Sunday, February 10, 2013

Sunday Morning Lessons

I can remember one particular Sunday morning as vividly as I can remember yesterday. I was 12. After Sunday School, my father would take me to the local tavern. In a German community, this was basically a right of passage. I learned how to play pool and the pinball machine. This particular Sunday morning, I learned a lesson abut life I never forgot. A black man, I would guess around 60, stopped by the tavern to buy a six-pack on the way to a nearby creek to do some fishing. (Another trait of a southern Illinois German community: It' was all white).  The other guys at the bar, all friends of my father, encouraged the bartender to send him on his way without any beer. My father walked over to the cooler, got out a six-pack, handed it to the gentleman, who proceeded to walk out. I'm not sure that they exchanged any words. At least any that I could hear from clattering of the pinball machine. And no one in the bar said a word, one way or the other. What strikes me most about the incident, then and now, was the silence. No one saying a word, including my father. Ever. I was to make of it what I would.

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