I decided to take a break from the “Sam Lacy – He Made a Difference” series this week to share some events and some stories I have been privy to living with my Pop.

When I was a kid, we lived in a nice neighborhood with a gas station on the corner. I mention the gas station because it plays a part in my life I think you may find amusing. When I was a kid, boys went from short pants to knickers to long pants. Every boy had a blue suit in the closet reserved for church and special occasions.

As this story unfolds, I had already made the annual trip downtown to purchase my blue suit for the year. I was fortunate enough to have an aunt who had a vested interest in me. The role of godmother had been taken, so I was given her last name as my middle name. Wanting to do something special for me, she took me shopping and purchased a gray suit.

Anxious to show off my new garb, I waited until everyone was gone from the house, and suited up for school. I was running a bit late, so I cut through the alley and jumped the fence at the gas station. I hit a pool of oil and slid about ten feet in my new suit. I will let you imagine the ending to this episode.

In the same time frame, my buddies and I decided to cut school and go fishing. As we were preparing to return home, I slipped and fell in the water. Cutting school was a felony in my household, so I had to hurry home. Cutting through the same gas station, I bumped into this guy standing at the gas pump talking to the attendant. Guess who? Yep, Sam Lacy.

On a trip to Tucson, Ariz., I befriended a guy named Billy Norsworthy. In the evenings I would go out and hang out with him and his buddies. In this crowd was a young lady named June, who captured my heart. One evening we decided to cross the border into Nogales, Mexico. Wanting to show off for June, I treated everyone to some of the local cuisine. Since we had been told not to cross the border, we didn’t stay long. When I returned to the house where we were staying, I walked in and promptly threw up half of Mexico on Sam’s shoes. Busted again!

In the interest of creating a little mild mischief, we bought pea shooters. We discovered the best ammunition for the shooters was navy beans. Having no money, I went to the neighborhood store and slipped a bag of the beans under my shirt. I was fully armed and ready for war. Spotting one of my buddies in the line of fire, I took a shot. At that moment an adult passed, and took the shot right in the neck. Damn, this guy is everywhere.

The fact that he had been a victim of friendly fire didn’t bother Sam, but he did ask me where I got the beans. One look at his face inspired me to fess up. He took me to the store and made me tell the manager that I had stolen the beans. They made an arrangement for me to work off my debt after school. Sweeping the sidewalk in front of a super market every day after school for a week seemed to be a bit much, especially for a 19-cent bag of navy beans. But, living with Sam Lacy, if you did the crime, you did the time.

More next week.


Tim Lacy

Special to the AFRO