Our neighbor the Fabulous Julie Hodge stood over my son Brandon and I as we ate lunch at the Uptown Grille the other day.
She’d blown her horn at Brandon who was riding his bike to greet him. However, he did not hear her because he was blasting Drake in his headphones while riding. She lectured Brandon about how dangerous it was.
And she is right. During an age of distracted driving bike drivers need all of their senses to be sharp and 100 percent focused.
The Fabulous Julie Hodge paused briefly from her lecture, turned to me and asked: “Is this OK that I am doing this?”
Of course it is. It brought me back to my days on Detroit’s west side where the entire neighborhood raised us kids. Your family could not lay eyes on you 24/7/365 and we relied on Aunt Mildred, Uncle Joe and Cousin Sammy to watch over us.
There was about a five block radius where I knew folks were watching me.
I even had the local numbers man/drug dealer make sure I was safe.
Here is the story. When I was about nine years old my Cousin Miss Boots sent me to the corner store for milk and other items. After leaving the store two shady characters started to follow me. I knew I was about to get robbed.
My brisk walk turned into an all out run when I heard a loud “STOP!!”
We all recognized that voice and froze. It was the drug dealer/numbers runner. I don’t remember his name I just know he could have you killed or beaten up. He patrolled the apartment buildings on Colfax and nobody messed with him and his boys.
He walked over and turned to the two dudes who were after me.
“You two don’t mess with him,” he said motioning toward me. “He is going to make something of himself and we need positive brothers escaping this (bleep) and making something of themselves. If anything happens to him I am going to hold you two responsible.”
They scrambled off and they never bothered me again.
I was used to extra eyes looking at me so I was grateful that the Fabulous Julie Hodge looks over Brandon and took time to tell him he needed to be more careful.
It takes a village to watch over our families. I’ve had the drug dealer/numbers runner and the Fabulous Julie Hodge.
One will kill you and the other will kill you with kindness.