His name is Raymond Bellinger, and he is quick to notify you of 3 things. 1. He is a war Vet. 2. He is from New Orleans. And thirdly (once again), his name is Raymond Bellinger, spelled with an “E” (He showed me his ID) and that is a French name.
Mr. Bellinger, who I often see at the same bus stop, caught my attention as I was taking a photo of this “tumble-weave”. “Now she’s really in trouble”, he said in a raspy yet jokingly tone as my camera clicked.
After laughing at his joke, I introduced myself. I asked Mr. Bellinger the same question I’ve been asking elder Black men in community for almost a year now: “If you had the ear of the youth, what would you tell them?”
No longer joking, Mr. Bellinger eloquently replied: “I was raised by grandmother and my uncle. They were good people,everything they taught me allowed me to get this far…God bless their souls.”
I followed with the question: What was it that they taught you?
On cue, he recited the Lord’s Prayer:
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your Kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins,
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom,
the power and the glory are yours.
Now and for ever.