My Royal Sargent, Kris

Kris Gibson (cream blazer) with the 2009-2010 FAMU DRS Royal Court and Advisor, Roger Walker
Kris Gibson (cream blazer) with the 2009-2010 FAMU DRS Royal Court and Advisor, Roger Walker

When I was 15 years old, I met Kristopher Gibson. An overly critical man with a tailored blazer, cowboy boots and a BMW. He was not my cup of tea, what-so-ever. But I had to suck it up and proceed because he was now my assistant Royal Court advisor.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the idea of a Royal Court, here’s a gist: The members of the Royal Court are voted into their perspective positions by their peers. During the school year, these elected individuals serve in various aspects around the community and school.

That year I was elected Miss Sophomore attendant for the 2009-2010 school year. We prepared during the summer for events that we would have to attend through something that felt like a royal boot camp. Kris was the Sargent, minus the fatigue (He would not be caught anywhere in those). He drilled us over and over on which way to pass the butter at a table, how to walk down steps, and which leg crosses over the other when sitting down. After about 2 weeks we had grown tired of Kris telling us what to do. “Who does he think he is?” was a phrase we whispered often. Nonetheless, when the court finally assembled officially, we looked good! 

In 2011 I was elected to serve on the Royal Court again as Miss FAMU DRS, a dream that I’d had since I was 5 years old. Can you guess who was our assistant advisor? Yes, Kris…again. He was the same, and because I’d gone through the training before, the second time around wasn’t so bad. He was still overly critical, stern, and fitted in cowboy boots and a tailored blazer. The night that the court was crowned, he drove Mister FAMU DRS and I around downtown in his BMW until the celebratory ball was ready for our entrance. I remember him trying his best to push my dress into the car because it was huge. While doing so he made his usual quick witted remarks that I could only laugh at. Throughout the rest of the year we had our usual disagreements about why my hair wasn’t curled, why my stockings were a shade too light, or why a spot was on my suit. After I graduated from high school, Kris and I lost touch.

One day about 4 months ago, I received a text saying Kris passed in an accident. I was devastated, angry, confused… How could this happen? Why? I was down for a few days until I really began to reflect on the time I’d been able to spend with Kris. He taught me so much in those three years. His criticism was coming from a place of love, and it made us strong enough to take the criticism of others. His obsession with our upkeep taught me to always look presentable, no matter where it is I go. As I sat at his funeral I reminisced on all of these things, and I just knew Kris wouldn’t have wanted us to be sad. Although he was young, his life was full, and his presence once encountered, could never be forgotten.

Call someone you haven’t heard from and check in with them.  Reflect on the people in your lives and cherish every second.

From me to you, Love.

Shaakira White

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