As serious as Ron was, he was also a person who enjoyed a good laugh.
I thought about him Saturday night as I was replaying a Dick Gregory joke for my friend Joe Madison, the activist and talk show host. Joe and his wife, Sharon, were sitting on kitchen stools when I asked Joe if he had heard what Dick Gregory had said at Troy Davis’ funeral. As you know, protesters objecting to Davis being put to death in Georgia carried signs and wore T-shirts proclaiming, “I am Troy Davis.”
Dick Gregory being Dick Gregory said at the funeral service for Davis that a bill collector had telephoned his house and asked for Dick Gregory. When asked if he was Gregory, Dick claimed to have replied, “I am Troy Davis.”
Joe buckled in laughter. We both agreed that only Dick Gregory could come up with that joke.
Returning the favor, Joe had me laughing uncontrollably after he proposed that we start our own mega-church in Prince George’s County, Md. and I would be the pastor. I think Joe was joking. He had it all figured out down to the big rings I should wear on my pinky finger, the type of limo I would be chauffeured in, and carefully demonstrated how my cape would be removed.
He even told me about a church in his native Detroit that had such divided loyalties that two pastors preached on Sundays at the same time, one addressing his followers on one side of the church and the other preaching to his supporters on the other side. I don’t know if Joe was telling the truth, as he claimed. But when you’re laughing hard and having a good time at the Walters residence, it doesn’t matter whether it was true or a product of Joe’s fertile imagination.
When we finished laughing, we kissed Pat goodnight, and headed for the door. We had carried on just as if Ron were still there. And we pledged to not only continue laughing like we did when Ron was around but to be as serious about advancing the cause of our people as Ron was. If we can contribute half as much as he did, we will not betray his legacy.
George E. Curry, former editor-in-chief of Emerge magazine and the NNPA News Service, is a keynote speaker, moderator, and media coach. He can be reached through his website, http://www.georgecurry.com. You can also follow him at http://www.twitter.com/currygeorge.