To be insightful means to intuitively grasp things - an "aha!" moment!

About Me

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I am a member of the church of Christ. I have been writing things since I was little. Some have been printed, some posted. I write to teach or encourage; to blow off steam; and for fun! I had my own motorcycle in my 40s; I was a bluegrass music DJ for about 13 years; I've performed some. I am a member of the NRA. In 2003 (age 59), I became high partial legally blind; in 2005, I had to get hearing aids! Franklin Field said: "Poor eyes limit your sight; poor vision limits your deeds". And no kidding, the picture was made April, 2012!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

RELATIONS

And I don't mean kinfolk or relationships. So before I finish "Rein Me In", here's some history!

I was born in 1944 here in Birmingham. The first house I remember my family living in was on what might be called a dividing line between blue-collar whites and middle/upper class blacks. We had a small, 2 bedroom house, with siding. On one side of us, across the street, were apartments where other whites lived. Behind us was a house similar to ours. Seems like one of the men worked in a carpentry shop. Daddy had a paper route as well as worked in a steel mill. He worked 2 jobs so that Mother could stay home with my sister and me.

There was a vacant lot next to us, and the next house was owned by a black gentleman who owned a business. I don't remember his name, but I DO remember the black couple who lived across the street in front of us. They were Dr. & Mrs. Boykin. He was a dentist and had his office in the basement of their new brick house. She was a school teacher, so they both were college graduates. Mother had to take my sister to Dr. Boykin once that I know of. (Daddy graduated from high school, as did Mother, though Mother also attended business school afterward.)

Before the Boykins had finished building their house, it was bombed, though I don't think too badly. Of course any bombing is bad. And I remember waking up during the night when I was small - I'd guess 5, 6, or 7, to the noise of bombs and cross-burnings in the yards of others in the block where I lived.

I remember going to tent meetings in the ACIPCO area where Marshall Keeble, a black man, was the preacher. (You can look him up on line.) Usually blacks sat together, and whites sat together, but it had nothing to do with segregation - we just sat with people we knew! There was never any trouble at those revivals.

When I worked for the phone company as a long distance operator in the early 60s, guards walked us to and from our cars because of the potential for violence, as the operations building was next to the park where the infamous dogs and fire hoses were turned on people.

None of this made sense to me because I have always believed that everyone is alike in that we all are made by God (Acts 10:34-35). If you don't know "You've Got to be Carefully Taught" from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical "South Pacific", look it up. It says a lot.

I bring this all up because the only 2 neighbors I know, where I live now, have skin not the same color as mine.

Phil and I met when she was walking her dog when I'd be waiting for my morning bus. She lives a couple of blocks away, is 40-ish, divorced, no children, retired Navy, now works at a bank. We have since gone to one party together, and she often calls to ask if I need to go to the store when she's going, and she bakes cakes on the side and often brings me not only a slice of cake, but stew, cornbread, etc.!

Anthony lives across from me. He's late 40s, disabled because of a work injury, divorced with 3 grown children. He won't take gas money when I ask him to take me places, but WILL accept food! Because I took today off work, I wanted to go to one store, and needed to pick up 2 scrips from the drugstore. "No problem!" he said when I called him. Of course I offered to buy lunch. Nothing was more than 5 miles away. So ... not only did we go those 2 places, but he mentioned a Mexican grill next to the one store, and including tip, we both ate real well for $18 (and he had enough to have for supper!) - and he mentioned a grocery with individual pizzas on sale for 50 cents each, so we went there, too! We were gone about 2 1/2 hours, and had a great time together. We got not one remark, derogatory or otherwise, made to us nor, to my knowledge, did we get any disapproving looks.

Years ago when I was living in Tampa, Florida, I remember going to Morrison's for Sunday lunch. I was alone of course. One of the preachers I knew came in about the time I was seated. He was also alone. I don't know if I asked him to join me, or if he asked if he could join me. Not only would he have made 3 of me, but he was dark, dark black. Even then, I don't remember any remarks or "looks".

Talk about positive changes in people's attitudes!

With Anthony and another friend, I call us not the "odd couple", but the "odd trio". Shane doesn't live far from me, is white, a bit taller than me, and legally blind. (We met on the bus 6 years ago, and now ride the same paratransit to work.) Anthony is black, tall, slender. Sometimes we go places together, often calling Anthony to be our driver. Then Shane and I pay for Anthony's meal - and we 3 take an hour eating a burger and talking and laughing!

I could tell you 2 funny ones, about skin color, involving my son when he was 6 or 7, and again when he was in junior high, but this is a lot longer than I intended, so I'll save those for another time!

Race relations? I'm not only legally blind, but I'm "color" blind. Are you?

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