This past weekend I found myself among a host of friends. We were at Arlington for the interment of a departed friend, Commander Stanley Carter. Stanley was a classmate of my wife, and one of the early African-American entrants at the Naval Academy. There was enough Naval brass at this event to storm the beaches at Normandy.
After the event, there was the usual social gathering which gave the out-of-towners the opportunity to visit with old classmates. My wife’s high school classmates have remained friends over the years, and I have been fortunate enough to share this friendship. One of the ladies asked me if I had retired because she hasn’t seen my work in the paper recently. This opened the discussion on the life and times of Sam Lacy (my current project). I had no idea so many friends found this work worthwhile and amusing.
I have said this many times in the past, “I am techno stupid.” If I turn on my computer and something is awry, I call on my 12-year-old computer tech, Maddie. So, with this in mind, I attempted to explain that my column can be found online. Then came the question, “How do I find it?” All I could do was stand there and grin. This question was right in my wheelhouse because Jake (AFRO publisher) took a minute to explain it to me. After explaining that the work can be found at AFRO.com, I was done. However, after discovering this interest and with that kind of support I will carry on with the story of Sam Lacy.
On many occasion, he would wander off into a tale of his early life or childhood. He once told me of the time he lost his bike. Finding his bike missing, he set out on a search to find it. After checking the usual place, he searched the backyard, the woodshed and the garage where Aunt Rachel kept her car.
He was not willing to accept the fact that the bike might have been stolen so he went to his buddy’s house to check. He and his buddy Nijji were joined at the hip, and spent most of their free time together, and this included riding their bikes. They once set out to ride to Baltimore, but fatigue and better judgment pointed out that this was not a good idea.
His searching efforts were futile at Nijji’s house, so he collected Nijji and they ventured out together. It was suggested that Sam’s older brother (Erskine) may have borrowed the bike so they went to Duke’s (Duke Ellington) house to find Erskine. Duke was Erskine’s buddy, and they were often together, but not that day.
After checking more of the obvious places, they were tired and decided to return to their respective homes. Upon finding his bike under the porch where he always kept it, Sam realized that there was something wrong with this picture. It was then that he woke up. It was all a dream.
This whole story has a familiar ring to it. It has happened to me, and I am sure some of you can relate.