I’ve been struggling with what to do or how to celebrate my Grandfather’s life. I’m in his infamous pink house. If you didn’t know; pink was one of his favorite colors. Why not a pink house? He was a quiet and reserved man, but this is the same man who ran for political office at a time when a black man was told to sit down and know his place. He was a man’s man. Every color has meaning. When I look from a biblical standpoint I find that pink represents a passion for Christ; the Rose of Sharon, and GOD’s glory. In psychology the color has been known to modify erratic behavior because of the calming effect. It is known as a sign of comfort. The pink carnation means, “I will never forget you.” Now I see why my Grandfather became fixated on that color.
Time and time again I’ve heard friends and family express how he was a blessing to them. This house was a refuge for anyone who needed it. The little pink house was my house when my parents divorced and my Mother needed to know that her four year old (soon to be five) would be safe. This house was a refuge for a short-time when his daughter Lori was divorcing and needed a safe-haven for her and her children. There was never a time limit and how long we could stay, but the little pink house was the house that withstood many storms, changing times, and even the elements. My Uncle Hernandez was raised in this house and even through his struggles of becoming a man he knew he could always come home.
When Grandfather first ran for office he received numerous death threats on his life. He only told me this a few years ago. It never occurred to him to quit. Although he never sought accolades or recognition; he was determined to make a difference. It was never about what he would get, but how he could better the lives of his neighbors, his friends, and family. It was never about self. He never thought about the controversy surrounding his campaign. He literally crawled over the back wall to return home to protect his life. He later found out that the Black Panthers were holding vigil in the neighborhood in an effort to protect him.
November 4, 2008; exactly one month after his birthday President Barack Obama was elected as our 44th President. I look at the family room and see every magazine cover; every picture of our President on the walls as if he was part of the family. Now I understand. Grandfather was a trailblazer. He was the first black Councilman; first black County Commissioner, first black Mayor of North Las Vegas. I didn’t think I’d live to see the day that our President would be black; neither did he.
What do you say to an outstanding Father, Grandfather, and friend for a life well lived? You simply say THANK YOU. When I first received the news of his death I knew he was in Heaven and I could hear the FATHER say, “Well done Aaron, my good and faithful servant. Well done.”
DANCE WITH MY FATHER AGAIN by Luther Vandross