Sunday, October 25, 2009

Same Kind of Different As Me...

I have just finished reading a book which has had a most profound affect on me. There are a few books which I have read that have had touched significant nerves within me. I can probably list them on one hand. This book is one. I highly recommend it as a "Must Read" by everyone!

It is an amazing true story written by the two men it involves, Ron Hall, who is an international art dealer, and Denver Moore who could be likened to a modern-day slave, in every sense of the word. And, it also involves Ron's wife, Deborah, who brings these two unlikely men together. :)

Denver was a homeless man who Miss Deborah "latched" on to. Finally, Mr. Ron, gets Denver to go out for breakfast with him. As Denver finished his breakfast, he asked Mr. Ron a pointed question: "What you want from me?"

A direct hit, I thought, and decided to give him a completely unvarnished answer: "I just want to be your friend."

He raised his eyebrows in curious disbelief and a long mmoment of silence strecthed between us.

"Let me think about it, " he finally said.
I didn't feel rejected, which surprised me. Then again, I had never formally asked anyone to be my friend.

Fast forward a week....

"...He [Denver] stared down at the steam rolling up from his coffee cup. "I been
thinkin a lot about what you asked me."
I had no idea what he was talking about. "What did I ask you?"
"'Bout bein your friend."

My jaw dropped an inch. I'd forgotten that when I told him at the Cactus Flower Cafe that all I wanted from him was his friendship, he'd said he'd think about it. Now, I was shocked that anyone would spend a week pondering such a question. While the whole conversastion had slipped my mind, Denver had clearly spent serious time preparing his answer.

He looked up from his coffee, fixing me with one eye, the other squinted like Clint Eastwood. "There's somethin I heard 'bout white folks that bothers me, and it has to do with fishin."

He was serious and I didn't dare laugh, but I did try to lighten the mood a bit. "I don't know if I'll be able to help you," I said, smiling. "I don't even own a tackle box."
Denver scowled, not amused. "I think you can."
He spoke slowly and deliberately, keeping me pinned with that eyeball,
ignoring the Starbucks groupies coming and going on the patio around us. "I
heard that when white folks go fishin they do somethin called 'catch and
Catch and release? I nodded solemnly, suddenly nervous and
curious at the same time.

"That really bothers me," Denver went on. "I just can't figure it out. 'Cause when colored folks go fishin, we really proud of what we catch, and we take it and show it off to everybody that'll look. Then we eat what we other words, we use it to sustain us. So it really bothers me that white folks would go to all that trouble to catch a fish, then when they done caught it, just throw it back in the water."
He paused again, and the silence between us stretched a full minute. Then: "Did you hear what I said?"

I nodded, afraid to speak, afraid to offend.

Denver looked away, searching the blue autumn sky, then locked onto me again with that drill-bit stare. "So, Mr. Ron, it occurred to me: If you is fishin for a friend
you just gon' catch and release, then I ain't got no desire to be your friend."

The world seemed to halt in midstride and fall silent around us like one
of those freeze-frame scenes on TV. I could hear my heart pounding and imagined
Denver could see it popping my breast pocket up and down. I returned Denver's
gaze with what I hoped was a receptive expression and hung on.

Suddenly his eyes gentled and he spoke more softly than before: "But if you is lookin for a real friend, then I'll be one. Forever."

This is just a very small example what the book is about. I really don't want to share any more because I don't want to take away from your experience of reading it, if you decide to do so. Oh, I hope you DO decide to read it. It is so worth it!!!

1 comment:

Jodi Hughes said...

Thank you for posting a review of “Same Kind of Different as Me.” I work with Thomas Nelson, and we would love to follow your blog and hear what readers think of this exciting book. I also want to let you know that Ron and Denver have just released a new book “What Difference Do It Make?” which updates readers on their activity since the last book came out. Please contact me if you are interested in receiving a complimentary copy of the new book for review on your site.


Jodi Hughes