My Father: A Reality Hero

Guilty. That’s a tough word whether you are guilty or not.

My father was guilty of making sure we knew right from wrong, whether at the dinner table or in society. He was spot on.

George Floyd died because a police officer killed him. It’s tragic. The jury made the right decision. We shouldn’t rejoice it, but like the history we didn’t care about in high school, we must learn from it.

One of my six sisters called me crying the other day.. She wasn’t happy, or rejoicing about the verdict of George Floyd, but she felt at least justice was delivered. She also asked me if our father was a racist.

Baffled at the thought, I answered with conviction, “No.” It was a surprise question. We then talked about the public pools our father would take us to on sweltering weekends in order to raise our awareness, and break down any potential bias, in a very white Spokane Washington. We were on the east side and he’d drive us to the west side public pools where the only blacks existed in our tiny world.

My sister told me he would take two of our other sisters to the pool. They were certified life guards and our father told them to give lessons on how to swim in the pool, or assistance, to anyone necessary. My sisters obliged, and dove into the reality pool. They were fit, white as wonder bread girls, in not just a different neighborhood, but a different world. They embraced others happily, made new friends, and saved some lives. My old man was up to his old tricks before black lives matters was pasted on T-Shirt.

Years later, Dad did the same for the youngest of his three boys. He drove us to that same pool and there was no anxiety at all from us. We dove in, held our breath, and emerged from the water safely and with cheers of laughter and applause from our new brothers. Splashing, laughing, swimming, and diving was only mere pool delight. We were welcomed to return.

To tell the truth, the three of us only thought of our new friends as being severely sunburned. We had no idea, nor did we care, that they were black.

Our old man taught us a lesson those days, and many days and years after.

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