Nate was leading an elderly woman out to her automobile. He was walking beside her and when she slipped, Nate reached out to keep her from falling. In an instant a man leaped from the driver's side of the car and put his face right in Nate's, screaming obscenities, and telling Nate to get his "nigger hands off of my wife."
I sat on the bench outside, witnessing the entire affair. The man was so rude and indignant. I wanted to do something. I stood, brave me, as Nate just turned and walked back into the hospital. It seemed odd to me to witness such nonsense, such sickness right outside a hospital's doors. If I was Nate, I would have pushed the bigot out of my face, or at least spoken my mind, but Nate was not as foolish as that. Nate was a wise person, much wiser and more humane than the white individual who was so wrong.
Nate did not want to talk, and accepted my condolences with a sad face. I like to think that the sadness was not because Nate was thinking all Caucasians were so idiotic, nor that Nate had lived an entire life among such stupidity, but rather that Nate was feeling sorry for such a sad human being.
But because Nate did not lash out in defense of himself, I like to think . . . I like to think I am lucky to have known a man, a real man, with the strength to hold his temper and hold his fists.
Nate Crumply I have always liked you, but after that incident I respect you more.
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