Even In Mississippi (G-uno)

As she sat in her rocking chair a far away look that has become all to common to me these days, covered her face. Her rocking intensified along with the lines in her face. “I don’t hate anyone, in fact I feel sorry for a soul so filled with hatred.” When she is like this I find us both transported back into another time. She is vessel that transports us. Fueled by her vivid memories of years gone by.
“He had been drinking, something I suspect he did to cover the pain he held for hating himself. In my day black folks lived together in certain areas away from the sight of those without color. He knew this, it made it easier to find us after he swallowed the last drop that fueled his hate. We all knew this man, and we had become accustomed to his pattern.”
Then her rocking slows, and her far away look comes in a littler closer, almost as if this man were present in the room with us. She lowers her voice as though she is attempting to speak without him hearing her words. I’m not sure if she is talking to me, or if in her mind I am now someone from her past. The rocking stops, and she tells me that today would be different from all the other days.
Today her father would not listen again to this man as he violently pounded on their door screaming for us to bring our lazy black asses outside where he could see us. She leans forward in her chair whispering that “This time daddy got his gun. Momma was crying you see, because back in those days if you talked back to a white man in Mississippi, they would hang you with the same ease as a woman who hung her clothes on the line to dry.”
“My father told him to leave our doorstep that he had his gun, and that he would hear no more of his drunken disrespect. This infuriated the old man so he told daddy that he had better think twice. Daddy told this man no sir this time you had better think twice.”  She began to slowly rock again, and then she said ” I was filled with fear, and pride. I knew that things were beginning to change, even in Mississippi.”
Ms. Lee is an 82 year-old woman with Alzheimers. Twice a week I take her for breakfast at the “Cracker Barrel.” This is one of her stories that she has shared with me many times. The interesting thing is that each time she shares this story with me it is always with the exact same wording. I am always unnerved by her ability to transport us so vividly into the past. I am even more unnerved by the thought that all of this took place only 75 years ago.
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  1. #1 by oceanswater on May 29, 2016 - 3:44 am

    I hate to shock you honey but nothing has changed. Especially with the uneducated blacks in the south who put up with continuous shit. I was born in Spartanburg SC. But I’m happy my mother moved to New England when we were 2,4, and 6. My mother often said that us girls would have been hung years ago had she stayed in the south because we always spoke our minds. I detest the south and would never live there.

    • #2 by idioglossiablog on May 29, 2016 - 3:52 am

      Ms. Lee is an amazing woman, and with a father like that it’s not hard to see why she turned out this way. G-uno

    • #3 by idioglossiablog on May 29, 2016 - 9:23 pm

      The south has changed. It may not be up to speed with its northern neighbours in a great many ways, but it’s changed. For every white male Republican in a polo and khakis, there are at least five in the LGBT category. For every butt crack-exposed, loudmouth biggot, there were ten couples in mixed relationships of one form or another. For every misogynist, there are at least 15 women who are primary breadwinners, married or otherwise. The problem is of course, like Trump, the idiots are louder. But then it’s just as prejudice to assume Southerners are all prejudiced too. Slippery slopes.

    • #4 by laurelwolfelives on May 30, 2016 - 5:07 pm

      I am a Southerner. I understand the common labels…”ignorant, back-woods racists. Not all of us are. If you are raised right, those things are not an issue. I despise racism as much as I despise antisemitism. I lived in the North for several years and I heard phrases and words that I had never heard in the South so to confine racism to the South is not fair. It’s true that there are still Southerners who are racists and there are Northerners who are as well.
      I would ask that you not judge all of us and not make a blanket assessment of any Southern state.
      There are those of us who don’t judge based on race, religion or sexual orientation.

  2. #9 by Robert Matthew Goldstein on May 29, 2016 - 8:22 pm

    This is a gripping read. Her husband had tremendous courage.

    We don’t discuss the fact that slavery didn’t end after the American Civil War.

    The old slave owners were masters at using terror to control their slaves and they used terror after abolition and the end of the Civil War to control both their former slaves and poor whites

    Blacks and poor whites became a new source of cheap labor.

    In fact, this covert form of slavery was more profitable than outright slavery
    because the ‘boss’ didn’t have to house and feed the workers.

    We can’t abolish slavery without also abolishing the cast system that supports it.

    Political debates in the U.S. still seem to about the question of who is ‘really’ human only now the words we the words ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving’.

    It’s the same question.

    Our cast system allocates massive amounts of more than any one person can use to our
    corporate plantation owners and reserves ignorance and destitution for those who are ‘born’
    to serve.

    The Union will not have won the American Civil War until it abolishes the political and economic
    systems that support slavery in all of its forms.

    Thank you for a well written and thought provoking post.

    • #10 by idioglossiablog on May 29, 2016 - 10:19 pm

      Thank you so much. I’m so glad that you found Ms. Lee’s story as gripping as I did. She has lived a most interesting life. She continues to share certain stories with me on our outings. I look forward to sharing more. Seeing the world through her eyes has certainly changed the way I view our world. Thank you again for your interest as you know we are huge fans of your blog, and your dedication to truth. G-uno

      • #11 by Robert Matthew Goldstein on May 29, 2016 - 11:26 pm

        You have a gift for using language to capture the essence of a situation.

        In this instance she slowly came to life in my mind as you added the details.

        • #12 by idioglossiablog on May 30, 2016 - 2:36 pm

          Thank you again. Your kind words me a great deal to me. G-uno

  3. #13 by Robert Matthew Goldstein on May 29, 2016 - 8:23 pm

    Reblogged this on Art by Rob Goldstein and commented:

    A well written and thought provoking post.

  4. #14 by Br Andrew Efo on May 30, 2016 - 3:48 am

    Reblogged this on Br Andrew's Muses and commented:

    Isn’t it on both counts – only 75 years

  5. #16 by laurelwolfelives on May 30, 2016 - 5:08 pm

    I would like to hear more about Ms. Lee. This was a tremendous story.

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