It Was How I Was RaisedMy mother wasn't always in the best of health so, when I was growing up, we had a housekeeper/caregiver for me and my dad. She was a black woman who was raised in the deep south. She was a wonderful woman. Even though she didn't have regular book smarts she was very smart and extremely wise. She had a gentle way about her and she treated me like I was her son even though I wasn't. She was so kind and loving and cooked the best food and cookies. I learned how to cook from her.
My father could have hired a white housekeeper but he didn't. He didn't care what color people were, it was more about who would do the best job at keeping the house and helping him and raising me. When he picked her, he was fair and honest. He treated her like a person.
When her son got into trouble, my father stood up for him. There were a bunch of men standing outside of the jail. I'll never forget a man asked my father, "Why would you take up for that ******'s son? He ain't nobody . . .but a worthless ******."
My father was always calm.
He said, "If you are referring to Maybelle, she isn't a ******. She takes care of my home, my son and me. She is like family."
Then the man made a rude comment about my father and Maybelle. (My mother was still alive but still in the hospital).
This was one time I remember my father losing his cool.
My father punched this man square in the face. The man fell to the ground.
My father said to the man, "If you get up and don't apologize, I will deck you back to the ground again."
The man got up an apologized to my father, Maybelle, her son and to me.
We all got in the car. Maybelle said that she was sorry that my father said something to those men and that she would work extra hard to pay for the bail that my father paid for to get her son out of jail.
My father said, "Maybelle, you are not like family. You are family." As far as ___________ (her son's name), he's family too. My father looked over at Maybelle's son who was sitting in the back seat next to me and said, "If you ever get into trouble again, I will disown you. Do you understand me?" Maybelle's son said, "Yes, sir."
Later on that evening, my father came up stairs to say goodnight and we talked about the day's events.
He said to me, "Son, you are to treat everybody the same. It doesn't matter what color they are, what religion they practice, what kind of food they eat or don't eat. God put everybody on the planet to get along with each other and help each other. We are to accept people the way they are. We are no better than anybody and nobody is better than us. We are all God's children."
I have kept those words engraved on my heart.
I accept people as they are. Good or bad, we are all God's children.