Dana lives in Seattle, and Tracie lives in Germany. We are businesswomen, writers and humorists. We write about life, dating, and today's modern women.
Today on what would have been your 86th year, I awoke with us having our usual internal conversation. You see, even though you’ve been gone nearly 22 years, there is not a day that goes by that we don’t communicate and I ask myself, ‘What would Daddy do?’
I was trying to describe you, and the thoughts that came to mind-
You truly were the most hysterical, driven, hardworking, put the fun in Dysfunctional being I have ever come in contact with. Your favorite spectator sport was boxing and yes, you were known for your personal knock-outs in the business arena. Your favorite cocktail, was whiskey, light on the cola. You always taught us moderation, although those rules didn’t always apply to yourself. You loved exotic cars and collected your share over the years from a Centaur to a Clenet, the 51st model designed specifically for the wife of Clenet himself. You loved the creativity of the deal. Like the time you traded Mama’s beloved white Cadillac for the view house on Lane Street. Mama cried, but you said you made a great deal. At least the new Caddy owner thought so, as the car could move, but the house couldn’t. You always taught us to go for not the ordinary, but the extraordinary because in your mind ANYTHING truly was possible. You proved this over and again… YOU, a young gifted black man from Detroit who arrived in Washington as a 16 year old who lied about his age to get in the service. YOU, a talented drummer, who toured with the likes of Duke Ellington. YOU who amassed a real estate legacy in the Central District, when property was depressed and the residents oppressed. YOU who forced my siblings and I to spend our summers and weekends expunging filth from evicted units. You would pat us on the back, and say, “They ain’t making no more land. You got to invest. Just because it’s on your ass, don’t make it an asset!” As you shared, life is all game – keep playing, and keep winning. I recall our final deep conversation in real life, you looked at me and said, “Baby, it ain’t over til the fat lady dances.” I corrected you and I said, “She sings! It ain’t over til the fat lady sings, Daddy.” You sat quiet a moment and said, “Well, I don’t hear that bitch.”
For me, Daddy, it’s never over. The ride, the game, the lessons continue. You may not be with me in the flesh, but you truly are with me in spirit. And that is legacy. I see it in your grandchildren’s faces. I see it when I have to negotiate bank loans and contractors. I see it when I have to differentiate the black, the white and the gray areas. I see it with the legalized marijuana shops on every corner. I see it in gentrification of property that you had us picket to get loans for. I see it in the hardships our world faces. I see it in Meghan Markle, the soon to be first black Royal. I see it in witnessing the first African American president. I see it in the “Me Too” movement. I see it in the lies, corruption, and cover-ups. I see it… I ask myself, “What would Daddy do?” And I do it. And that Daddy, is the best gift I could give you!