“Walk with the wise and become wise;
Associate with fools and get in trouble.” Proverbs 13:20 NLT
“Always leave them laughing when you say goodbye.” George M. Cohan
On February 16, 2011, an article was posted in these “Chronicles” titled “The Faces Of Felons – Madison’s Daddy”. In that article, I introduced a young man named Aaron. At that time, Aaron had completed almost half of his 70 month sentence. Aaron’s voice was the first friendly voice I heard upon my arrival in my new temporary ‘home’. The time I spent walking and talking with Aaron since then was time put to good use. I am wiser, and I never got in trouble.
Aaron left on December 16, a little shy of three years from the day that article was posted. He walked out the front door that afternoon, ‘furloughed’ to go climb on board a bus for a ride to a halfway house in South Carolina to finish out the remaining 3 months of his sentence, and I am absolutely certain that Madison is thrilled that “Daddy” is a big step closer to home.
I saw Aaron that morning as I left my housing unit and he was headed back in from the ‘yard’. We shook hands, and hugged, and there was that unique moment when it was ok to feel good about this place. Those moments happen too infrequently, but they do occur whenever another individual gets to walk out the front door. We exchanged laughter as we parted, and that is how I will remember Aaron: always upbeat, always ready to laugh, and quick to make others laugh as well.
Aaron will NOT be back, and I am very confident making that statement. He made a foolish, immature, and irresponsible mistake, and paid a too-high price FOR that mistake. It was not a criminal LIFESTYLE that put Aaron here, it was a criminal ACT. There is a difference and if society is to survive itself, it had better begin to grasp that difference.
Some of the individuals Attorney General Eric Holder wishes to go easier on, claiming they are unfairly targeted because they are black, that the laws are unfairly weighted against them because of the color of their skin, are individuals with lengthy ‘rap’ sheets and frequent confrontations with law enforcement that began long before they came to this place, and will continue long after they have ‘hit the streets’ again. Many, many of these individuals who are ‘unfairly’ targeted talk only of going back to the streets, getting guns, and dealing drugs. MANY of them. You would be amazed.
Aaron will never be a member of the “Frequent Felons Club”. His lesson was learned long before he left here the other day, and had JUSTICE been served in Aaron’s case, the ‘system’ would have merely placed him on probation in the first place.
We can all be happy for Madison, Joy (Aaron’s mom), Dave (his step-dad), his Father, his brother, and all of Aaron’s other relatives and friends. This is a spectacular time of year for this to be happening, and I hope Aaron is able to be quickly released from the halfway house directly to home confinement. He has a home and a job; Aaron has a life waiting for him to continue. And most important of all, Aaron has Madison waiting for Daddy to hug her every day.
Well, kiddo, he is almost there! Merry Christmas to Aaron, Joy, Dave, and all the rest, and especially to you, Madison! May God bless you all and keep you safe.
I will miss Aaron, as will many others he left behind here. But we are all better for having gotten to spend some time with him, and hopefully we all learned something in the process. I know I did.
Aaron, my young friend, I am glad that I got to say goodbye to you. I will pray for your happiness and that of your family.