Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Winds of Change

“The world is closing in
Did you ever think
That we could be so close, like brothers
The future’s in the air
I can feel it everywhere
Blowing with the wind of change

Take me to the magic of the moment
On a glory night
Where the children of tomorrow dream away
in the wind of change…”


The winds of change had swept through my boy Leon Moody so quickly, so briskly, that I had a hard time believing it was real.

I mean, it was only a few hours before when we had had the time of our young lives binge drinking, pot smoking and tactically plotting our enemies’ demise.

Although we were five deep at the time of the accident, it was only Moody and I at Regional Hospital. Everyone else was spread out at other emergency rooms across the metro.

Moody set the wheels in motion.

“Thank you, God, thank you Jesus,” Moody had painstakingly screamed from the throes of Regional’s emergency room. “For I know you saved us God, father Lord, you saved us.”

Consider for a minute Moody was a pot-smoking, beer guzzling, skirt-chasing, college football playing, gang-banging, weed-dealing, crack-slanging, hustling fool, the phrase ‘Thank you, Jesus,’ was as foreign to me as a South St. Louis youngster - like myself – taking up space in Russia, China or Japan.

Moody uttered the phrase shortly after the both of us had arrived at the hospital. Although I knew deep down the pain was real - everything about the homeboy was authentic - the phrase still threw me for a loop.

Trauma - especially the trauma Nose, Eric, Terry, Moody and I had just experienced - will knock you off your rocker for just a tad.

Laying up in that emergency room was a life-altering ordeal, so I could pardon Moody’s sudden outburst. We were so close to death that God was probably the only thing that could have saved us.

Still? Gangster Moody, though?

I rejected Moody’s conversion for the longest time. Who would I tote up with? Drink with? Cajole the females with? Hit the blocks with?

Shortly after that December, 1994 disaster, Moody went back to the community college in Illinois he was home from when we had our accident. I had left the City to play baseball at Jefferson County Community College in Hillsboro, Missouri.

Moody and I talked often. One day, he called.

“I’ve changed my life, bro,” Moody calmly said, as confidant as he was the first time I had met him during our recruiting trip to Central Missouri State University in Warrensburg some two years before. “I done gave up drinking, smoking and all that. I’m out. I’m out the game, bro.”

In my own selfish way, I didn’t want to hear that. I wanted my homeboy to be that same effervescent, outgoing ladies’ man he had been since I’d known him. I still wanted him to bang those blue and gold gang colors, tote pistols and smoke the finest cheeba with me, his boy.

I wasn’t sure if I could handle a straight and narrow Leon Moody.

I put his newfound faith to task during that phone call.
I knew he was in Palatine, Illinois playing ball for Rainey Harper Junior
College, but he’d soon visit St. Louis again. He had too. That’s where his family and friends resided.

“Aw’ight,” I strongly countered, “that’s all well and good, but them Six-Dukie niggas ain’t gonna want to hear that shit, cuzz. What happens if one of them cats we been beefing with run up on you and you ain’t bangin’ no more. Huh, cuzz?”

“You know what, bro?” a cool as ice Moody said. “I’m going to leave that in God’s hand that if them brothers see me they gonna have it in their hearts to know I ain’t with that stupid stuff no more. I’ma leave in God’s hand, you know?”

And with that, I knew the gangster Moody was no longer. I knew he was legit and I would never question his faith again.

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