I was in The Garden skateboard and bike shop in Pittsfield this afternoon with my youngest and his nephew, who turned twelve yesterday making them both twelve for a few months, and a friend of my grandson's when I noticed a tall teenage boy looking at new skateboard decks.
He caught my eye because he reminded me of someone really specifically. I turned and saw a woman waiting with a younger girl who looked like she might be the teenager's sister. The teenage boy and the younger girl were both what I guess we're calling nowadays multi-racial. The woman wasn't.
I asked if the teenager was her son. She said yes, and then I asked if people comment on how much he looks like our president. She smiled and said that they do. I smiled back and looked at the young man again. He was tall and lean with the same texture hair and the same haircut and even the same features and smile. Maybe a little lighter skin tone, but he did indeed look a lot like President Obama.
He even seemed to have his calm and easy going manner as well. I've been thinking about that encounter all day and how miraculous it is that it could even occur. That I have lived through times when it was illegal for me and my first love who happened to be African-American to even marry in most states to where a "multi-racial" young man can be mistaken for our president.
I am grateful and happy that is the case. But, of course, I am also saddened at how much vitriol and mean-spiritedness there is among some of my fellow citizens toward our president at least in part, whether consciously or unconsciously, because he looks and acts like the handsome, self-contained, obviously confident but well-mannered, even-keeled young man I encountered today in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.