Ancient Greek playwright Sophocles once said, “We must wait until the evening to see how splendid the day has been.” The impression a day can have on a person can be both astonishing and life altering. Each moment captures a glimpse into the story of someone’s life, love or heartbreak. Yesterday was a challenge, today brings opportunity and tomorrow is not promised. However, when the sun sets in the evening it’s a time to reflect on all that has happened throughout that particular day.
Please join my father and me as we explore the many days and experiences that have shaped our lives in “Conversations with my Father Session Five.”
1. Who is your favorite New Orleans musician? Why?
D. Lester Morgan: I would have to say Louis Armstrong. He overcame poverty, a lack of a formal education, and racism to become one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century and world renowned. Abandoned by his father at the time of birth, he was raised by his mother in the slums of New Orleans. While incarcerated in a home for wayward boys, he was introduced to the coronet and other musical instruments. He pioneered a style known as swing that formed the basis for most Jazz and Rhythm and Blues. To me that is truly a success story.
A. M. Morgan: Germaine Bazzle is one of my favorite New Orleans Musician’s. She was my music teacher at Xavier Preparatory High School. Miss Bazzle is a well accomplished jazz singer and pianist. She is widely considered one of the best jazz singers New Orleans has ever produced. I admire the fact that Miss Bazzle a fellow native of New Orleans embraced her love of music but also decided to teach students at my high school about music. It is remarkable to be able to use your talents and gifts to inspire others.
2. What is the greatest lesson someone or an experience has taught you about yourself?
D. Lester Morgan: Experience has taught me that the hardest person to conquer is the man in the mirror. At one point in my life I tried to lean on my own understanding rather than being guided by God. I now believe in the holistic approach to development and spirituality has to be a part of it. My life is now in balance.
A.M. Morgan: I recall my first mentoring experience as an adult and the high school students who would teach more then I could ever imagine. It was the first group gathering with the students in a week-end full of both physical and team building exercises. The trust fall was an exercise in which everyone climbed to the top of a platform and fell backwards in the arms of fellow teammates. I climbed to the top of platform but I couldn’t gather the courage to let go and trust that my teammates would catch me. When I did not complete the trust fall, I felt really bad but I had to let go of my pride, step down and face the students, my team and the other mentors. As I stepped down from the ladder, my first thought was, “what will these students think of me and how much of a disappointment am I?” From that point onward I decided I would fully participate in the other exercises even though I was scared out of my mind. Back in the course room, there was some discussion about the lessons learned throughout the obstacle courses. I was shocked when one of the students said, “That he wanted to acknowledge the fact that even though I did not complete the trust fall. I did everything else. He said it taught him that even though you can’t do some things, there are other things that you can do if you push yourself.” Throughout the year all the students, including the one I mentored, taught me valuable lessons. I learned that my fear of being vulnerable was one of my weaknesses. I now understand that being independent does not need to be a twenty four hour occasion and
allowing someone to step in and help is a big accomplishment for me in the area of trust.
3. Describe what Southern Hospitality is and what it means to you.
D. Lester Morgan: Hospitality is characterized as being polite in local culture and usually meant as an expression of traditional warm greeting. To me it means making a visitor feel as comfortable as possible in an unfamiliar setting. It includes proper local etiquette (i.e., calling one “Sir” or “Ma’am”). Food figures high in Southern Hospitality. A cake or delicacy is often brought to the door of a new neighbor as a means of introduction. When a death or serious illness occurs, neighbors, friends, and church members generally bring food to the bereaved family. In the South, it is recognized as common courtesy.
A.M. Morgan: Southern Hospitality is a refreshing, warm and inviting welcome. I spent several years outside of the south and while every place has its own unique and special attributes there is nothing that compares to it. There is something about hello and how are you without pretense from a complete stranger that just says even though I don’t know you personally I would like to acknowledge your mere existence. I remember missing and longing for Southern Hospitality and when you said to me, “no matter where you go you should always take who you are with you.” Southern Hospitality is like Vitamin C very nourishing and once you become accustomed to it, you can’t imagine living life without it.
