This week’s blog was originally written by me, and included in the newsletter of the International Metaphysical Academy in Victoria, BC. My thanks to Dr. Anneli Driessen for the opportunity to be a contributor to her fine publication.

As I was meditating on friendship, and what true friendship is, my mind drifted back 60 years (yes, I’m old enough to do that) to an event that took place in 1955 when I was starting out in the music business in Reading, Pennsylvania. I found a young man who was literally singing on the street corner for tips and whose voice just knocked me out. I approached him about singing in my band, he agreed and for this to happen I had to buy him a suit and dress shoes. I also had to deal with the fact that this made my band one of the very few “mixed’ bands in the area. You see, Bobby was what back then was referred to as “colored”; before political correctness came upon us that would have had him be “black” or “African American.”

With Bobby as our main vocalist my band did very well, even though there were places that wouldn’t hire us – yes there was prejudice in Pennsylvania – but in the clubs we did play he was a big hit. The two of us became friendly and then became friends, spending a lot of time together as we discovered we had much in common besides our music. Bobby also became friends with an attractive young woman who happened to be white and they started seeing each other. In those days it wasn’t feasible for them to be seen together dating in public so on several occasions I would go with them. I was the “beard” because a white couple with a black third person was OK.

Yes, Bobby and I were good friends. I found out how good one night when we got into a very heated argument. I no longer can remember what it was about but it was hot, almost coming to blows. I was so angry that I shouted at him, “You’re a god d----, son of a b-----.” He looked at me and started laughing, which at the time just made me more angry. “What’s so funny?” I screamed. He replied, “You just called me a god d---- son of a b----.” “Yeah, I said. So?” He replied, “But you didn’t call me a god d--- BLACK son of a b----?” 

There was the proof of our friendship. If there was any feeling of bigotry, it would have come out in the heat of that moment – but there wasn’t, and it didn’t. You don’t think that way about a friend.  Bobby still lives in Reading, Pennsylvania, still sings and we stay in touch, although infrequently, and I still think of him as a friend.

t the la     © Dick Caldwell 2012