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April 5, 2018

A Man of Stone

50 years ago today I was a young boy at my home in East Tennessee. I was sitting in our living room reading a book.
Mother was watching our black and white TV in the dining room. (Mother never permitted the TV in the living room because that room was for “conversation.” Why the dining room was deemed appropriate instead, I never knew.) “Go tell your father that Martin Luther King was shot,” Mothersaid. I asked her to repeat the name, which was only vaguely familiar from TV news, and she did. I couldn’t find Dad at first but finally realized he was in the bathroom. He would go in with a book on history, literature, or philosophy, and be in there for a while. “Dad, Mom says to tell you Martin Luther King was shot,” I said through the closed door. There was absolute silence for a long moment. “That’s sad. So sad,” I heard. As I stepped away from the door and retreated down the hall, I thought I heard crying. Now he stands in stone, immovable.

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