The San Diego suburbs expanded into East County where we raised chickens for eggs and meat, and taking avocados and persimmons from neighborhood yards was not called stealing. The post-war boom paved our gravel road. Driving with my father when I was six, I looked out the passenger window at the fresh asphalt and thought to myself that black is never really black unless it’s in a shadow. I peeked at my father’s dogged family-man face, at his tight lips and eyes that never shifted from the pavement to me, even in the absence of traffic.  I told him the priest said the most important thing to him was saving his own soul. My father had converted after seven children to please my Catholic mother. He said, “I’d say my family is the most important thing to me.” We drove on past fruit groves that would soon surrender to asphalt and concrete. I’d never be closer to him.

Ron David lives in Detroit. He is a UAW-Ford hourly retiree. He is a social justice and union activist who contributes to He teaches EFL/ESL part time and helps raise a 13 year old daughter.