This is my baby. Surprised? Me,too! I never thought I'd have a six foot four inch African American son, but here he is. He doesn't look that tall standing next to his girl? Let me give you a hint, she just graduated from NC State, captain of the basketball team. Did I give birth to him? No, but I might as well have.
This is what he looked like when I first met him, just a young kid fooling around with my big wolf malamute hybred on Halloween:
Julius, child of my heart...my thinker, my court jester, my clown. The kid who fell through the balcony from the second floor and landed standing on his feet hollering, "I didn't do it" as the railing crashed to the floor. Julius who danced to "I Will Survive" in the spare bedroom so hard with his younger brothers that my dining room ceiling fell in. Literally.
When Julius was about 11, he must have seen an Elvis movie with a female character named Claire. Most people who do Elvis impressions say, "Thank you, thank you verrah much." For years, Julius would say, "I love you, Claire" in a perfect Elvis voice to me as he left the house.
As he got older, his vocabulary expanded. His voice got pretty deep after it changed and when he was particularly disgusted by something he'd say, "Miss Annie, that's riDICulous, it truly is."
After Julius went on a full scholarship to a private Christian University in Raleigh, NC, he sadly said to me, "Miss Annie, I don't come home much, because everyone I came up with is either dead or in jail." It was a commentary on an entire generation of African American males. Thank God he is in Raleigh.
Today I watched a miracle. I watched Julius Gregory graduate with honors from Shaw University. My Number 15, GO SHAW BEARS. He beat the odds. He left the streets. He starts his job coaching young people on Monday morning. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you verrah much.