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A Father’s Day Conversation

Daddy, I hope to know one day, but, right now, I don’t know exactly how heaven works. We like to say that our loved ones who have moved in to their mansion up above are “looking down on us.” At the same time, it is said that there are no tears up there, only joy.

Here’s the problem. It would be almost impossible for one to “look down” on this current and crazy world and not be somewhat saddened. Our world has changed since you left it a few years ago. It’s just not the same.

A few things are doing alright. They planted cotton in the field behind your house and it’s about a foot high. The squares are beginning to form, so the blooms will soon be arriving. Across the road, peanuts have been planted and the rains enabled a good stand.

As I ride by the field, I see a few ragweed sticking out like sore thumbs. I wish I had sharp hoe so I could chop them down. Of course, without you to sharpen the hoe, I don’t know where I would find one. Nobody sharpened a hoe like you!

We’re taking care of momma like you asked, but no one could ever take your place. You spoiled her and, I might add, the rest of us, too.

Daddy, you would hardly recognize your country. This year has been particularly difficult. It started out okay. We had a healthy economy, but then a new kind of virus hit in February. It actually started last year, but it made its way into our nation sometime in the early part of this year.

To be honest, we don’t know when it got here, but it caught us flat-footed. We weren’t prepared and, quite frankly, didn’t know what to do. I know that sounds strange for an advanced nation like the United States, but despite all our “enlightened smarts,” we were, figuratively, groping about in the dark.

The warnings were so frightful, we shut down our entire country. Just shut her down. In a matter of a few weeks, tens of millions of our people were out of work and the government told us to stay in our homes. If you had to go out for essential goods, like groceries or medicine, you were asked to wear a facemask and rubber gloves.

For the first time I can remember, we didn’t have the big family reunion that we usually do. It was collateral damage because of the virus.

Even our churches were closed. Can you believe that? Can you imagine that all over this country, no church was meeting; at least in the way you remember.

After a couple of months of lockdown, businesses had to get back to their work or risk losing all. At first, the government allowed a trickle of business, but now it’s revving up.

The virus wasn’t our only challenge, though.

A white policeman in Minneapolis killed a black man and the fuse was lit for chaos all over the land. Everyone condemned the killing and the cop was arrested and charged with murder, but the powder keg that is race relations in this nation has exploded bigtime.

We’re more divided than ever and it’s not just a black and white thing. The people who call themselves the political leaders of our nation cannot even have a civil discussion. You wouldn’t believe how disrespectful they are to each other.

One more thing, Daddy. I remember how even-keeled you were. You seemed to be able to take the lemons that came your way and turn them into lemonade. I wish I were more like you.