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My father playing "The Baby in Black Loafers" at a Connecticut Guardsmen Weekend, circa 1965

ny number of people were incredulous when they found out how hilarious my father could be.

Much of the time, he was serious. He had to be in order to focus on his goals in his unrelenting manner. Being a doctor, he was often deadly serious.

But it was not his nature.

Essentially, he was light-hearted. He loved to have fun, and, if the joke was on him, all the better, especially if he orchestrated the laugh.

His well-developed sense of humor and his ability to have fun were part of the emotional balance that allowed him to do all the things he did, yet, cope with harsh and sorrowful experiences.

He was a member of the Guardsmen, a black fraternal organization with chapters nationwide. Periodically, Guardsmen chapters host one another. For my father, these were great fun-time opportunities to regale others with his joking and dancing and to thoroughly enjoy himself.

Whether it was winning the limbo contest in the Guardsmen's Jamaica weekend, dressing up or, perhaps, down like a baby at his chapter's weekend at Moodus, Connecticut, or swinging underneath a child's playhouse, while visiting a friend, my father was an irrepressibly warm and playful kid at heart.

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