|Police officer at street fair in San Francisco|
Joey told me, "Granny, I told my Momma when I grow up I want to be a policeman and help people. My Mama she said to ask you about it, and then she started cryin', tellin' me black and blue don't mix these days, and maybe I should grow up and be somethin' else, not a policeman." Joey looked up and showed me his arm, all small and brown and sweet and put it on Granny's arm and said. "Mama told me always to remember black lives matter. Then she said to talk to you 'cause she said what's going on is so hard to understand."
Well, Granny had just come from Alice's house down the road where there was a wake goin' on. Alice' husband was a policeman who got shot one day on the street in some big city. He was just standin' on some corner, waitin' for the light to change so he could get his car and go home, and some guy drove up and shot him. Alice she's got three little ones who are hurtin' so bad, they lost their daddy; and Alice has been cryin' all day cuz she don't know what to tell them why their daddy who was always so nice to people got shot just waitin' to cross the street.
These days Granny's work is so hard, but The Man Upstairs done whispered and said, "You got your work, Granny; and I got mine. I have lots of prayers that need answering, so please help my children, now won't you?" That's when Joey came up to the door wantin' the answers, the kind Granny hears about too much these days.
"Oh, Joey, your mama and daddy, well they loves you a lot; and they's worried these days, so they want me to help you understand. And it sure is true that black lives matter. And white and pink and yellow lives matter, 'cause we are all important folks."
"Now what you sees on television it is awful, yes it is. And people shootin' people, that's always real bad. Policeman, they want to help, but some of them are just like other people and may not do their jobs real good. They hit and shoot and do bad things when they should wait a little while and figure out what's really goin' on. They need their educations just like you need yours at school. Cuz it's when you're little you need the lessons on how to treat people right. You know in Cloutierville, they haves people who are many different colors and go to many different churches and some people don't go at all but they still know how to be good; and all of you children play together fine. But some people when they growed up, they forgot what they learned in school. They get mad real easy or they gets in a hurry and don't do what their teachers done told them when they was in kindergarten, just like you are now."
"But most people want to remember, and most people are still good folks. There are some bad policeman, but most of them are good. And there are some bad people who want to kill them, but most people want policeman to help them. Sometimes it looks like every policeman is bad, and that lots of people wants to kill them. That's not true, little Joey, that most people are bad or most get killed 'cause there are policeman all over the world; and most of them live a long time."
Now, Joey looks up and smiles at me; and I know he is listening 'cause he is little enough to want to be good and to grow up a good and sweet man, just like his Daddy and all of the men that he knows. So I tell him as he crawls down from my lap, his big eyes have dried up those tears. "You is little, dear Joey; and one thing this old heart can say is things change; they get better, and people like you, they can help. So if you wants to be a policeman, then learn all the good things you can 'cause that's how the whole world gets better. It starts with the babies like you."