Take ‘em fishing!
I went fishing recently. And what I caught – no, not just the fish – was “priceless!” Yes, priceless.
I’m hard-pressed to find a better word that encapsulates the looks on the faces of those rumbustious eight black boys – all no more than 7 years old – as they raced each other towards the fishing hole with poles in tow. And for me, “priceless” befits the proud looks spread across the faces of the four muscular black men who accompanied them. Dads? Granddads? Uncles? Who knows, but it really didn’t matter. I marveled at those men barking instructions to the boys on how to bait their hooks and what to do once they landed one.
Suddenly in a split second, I conjured up the image of the opening of the old Andy Griffin Show, the scene where Andy and son Opie approach their favorite Mayberry fishing hole while little Opie tosses a rock into the water under the beaming eye of Sherriff Taylor. On this steamy hot Georgia morning, I observed four black Andy Taylors and eight excited black Opie Taylors headed to the fishing hole.
“I got one,” screamed one boy. “Yeah, me too,” shouted another as two men raced over to lend assistance. Grins, hugs and high fives between the men and boys ensued. Swept up in a surge of emotion, I got up and joined them.
And when it was time to reel in our rods, one of the men traded small talk with me.
“It doesn’t get better than this,” I said. “Aw man, the look on my grandson’s face when he caught his first fish today is one that I’ll forever remember,” he said.
As I pulled out of that parking lot, I looked in my driver side rear view mirror at those noisy little black boys, shiny faces of innocence, and wondered if there existed a future engineer, lawyer, teacher – or president of the USA – among them. I then turned to the passenger side review mirror and wondered if there could be a future Trayvon Martin, Freddie Gray or Eric Garner among them; the next RIP hashtag, a life cut short years too soon.
I was overwhelmed with warm feelings about the former image, but left in a cold sweat and depression when I thought about the latter.
I’ll always remember the innocent faces of those black boys and, above all, the proud faces of those strong black men who took time to take them fishing.
© Terry Howard is an award-winning writer, story teller and senior associate with Diversity Wealth. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.