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The story in White Man's Disease originated over 30 years ago, but it was a recent event that inspired me to write it. It was my daughter Kina's wedding in December 2014. Delaware Today mag did an article about the wedding. Here is a brief excerpt from that article pertinent to White Man's Disease (the full article is available at the link):
The newlyweds shared their first dance to Anthony Hamilton’s “Her Heart,” followed by a special father-daughter dance to Beyonce’s “Daddy.” One of the most memorable moments, along with 11-year-old Kalen’s best-man speech, was shared with Thornton’s father, Paul. Before the wedding ceremony, she gave him a gift—a small pocket square with a powerful inscription: “Daddy, of all the walks we have taken together, this is one of my favorites.”
It was a tribute to a time when she was 6 years old and her dad was unable to see, hear or walk after undergoing surgery to remove a brain tumor. Using a cane, he would take Kina’s hand while she led him through the streets of New York, where he lived, slowly teaching him how to walk again.
Little did Thornton know that her father’s reception speech included the same memory. “It was just so perfect,” Paul Thornton says. “When she gave [the pocket square] to me, I looked at it, and I got a little misty eyed because it was so touching. But I was particularly moved because it was so much in key with what I was going to share in my own speech.”
Dr. Paul Thornton is currently a university administrator. In the past he has been a professor, small business owner, and corporate executive.