With jerky, faltering movements, Jimmie made his way across our parking lot and through our front door. He’s a smiley – and normally very agile – man with a positive outlook on life, but we hadn’t seen him for a few weeks and today he was definitely not his usual happy, spry self. Turns out, he’d had back surgery. Three vertebrae shorter and a quick hospital discharge later, Jimmie’s gait was hobbled by the crippling combination of extreme pain and deadened nerve endings.
One of the cruelest hopes we may experience in life is the irrational thought that a loved one who is dead may one day return. When your guard is down, in defiance of reality, you fantasize that that person will reappear, as real as anything. That’s a little what it’s like to have someone away in prison, and imagine their eventual return.
“Today this man is getting his voting rights back.”
My friend Maurice Harris remembers the day he heard a judge make that pronouncement. It was 2008, and Maurice had paid $500 for the cost of court filing and legal representation. The prosecuting attorney was arguing in the courtroom that Maurice should not gain his right to vote. The judge, though, ruled in Maurice’s favor, just in time for the presidential elections that year.