heaven.
Thomas was my daddy’s friend. Race didn’t matter. This is the story of my daddy’s heart and of his friend’s heart.
A Father’s Day story, a timely story
A story for a time like this, a time of tragic hate and young people who are both impressive and impressionable. Young people who are paying attention and are standing for something. Maybe deciding between love or hate.
Choose love over hate. Love like a Wednesday night prayer meeting prayer. An open heart, open door prayer for someone they thought just lost and seeking. A love shown, freely offered in light of and because of Jesus. A strong love like a mama taught a son. A son who lost his mama at a Wednesday night prayer meeting in Charleston.
“Love is always stronger than hate.”
Chris Singleton, son of Sharonda Singleton