Traveler’s Tip #348
Headed for California next week. In-N-Out Burger. Enough said.
It’s been a nice break at home for the last couple months but now Michelle and I are gearing up for a September/October tour. Watch for us, we might be headed your way. Give us a wave if you see us pass.
Meanwhile, somewhere out past the patio lanterns hanging across my back porch the world continues to lose it’s mind. I guess that cosmic moral compass doesn’t have a glow-in-the-dark needle. And, brother, it looks dark out there.
Some of you have asked if the characters in my novels are based on actual people. Mostly, the answer is no. But today, as quarterbacks sit out the National Anthem, talk-show hosts rant, candidates jockey and shoot cap-guns across the imaginary aisle , and David Duke and Al “The Pal” Sharpton two-step across the grave of MLK, I’m thinking about Mort, my blind, black, fountain of wisdom in The Miracle Man.
I like Mort. And Mort has me thinking about Bill Moore.
I met Bill not long after I moved with my family to Hayden, Idaho on Thanksgiving Day, 2000. I didn’t know it at the time, but back then Hayden was famous (or infamous) for being the home of the Aryan Nation in America. Which makes it ironic that one of the first (and lasting) good friends I met was African American. Funny, looking back I don’t remember thinking about Bill as any particular race or ethnicity. To me he was simply one of the best people I ever knew. He overwhelmed us with goodness.
Bill wasn’t rich. He sold used tires for a living and worked hard every day. He asked for nothing. He’d give you anything. I never heard Bill complain. And as a black man living in Hayden, I imagine he had a lot to complain about. But the thing was, Bill had an agenda. An agenda bigger than himself, bigger than the Aryan Nation, bigger than any human ideology.
An agenda I wish we all had...
You see Bill followed the great example of the Great Example. And as such he loved and served only one race—the human race. This is the reason he could—and did—walk in to a local breakfast joint one morning and shake the hand of Aryan Nation leader, Richard Butler. Bill had the courage and confidence of knowing his Creator. Richard Butler had nothing but the empty blustering bravado of hate. Bill left him speechless. I don’t think the man knew what hit him that day.
Paul the Apostle said:
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28
Let me tell the fruit of that one precious black life—a life that mattered. When Bill succumbed to cancer a few years back several hundred gathered to celebrate his life. Old, young, black, white, men, women—for hours they shared stories of how this unassuming man spoke into, encouraged, blessed, and changed their lives. A man with no microphone or political platform. No books or talk shows. No guest spots on Fox News or CNN. Just a seller of used tires. Just love, humility and honor wrapped in human skin. And when real love, humility, and honor are at work—note to Mr. Duke and Mr. Sharpton—they unite, they never divide.
And against odds, Bill Moore was a uniter. He brought people together in the name of Jesus who he loved. This was Bill’s legacy. What will yours be?
Bill’s skin happened to be black. Mine happens to be white. He was my friend. Lord, make me more like Bill. Make me more like You. Make my life matter…
All for now—keep your eyes on the prize, pilgrims.