November 24, 1977 is a Thanksgiving I will always remember. In the early hours of the morning, the phone rang and I answered. Dr. Damsey mistook my voice for my mothers. He called to inform her that my father had past away. "Wait a minute! Wait a minute!" I repeated. I rushed through the house to my mother's room and said, "daddy's dead!" She picked up the phone and Dr. Damsey repeated himself. My mother, my cousin, and I went to the hospital where I stood outside of the room as they viewed his body.
As the sun begin to rise, the news of my father's death spread like wild fire through the community. Both black and white men, women, neighbors and friends came to pay their respects. They sent baskets of food, money, condolesences, prayers and comforting tokens of love.
My dads life as a sheriff, private detective, and owner/operator of a small business could have never prepared us for his death. I don't recall having a traditional Thanksgiving dinner that day, but the outpouring of generosity was better than turkey. So much love was shown to my family, and that was better than food. Thanksgiving day will come and go, but the memories live on.