South Harlem

by Rod Smith

“You are free to go,” the nurse said as she unswaddled the newborn Thulani, freed his arm, and with a snip of scissors removed the security bracelet off his wrist.

I took those words to heart, perhaps far beyond the meaning the nurse intended.

Now, 25 years later, in a few days I will attach a Uhaul to our car and T and I will head to South Harlem in New York City. We will unload all his possessions and move them into his apartment and I will head back to Nate and we will all three grow accustomed to the new constitution of our family.

The years have been fabulous and the years have been tough. The years have been dramatically beautiful and frequently brutal.

Thanks be to God.

Grace upon grace.

If you have known Thulani all of his life (perhaps you were at the house when he came home to “215”) or if you know him through Tabernacle Presbyterian Church, Saint Richard’s Episcopal School, Herron High School, or Butler, please send him a goodbye greeting in the comments beneath this posting – or via any other way you may already have to reach him.

Time does not permit the farewell party I really wanted for him but if you’d like to send him a gift it would be really appreciated.

I’d suggest you Venmo or CashApp me – the address is the same for both: “RodSmith9802” and in so doing buy him a meal or two or three to help him during his first few months in NYC.

I am deeply indebted to two men from Tab who went to NYC years ago and who have both provided Thulani with invaluable guidance as he makes this brave move – thank you, you know who you are.

I am further and deeply indebted to all who have helped and played parts in Thulani and Nate (Nate will be 21 in May) becoming the fine men they have become.

I hope I can hold onto myself when the I hug T on the South Harlem sidewalk and whisper, “You are free to go” into his ear and then set my GPS and head for Indy.”

One Comment to “South Harlem”

  1. I have only watched you “grow” from your father’s comments in his column in the Mercury, but I salute him and you and Nate on the great example you have been to us all and wish you all the very best as you make the most of your “freedom”. God Bless!

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