I was coming back here to write about something else, and found that I had a threatening e-mail (via my contact page) and comment (permanently deleted) from a white supremacist in reference to the link I shared about the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing. Suffice it to say that this individual now has the rare distinction of having been blocked.
This is what white supremacy looks like: threatening anyone who dares to show support for people of color, or to speak out about what happens to them.
And that is actually what I came here to write about. When my dad died, I mentioned that he had given away the bride when one of his African-American students, Joe, married a white woman. Her own family refused to attend.
Anyway, we tried very hard to find Joe in time for Daddy’s funeral. The number my mother had was disconnected, and the cell phone number now belonged to another person who was very kind as I choked out who I was and why I was looking for Joe … whom he did not know. He actually apologized for having a new phone number.
I was very much afraid, when we failed to find him, that Joe had passed.
Anyway, my mom called me Sunday afternoon. She had stayed home from church as she’d overslept, and it turned out to be a blessing. She said that an unfamiliar car pulled into the driveway, and Joe got out. He had been at church and felt strongly called to stop by my folks’ house. He wanted to express his condolences in person, and check in on my mom; he had come by a few times but never found anyone home, and was afraid that my folks had moved away. Suffice to say, Mom now has a valid phone number for Joe … and he has promised to come by and help her whenever she needs assistance.
“You are all family to me,” he said. Then, he told my mom something that neither of us ever knew.
Joe and his wife, Christine, are getting ready to celebrate their 49th wedding anniversary. My mom said she knew that she and Daddy had paid for the flowers and cake, but what she never knew was that Daddy paid for Christine’s dress. He wanted her to have the dress she fell in love with, and so he made it happen.
I took on a lesson about standing up for other people’s rights at a very early age, friends. I loved Joe and Chris so much. Of course, I didn’t know that was the lesson I was taking on at the time; all I knew was that two people I loved were getting married, and I got a pretty new dress for the occasion.
I was so relieved by Joe’s visit that I cried … and that’s what I wanted to write about today. I wanted to write about love.
But at the same time, I guess I have to write about hate. Christine’s father passed away recently. He had grandchildren and great-grandchildren that he never met, and never wanted to meet. He held the same kind of ugly, bitter attitude that my unfortunate correspondent demonstrated today, with his claims (among other absurdities) that I was “spreading fascism” by talking openly about the fact that the Ku Klux Klan murdered four little girls with a bomb, and saying that we shouldn’t forget that.
I feel sorry for anyone whose life is so small that they don’t want to know their own grandkids, or to face the facts of racism.
So now you know.