I'd like to talk about what happened yesterday with Jacob's sons. A lot of you were so kind in defending me from what you perceived as rude behavior and although I appreciate that, it's more complicated than that.
I live in a very mixed community. And when I say "mixed" I mean racially, divided mostly between white people and black people. But I also mean mixed in the sense that although none of us in this immediate area appear to be vastly affluent, some of us are comfortable and some are absolutely living in poverty.
Now that line that is not entirely drawn in black and white. There are some very fine large houses with gorgeous lawns where some of my black neighbors live whereas one of the most junked-out, trashed-out, broken-down trailers in the area houses a white family. I cannot believe the trash in that yard. I mean literal trash. There are modular homes which are not junky in the least but very tidy, very well-kept, and black and white families live in them. Meanwhile, right here at the corner of Old Lloyd Road and Highway 59 where I live, there are several larger houses, some of which predate the Civil War (mine does) which were most likely built with the labor of human beings who were kept as property.
I have no doubt that the descendants of some of those people still live in this area.
Jacob and his family live in one of the poorer-looking places that I walk past. As I said, there are several houses on the property and I can only imagine that they are hot as hell inside, even if there are window units, and that in winter they are cold. Not as bad as where No Man Lord lives which is in an old RV that has a tarp over it to keep the rain out. I imagine that everyone knows where I live. I may be of slight interest simply because I am the old white woman who walks. And have been walking here for over fifteen years. When I first moved to Lloyd, people stopped to ask if I needed a ride all the time.
Now they know me and my habits.
But here's the thing- I may be just an old woman who walks and whose chickens can be observed from the sidewalk and who wears tattered overalls daily and who works in the yard but I am also white and I also live in a rather large house, even if it does need spray washing and painting desperately and has paint peeling off the ceiling and mold on the walls and has a floor that tilts in the kitchen. And it doesn't matter to some people what my politics are or what my heart is like- I represent, by my color and my Prius, and my house- obvious privilege.
And some folks just don't want to mess with that.
And I don't blame them.
Also? I haven't earned anyone's respect.
Another aspect of the whole situation is the matter of privacy. I live behind a fence and a dense border of azaleas and palms and firespike. Just the fact that I have the time and leisure and also money to create this barrier between me and the world says more than you can imagine. No Man Lord's RV is on a bare piece of land. He sleeps often in a lounge chair under one of the few trees on his property just a few yards from the road. His only water source is a spigot right by the sidewalk. His "fence" is string which he's tied between posts where he sometimes hangs his drying laundry which he no doubt washed by hand. So if he is sitting in a chair reading his Bible and I walk by and say "Good morning" and he doesn't answer, I get it. Or at least I think I do. And if Jacob's sons do not care to waste the energy to say hello to me, I get that too. Their houses, the cars they work on- they're right there beside the road too.
And who knows? They might have been having a terrible day. You never know. And everything I've written here is just my own theory and are my own thoughts.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that I do not live in a place where everyone is essentially very similar. Some of us here may as well come from different planets and my heart tells me that I have to respect the differences even as I am vastly aware that we are all the same in many ways.
I hope I've done an adequate job of explaining this. It's extremely difficult and often uncomfortable to discuss race and financial disparity but they are part of reality. Certainly part of my reality. It's complex and so much of it is wrong and I have no answers for how to make it better. I just try to be friendly and respectful. Always respectful.
And of course, there is always the possibility that Jacob's sons really are rude, but I don't think so.
Here's what I'm cooking tonight.
not only is your soup/dinner lovely..(as is your new pot) your explanation in regards to yesterdays *non encounter* well...... it IS your reality and you accept it and understand it for what it is....which may not be ugliness at all...but mere *reality*. To judge it any other way would be closed minded....which you are NOT. Thank you for revealing thatReplyDelete
Yes! The Jessie family will be home tomorrow and party!!!!!!!!!!
And you have to remember that this is just my perspective which could be completely off. But I try to understand. I really do.Delete
I love your neighborhood, I walk down it sometimes (goggle earth) and marvel at how comfortable it feels. Church and dirt and all. It is real. I always reckon politeness is a form of dishonesty. The boys are real. Again, I say 'I love your neighborhood", and I love your house- it is deep, old and has stories.ReplyDelete
The soup looks amazing and i want some!
Oh, it is definitely REAL! I love that you can walk down my road from so far away.Delete
The soup was very good. I am looking forward to a bowl for lunch.
I'm almost to the end of Paul Theroux' travel book, Deep South. He writes as you speak. He writes of the twenty percent of America whose poverty and living conditions are off the map, off the chart, in about 450 pages. To his credit, I have not set it aside, and am a hundred pages from the end.ReplyDelete
It's a great book Joanne. I have read it myself but during Paul Theroux's research he clearly would have been well-advised to call in for a long chat with Mary at the Moon residence in Lloyd. He would surely have learnt some things.Delete
I am always a bit wary of the perspective of people who have not lived in a place although in some instances, I am sure that they can approach a subject with more objectivity. It certainly does say a lot that you have managed to get through 350 pages of the book!Delete
And yeah, Mr. P! Why didn't Mr. T. come and have a chat with me?
That was way too rhymey.
