The farther away we drifted from the reality of a certainty that Senator Barack Obama was President-elect of the United States, the penetration of make-believe weighed in, and we were certain, without a doubt, that we had caught up with time; that “we be winnin’” and that “God be on our side.” Happiness, joy and depression prevailed, all rolled up into one hard knot of certainty that it really happened and that the mad man will not wake us up and make us hear him say, “Bah yah, bay yah, bay yah.” Was this a sneeze or a cold or a tempest tossed? Or was this a coloredism designed to forever destroy our sleep again? I cannot sleep; I cannot rest. Weariness and death fill the air when there is no certainty that death will ever come or that weariness will prevail.
Those of us who care enough and have spent our lives doing hard time for the man know readily what is being said now. Everyday of our lives has been hard times…real hard times. Death is only threatened, it is not here and every time Emily speaks of going to the white store or hears an anecdote about one of her children, we are overjoyed, amazed and happy for the stories told about Barack Obama’s beautiful picture appearing in papers all over the United States. In a southern town there was a store called the white store. It probably had a name, but Black folks identified it in this town as the white store, as did all the other Black people from Maine to Mississippi who lived in an area dominated by whites with a single store in the community that was identified by the ownership of the store rather than its clientele.
Emily’s friend saw a family with a white boy looking at the full-color photo of President-elect Obama and she asked haltingly of the little white boy, “Do you know who this is?” And the little boy said, “This is Barack Obama. He’s our new president.” A 5-year-old white child in the white store in a colored town or white town, based upon your presumption, knows who President-elect Barack Obama is and we are given the news of the day from television and a white newspaper in a town that had gotten the word. Blessed be the angels. Something is happening. A great deal has already happened and a great deal more is still to come about that great getting-up morning. Religious as this may seem to be, it is not at all. It is what Mama told us all in her words so long ago before she died. Mama would sing softly, almost quietly as the words spilled from her mature contralto voice: “I come to the garden alone while the dew is still on the roses. And the voice I hear falling on my ear, the Son of God discloses. And He walks with me and He talks with me and He tells me I am His own. And the joy we share as we tarry there no other has ever known. I’d stay in the garden with Him, though the night around me is falling. But He bids me go through the voice of woe; His voice to me is calling. And He walks with me and He talks with me and He tells me I am His own. And the Joy we share as we tarry there none other has ever known.” And I have no fear now. I have talked to my Mother and I have talked to her God. There is no need for me to speak to my own.