Still Dreaming After All These Years

by on April 24, 2020 · 3 comments

in From the Soul

by Ernie McCray

I had a pretty nice birthday, the other day, my 82nd such day.

I got the day going up on my feet, getting down to a funky beat. I posted it on Facebook for my friends to see, hopefully, as a treat.

Later I celebrated on Zoom with family and friends, got some reading and love making in, greased on some shrimp and grits and lost my soul to a moist super delicious vanilla pound cake.

But, hey, it wasn’t all happy and gay because I clicked on my TV, feeling a need for a brief summary of what’s going on with the coronavirus, and the first images I happened to see was a bunch of European American “patriots” waving “Old Glory” like crazy.

I mean it was a sight to see: grossly misguided misfits open carrying automatic weapons, all pissed off that they’re being told what to do to lessen their chances of losing their lives to a deadly disease. “Don’t tell us to stay off the street! This is the Land of the Free!”

And, if the truth is to be told, all that would be fine with me, except for the fact that they’re increasing the danger of the rest of us losing our lives, not to mention add to the time we have to remain cooped up in our homes.

All this full-grown unadulterated madness was chilling to me. Too much déjà vu because all my life we black folks have had our lives affected by such “yahoos” with all their “white supremacy” views, acting as though their “rights” override those of other citizens.

These people’s very lives are comprised of hate inspired fantasies – so to get myself back in a nice mood on my special day, I engaged, momentarily, in fantasies of my own, dreaming that people like these might somehow, miraculously, learn to think critically and wisely and begin to cooperate with those who don’t look like them so we can all survive whatever lies ahead for humanity.

In my dream they lay aside their penchant for thinking along racial divides and shed the lie that’s endured for centuries in our country that no matter how rough their life happens to be, no matter how much they’re been screwed over, they’re better off than the darker skinned people in our society.

In my dream they take a deep look inside themselves to figure out what’s up with them and guns and what’s behind their freaking out if someone doesn’t stand for the anthem and tear up when it’s sung.

In my dream they come to see, because of the tragedies that have befallen us recently, that health care for everybody should be a precious protected right in our country.

In my dream they come to understand that there really isn’t liberty for all, that our justice system needs a drastic overhaul, that our prisons and jails are filled with black and brown and poor white people, many incarcerated for crimes for which those at the top of our nation’s pecking order merely get a “slap on the wrist,” if that.

In my dream they begin to take notice that climate change should be viewed more seriously as we now, due to fewer vehicles on our highways and streets, are witnessing strikingly blue and clear skies and seas.

In my dream, when it comes to educating our children, they start spending less energy on getting prayer back and making sure the pledge is said and, instead, seek ways our places of learning can graduate young people who are giving and kind and dedicated to living purposeful lives that focus on the wellbeing of all humankind.

As I fantasized I suddenly was awakened by the lyrics of “Happy Birthday to You,” a song written to make one smile, and so I did just that, smiled, and took the sentiment in, feeling as good as I could, considering the condition the world is now in.

In those moments I was just an eighty-two-year-old man holding on to a lifelong hope and dream that his country might evolve someday into one where love reigns supreme.

I hope to have a few more years wishing for and, more importantly, working towards the same thing.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Richard Menze April 24, 2020 at 8:24 pm

I have that same dream Ernie.
Some day……
Happy Birthday!


Thomas Gayton April 28, 2020 at 2:46 pm



Barbara Lewis April 29, 2020 at 1:32 pm

Happy Birthday “Charles.” Your dream is one that my heart is compatible with. Thank you for giving it wings.


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