On March 4, 1913, an exceptional man was born in Edenton, North Carolina. Thirty years later, on March 4, 1943, now living in New York City, that man married an equally exceptional woman from Richmond, Virginia. Charles and Frances Cooke spent a lifetime helping others, their door was always open to family and friends, and they were well known for their willingness to assist those in need and dispense wisdom and advice to the neighborhood youth.
On September 1, 1966, after a lifetime of giving so much of themselves to others, they watched as a young boy was birthed into this world. This child was not their biological son, but they adopted him, and that child could at times be a handful as he was known to throw a temper tantrum or two; yet they never wavered in their love for that child, treating him as their own flesh and blood. They instilled in the young boy the importance of education and respect for women and imparted the moral values he lives to this day. I know this to be true because that young boy is me. Never once did they give me any reason to doubt their love for me. Never once did I wonder if they would be there for me, never did I want for anything and, while they are gone from this earth, never do I doubt that they walk with and look out for me every day.
My father taught me how to throw a ball, took me to my first ball game, taught me how to drive, and showed me how to live my life the right way, not by his words but by his actions. He taught me how to be a man.
My mother read to me when I was a boy, picked me up and wiped the blood from my knee when I fell, wiped the tears from my eyes when I was hurt, and encouraged me to always believe in myself
On this my father’s birthday and my mother and father’s anniversary, I want to say thank you to both of you, you are without question my heroes; I would not be half the man I am today without both of you, and every day I am eternally grateful that the good Lord put you in my life.