By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Column: You can say ‘I love you’ many ways
Harris Blackwood
Harris Blackwood

We toss around the word love a lot.

We love football. We love chocolate pie. We love to go for a ride (when gas is less expensive).

I grew up in a household where the word love was not used a lot. I cannot remember my dad ever saying “I love you.” But his actions spoke volumes.

My dad nearly died in World War II. He was honored with a Purple Heart and two oak leaf clusters, which is the equivalent of three Purple Hearts. A young doctor discovered that my dad had a form of anemia that required painful monthly shots.

I remember Dad taking us for a walk in the winter. I rode on his shoulders. Despite the very cool temperatures, his forehead was breaking out in sweat. It might have been sickness, but it also was love.

My mama had to work to make ends meet when Dad was in the hospital. She sold World Book Encyclopedias. Somehow, she managed to scrape together enough money for her two boys to get a nice haul from Santa.

My cousin Wayne, who is now the patriarch of my mama’s family, told me the story of going to work with my dad. Dad repaired equipment for a drugstore chain around Atlanta.

He told my cousin, who was a kid at the time, that he needed some tools if he was going to work with him. Dad took him to a place that sold tools and bought him a tool box and some basic tools. Wayne is now 80 and still has the tool box and the tools.

Dad took his nieces for job interviews in Atlanta, when they were afraid to drive in the city.

He said “I love you” in many ways.

In my previous work, I had counterparts in every state in the union. There are a dozen or so who became close friends. When tough times arrived, we prayed with each other on the phone. They are my brothers and sisters. 

If you had ever told me that I would have a brother in upstate New York or South Dakota, or a sister in New Jersey or Maine, I would never believe it. We talk to each other regularly and there is often an “I love you” at the end of the call.

I went through some tough times and my friends checked on me regularly. I also built a friendship with two Black men who I have known for years. But I saw our friendship grow. There are times I felt like I had my arms across their shoulders and had their support to carry on.

I fell in a parking lot last year and two men who didn’t speak much English helped me up. I understood their message, too.

My circle of friends I love has grown. It’s a comfort to know you can pick up the phone and share a blessing or a burden with a friend. I love them all.

Somebody may not be the kind who feels comfortable giving voice to the word love, but actions, as they say, speak louder than words.

By the way, I do love my readers. Thanks for being one.

Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns publish weekly.