Thursday, July 19, 2007

"The day Clark Gable died"

When I was a boy of only eight
Not knowing the meaning
Of the word 'segregate'
My father decided to take me with him
On a plane where he promised
A 3-D movie and a fishing voyage on a boat
Little did I think of lessons to be learned
In the unfolding of this anecdote
I tag this memory to the newspaper headlines
The day that Clark Gable died
My father explained this man was
Until I was satisfied
There was a lay over in the city of Atlanta
I watched the planes go by in the air
Listening to announcements
Watching people go by quickly
As a boy I became slowly aware
When asking my father if I could go to the bathroom
He instructed me to return
Little did I know what would be ahead
Or of what I was about to learn
As I approached the door I was stopped
By an old grey haired black man coming out
He discouraged my entrance through that door
Then I began to question why with a pout
My father seeing the situation
Quickly came to my side
Questioning the man about the problem
With tears in his eyes he replied
He doesn't know the difference
Pointing to the sign on the door
It read "Colored Men" with letters wide
My father directed me to the other place
Where I was supposed to be
After returning to his side
I could clearly see
My father was trying to console the man
Assuring him that someday he would be free
This man wore a white shirt with suspenders
I wish I had learned his name
I remember looking up at him in his pain
Tears in his eyes in his withered tired frame
My father parted with sadness
The man continued to cry
My father explained about dignity
As I watched the planes in the sky
Reminding me to remember the color of his skin
Made no difference-he was just a man
That he still had a heart within
We continued our trip to Miami
But I thought of the man and his tears
I still think of him to this very day
After almost fifty years
We went on the boat
I got seasick
We went to the 3-D movie
I caught a cold
From the newfangled air conditioning
That had just been invented
The 3-D glasses gave me a headache
We left the movie before it had finished
I left Miami totally dissapointed
Then after many years I realized
The purpose of the trip to Miami
Was that image burned into my mind
Of the man in Atlanta who was crying
Thereby I was able to find
The true course of my heart
I will never forget the lesson taught
Human dignity belongs to everyone
It is something that needs not to be bought
From the lowest creature
To the tallest human
In those famous words
Let freedom ring
It is the melody I learned as a boy
Of eight years old
The song I continue to sing

© 2007 Moses Lestz - All Rights Reserved

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