I Salute You Dad, You Old Devil – (A Cautionary Tale)

Veronica Brown-Comegys

In middle-age I realized that my missing in action father actually did give me something. The revelation came by way of Rev. Cindy Trimm, whose father abandoned her mother with seven children. The pastor, who was two years old, said of her father, “He gave me twenty-three chromosomes.  I have what I needed.”
On the other hand, I had thought that my father did not give me anything, except perhaps thyroid disease. We both have protruding eyes, a characteristic of that illness.  In addition, Mama Ann continually testified that, “When you were a baby, he didn’t even give me as much as $1.00 toward a bottle of milk.” Furthermore, when someone said I resembled him, she snarled, “Not one drop of his blood is in her body.” When I was a child, she would rage if I asked about him; I never received answers. However, she did readily report striking him in the head with a skillet during some of their conversations. Yet, a few years before her death, in the throes of dementia, she told humorous tales about “a fella I once knew.” That individual outrageously got even with white people without putting his neck in a noose. I thought, smooth.

Because of Rev. Trimm’s YouTube story, I know I got all I needed from dad. But, mom’s guidance insured I have none of his character flaws. He performed a destined role. And, six months before my fourth birthday he was dramatically gone for good. At that time, mom and I were living in Michigan, and he and his most recent mate were in a housing project in Hartford, Connecticut. The newbie was unaware that their marriage license meant nothing; pop had never divorced a spouse from long ago. She was probably the one who wrote mom begging, “make him send money for the children.” Unsurprisingly, he was planning to abandon the Hartford bride for yet another femme fatale. The night before his Masonic Lodge friend, who was also the current mate’s lover, shot him six times and stabbed him 10 times, my father had told a neighbor, “I’m going back to my (expletive) in Mississippi.” Then he retreated to the bedroom to telephone the next recipient of his magnetism.

This information was in the 150-page police report, which I purchased in 2014 for $58.00. I received other facts from a Crime Victims’ Advocates official. I told a cousin, “I’ve spent more money on that man than he ever shelled out for me.” The assassin was sentenced to life, which meant only 10 years. I shrieked my outrage. The clueless, clown cops and the court accepted his testimony that, “I had to do it,” supposedly because my father had boasted of his higher position in the Masonic Lodge, and afterwards struck him. In addition, the Law and Disorder Team also believed the crime was unpremeditated, although the slayer admitted he retreated from the brawl, and went home to get a gun. He also snowed legal minds with the statement that my father had been unaware that he was “bonking” his companion.
Upon release from incarceration, the butcher broke the law again, and was in the prison system in the 1980s. Justice was not served, so I imagined tracking him down just to say, “Hi, I’m Wrightson’s kid, and I don’t care if you are ninety-nine years old, it’s time to pay some more dues. I didn’t inherit dad’s gun, (or anything else) so, I’ll have to break you in half with my bare hands.” I know I would hear pop cheering, “That’s my baby girl.” Furthermore, the document revealed that I have two male half-siblings, who are ten and eleven years older than me. I don’t know their whereabouts; they could be with dad for all I know. I’m not going looking for them.

My father, who was thirty-nine years old when he died, was shot in the heart, in the lower right jaw three times, twice in the abdomen with lacerations of the liver and small intestines, and there were five knife wounds in his balls. As I read the coroner’s report of barbarism and zero mercy, I whispered, “Nobody deserves to die like that.” I was convulsed by pity, and immediately forgave him for rejecting me. But, sometimes I think, Well, ‘playuh,’ you made your choice, and you paid your dues. However, on Father’s Day I’ll be at my mother’s grave. She was with me for the long term, only departing at the age of eighty-five on March 20, 2003. Nevertheless, one day I’ll pay my respects to my father in Soldier’s Field, Northwood Cemetery in Wilson, Connecticut. Follow Veronica on Twitter @Brown9501Brown.

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