Up before the crack of day
the light has not yet fallen on the ground outside.
That does not mean—
the light inside the house
Here, up early—earlier
men, women, & children…
Two Men–one old–one young
make the final preparations.
Today they will provide for the family
Today they will fish for the family meals
Today they take their destiny in their own hands.
Many days, months, and years
The young boy has seen his father
at the table going over bills,
and at the same time
frustrated…knowing all the time
is already spent
Credit limits full
at the local grocery stores
loan sharks coming around
even before the designated payback date
1/4 on the dollar…You know how it goes
Car note, Car insurance,
You know how it goes.
The story is the same everywhere.
Here in this early morning hour
While most people sleep
The Old Man stops in the mist of all these preparations,
and grabs his son’s shoulder as he tightens the fishing line firmly onto the hooks—
Looks straight into his son’s eyes,
and says, “Today son,
we go to provide
for the family like
The Men of Old Africa.
The days when men were men
The days when men would go over the earth
as God would have them do
Not asking for anybody’s permission
Not paying interest on loans
Not going to the store to get food,
But going to the oceans, lakes, rivers, streams,
and land like God expects us to do.”
The Old Man tells his son,
“pass on what you are seeing, hearing, and doing
Now as men, women, and children sleep.”
He tells his son,
“Always have a trade
Always stand up for Yourself, Your Family, & Our People.
Fish in God’s Rivers are free
when you catch them yourself…
no tax, no credit,
forget all that my son
Take this example, and reproduce this…
this independence in every way possible
Make yourself independent my son…
Use your brains and talents to make your own destiny.
Be a Man.”
* Watch “Muhammad Ali – ABC Classic Wide World of Sports
Pops, Me & My Sis bout to go catch some fishes out dem dare ponds in da country.
When we comes back, we cleans em real good. Cut da fish headz off & guts em. You know. Throws da fish headz to da catz. Once we gets em cleaned up, we takes da fishes in da house. By den, daddy be done had dat grease real hot. And he gots dem grits cooking with cheese in it. Mustard & ketchup ready. You talkin bout some good eating. Man, you got to take ya shoes off & wiggle ya toes while you eat dat kinda Deep South Cooking.
Peep this…at night when it was hard seeing the fishing rod duck down when fish bit the bait–my father had a master plan for that. You know baby shoe bells. He used them. Tied them to the tip of the fishing rods, where the hole is, where the line go through. He tied the bell on the rod tip wt bread wrappers. We might be down a railroad track, checking lines tied to the tracks, trees, etc. Just lines & hooks wt bait. But we had other rods out too. When a fish hit them, the bells went off.
Sometimes, the fish bit the bait one after another or at the same time. It sounded like Christmas bells going off. DADDY WOULD SAY…”that’s what I’m talking bout….get ready lil fish, y’all getting fried up tonight….yes Sir Son, that’s what I’m talking bout.”