June 23 Inspiration

From Elder Ellen Willet


My father was a wonderful man and I have realized over the years, he was ”a man before his time”.  I would like to share a story about him that had a deep impact on me.

I grew up in a small town to the east of Columbus that was predominantly “white”. To the west of our little village was a community where “blacks” lived. This was in the late 1950’s, when segregation was still in place. Being a child, probably 11-12 years old, I was pretty much oblivious to all of this.

One summer day, my father took me for lunch to a small restaurant that had both tables and counter seating. It was located between the two villages. We entered and a waitress told my father that we would have to wait a few minutes for a table.

My father replied that there were two stools at the counter. I noticed the waitress glance in that direction and then down at me. Looking at my father she replied, “You don’t want to sit there, it should only be a few minutes.”

My father reached down and took my hand, we walked to the empty stools. When we sat down, my father spoke to the African-American man seated next to me, and I remember his kind smile as he looked down at me.  After we finished our lunch and were headed home, my father explained why the waitress had thought that we would not want to sit in those seats.

A year or so later, my father died of leukemia. I only had him in my life for 13 years, but this was one of many lessons he taught me. Lessons that have served me well through the years.

In Christ,