Here Comes the Honey Man: A Tribute to My Father
by Gap Tooth Brotha
One of my favorite songs is Miles Davis’; “Here Comes the Honey Man.” When I listen to it, I am reminded of my father. You see my father is my hero. He always has been.
When I was born, my father was in the navy. It was during the height of the Vietnam War, so he would be out at sea for months at a time. I was four years old when he finished his tour of duty in the navy and I can still remember his first night home. That particular night, I was helping my sister clean the kitchen. My mother asked me to do something, what I don’t remember, and I gave her a smart-aleck response. Before I knew it, he was instructing me about respect and how to speak to my mother. He punctuated his lecture with a brief, but hard whupping! I made up my mind than to watch this guy closely.
First, I noticed my mother and older sister called him “Honey”; so instead of calling him daddy (like I always did) I began calling him “Honey” too. As soon as I began calling him “Honey”, I was told to stop. He told me, “Men didn’t call each other “Honey.” I thought this guy has a serious attitude problem! I was just doing what everyone else was doing. I began to watch him closer!
Every move he made, I watched. What I noticed was that he went to work every morning and school at night. I observed how he was my mother’s personal genie; whatever she wished for, was his command. He taught me how to make up a bed so well you could bounce a quarter off of it. He taught me how to polish shoes, and how a man should be neat and orderly at all times. I noticed how he treated women with respect, even the ones who may not have deserved it. When he started going to church, he studied his Bible religiously.
So, I did the same. When I played sports, I would look up in the stands for him. His nods of encouragement meant more to me, than all the accolades from others. When I went through my mad-at-the-world phase, he reminded me that every slight or argument doesn’t have to lead to a fight. “Men die in the street that way!” he would say. He demanded good grades in school, accepted no excuses, and I had to be responsible for my own actions. While cutting the lawn, fixing the car, or just looking at television he would teach me about life.
For example, he would say: You give eight hours work, for eight hours pay. Be a leader, not a follower! Learn to walk away from fights. Being the toughest guy on the block doesn’t make you the smartest. Women aren’t playthings; don’t tell them you love them, if you don’t! Real men are secure with themselves; they don’t have to sleep around. Sometimes going against the crowd is the right thing to do. Buddies and friends are cool. But, family comes first!
He joked easily and talked to me often. His actions always let my sisters and I know that he loved us. I tried to walk, talk, and stand like my father. I always wanted to be just like him.
In conclusion, one of my proudest moments is when my mother and I were talking recently, and she said, “You’re just like your father!” I smiled from ear to ear. Yea, just like daddy. I wouldn’t want it any other way.
To the original Gaptoothbrotha! The Honey Man - Happy Father’s Day to my hero – Brister Sims Jr.