What Larry and Walter Meant To Me
Over the course of my nearly quarter century as a featured op-ed columnist and then as a nationally syndicated columnist I have been blessed to meet and become friends with more people than I can count.
So it with no small amount of trepidation that at the risk of slighting someone I say, there are two people who went beyond special. One such person was Larry Anderson. Larry mailed a donation with a handwritten note that touched my spirit. His return address included his phone number and in my spirit I knew that I was supposed to reach out to him. The rest as they say, was history.
I have tried, but I’m unable to recall how long it has been since we first started to correspond – it seems as though I’ve known Larry my entire life. So it was with both joy and a heavy heart that I received word Monday, January 4, that Larry had gone home to be with Jesus, January 3, 2021. The following day, another of Larry’s lifelong friends reached out me to make sure I knew of his passing. Thank you Gordon and thank you Betsy.
I love what God has blessed me to do. I am so blessed to have become friends and acquaintances with so many. As many of you have been surprised, there are times that the Holy Spirit compels me to reach out with a completely unexpected phone call.
Each and every one of you, those whom I have met and those who do not comment are special. Larry embodied each of you. He was special and I came to love him dearly. It is hard not to weep as I write this; in fact as I write it I am not ashamed to say that my heart breaks, but it breaks with tears of joy through the sense of loss, because I know I will finally meet Larry in person one day.
Larry and I talked a lot about how God had changed our lives. He was as unapologetically pro-life as I am. We laughed about his “pupper-dog” (as I called his dog) and squirrels. Both of us thought it a colossal waste of money to buy brand new cars just because we could afford it and we loved talking about the old hymns and the Word of God. We both had spent time in the insurance industry. That those close to him made sure I knew of his passing means more than I can possibly say.
Larry, my dear old friend, I look forward to giving you a hug and shaking your hand one day. That cup of coffee we always talked about having together won’t be necessary. Instead we’ll join in the heavenly chorus with the other Saints and we’ll sing praises to our God with one voice.
The beginning of December 2020, another person I was blessed to have called friend also passed. It was Dr. Walter E. Williams. But Walter was more than just a friend, he was singularly responsible for my career today. A fact few people know.
It was fall 1998 and I was a featured op-ed columnist for a Gannett Newspaper in suburban Philadelphia, PA. I knew I could do more, but did not know how to take the next step(s) needed to accomplish same. I had heard this man, Dr. Walter E. Williams but had no idea who he was; but something about him caught my attention.
One afternoon, I decided that it was time to reach out to this man, pick his brain and ask him for direction. I was able to get a phone number for him at School, I called and left a message. I really didn’t expect him to return my call. To my surprise two days later I received a call from a gentleman who introduced himself as Walter Williams.
I’m not sure, but I suspect he knew full well what it meant to have someone of his magnitude return my call. I was a big fish in a goldfish bowl. He was Dr. Walter E. Williams.
I explained that I wanted to become one of the people who did “talking head stuff.” He quizzed me in a casual but thorough way and I didn’t hold back. At some point during the 30 or so minutes we talked, I mentioned that I had not taken journalism in college. I remember his response as if he had just said it. It was: “Well that’s a good thing.”
After listening, for a bit yet again, he gave me the exact advice that I needed to hear. He said: “Just continue doing what you are doing; someone is going to take notice.” He said, “I sense that you are impatient and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. But just be patient and continue to do what you are doing.” The sage genius of his counsel, was that it was exactly what I needed to hear. He didn’t offer to do anything for me, he listened and encouraged. The rest was up to me.
Dr. Williams had been right. By the end of that year I was making guest appearances on talk radio programming and I never looked back. It has been far from easy, but his sage advice never left.
We became and remained good friends. When he was approached by Pelican Publishing to write the forward for the re-release of Booker T. Washington’s epic autobiography, Up From Slavery, he told them that he was busy with another project and that I was the best man for the job he could recommend.
He was a guess several times during my time of hosting my own talk radio show. From time to time we would chat on the phone for a few minutes. We exchanged our columns over the years. It was a sense of accomplishment to me, when I shared the editorial pages of newspapers and/or digital news that carried his work.
I now with the benefit of years would like to believe that something in my impatient voice caught his attention that day we first spoke. And it was something that he knew would continue his penchant for truth, sound reasoning, and love of country after he was gone. I am but one of many Dr. Williams touched and encouraged. I often mention this to my son.
Walter knew it was important to leave people behind to carry on the mission into the future. I am one of those he shaped for the future. I pray that I may be blessed to do same.
Two men, both different, but both special to me. Two men, who made me better than I was before we met. I love you both. I miss you both.
About the Author
Mychal S. Massie is an ordained minister who spent 13 years in full-time Christian Ministry. Today he serves as founder and Chairman of the Racial Policy Center (RPC), a think tank he officially founded in September 2015. RPC advocates for a colorblind society. He was founder and president of the non-profit “In His Name Ministries.” He is the former National Chairman of a conservative Capitol Hill think tank; and a former member of the think tank National Center for Public Policy Research. Read entire bio here