He Really is a Good Man

It’s hard to believe judging by my diary, but Leon and I had some good times too; so I thought I would give the drama a rest today and share some of our happier moments.  We all know how easy it is to go on and on about the bad times in our relationships.

We’re mad as hell when something goes down and we just want to talk to someone about it, so who do we call? Our best friend, “Girl, you won’t believe what that ass hole did last night.”

We do it because we have to get it off our chest and out in the air because that’s where it has its best chance of blowing over so we can get on with the business of living. The problem with this kind of release, though, is when that’s the only news we ever share, folks begin to wonder what the hell we are sticking around for.  We all have our reasons and mine is because I knew Leon had a good heart; and when it came to weighing the good with the bad, the good tipped the scale tenfold.

Leon is truly one of the kindest, most giving persons I have ever known. I have never seen him walk past a homeless person on the street and not free his pockets of all his loose change; and he’d give the shirt off his back to a total stranger in an instant if he saw the need. He’s the one man I want in my corner when the going gets rough because he has proven time and time again to be my rock. That’s just who he is, and when you find a man like that, you have to think long and hard about what’s really important to you in a relationship. Not what’s important to your friends or your family but what’s important to you. While none of us wants infidelity in our relationships, I can’t say that it’s a deal breaker for me.

I used to get worked up about it when I was a lot younger; but at this point in my life I couldn’t care less.  I think having an abusive father who neglected everyone’s needs but his own played a big part in my nonchalant view on a cheating man. The way I see it, cheating isn’t the worst thing a man could do to a woman; and judging from my childhood memories, I knew that things could have been a lot worse.

While growing up in the slums of Detroit I didn’t have enough exposure to good men to be able to make a comparison, so I never seriously considered the idea that things could also have been a lot better.

I only had my dad to compare Leon to, and my dad was a man who would show up with his rib dinner after the bars had closed and sit down and eat all by himself. If credit can be given for what he did share, then I should note he shared the meatless bones and sauce-soaked bread with whoever he was feeling particularly generous with.

Young’s BBQ had some lip smack’ n, finger lick’ n good BBQ sauce soaked into that bread though; and we greeted our father with the same excitement every time that spicy aroma wafted into our small apartment as he opened the door, “Ooh daddy, can I have the bread?”

Man! I used to love that bread! Sometimes the bones he shared might still have some meat around the gristle on the tip.  I remember I would clean his discarded bones so well that my father came to affectionately refer to me as “Mr. Bones.” Mister being a reference to my husky voice, I guess.  And if he was in a really good mood, maybe he wouldn’t blacken my mother’s eyes or backhand one of his seven children for some long-past minor infraction he decided warranted corporal punishment.

Never knowing a father’s love and then experiencing the kindness of a man like Leon, I’m truly thankful that I didn’t have the sense to walk away when all my friends and family thought I should. Besides, Leon is no longer the Don Juan of yesteryear. Not only does he bring home the bacon, he cooks it too; and I don’t have to beg for crumbs.

And even though Leon knows I don’t care about any of those over-blown special days throughout the year, he continues to shower me with chocolates, flowers and cards whenever the calendar says it’s time; and his sentiment on that never changes, “I know you say I don’t have to do this but I do it because I want to.”

And Friday night, well that’s our night… when it’s just the two of us listening to our favorite selection of tunes from back in the day and talking about whatever pops in our heads from children to politics and everything in between.

Yes, he truly is a good man and by the time this story has ended you will understand fully why I am so glad I never gave up on him and he never gave up on us.

This is just a video I put together while visiting our son at UC San Diego. Back when Leon and I were dating, we went on vacation to Jamaica; and the driver he hired to take us around the island was blasting some Reggae. I thought the music was playing on the radio because a DJ would chime in after every song. But when this particular song came on, I asked the driver about it and he said he had recorded it on tape. He was more than happy to sell his mixed tape when Leon asked to buy it.

Years later when I heard the song again, I decided to put a little video together. I used to wear that tape out playing it for the kids back in the day. Here’s a little taste of then and now…