Mirrors not for Them
My hero—my male hero—was thin as a rail. Gawky
leapt to mind immediately. Polite mood, "ill-favored."
Not just his looks! Could say failure was stalking
him, had it not caught up so frequently. As a farmer,
he spun a good yarn. As a store-keeper, he, er, uh,
spun a good yarn. "Ain' sold none, mind." Laughter
trailed Abe wherever he went. Good-natured, though.
As a lawyer, the rube continued to spin tales. Finally,
there came a day when someone noticed how much
wisdom they contained. Soon he was on a train
for Washington, a tall drink o'water with a long mug
and hither-thither beard and a voice like a squeaking
hinge who didn't have the first idea how to dress.
Or didn't care? God help us if the man people called
Honest Abe spent his time studying outfits in mirrors.
God help us if he hadn't had the courage and the drive
and the wisdom—unfailingly tempered with humor—
to see that the scourge of slavery got its come-uppance.
Unity return! Thinking too of the woman I count
as my number one hero, I realize how much truth
lay in one of my grandmother's "Pretty is as pretty
does!!" If Sojourner Truth doesn't ring a bell,
it is because she was poor and black and focused
on others. She, too, was "ill-favored." Not handsome
by any stretch. But that is appearance, isn't it.
That is the surface, that is what dies. The dust
our bodies turn to, not the Spirit that survives.
Choose a hero? Been too many! And too few!
A hero is a person who never sees himself, or herself,
as a hero. Don't you think? Perhaps because so few
of us recognize a hero in the making—? See that
failure is the best teacher? Not being "favored?"