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306

They say numbers speak to you sometimes. Maybe they say buy a lottery ticket. It could be that simple, as it is with me and 306. That is the first address I remember on that street uptown back in the day. My sister remembers the rat trapped in the radio. You’ll have to ask her about that. I can tell you that the address doesn’t exist anymore. The building was razed, and condominiums were constructed with the entrance on Bradhurst Avenue. I don’t think about the new number.

I do think about Martin Luther King Jr. at the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis fifty-three years ago tomorrow. The last room he occupied was 306. That fact has absolutely no connection to my childhood unless you believe it has some connection to my childhood. Apparently, that room at the hotel will remain preserved and should be. All the anxieties symbolized by the cigarette butts in the ash tray still exist.


Now someone reminds me that it is the 30th anniversary of the release of The Five Heartbeats. People have their favorite parts. I have to think about mine. But what I can never avoid noticing is that Eddie Kane Jr.’s address is 306. Does he have a chance in life or not? His father doesn’t think so and lets him know it. However, Pops doesn’t articulate it correctly. It’s that number that could defeat young Eddie.


Pandemic thoughts unavoidably fall into a rut. At least different routines on campus seem to be on the horizon. No, I don’t have a numbered parking space. But 306 is the number of one of the two elevators in the garage. I’m not so crazy that I choose it or avoid it. I take whichever car comes first. You can’t take these things too far. Maybe just hang on for good luck.


(And don’t count the number of words above.)


#keithgilyard #thelanguagelane