by Candace Arthuria Williams
“Oh, my goodness! Candace! Girl, where’ve you been? We haven’t seen you in ages! Honey, you know Candace. This is Reverend Culbert’s daughter.”
Immediately, I had the attention of strangers passing by, who, in their curiosity, looked me over carefully, trying to decide if I fit the description. By most assessments, I do not look much like a Reverend’s daughter. But there I was in a Harlem hospital, exchanging hugs with a woman who could only be a southern Baptist, and shaking hands with her husband, the Deacon.
Acutely aware of my audience (whose respect I’d done nothing to earn), I beamed ever so proudly and reveled in the status. At that moment, as in all like moments before it, I became something good. For without any contribution on my part, I had inherited a legacy far more important than worldly possessions—one that nobody could ever take away. It was somehow symbolic of God’s grace, bestowed freely and indiscriminately upon the just and unjust. In those few seconds, the mistakes of a lifetime faded away, as I returned to a state of innocence, and hid like a baby, comfortable in the security of my father’s goodness.
For as long as I can remember, it has been that way. Yet it took the maturity of thirty-five years to fully appreciate my inheritance. Of all the adjectives that describe what I am, and the many appellations that reference what I do, not one comes close to instilling the pride that stems only from being my father’s daughter. It occurs to me now, that the content of his character remains uncontested, and his righteousness is apparent to all who know him. How fortuitous that I should share in this honor, simply by virtue of association!
With sadness, I acknowledge that the day will come when few remember his special presence. My works will have to stand on their own, subject to the scrutiny of an unforgiving world, yet answerable only to a merciful God. For if my earthly father has taught me nothing else, I am aware that salvation is personal, and I alone am accountable for me.
But in the meantime, I claim my irrevocable right to be known as Reverend Culbert’s daughter.
In loving tribute to the late Reverend Arthur Nathaniel Culbert
“Happy Father’s Day”
Candace Arthuria Williams began her career in Corporate Communications and currently writes short fiction and essays. Her work is multicultural, intergenerational, and expands across a broad range of genres. She continues to build on her diverse collection entitled “Very Short Stories for Very Busy People.” Candace has published with the International Women’s Writing Guild, the Teaneck Public Library, Agape Review, Calliope, and Friday Flash Fiction. For editorial services, you may reach her at williams07666[at]gmail[dot]com