Saturday, August 16, 2014

Chocolate and Vanilla

I used to call these Sweet Babies my chocolate & vanilla ice-cream cones. They are brothers in blood and love, sons of my body and my heart. They grew up in the same house for most of their lives. yet they were treated differently by others simply because one is "chocolate" and one is "vanilla".  As they grew up it became apparent that one was automatically treated with respect and openness, and the other, with suspicion and wariness. Yet they both have tattoos, and other marks of their generation; and they are both charming and bright.

My daughter, whom I met when she was 13, is also blonde and beautiful.  She and her husband are lucky enough to be burdened with many of  the "first world problems" working parents of three beautiful children often are.  Lack of time.  Finding babysitters.  Lack of money.  Stuff like that. 

We think of this country as "first world", but right now there are places, neighborhoods, right down the street from us, that are more dangerous than some of the places we call "third world".  It's embarrassing, frankly, to wonder what our neighbors across the planet must think of us.   

My father used to tell us how lucky we were, that we live in the greatest country in the world.  He was a member of the "greatest generation" and he believed in what he said.   My mother, who was an early twentieth century Southerner through and through, treated everyone with respect, even those whom she believed, mistakenly, were put on this planet to serve her.  That was hard to write. My mother did hold the beliefs of her time, but I also remember her expressing her disgust at the firehoses and dogs of the early 1960s.  Today there are neighborhoods all over this country where the actions of  the police make those firehoses and dogs look tame in comparison.

My heart breaks every time I hear of someone's human child being gunned down on the street.  That most of the time that child seems to be "chocolate" is loathsome; disgusting.  Murdered children are murdered children.  No matter the age of the child, he or she is someone's baby, and a parent mourns.

Let us try every day to remember that we are human brothers and sisters, if not in love, surely in the blood we share.