You know that the times they are a-changing when you have lunch with your dad and he wants to talk about Malcolm X.
I tried to get out of the lunch date, not because I’m some kind of horrible daughter, that’s part of it, but because I felt like I was coming down with something. How many flu cases had I seen the day before? Or the day before that? I lost count. But it was a lot. My muscles and joints were achy. I felt pressure in my sinuses and my throat was a little sore. I just wanted the few hours I had left before I picked up the kids from school to be spent under the covers and watching tv.
I don’t feel that good, dad. I don’t want to expose you to anything, maybe we should plan for another day.
He wasn’t having it. He wanted to have lunch with me and that was that.
“You can get soup. You need to eat anyway, don’t you?”
He wanted me to take him to Red Lobster. We settled on Cracker Barrel.
Over lunch that was actually breakfast food, pancakes for both of us, my dad started to talk about the goings on in his life. He’s remodeling his bathroom, working on his old car, going to church dinners twice a week, his visits to the doctor at the VA, going fishing when the weather warms up. And Malcolm X (insert record scratch).
I’m pretty sure my dad voted for Trump, although, I can not bring myself to ask him directly. I just don’t need to know that about him. Kind of like not knowing about your parents love life. My soul will be better off if I’m ignorant to those facts. But I have a feeling he did based on comments like –he really speaks his mind, he could make the VA and Medicare better, he can shake things up. It’s just possible that if he did vote for him, he may be having buyer’s remorse
Because he’s watching movies about Malcolm X.
My dad, who belongs to the NRA. Who used to drink too much beer, but hasn’t in 13 years. Who’s southern accent sneaks out in the most unlikely places (wire becomes whau-yer).
He’s reaching out. He’s learning. He’s curious. He knows something’s not right. He knows that the VA and Medicare are not priorities with this administration. Things are getting shaken up and it’s chaos. He’s hearing about Black Lives Matter. He knows I participated in the Women’s March with his granddaughter.
He watched a movie about a black man in the 60’s who was a Muslim. A man who stood up against white suppression “by any means necessary.” A man who was likely murdered because his militant beliefs tempered with time and he sought ways to peacefully create understanding and change. He changed. He evolved. He understood.
And if Malcolm X can do that and my dad can do that, then there’s hope for us all.