Until I read the journal I did not know that your father sang in the youth choir at his multicultural Methodist church, was a lifelong Cleveland Browns fan, and had his first kiss in the eighth grade with a girl named Denise.

I walked her home after school and she thanked me by giving me a kiss. I was a little taken back by it. Being in the eighth grade, it was a big step for me. All the girls were always smiling at me and joking around. I remember buying a brand-new baseball jacket. I took it to school and let all the girls sign it and put their phone numbers on it. I had the jacket in my room and Grandma King grabbed it thinking it was dirty and washed it. I rushed home from school, anxious to read my jacket, when I saw Grandma King hanging up my clean jacket. Grandma laughed. I was on my knees crying.

Your dad was an extraordinarily disciplined man. He believed that sweating on a five-mile run was the best way to shake a cold. He picked the skin off chicken, would not drink more than one or two beers in a night, and did not allow himself to binge on the pastries he loved because he so closely watched his diet.
Excerpted from A Journal for Jordan by Dana Canedy, Pulitzer Prize winner and senior editor for The New York Times. Copyright © 2008 by Dana Canedy. Excerpted by permission of Crown, a division of Random House, Inc.


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