Tuesday, September 2, 2008


“Did you ever hear from that Black man who brought you down here last year?” my l03-year old cousin asked.
“No I didn’t”, I told her.
“Well I’m glad”, she said.
“I’m not, I would have liked to have heard from him”, I added.
She went on to talk about why it was good I hadn’t heard from him. And then suddenly she started talking about Obama. Now this is a real Southern woman who has been a staunch Democrat all her life and all her family before her. But the way she was talking about Obama, I couldn’t hold back. “Why Mary, I didn’t know you were such a racist”, I injected.
“I will never vote for a Black man”, she added vehemently. I had never heard her voice so loud and strong. Both of us were expressing an anger we had never shared.

My family and I had stopped for a short visit with Mary and her sister Elizabeth, my 2nd cousins on my father’s side, on our way to the Gulf and the beach. My Mother was sitting next to Mary and I was on the other side of her. Elizabeth, Mary’s younger sister was on the other side of me. She kept quiet the whole time, as she usually does, unless she’s more distanced from Mary.

An old family friend was with us, sitting next to my Mom. My younger daughter and her husband were also present with their three children, ages l4, l0 and 7. They were all meeting each other for the first time, except for the l0 year old. I had taken Jake to a family reunion with our Southern relatives a year or so ago.

Everyone was just listening to the banter between Mary and I, maybe a little shocked this had even come up. Just as quickly as it had begun, it was on to other things. Without coming to any solution or resolve we had moved on.

But on our way out, Mary had to say, “now don’t you vote for Obama”.

As we were going to our cars my l0 and l4 year old grandsons said, “I like Obama, I would vote for him”. I later learned the l0 year old is really keeping up with the whole political scene.

The South seemed even more Southern this time. Has it always been like this or is it mainly the tensions of the election?


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