Your Grandpa Never Had A Fight
(To My Grandsons – Kamal, Musa, Naim Barack, Khalil, Ameer & Bilal)
I have never had a fight where anyone got beat up; I never really had to. I have had scuffles in which somebody got slammed, then, that was it. Why exceed bounds when the person has already been vanquished? And, why attack, unjustly?
I learned that from watching my Daddy. I studied him from my crib, and I knew I wanted to be just like him, a hero. Everybody knew my Daddy was tough and dependable. He commanded the respect of about 10 Black men on his job as Supervisor of the Press Room and Stereotyper at the Kansas City Call Newspaper. He played football in college and he would never brag, but his buddies alluded to his scrapping his way up on Vine Street.
Once, I had quieted the colored manager at Melody Lanes after having been harassed for one of my many faux pas's and nearly brought to tears, when I threatened to “bring my Daddy around here!", our house being only about a block away from the newly built bowling alley. There was a hush... and the subject changed quickly.
I went everywhere with my Daddy: the pool hall, the bar, family events (cabaret parties, picnics, etc.), his job (the Pressroom) and the Newsroom at The Call, NAIA and Harlem Globetrotter basketball games at the Municipal Auditorium.
From the time I was about 6 he took me amongst the raucous rowdy crowds at the Negro League Baseball games at the Kansas City Blues Municipal Stadium up on Brooklyn Ave. to cheer Satchel Paige and the Monarchs and boo Goose Tatum (whom we, later, cheered when he played basketball with the Harlem Globetrotters) and the Indianapolis Clowns.