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  • When I was a baby my Father's closest friend was a man named Danny Woodall.

    We lived in Brooklyn. Pops and Danny Woodall were butchers. They worked in the wholesale markets on Fulton Street. Danny Woodall was like an uncle to me. I loved him. There was no shortage of Uncles in my life. Pops had five brothers and six sisters. But Danny hung out with my Dad every day. He was a real part of our family. I remember his presence, his aura, the sound of his laugh. We moved from New York to Southern California when I was five years old in 1962. I never saw Danny Woodall again.

    Years later I came across an old photo taken in my parent's flat in Brooklyn before we moved. I was perched on the knee of a handsome black man who was comfortably sprawled in Pop's easy chair. I had no recollection of being in the picture and didn't recognize the man.

    "You should know who that is", said my Mom. "It's Danny Woodall. Dad's buddy. He thought the world of you!"

    I recognized Danny in that instant. I knew him then as well as I knew all of my relatives. I realized that my innocent wide open child's eyes were colorblind. I had only seen the man, my Uncle, and not the color of his skin. That photo of Danny Woodall and me is in an album at my sister's house. It has not yet been digitized. One of these days I will scan and post it.
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