I wouldn’t have known much about the stories in the bible without Dave’s ability to read. With a sliver of literacy, he taught us what it meant to be good Christians. As I’m sitting here, sipping on this dry wine, I’m taken back to the moment that John placed the bottle in my hand. His firm grip was accompanied by an unsettling gaze that rested in his eyes. He looked as if he were trying to make a statement, by using nothing but silence. I know he only sees the “better half” of me. When we interact, my “ideas of love, friendship, patriotism” and “religion”(Chesnutt) appear familiar to his ears, and sound in his mind. Mentioning matters beyond his conception of logic leads him to continually reject this side: of who I am. How could he possibly relate, if all he does is dismiss?
During plantation times, books were considered contraband when caught in the hands of someone like me. It was much worse for someone who was darker than me though. Dave’s teachings helped us “feel” happy. To some of the workers, it was Dave’s appearance that made the words relatable. As he spoke, we saw, in him, the voice of us all. In those times, there was seldom found a person of color who spoke in confidence: while holding a book. Aside from the stories, most of us admired seeing a similar face held high. If it weren’t for Dave’s teachings I probably wouldn’t be alive right now to drink Mr. John’s fine wine. I probably wouldn’t have the patience to sympathize with him and his wife for their ignorance, intentions and actions. Mr. John, I thank you for this lovely bottle of wine. With it, I can now contemplate the amount of time required and the conditions necessary for one to aquire such an extensive understanding of agriculture. I can only imagine the various types of books, aside from the bible, you must have read before arriving down here. During your study periods, were you ever faced with life-threatening punishments if others caught you reading? If “love, friendship, patriotism” and “religion” is the basis of your tolerance for me, then I’m certain, or confused of the fact, that you are unable to fathom the depth of these concepts in reality. Oh, and thanks again for the wine.