nate crumpley

by g. david schwartz

Nate was an African American who did his work
well. He was always friendly to all who passed
him (don’t worry Nate, Marie told me how you
made fun of some things what would have humored
me as well) but I mention you because you were a
good man. You would have done anything any
patient asked or need. So I want to say that I
am especially ashamed at what I saw the last
days you worked at the hospital and I want you to know that I was offended.

Nate was leading an elderly woman
out to her automobile. He was walking beside
her and when she slipped, Nate reached out to
hold her from falling. In an instant a man
leaped from the drivers side of the car, put
his face right in Nate’s face shouting and
screaming obscenities, telling Nate to get his “nigger hands off of my wife.”

I sat on the bench outside
witnessing the entire facade. The man was so
rude and benignant (racist) that I wanted to do
something. I stood, brave me, as Nate just
turned and walked back into the hospital. It
seemed odd to me to witness such nonsense, such
sickness right outside a hospitals door. If I
was Nate, I would have pushed the bigot out of
my face, or at least spoken my mind, but Nate
was not as foolish as that. Nate was a wise
person, much wiser and human as the white individual who was so wrong.

Nate did not want to talk and
took my condolence with a sad face. I like to
think that the sadness was not because Nate was
thinking all Caucasians were so idiotic, not
that Nate had lived an entire life among such
stupidity but Nate was feeling sorry for such sad human being.

But because Nate did not lash out
in defense of himself, I like to think…. I like
to think I am lucky to have known a man, a real
man, with the strength to hold his temper and hold his fists.

Nate Crumply I have always liked
you but after that incident, I respect you more.

Originally published:
Issue Fifty-Four
April 2009


G. David Schwartz – the former president of Seedhouse, the online interfaith committee. Schwartz is the author of A Jewish Appraisal of Dialogue. Currently a volunteer at Drake Hospital in Cincinnati, Schwartz continues to write. His new book, Midrash and Working Out Of The Book is now in stores.

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