Real Courage Doesn’t Have To Be Huge
Uncle Whiz stood 5’7” and weighed 145 pounds dripping wet. You might not think he would be the most courageous man a teenager would meet. But he was.
“Whiz” was short for Isadore. He was my mother’s brother and one of my favorite relatives. He always took me and my ideas seriously.
Uncle Whiz was always outspoken, particularly when the rights of others were concerned. He was active in the civil rights movement long before others became involved.
An Incident In Courage
The incident that has become family legend took place in Galveston, Texas, in the early 1960s. Whiz was a young optometrist building a practice, one eye exam at a time. One day a big, burly Texan came into his office and found himself waiting behind an African American woman.
When Whiz asked the woman to come into his office, the man, exuding hostility, interrupted, “Hey, are you going to take her before you take me?” His meaning was unmistakable.
Whiz took the woman back into his office and asked her to wait. He then returned to where the big guy was standing in the waiting room.
My uncle told the fellow, “Listen, you no-good racist, I want you to get the hell out of my office right now, and if you have any friends, tell them to stay out of here, too.”
The man left, but he returned a week later. Whiz saw him in the waiting room and realized the man was fully capable of killing him. He saw his life flash before his eyes. Instead, the man apologized for his earlier behavior.
Uncle Whiz lived to tell the tale, and I learned what real courage looked like.