Wednesday, January 4, 2006
On this day in 1950, Clifton Joseph Harris Sr. was born to Walter and Mildred Harris. He is named after his great uncle Clifton Jones. After spending the first 24 years of his life as a football player, war veteran, loving husband, gentleman and a scholar, he received his greatest gift by his first son Clifton Joseph Harris III being born who would go on to further strengthen the legacy of the Harris man. After me, he would go on to have two more sons, Walter and Jerald, and two daughters, Michelle and Jennifer. He has shared the last 36 years of his life with his lovely wife Bernadine who will cut your throat if you even think about treating him wrong. He truly is a lucky man.
I have learned many things from my daddy during my life. With all this talk about dead beat fathers and the lack of the black man in the community, I can proudly say that these words do not apply to me. For the first 24 years of my life, whenever I woke up in the morning at my parents' house he was there. He was around when I didn't even want him to be. Out of all the things I learned from my daddy, the three things that helped me the most in my life are.
1. It is just as important for a black man to be able to use his brain in every situation as it is for him to use his brawn. There are times when you have to whip some ass. There are also other times when you have to think your way to a more permanent solution. Your mine must be as strong as your body. After I was 10 years old my dad never hit me again. The talking was much more lasting than the ass whippings.......All except for one that we won't discuss.
2. The strength of a man is measured in how well he handles all situations good and bad. You have to be able to shake things off and keep moving. His favorite quote to me in the midst of all my complaining has always been "If you can wake up from it the next day, it's not that bad".
3. I never had a ballgame, speech, part in a play, book report, skate mobile to make, or anything you can think of without being able to ask him for help and he didn't drop whatever it was he was doing to make sure I was straight. Even as a man with my own house and family, I could call anytime of the day or night and he would help out. The best example of this is when I was in high school and me and my friends would hang out until the bus stopped running. I would call my dad at 1 or 2 in the morning and he would get up, drive downtown, and bring everyone home even if they didn't live in our area. That's the kind of thing a good daddy does. It even affected all the guys riding with us.
Happy birthday Daddy, I hope the food is hot and the beer is cold. I won't be there this year but this will be the last one I miss as long as we are living. Here's to my mentor, role model, my guidance, my blueprint and most of all my friend. I am proud to carry your name.
Love from your son
Clifton Joseph Harris