I recently viewed the movie trailer “Green Book” scheduled for November 21, 2018, release in the US, and it triggered my thoughts about my travels across the US during my lifetime. I was moved emotionally as I thought of my parents who suffered through their fears, worries, and concern for my safety in the 1980’s when I began traveling across the country on my first motorcycle.
Since those humble beginnings, I have travel freely throughout the US unimpeded or disturbed by racial prejudices which were the opposite form, my parents. I wondered if my parents used “The Negro Motorist travel book called the Green Book” when we traveled to Mississippi as a family?
I do remember all of our trips was an exciting event yet always after dark I guessed because the police could not see who was inside the vehicle as we passed. I distinctly remember my mother packing enough food to feed my parents and my two siblings to survive for a week.
The ritual call went out in a stern voice asking and demanding us all to use the bathroom before we left the house. I do remember when the need for a bathroom break had us using the shoulders of a two-lane road.
As a child who played outside most of my life, I enjoyed looking out across the farm fields during those breaks until I was told to hurry. My mom would use a sheet for privacy with my sister, I thought to keep the farmers’ homes in the distance from seeing them.
My parents were together long before I was born, in love with one another when I was conceived as their first of four. I was their future, their rambunctious little boy always moving, playing outside on a tricycle, wagon, or bicycle constantly on the go.
I was their son, who dreamed of travel as a preschooler, moving by horse, bicycle, motorcycle, car, tractor-trailer, are backpacking into the woods.
It is unique how, life’s realities of education, working hard, remaining busy with constructive activities superseded my early dreams. Although I prospered, doing what was expected, mimicking family morals, values, with an education, and a career, while displaying honor, with a dedication to marriage, children, church, and my community.
I believe my constant movement of travel began with my first motorcycle, a 1987m Kawasaki Voyager-12.
It wasn’t until I was a parent and later in life for me to understand how I was a constant worry on the nerves and fears of parents who lived and experienced the horrors of “The Jim Crow South.” I can honestly say that travel was never imagined for any of their children, yet they never discouraged my travels.
Their thoughts and prayers were always with me, requiring me to immediately notify them upon my return home because they never wanted to know my destinations.
They have moved on and their love, prayers, and thoughts are always with me during all of my adventurous journeys, as I live to experience my dreams of travel they and my ancestors could never have imagined.
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