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A lesson in how to be southern
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Author:  Colston Newton [ Thu Nov 30, 2017 11:29 pm ]
Post subject:  A lesson in how to be southern

It takes training to be a true southerner. I recall one of my first lessons.

It was September. I know that because I'd just had my birthday. Whether it was 1952 or 1953, I can't recall. I do know war was in the air because I, even at six or seven, was alert for soldiers.

Middleburg wasn't and isn't a big town. Other than Route 50 being its main street, it wasn't particularly dangerous for kids and I was pretty much allowed to run as I wished.

On the day my grandmother provided me southern instruction I had come down Liberty Street from the house and crossed Route 50. I was in front of the B&A Grocery on the corner. Up the sidewalk came a soldier. He was in khaki uniform. A lean fit man, his cap toed jump boots were highly shined, his trousers bloused, his uniform crisp. From his boots, I judged him to be a paratrooper.

I said “hi” to the soldier as he crossed over in front of the B&A. We must have talked a little more but all I remember is asking him if he'd like piece of my birthday cake, of which there was good bit left. He said he'd be glad to have some.

We crossed Route 50 and walked up to the house. I opened the door and saw my grandmother. I told her I had a soldier who wanted some birthday cake. She looked at him and said for us to wait outside and she'd bring him some, which she did.

The soldier sat on a large rock on the side of the street and ate the cake. He seemed to enjoy it. I was happy for him to have it, excited to see a soldier.

The “southern” lesson my grandmother taught me was that we didn't invite negroes into the house. The soldier was an African-American.

To this day, almost 70 years later, I am embarrassed by my grandmother's “lesson.” I hope the soldier saw past that and remembers the white kid who didn't see color but his uniform.

Author:  Gene L [ Fri Dec 01, 2017 1:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: A lesson in how to be southern

Where I grew up, there were very, very few Negros. However, in Grad School, I was excoriated by the PC Police for not capitalizing "negro" because that's how they used to do it back in the literature I read and because I seldom used the word "Negro", which was out of style. "Colored" then "Afro-American," now African American.

Author:  Doug G [ Fri Dec 01, 2017 2:08 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: A lesson in how to be southern

My mother and her folks said "Colored People." Somehow that's now offensive, exvept when the NAACP keeps it.

Author:  Tailingendloop [ Sun Dec 03, 2017 9:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: A lesson in how to be southern

You've got some great stories, Colston. Good on you for sharing your birthday cake.

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