A few weeks ago, I came across Cosby's tribute, a farewell and eulogy -- it was like a song he was singing, to comfort the family and friends of Ben Ali, the man who created a place to eat, enjoy Chili, and spicy good conversation with other friends. Click -- have a look.
Ben's gone, but lives on. Ben's Chili Bowl will continue to be a place to visit in DC, thanks to plain ordinary people customers, and an ever longer roster of celebrities, past and present, like Ella Fitzgerald, Cab Calloway, the Mayor of DC, President Obama, and Bill Cosby.
What a guy Cosby is -- warmth, humor, keen political awareness, sharp eyes seeing the divide between black and white, and laughing, poking fun at it -- bringing up the awkward, gauche, no-no aspects of prejudice -- replacing it with love.
Family love -- love your family -- we're all a part of a loving family -- that's what Cosby himself, as Dr. Huxtable (in his show), showed us.
A few years ago, his son was murdered while changing a tire on the "405," a Los Angeles highway.
Easy for me to say a "few years" ago, but the death of a child is always now, in the now. No matter where you are, or what you're doing, and how many years have passed -- the dead child is profoundly there, absent/present in the moments of now.
My friend Doro's son was murdered on the streets of Harlem -- some years, ago (see my 5/6 post, "My Sister Doro") -- and though she's surrounded by children, grandchildren and the children of the people she's working for (she's a housekeeper), and their chatter about themselves doesn't include "Larry" -- her dead son Larry is profoundly there, absent/present night and day, every day and every night.
When we're chatting I mention him. I never met Larry, and though I haven't "met" Bill Cosby, except as a fan, I mention his son Ennis.
I do that because I think when you mention a person who's gone, it's a way of keeping that dead person alive.
Doro keeps me going. Bill Cosby does it, also. The "retired" busy man, with his comments, his participation in all sorts of social-political family things, his words about Ben's Chili, his involvement with today's melange of issues -- keep the family of us, all of us, going.
Thank you Mr. Cosby for being what you are.