June 2, 2020 – I Could Never Imagine It

Today is National Rocky Road Day in celebration of that wonderful ice cream treat. If you don’t have any of the tasty treat you can make your own. Just add almonds or pecans, mini marshmallows, and chunks of semi-sweet chocolate to your favorite ice cream. Enjoy!


Chickenman – Episode 46

Benton Harbor is forced to reveal his secret identity as Chickenman when his shoe store is robbed. Thanks to a stuck zipper, he is kept out of harms way, but he is still missing some change.


Advice your mom gave you for a pandemic

On Mother’s Day I posted some advice that a mom would give her children when they were young that would still be good advice in a pandemic. I asked people to share some of their ideas. This one came in just the other day from a reader in Hawai`i but with a slightly different slant: Advice from your mother that you shouldn’t follow during the COVID-19 pandemic:

See a penny, pick it up; All the day you’ll have good luck.

See a pennny let it lay; You’ll have bad luck all through the day.

I thought of it when I was at a bus stop the other day and saw a penny on the ground. All my life, I’ve picked up those pennies. But that day, I left it.

Judith, Kaneohe, HI

I could never imagine it

My son and I meet for the first time. We couldn’t talk so we just stared at each other.

When I first met my son, I could not imagine what life would bring to us or bring us to. In the first moments of our first meeting we were both speechless. For his part, he hadn’t yet learned to talk. For my part, I was overwhelmed.

As he grew I introduced him to many of life’s greatest pleasures for an infant and toddler – oatmeal, piggy back rides, pancakes of various varieties, and “All Star Baby Wrestling” which always found him on top of my chest pinning me to the mat. He would giggle hysterically.

Later, as he went off to pre-school then “real” school, we would play more sophisticated games and I would read to him. In fact we made it through all seven books in the Chronicles of Narnia series. He has since read them for himself a few times over.

We had the usual father-son run in’s, complete with temper tantrums. Mine didn’t last quite as long as his, usually. The Famous Tantrum, that still gets told – with only a little embellishment – at family gatherings or other events where we “tell tales” on each other, is the one that occurred in Target.

As he grew into a teen, it was obvious already that he was going to be a pretty good guy. He was fun, funny, caring, and curious. School was never easy for him but he was an extremely smart, disciplined student, and he persevered with wonderful success.

I got to see him fall deeply in twice. The first time it was with the woman he married last September.

In all the time my son was growing up I could never imagine it would be necessary to tell him how to act if he was ever stopped by the police. In fact, I didn’t…because I didn’t have to. He has always been, like me, generally quite polite, respectful of authority, and very white.

That brings me to the second time he fell in love. He is a social worker and he was working in child welfare. He got three very young black children assigned to his caseload. From the moment he became their caseworker, he was smitten. I knew because he couldn’t stop talking about them. We’d meet for dinner and all he could talk about were the three children – the diapers he had changed in Wendy’s, the ice cream he bought and which got dropped in his car, and the funny things they would say to him. His tiny car was outfitted with car seats and he transported them throughout the area to their appointments, supervised visits with their birth-mother, and back to their foster parents.

The first victory he had with them was finding a foster home placement where all three could be together. If you are familiar with child welfare social work, you know that sometimes children have to be split up into foster homes due to no fault of theirs. My son worked extra hard to find a family that would take all three, and he did.

When it was determined that their birth-mother was no longer able to safely care for them, assure their well-being, or help them grow and develop normally, parental rights were terminated and the three were adopted.

My son’s second victory, and theirs, was that the children were all adopted by that same foster family. For a social worker, this was hitting the trifecta of child welfare work: three kids saved from a dangerous situation; placed in the same foster home; and adopted into the same forever family.

What the children didn’t realize at that time, though, is that they got far more than just that family. They got my son and his future wife. Since that adoption my son and, now, daughter-in-law have continued to stay in touch with the children and their family. They visit on holidays and birthdays, with gifts in tow.

Last September, when my son and his wife got married, the three children were at the wedding. Besides the bride and the groom, they had the most important roles in the wedding. They were the flower girl and ring bearers.

We had not actually met them until the wedding rehearsal last September. We understand how he was smitten now because we were smitten by the children and their parents. My son and his spouse do not have biological children, but they are not childless. And, of course, that means we have grandchildren!

Unfortunately, the parents of these three beautiful children will have to do what I could never imagine doing with my son. They will have to teach them how to be black while playing, walking, shopping, running, driving, and simply living.

It is not something my son, his spouse, or I can ever teach them because we do not know the experience of living while black in America. Even more, we could never imagine it.

And that’s the problem isn’t?

We can never imagine it but we can care more. We can care more and watch the horrific videos on the news of black, Latino, Native American, Asian, and other minority and marginalized people experiencing that which we can never imagine. Onto their faces we can transpose the faces of people we know and care about and then ask, “What if that person were my son, my daughter, my mother, my father, my friend…how would I feel? How would I react? What would I want to do?”

When I saw the video of George Floyd under the knee of the Minneapolis cop, I saw the father of these three children. As I continued to look, I could see the face of my friend Kevin. As I looked even closer I could see the faces of those three children who are now a part of our lives. I could never imagine my son in that position, but I can imagine them.

Our limited imagination continues to make us white folks sick. And that means the pandemic of racism continues to infect the America we have created for our benefit…for our privilege…for our white privilege. Our recovery depends on our ability to see more clearly. It depends on our ability to imagine the unimaginable in other’s lives.


Stay safe, be well, keep calm, keep washing your hands, keep wearing your masks, and keep trying to imagine the unimaginable.

Tom

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