That was a very interesting read, about the community you live in. I live in a very racially mixed community -- the friends I talk about all the time next door are African American and tell me I'm family. Feels very good. Many Indians, first generation, whose attitude to me is of respect, largely because I'm old! when we get to know each other better, they realize I'm not really very old inside. Mixture of ages, too, a very important factor.ReplyDelete
I don't like the idea of retirement communities where children aren't a daily feature of life. In income, however, there's much less disparity than yours. I'm on the low end but I have neighbors much more affluent. However, the houses have a leveling effect, and some people can't afford them, others think they're too small to bother with. So I'm guessing we have midrange income people for the most part. Except me, as usual! Very modest.
Income disparity is a huge differing factor, isn't it? As are education and access to health care. Here in the US we have completely unbalanced the equations which I think is a very big part of many of our difficulties at the moment. At the very least, there are so many resentments. Many of them quite valid.Delete
you know it never occurred to me to think that they were being rude. sons working on a car, older generation talking to a stranger from the same generation. it's not like he called their attention and formally introduced you. what I got was just an explanation of who they were. no reason for them to interrupt their work.ReplyDelete
interesting take, Ellen....gave me food for more thought- and a bit of a different angle. thank you!Delete
Well, he did sort of call their attention and I did say "hello" and "I'm Mary." But yeah, no reason there to interrupt their work.Delete
Do people not walk in Florida?ReplyDelete
Your part of the world is different than mine but we have the same issues. Poverty is always a problem and discrimination and addiction. I've led a fairly sheltered life in many ways and the amount of pain in suffering in the world still shocks me.
Oh, people very much do walk in Florida. Just not as much in the rural areas, especially over a decade ago. At the time I think I was one of the only ones around here. Now there are more walkers and plenty of bikers.Delete
I, too, can't help but be shocked by the way some people are forced by poverty to live and how much suffering there is.
I never thought anyone was rude from what you described, and the sons may have just noticed their father speaking to you and decided not to step away from their work but to ask him who you were later since they don't know you. I think you are right.ReplyDelete
That could well be true but I doubt seriously they asked their father who I was. I think they probably already know- if not by name, then by sight.Delete
Obviously you have a deeper understanding of Lloyd and its realities than any of us. I just think if I were working in the yard and a neighbor came up and talked to my mother or father, who said "these are my sons" and gestured toward me, I would at least say hello. But that's just me, and as you said, there are often racial and economic nuances to all these interactions.ReplyDelete
Great pics of the boys, and the soup is looking good!
It's so complex, Steve. There are centuries of backstory which affect us all daily. Still. I doubt this country will over overcome that. How can we possibly forget?Delete
That soup was very good.
A very intelligent post that gives me a better sociological understanding of the subtle undercurrents that exist in mixed communities in "The Deep South". Thank you for sharing your perceptions.ReplyDelete
By the way, if you live to be 132 you are not an old woman just now - you are only middle-aged! I am older than you by a few months but I have never thought as myself as "old". As far as I am concerned, I am still eighteen.
Well, I feel like I"m probably about forty four. Haha! But I was mostly describing myself that way because I am sure that's how I am viewed by many of my neighbors. And truly, I am and old white woman who walks.Delete
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You have a very deep and compassionate understanding and view of your Community. We can never really know what someone else is Dealing with on any given day... and there is so much to be Dealing with these days particularly... but even before then. So many are hurting, enduring injustices, sick and tired while being tired of being sick and sick of being tired.ReplyDelete
You said that beautifully, Bohemian. Thank you. You get it.Delete
A beautiful open hearted post Mary. Thank you. Maybe those boys were being rude, or maybe they were trying to get through a day in which the world learned that Breonna Taylor would not get justice, that the only charges to be brought were for the bullets that put holes in the wall of Breonna’s white neighbors, and none for the bullets that put holes in Breonna’s black skin. A woman, an EMT in the middle of a pandemic, murdered in her own bed by cops in plain clothes who did not announce themselves (though they found a witness to say they did, after the first 11 said they didn’t), was not even mentioned in the charges. Also, those cops didn’t even have the right house. And the man they were looking for was already in custody. And there’s so much more I don’t have the will to get into. The neighbors’ wall got more justice than Breonna did. The bullets whizzing through Breonna’s apartment into the neighbors’ wall were deemed to have recklessly endangered the neighbors but not Breonna, who was killed in the same police action. All this to say Black folks were reeling that day. Blind with anger and sorrow. Hot tears. I was feeling it myself. I was so devastated I really couldn’t write on my own blog. Thank you dear Mary for being the sort of friend in whose comments I could feel free to share this. Thank you for getting how the world is, while not being party to it. I love you. If those boys knew your heart they’d have said hello. Even on that day.
I, too, thought about the same thing- that it was the very day that the news about Breonna Taylor's assassins being cleared of charges came out. Why would those young men think that I represented anything but injustice, privilege, and the continuation of centuries' worth of cruelty and systemic racism?Delete
That legal decision was beyond defendable. We all know damn well that in the first place, if those cops had shone their lights on a white couple laying in bed and the man had pulled out a weapon, their first instinct would NOT have been to murder his companion. The fact that they were only charged for the "reckless endangerment" of the neighbors was gasoline on the fire they lit to begin with. Salt on the bloody, bleeding wounds.
Thank you, dear woman, for being the sort of friend who makes me feel as comfortable as I can feel to discuss and try to explain the reality of things as they are where I live. At least as I see them from my own perspective which may well be skewed but it is a perspective which is based on many years of living in the deep south and trying with all my imperfect heart to be empathetic and understanding.
As I have said so many times, I have been treated with almost holy grace by so many people who had no reason whatsoever to do so. And I never forget that and every time I think of it, hot tears come to my eyes.
I love you so.