I spent about three weeks trying to choose a topic or direction for this brief blog.  Of course, I wanted to blog in support of my fellow teachers who went on strike in Denver, Colorado.  And in somewhat related events, I was also tempted to blog about the impending “March Madness” that is ISTEP testing with all of its permutations.

Then… on February 20th… a topic chose me.

I called my father to wish him a happy sixty-sixth birthday.  I asked him (in what has become a ritual) if there was something that he would like for his birthday. He has only requested one gift ever–a trip to Las Vegas when he turned sixty.  I now realize that the trip was his complete “bucket list” since he never imagined that he would see his forties or fifties. I still recall his whisper of “thank you, Lord for allowing me to live to see my grandbaby”, as he held my niece for the first time. (My niece is now a junior in college).  During our conversation, Daddy repeated his gratefulness and astonishment at turning sixty-six. I hung up foiled again because the discussion contained no clue to assist me in selecting any type of gift for him.

Then… it occurred to me… days, weeks, months, and years are on his gift list, and I am not the Supplier of those. His contentment springs from a realization that he has already beaten the odds in life. It is reprehensible that the act of achieving middle-aged status as a black male in America, rivals any one of Hercules’ labors. The acute ills of American society have overcome hardier men than my father. Yes, the remarkable fact of his mere existence demands a tribute.  So, as long as this lives, it says HAPPY BIRTHDAY from me.