Everybody knew Jim — the tall, bespectacled gentleman with white hair who climbed out of his silver Cadillac DeVille with a friendly, “Good morning.”
I used to lift my right hand while attempting to summon a taxi in a kind of bourgeois flick intended to signal that I am a “safe” fare.
Learn to laugh, even in the direst circumstance. Search for the silver lining in the dark clouds, even when the storm is unrelenting and raging.
No inanimate statue of stone ever maimed or castrated us. Never lynched a black man. Didn’t kill Emmett Till.
I have found country richer, deeper. A blend of storytelling and a salve to my urban-fried nerves.
As little boys trotted around the bases, basking in the glory, it was clear that baseball in Ford Heights has made a comeback.
I believe in God. The God I see in the serenity of a new golden sun, rising above a rippling blue lake as a cool, late-summer wind blows.
There is no recipe for getting it back. No Fountain of Youth. No pause button for life, which increasingly seems stuck in fast-forward.
The tally of shootings and homicides this summer fails to convey the human loss and incalculable harm to the psyche and soul of a people.
FOUNTAIN: When boys slap-boxed. Made slingshots. Licked icy cups. And girls jumped rope. Hopscotched. Kissed lollipops. And nobody got shot.
FOUNTAIN: Was it the loss of hope, faith and purpose that contributed to a sense of disillusionment?
As sure as my American flag flutters in the summer wind, I am cognizant of this truth. Always painfully aware of the skin I’m in.
FOUNTAIN: Among my heritage mothers: Ida B. Wells whose scholarship and advocacy — by speech and by pen — helped lift America’s cruel lynching hand.
JOHN FOUNTAIN: I could never abandon my children. It cuts against every fiber and fabric of fatherhood.
FOUNTAIN: Back in the day when only old folks died, we lived by truth instead of being consumed by lies. And yet, I still believe that we can rise.