Still trying to process the life, the transition into Ancestry, and the funeral. It’s been two days, and I haven’t let any of it go yet.
I keep thinking about this story—one which, again, shows what a small town this still is:
Gibson’s brother Harold, this story’s narrator, was in his brother’s office when the phone rang. A Newarker named Jason got in a bad accident in another state and needed to be flown home. The airline was highly resistant, because Jason was so badly hurt that the airline would have to eat an entire row of seats to place him on the plane.
The mayor took money out of his wallet and gave it to one of his aides. “This is the beginning of the ‘Bring Jason Home Fund.’” And so the aide went around City Hall to collect the money.
Somehow, the airline smelled the bad PR wind it had made, and quickly reversed course, giving Jason free passage back home.
As Harold finished the story, shouts could be heard near the back of Newark Symphony Hall. A man was standing up, with his fist raised. “He’s right here!” “Look, right here!” The family members of Jason, now frozen in silent salute, wanted Harold and everyone else to know that Jason never forgot his mayor.
The power of Black history/memory never fails to shake the present.