JASON REYNOLDS

writin' and whatnot

What I learned from Mr. Daye

Mr. Daye. A man woven into the fabric of my childhood. He passed away last week, and Saturday I took a trip to North Carolina to attend his funeral and pay my respects to his family. I won't go into all the inner-workings, and infinitesimal details about Mr. Daye, but there are a few things about him that will stick with me forever. First, his hands. They were massive. And they were rough. Mr. Daye was a brick mason, and took great pride in his work, and just like most old school, blue collar men, he took no crap off anyone. He was a tough man, but he was a good man. He put integrity and sincerity first, he was proud and honorable, and most importantly, he felt there was something magnificent in simplicity.

In a world that over-emphasizes glamour and grandeur, Mr. Daye diligently put one foot in front of the other, one brick on top of the next, just to make his family happy. That's all. And that's of more significance than anything. He didn't have it all. But he had it all.

As I sat in the church and listened to everyone speak about him, I thought about the lesson his life has taught me. The mental fortitude,  discipline, and integrity it takes to put your hands in the dirt and build a small house, is just as important, if not more important, than going out and buying a fancy mansion.

Thank you so much, Mr. Emanuel "Big Time" Daye, and rest in peace.