Posted: June 12, 2007 in Justice

Went to visit my buddy Hezekiah this afternoon on this stormy day in south Mississippi. The picture above is from his birthday party back in March, but for today’s picture you’ll have to add a befeathered cowboy hat to his head, stick him in front of the large screen television with three other residents of the nursing home, and turn on TV Land for an episode of Bonanza.

I sat and watched with him until he got bored enough to ask me how I was doing. I spared him the gory details and just said “fine,” and then returned the question. Hezekiah said he was doing “mighty well,” which sounds to me a lot better than just fine. I’m typically convinced that even though he is physically and mentally challenged and living in a nursing home (and often needing someone to change his diaper), he is most often doing much better than me.

Bonanza was pretty good today. I just caught part of the episode, but it broached the issue of Civil Rights, which I found particularly interesting. Mostly because three of the four lonely people in the room with me were black. There was a slave loose in this particular script of Bonanza, and his owner was intent on getting him back. Hoss was angry enough to spit nails, especially when Adam took the time to explain the Supreme Court’s position to his brother. That’s about as far as I got in the show before Hezekiah decided to carry on a conversation instead of seeing what kind of trouble Little Joe was going to end up in. I did see that the fugitive “slave” was a highly-educated black man with a British accent. I think there was a point to that if I would have kept watching.

I’m pretty sure there was some irony tucked away somewhere in my visit today, but I cannot place it exactly. I might have been some skinny version of Hoss Cartwright. And Hezekiah may have been some special-needs equivalent of the fugitive. And together, we still might be a bit astounded that second-class citizens get stuck in a system.

At least Hezekiah doesn’t know the difference.

And he’s doing mighty well…


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