Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Marty has always brought an interesting variety of people into our lives. She loved people, she loved being around people and she especially loved being around interesting, intelligent people with a good sense of humor and who were not easily embarrassed or offended. Through all of Marty's illness she has continued to bring a lot of new and different people into our lives.

Marty's caregivers rank at the top of this list of new and interesting people. First let me say, as I have said, we love Nikki, Renae and Erica. They are not just employees to us. They are new daughters to us both. They care for Marty passionately and always have her best interest at heart. But, let me also say, they are interesting, to say the least. They each bring a new and fresh perspective on life, they each bring a diversity to the entire Kinard world we would never have seen without getting to know them.

Renae, 28, single, mother of four children is the person with us the most. She works the most hours and consequently we hear a lot about her children; Jeremiah, Harmony, Miranda, and Nehemiah. Renae, who has managed to get her B.A. in Psychology while working and raising her kids, is naturally very proud of her children. She should be. They are good kids.

Jeremiah is particularly interesting. A typical first kid, he is 11 going on 35. He looks after the others, takes charge when needed, keeps his Mother straight, knows about paydays, and does amazing research about a wide variety of odd things on the Internet. He is also a kid, a kid who watches what others do very closely, a kid who is looking for examples and role models, a kid who wants to be right and do right.

Right after Barack Obama was elected president Jeremiah was confronted with racism for the first time. On his way home on the bus a group of his "friends" started talking about how Obama was just a monkey and that black people were just like monkeys and they began using the "n" word. Needless to say the conversation kind of disintegrated from there.

Renae being the reasonable, prudent woman that she is chose to visit with the "friends" parents. After visiting with them she understood why the kids were acting so ignorantly. Apparently the parents were upset about about an African -American's election as president and let their children know exactly why. They told Renae that they were okay with their kids using the "n" word because it's a part of our history. They also told her that they believed black people to be inferior. Jeremiah lost friends that day. Jeremiah lost innocence that day, not because a black man was President, but because bigotry and hatred for others still exists and is communicable, it's catching.

Months ago, you will all remember when Barack Obama gave a speech intended for school children. If you haven't heard it or read it you should. Jeremiah didn't get to see it at school. He opted not to see it. He decided he couldn't take the chance of loosing more friends, so he did the only thing he knew to do, stay away. Jeremiah stayed away from hearing from a man who is a role model, he stayed away from hearing and seeing how a black man can rise from being the son of a poor single mother to arguably the most powerful man in the world. What a loss. How sad it is that an 11 year old kid has to make that choice.

Would listening to President Obama with a group of his fellow students made a difference in Jeremiah's life? Would Jeremiah want to go and listen to the President if either one of them were white? Did all of the crazy train furor about the President talking to students prevent Jeremiah from hearing a speech that might have changed his life? We'll never know because Jeremiah just couldn't take that chance, he just wasn't ready to face the ugliness, the hatred again. I don't blame him. How very sad for all of us.

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