Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Darkness over Gadsden and Walker

Delano Middleton

Until this day I believe a dark cloud still hovers over that corner. It is hard to believe that it has been over forty-nine years since we last saw him run down Gadsden Street on his way to football practice. That was the shortest route to get to Wilkinson High school. Delano Middleton was often running a little late. However, we all knew why. He had to finish all of his farm chores first. The route he took was the same route that we used to take to get to Mr. MacDonald’s gas station to buy snacks. It treks through a couple of back yards, crossing a railroad track and then a long dirt road. Looking back now, it was more like an obstacle course than a route.

Delano (Bump as we called him) would always have this big bright smile like nothing could ever get in his way. He was confident in every step he made. I don’t remember a time that he passed by us tossing the football around on the corner of Gadsden Street and Walker Ave. that he didn’t stop to encourage us in some way. Everything was as if it was predestined for him. He knew what he wanted in life early. As a natural athlete, he could play any sport he wanted to and did all of them very well. Coaches smiled when his name was mentioned. His physique was intimidating and his quickness was well respected. Even with all that even the bullies that he often confronted (always on someone else's concern) liked and respected him. No one messed with Bump. Bump was going to be someone great one day.  Now one ever said it but we all knew.

That corner was our hang out, our meet-up place and it was also a sign of life for the neighborhood. Every good neighborhood has a place that kids can laugh and play without worry. Unless there was a storm (dark clouds) there was always life on that corner. It was right in front Deacon Washington’s house so who ever came knew to keep it respectful.

 No one would ever guess how short our time on that corner would be (Never undervalue the time you have with your friends.) We never gathered there after Bump took his last run pass us. It was as if he ran and faded into a low hanging sun. You want to look but it’s too hard to see. Then there is only darkness. We all knew when darkness started to fall we all had to head home for safety.   

Yes…it’s been forty-nine years and time has passed but it seems like only yesterday that we tossed the ball around with friends and no matter how much time passes it can’t take those moments away. If there is a lesson to learn from this it is to enjoy life while you have it and as Bump did just be a good example for other.


Rest In Peace My Friend.  


Rest In Peace My Friend.  
The Annual Orangeburg Massacre Commemoration
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Gamecock Ink Print

    Gamecock print