My moms, Lillie, and my late father, Arthur James Files, Sr., one random afternoon back in the seventies. My brother and I were also there with them.
My daddy and my brother (also named Arthur James) were avid fishermen. Every. single. weekend they went fishing, and my father often dragged me and my mom along. I caught my first and only baby alligator at Sawgrass Recreation Park, which freaked me out because once I reeled the thing in, the marshes across the way immediately parted and six-hundred pounds of angry alligator mama began swimming towards us. We quickly got that thing off my hook and threw it back. I hated fishing in the Everglades. There were no buffers between humans and the wildlife. My father and brother would fish right on the bank of a canal and an alligator could just pop its head up at their feet and it would be over. Seriously. When I learned that alligators could run up to 40mph on land, I stopped going fishing with them in the Everglades altogether, having decided that my life mattered more than a plate of fried fish.
Now, notice how fairly well-dressed my father is, considering we’re there to fish.
I never saw my father dressed down. Ever. He didn’t rock jeans or shorts or sandals or anything of that nature. Always slacks and dress shirts and dress socks and tasteful shoes—my father shined ALL of his shoes every night. I used to look at him like he was crazy, but it was one of his rituals. He knew that first impressions went a long, long way.
Check out my mama’s ‘fro. And them pants.
Black love. It’s a beautiful thang.