from “A Tribute to True Love”
There is nothing sexy about a fast-food drive in. But the neighborhood A&W in Waterloo, Canada is where my parents first met the summer my mom turned fifteen. My dad was two years older and pulled up in a car crammed full of his buddies, and my mom, red hair aflame, brown uniform pulled tight around her tiny waist, came out to take their order. For my dad, it was love at first sight, if you believe in that kind of thing. A few weeks after the A&W meeting my dad was at a party, playing pool, when my mom walked down the stairs into the smoky basement with some girlfriends. As my mom tells it, she saw my dad, clad in a jean jacket with a popped collar, cigarette hanging out of his lips, leaning over the pool table to take a shot. She couldn’t take her eyes off him. When my dad looked up and noticed the girl from the restaurant, he turned to friend next to him.
“See that girl?” he asked, nodding his head toward my mom. “I’m gonna marry
His friend shook his head and laughed. “Bullshit.”
“You wanna bet?” My dad asked, full of swagger, completely smitten, and probably high.
So they shook on it. Five years later the friend owed my dad one hundred dollars as my dad made good on his word and married my mom.
I was raised on this 1970s fairy tale. My parents would tell it to me while they tucked me in at night, pulling the covers up to my chin and setting a glass of water on my white wooden nightstand. My youngest girlhood dreams were of being fifteen and meeting my soul mate. By the time I hit high school I had never even kissed a boy, but so strongly did I believe my parents’ story, and its prophecy for my own romance, I was practically expecting to be engaged before graduation.
My parents had no idea how much they were leading me on with these pretty little stories. Throughout my adolescence, I believed that my underage soul mate search would prove fruitful. I pictured the same happy ending of wedding bells with the handful of guys I dated. Those poor boys. They were looking for a date to the movies or a quick make-out session at my front door before curfew. I was sizing them up to see if they were the one.
One year out of law school Shannon McNeal landed a job in Columbus, Mississippi. It was a small operation - a lawyer, his secretary, and her...
On the first day I arrived I was sent to the courthouse to try a case without the file. The secretary found and it brought it up to the courthouse about the time the jury was seated. I had never seen the client and knew nothing about the case. I learned a valuable lesson that day. Don't let your client out of your sight during trial. He came back drunk. I also learned never to let my boss try a case. I insisted that he take over the case that afternoon and between his bad lawyering and the drunk client, well, we lost the case.
About three months into the gig in Columbus a man came into the office and told me he was trying to pay child support and see his child. When I asked him the last time he had seen the child he handed me a sonogram. Almost exactly three years later, he finally had his child and I had learned a lot about human nature and the practice of law.
In the truck stop where you purchase a Sierra Mist (owned by PepsiCo, which saw a dramatic rise in its business in the 1940s when it began marketing its products to African Americans, at the time prohibited from drinking Pepsi at the same counter as Americans of European descent,) before walking a few hundred yards to stand across the street from Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison (which lists as its mission, “Ensure public safety and effectively house offenders while operating a safe and secure facility. Also conduct diagnostic processing for offenders, houses offenders under death sentence [UDS] and carry out state ordered executions. In addition, we offer a Special Management Program,” and also features a tab on its website that allows viewers to ‘like’ or ‘follow’ the prison on Facebook and a variety of other social networking sites) where, at 7 pm on Wednesday, September 21st, Anno Domini 2011 the state of Georgia, the last of the original Thirteen Colonies as well as the last state to be restored to the Union – following the Civil War, or the War of Northern Aggression as its often referred to in these parts – on July 15th, 1870, was scheduled to execute Troy Anthony Davis (execute is too bland and benign a word, more appropriate for paperwork or a gymnastic routine; they were going to kill him, murder him) you notice the white men sitting at the bar of the restaurant that must specialize in meatloaf and ice-box pie as they gaze up at a television set tuned to FoxNews and watch a black man (he is more tan or beige, because see, he is half white) who is the President of the United States of America address the United Nations regarding statehood for Palestine, that geographic region well-known from the Bible that has been inhabited for centuries by Jews, Christians, and Muslims though FoxNews wants these men to believe it is simply Arab (read Muslim, read terrorist) and you wonder how much Barack Hussein Obama II, whose father was Kenyan and whose mother was Kansan (they met in a Russian language class on the island of Hawaii), has followed the story of Troy Davis[.]
See you Friday at 8:00. We can't wait either.