Saturday, July 27, 2013

henry IV, part...................

Henry walks in. Has a lot with him. It’s been awhile. I’m worried about having no money. He begins to tell me the story of how his father had died in Florida. He’s pulling out visual aids. An American flag. Several medals, including the distinguished medal of honor.  A program from a funeral. A book on Seminole County Florida with a picture of the old homestead. And a picture of the first Henry D. I’m the fourth, says Henry. And last. Line stops with me. And there’s a new tie in with the flag. 
Soon the story is something like a movie running in my head. I hear the call from his sister. The long bus ride to Florida. The sun and heat. The old African-American funeral home. The motel room provided by the cousins.The buying of a new suit, shirt and tie for the funeral, the cousins again. The funeral overflowing with people come out to this honest man who ran his own auto body shop. The prayers of the preacher. the trip to the graveyard. The folding of the flag into the traditional triangle, presenting of the medals. 
The big meal after, greetings from seldom seen, slightly known cousins, the gentle joking and warmth of family spending funeral time together. The pictures of the family ancestors, clearly intermarried with the local Seminoles. The inevitable arguments with the caretaker who had tired to get the will changed. And the long bus ride back.
I ask about his mother. She died in my arms in 1977, he says. Danielle and i do the math. He was 17. And what happened since then? To wind up on the streets of Brooklyn or at this church in Manhattan. 
I give him enough for a meal and a Metro card. Talk to him about the Interfaith Assembly on Housing and Homelessness.  Give him Marc’s number. Tell him to use my name. 
When he’s gone, Danielle and I look at each other. How does it happen? I mean , we know, but it’s still a mystery.
During all this, Rudolfo looks in with those big sad eyes. Still wishing he were back in Cuba
Thatcher comes in. Met him yesterday afternoon at the gate with RL. A classic successful businessman from Bronxville, temporarily on the Upper West side while work is done on his house. 
He told a story about how he’s left the church. But came back when he heard a preacher start a sermon with I shot a man 20 years ago...(RL liked that). A story if personal transformation. How he was succeeded by Buddy Ennis from Atlanta, well known nation. And then succeeded by a musician who people loved. Growth at every stage.
So now you know how build a church, says RL
How’s that? I say.
Start by shooting somebody.
i give Thatcher the full tour. He’ll stay awhile and char awhile with RLstudio. On his way out reminds me that he works in the area of web devlopment for non-profits. I hope something can  come of this as we are stuck in a negative web space and its getting (IS!) embarrassing. And none' sure how 8
The line ends with me, said Henry. 

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