A touching Mother’s day story — with an untouching addenum

Yes, a touching mother’s day story for you all. It was 55 years ago (yes over half a century ago ! ! ), and I was an intern at a big city hospital on rotation in their emergency room in a rough neighborhood. The ER entrance was half a block from an intersection with a bar on each corner. On a Saturday night, we knew better than to try to get some sleep before 2AM or until we’d put in 2 chest tubes (to drain blood from the lungs, which had been shot or stabbed). The bartenders were an intelligent lot — they had to be quick thinking to defuse situations, and we came to know them by name. So it was 3AM 55 years ago and Tyrone was trudging past on his way home, and I was just outside the ER getting some cool night air, things having quieted down.

“Happy Mother’s day, Tyrone” sayeth I

“Thanks Doc, but every day is Mother’s day with me”

“Why, Tyrone?”

“Because every day I get called a mother— “

Untouching Addendum

Well, it’s 55 years later and the terrible violence in the Black community continues unabated.  Nothing has changed from 1967.  Fifty percent of the murdered in the USA are blacks, with only 13-14% of the population.

My white neighbors drench themselves in holiness, displaying their virtue for all to see with signs on their lawns saying Black Lives Matter.  This neatly avoids facing the real problem — Black Lives Matter except to other Blacks.  

Any solution must come from within the Black community itself, not from outsiders, however well-motivated like my neighbors.

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  • Peter Shenkin  On May 7, 2022 at 7:15 pm

    You’re older than I, so you can probably recall, as I can, the time when the main complaint black people had about the police was that there weren’t enough of them in their neighborhoods. The black community was viewed as a separate undeveloped nation where warlords ruled and were permitted to duke it out. Nobody cared who lived and died unless white people were affected. Such neglect was considered fitting and proper at the time.

    I recommend “Cotton Comes to Harlem”, by the black crime writer Chester Himes, to convey a sense of what it was like in those days. Don’t bother with the movie, by the way; it’s amusing but doesn’t catch the underworld like the book does. Published 1965. The book is simultaneously hard-boiled and hilarious. And, though set in a different time, it is sadly relevant today.

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