Josh White made a Negro spiritual famous in the 1950s called “Black Girl.” Being a folk guitarist at that point, I loved the song and pretended I was a white Josh White; I may have been 19 at the time. Since then, I have had millions of tons of water pass under my bridge of life. I no longer play the guitar, due to nerve damage in my fingers. My interests now include teaching, still, and writing; I, of course, people watch. I do this to enhance my writing with interesting characters.
This morning, Linda, my wife of 49+ years, and I had a bite to eat in the lounge at the Virginia Beach North Hampton hotel. The attendant’s name is Linda (we remember this wonderful African-American woman from past visits); she is a ray of sunshine; just what people need as they grab a quick bite rushing to work on a cloudy morning, or gathering the family on the way to the aquarium for the morning. At one point a family of four entered and the boy of about three raced over to give Linda a big hug. It is beautiful the way the innocence of a child knows no bounds. This young white boy followed Linda around and helped her clear the tables. After a while, Linda excorted the lad back to his family; he was sporting a dollar in his hands. The family objected, and LInda stuck out her left hip and said, “This is my lounge, and what I say goes.” So there!
People watching is such a great thing to do; we learn so much from others.
After a while a young, late-twentyish, black women entered with her three-year-old daughter. The mother parked her in a chair and went to get breakfast for both. Internally, I began to cry. Here, I was looking at innocense personified. A three-year-old girl is the ideal of innocense and purity. While watching this young black girl, I prayed that when she was as old as her mother, she would not face the same gender and racial biases that her other has been subjectd to. I know this is a dream; but if our culture continues to mature, it may be possible. In either case, I pray that this girl’s mother raises her to be a strong outspoken woman; the world will need her to be. As with my very successful, white daughter, who has struggled in her role with a large corporation, I pray that this girl will rise to be a vice president, or even president. As my Muslim friends say, Alhamdulillah, Praise be to God.