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“That Name”

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I was recently at my birth home in Apalachicola Florida soaking up sun, enjoying seafood and wonderful long visits with family and friends. Because of Florida’s longstanding relationship to disturbances in the Gulf of Mexico – hurricanes – we decided to have the trees on the property pruned back from the house. For this task we hired Joey and John’s Tree Service.

My family moved to Apalachicola in the early 20th Century from Alabama and Georgia. They came to this part of Florida because of a lumber company that was cutting dead head cypress along the Apalachicola River. My mother’s father was a river boat pilot and my dad came along with his brothers to work in the lumber yard. My parents met and married in 1926 and I am the last of their nine children.

The house that we had the trees pruned back from has a relationship to the lumber business that brought my parents to Florida. When my parents purchased the land for their home in 1947 they did not have much money left to buy materials to build a house. It just happened that the lumber company was giving away old houses that had been used as camps for the men who cut the cypress along the river and one of the houses became my family’s starter home. The core of this existing house is that old camp from “up the river.”

Speaking Our Truths

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Senator Obama’s talk on M.I.A. and AWOL Black Fathers delivered at a Chicago Church on Father’s Day lacks the informed analysis that I expect of him if he is win the vote of this African American father for President of the United States.

The absence of some black fathers from the lives of their children is owing to many reasons far too complex to cover in this space. I would like Mr. Obama to take the time to understand this complexity and not paint all black men with the same brush. Furthermore, I ask him to please share with the citizenry what he considers a father’s responsibilities. Surely there are many constructions of what is considered responsible father behavior.

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