4. What is the one thing I’ve done that’s made you proudest of me?
D. Lester Morgan: The proudest moment in my life and there have been many is when you called a family meeting when I was out of control in my life. That took a lot of intestinal fortitude and wisdom beyond years and I love you for it. That made me reassess my life and got me back on track. Your degrees and work ethic are the end result of a lot of hard work and perseverance. The person that you have become and your continual evolution truly defines who you are. You are my hero.
A.M. Morgan: I struggled for a long time with forgiving you for some of the things that I thought you did that were unacceptable. I was angry with you for a long time and I use to pray to allow myself to forgive you. I knew that you were not perfect but I didn’t understand how you could hurt the ones you love and it felt as if you held no remorse for your actions. I didn’t want to lose you and watch our family fall apart. I said to myself that I had to reach out to you, try to understand you not only as my father but as a man dealing with his own personal pains. The thing that has made me most proud of you is that you are able to recognize your shortcomings and openly communicate with me in these conversations. I would like to thank you for this outstanding breakthrough in our relationship it is honest and I am able to ask you questions that I have previously been afraid to ask.
5. What do you know about your family surname? Did you know your great grandparents?
D. Lester Morgan: I have no idea where my family surname comes from nor have any knowledge of my great grandparents. I have been told by your mother that it is Spanish and by family members that it is French. In growing up, there were only two set of Morgans in opposite sides of town and we were related. My short attempt at genealogy revealed a former racist police chief in town with the name Morgan. That appears to be a research thesis for you or dissertation. (smile)
A.M. Morgan: I don’t know about a dissertation but I would definitely like to one day trace my family roots. I think it will give us both a better understanding of family lineage.
6. Do you believe in absolute truth? If so, what is the absolute truth?
D. Lester Morgan: I believe in absolute truth and that absolute truth is God. We all must conform to the will of God.
A.M. Morgan: I also believe in absolute truth. The absolute truth is completely naked, unaltered and openly honest without biased judgment. The truth is
simple. However, it is often made more complex because people are afraid to face it or because someone is trying to deny another person the power in knowing it.
7. What is the biggest misconception about marriage?
D. Lester Morgan: The biggest misconception is that you recite the marriage vows, insert the ring on the finger, kiss and live happily ever after. Marriage
takes a lot of commitment and is an ever evolving process. There are times when it is going to be a love/hate relationship. It’s not easy to share your life
with anyone. You have to buckle up and brace yourself for the long ride. Nevertheless, I think that you can accomplish more by being married rather than being single and you need someone to share your life with.
A.M. Morgan: I hope that I can fully accept and understand the important things that you mentioned if I get married. I think sometimes people forget that for better or worse means love without a limit and that you or the person you marry could change over time. Overall, when two become one in the union of marriage decisions are no longer a single minded matter.
8. In what ways do you most often affect people?
D. Lester Morgan: One of the best compliments that a friend gave me was that I treat everyone the same. I guess that’s the social worker in me. Most of my
life has have been in the service of others. I do it unconsciously because I feel that we owe a certain stewardship to God.
A.M. Morgan; I love to make people laugh. I think laughter is a great medicine in getting through difficult times. I have been known to say something to make
a person smile or atleast think about the things that are most important. Don’t get me wrong I am not a comedian but if I can lighten up an tense situation
I will try my best.
9. Any last words?
D. Lester Morgan: When I die, “God is going to say, Are you the person that I created you to be or are you the person that someone else wanted you to be?” I want my answer to be the former and not the latter.
A.M. Morgan: Don’t wait for ideal situations or circumstances which may never arrive. If there is something you want to say or do put your best foot forward and make it happen.
Thank you for stopping by and reading Session Five of “Conversations with my Father”. Your comments are greatly appreciated