I Love Em All: What My Grandfather Taught Me About Love

I am often chastised for only dating men of a lighter persuasion. Believe me, it’s not intentional. I can honestly say I’ve only ever had two men of a deeper brown hue approach me. I know, sad. You can’t generalize. Maybe one day my prince will come and he’ll be just as chocolate as can be. And I’d be happy with that if he was as great as my grandfather.

My mom’s dad has always been as close to perfect as a man can get to me. And yes, I had my own father. And my father was great. He was smooth. He had a shock of grey hair in the midst of black waves and curls. He was a man’s man. He hunted, he worked on small engines, he picked up hitch hikers. He insisted that as a child I have London Fog rain coats. He was a good-looking man who got attention everywhere he went. He was short, the same color I am,  wore huge glasses, and smelt good.

My dad.

My paternal grandfather was different though. He was dark, tall, always wore a hat, and had a fine singing voice. He played pool with my nephew and I, ran around with us, held my shoulders when I stood beside him after church on Sunday mornings. He told stories of World War II, stories from childhood of being forced to come out of his house at night and play with little white boys, scared for his life, but playing ball and tag anyway. He grew vegetables, had cows, and lived in a house of women – my mom, her younger sister, and my grandmother. He will go down in history as a great man. My father died of cancer when I was nine, and my grandfather took over.

Now, at 90, he is not the “Papa” I once knew. Instead he is a shell of himself. Broken down my Alzheimer’s. He does not know where I live now. And if you tell him, he will forget within five minutes. He still knows who my mom is though. He still sings of the glory of God. He still wants me to do good.

My grandfather.

So, you see, how could I ever be partial to a man due to the color or hue of his skin? My grandpa taught me that I love everybody. He said I may not “like” certain things people do, but I am commanded by God to love everybody, and therefore I will. It’s a good lesson to have been taught and learning it from him, I learned from the best. My father, grandfather, and brother raised me to believe I was smart, beautiful, witty, interesting, and could do anything, and better yet, get through anything. They said it and at 28, I believe it.



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