Monday, October 8, 2018

Happy Columbus Day

It's a sight to see: walking down Fifth Avenue in New York City, left and right, people...some tourists, some not...all of them waving flags and clapping, smiles a mile wide across their faces.
It lifted me up as my initial feeling about this day was tempered by all that's going on in the world right now; the social justice warriors online, insisting that a day precious to Italian-Americans should be changed to a day with another name...a sadness I couldn't shake as I wondered what my son would eventually learn in school about this Holiday.
I proceeded with my son's hand placed firmly in my own. His eyes grew wide as he took in the crowds, the pomp, the circumstance. Not to mention the entire contingency of the NYPD that came out to celebrate.
My heart ached and my mind began thinking about the day that I would have to explain to him that not everybody liked or respected the police as much as we do. 
I set it aside and marched alongside my husband. I took in the sights and sounds and smells of the day and focused on the good.
I determined to get through this parade without shedding a single tear.
Towards the very end, uptown, near the bleachers, a man made me break this ridiculous promise.
As we walked by, he leaned over the barricade and shouted, "Thank You Officers, for keeping us safe!"
He was a black man, bald and bespectacled, and we made eye contact for just a moment.
His outer layer fell away as I saw his heart.
And of course, I began to cry.
Because in the midst of all the furor over what we should call this day and the constant opinions of those who could never do my husband's job (not even for a day) there was this simple acknowledgement.
And I smiled.
Through tears, I smiled.

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