Wednesday is your new favorite day! Lol. 🙂
I would like to share more of my writing with you. I mean, besides poetry. Soooo, I’ve come up with another Wednesday Segment. Welcome to Day One of Writer’s Wednesday. I was late to my workout this morning drafting this so excuse my delay on getting to the comments. I am currently sweating it out during my lunch as you’re reading. Gotta keep it together ladies!
Here’s our Writer’s Wednesday Badge.
Every other Wednesday, I’ll give you either an excerpt from one of my books or something new, a short story or something. I don’t really know but I’ll think of something creative every other week, time permitting.
This week, I am giving you a sneak peek into a scene from The Road to Freedom in a segment I like to call “Papa’s House.” Enjoy!
“This here make you grow hair on ya chest,” said Papa as we laughed, watching as Terry took in the liquor before coughing, and Papa patting his back for rescue as he laughed.
“Breathe, son, breathe.”
“What the hell is that!” said Terry, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand.
“Can’t handle it, huh T?” said Frank, laughing.
Papa’s shoulders bounced up and down when he laughed, slapping his leg as he did so. “That there’s what we call white lightening. Amazing what you can do with a little corn mash. You be alright son, breathe,” he said as Terry went back to his place on the sofa, holding his chest.
We were sitting at the home of Peter “Papa” Whitfield, the white man who offered us food and a bathroom once Ms. Mary’s vittles ran low. Peter ran a farm just outside of town and his faded blue jean overalls and heavy boots gave way to the hard work it took to run this place. Acres of land spread wide on both sides, cows grazed the area beyond the fences, and Rottweiler dogs alerted its master of strangers approaching Poplar Springs Drive in Meridian Mississippi.
The air was unusually cool tonight and the warm coffee blanketed our insides as we rested from the road. Though we would have liked to go on, Ms. Mary insisted we stop and refuel.
“You know, liquor does not actually warm you in the cold. It thins your blood and makes you colder in winter,” said Gary.
“Thank you, Gary, for that irrelevant piece of information,” said Terry.
“Well, I don’t think your friend’s gonna be worried about the cold anytime soon,” said Papa, chuckling.
“What is that heavenly smell?” said Laurie as Sara, Papa’s wife, appeared from the back of the house carrying a casserole dish.
“Why don’t you ladies come find out. Leave the men here to talk about men things,” she said, with laughter in her voice as Laurie and Fae marched on to the back to retrieve more food.
As the women disappeared, headlights invaded their places on the sofa. Papa’s dogs barked and raced toward the unknown vehicle as they growled in the night air.
“You expecting company Mr. P?” said Willie, peeking out the window.
Papa frowned and stood as Sara emerged from the back.
I don’t think I like the way that she called his name.
“Alright boys, y’all head on over to the back now,” said Papa.
“Why?” said Terry.
“This ain’t the time to be asking questions now boy, go!”
We all scattered to the back of the house, walking past the thick, black curtain that separated the kitchen from the dining room table; where Terry had taken his first, or perhaps second, drink.
“What’s going on?” said Fae.
“I don’t know.”
“Shh,” said Sara as Papa’s voice roared from the front door.
“Tommy Lee, ain’t specs to see you out so late, how’s the wife?”
“Hey there,” said the voice of a deep southern drawl. From the sound of it, Terry wasn’t the only one drinking tonight.
“Oh, she’s be fine. Mighty fine. Say uh, you ain’t got no company on in there do ya, Peter?” said the Tommy Lee voice.
Papa chuckled, “You mean besides my wife?”
Tommy Lee’s drunken voice laughed. “How is Sara doing by the way? She so pretty. Hey! Sara! It’s Tommy Lee!”
“You alright, man? Perhaps we should take this on out in the yard.”
“Perhaps,” said Tommy, laughing. “That’s a funny word, “Perhaps!” he said again, laughing.
“Look a here,” said Tommy. “Word is you’s got some niggers in there.”
“Whoa,” said Terry.
“Shhh!” said Sara as we continued to listen.
“I think you better get on home now Tommy, it’s getting late now.”
“Kicking me out, huh? I ain’t gonna tell you how to run thangs, but you best be careful. Nigra mens and Nigra womens is on the loose now. They’s tryna inflame our nigras and our whites t-t-t…” Tommy’s voice trailed off as if trying to find the words as we listened.
I regretted the once warm caffeine that now had my blood racing, my hands shaking, and my heart pounding out of my chest.
“Alright Tommy boy, I think you best get on the road now, the Missis be waiting,” said Papa as their voices faded away. I noticed Papa’s voice remained calm, and I imagined they had now stepped outside since we could no longer hear the now distant voices.
“OK, everybody just remain calm and stay where you are until I come back,” said Sara, before disappearing behind the curtain.
“What do you think is going on?” said Laurie.
“I don’t know,” said Frank.
“How does anyone know that we’re here?” said Gary.
That was a good question. We’d made sure to keep our travels discrete since the New Orleans incident. But it would also make sense that Frank’s dad would be looking for him. But I kept my thoughts concerning his dad to myself. We all knew he was racist and it embarrassed Frank. Though I’m sure Mr. Hansen had something to do with it, I did not want to disgrace the face of my friend. I went with my second thought instead.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if we were being watched.”
“Or followed,” said Fae.
“I bet it was that punk ass Papa. What kind of name is that anyway? What man calls himself Papa?”
Terry’s eyes had a gloss to it as he spoke. I think by now he was really feeling the liquor.
“I’m tired of this,” said Willie.
“Oh, so you punking out too Willie?”
“Terry come on,” said Fae.
“Naw, I’m asking him a legitimate question. You punking out, Negro?”
“What you just call me?”
“Really?” said Laurie looking at both Terry and Willie.
“I know y’all ain’t gonna do this now,” said Frank.
“Please don’t do this now,” said Gary.
“Shhh!” I was sick of everyone’s talking. Though they spoke in whispers, it seemed our voices carried and would float on out the back room and into Tommy Lee’s ears. Who knows what he wanted or what he heard. We were in Mississippi after all. The stories of their crimes against the Negro were well known in the South. And after the murders of Emmett Till and others, Mississippi’s racism had gained increased attention. People all over the world could read in newspapers and watch on television the bizarre system that protected those who committed crime after crime. I didn’t understand why such hatreds existed for negroes, and my longing for the answer burned its own private hole into my chest. Unless I did my part to find out, I would never be quite whole again. If only I could have explained it this way to mother where she could understand. Being part of the fight for freedom on behalf of negroes wasn’t just some phase I was going through. More so than a desire, it was a need. Otherwise, as a young white man in white America, I could not help but feel guilty on behalf of my people. And as we stood here, fearful of the unknown, I knew that what I felt could not compare to Fae, Willie, and Terry. Considering I was shaking uncontrollably in my own skin, what kind of fear did they experience? And more, what was it like to have to experience it your entire life? The pangs of guilt sought to overwhelm me as we stood there behind the curtain and waited.
“I enjoyed the writing style of the author, who was able to capture different characters through their dialogue and how she wrote their accents. Though Ysrayl is not a white teenage boy, she is able to write his narration convincingly, while also being able to give other perspectives through the rest of the characters.”
– Swimming Through Literature, Amazon Review
Remember, The Road to Freedom as well as Beyond the Colored Line and Between Slavery and Freedom is on sale this month! The Black History Month Stella Sale ends next week. CLICK HERE to order all three books at one low price. All books are paperbacks, signed by me with my author seal. Shipping is also free but this limited time offer won’t last.
Welcome back you Non-Whiners! Ya’ll know how we do this, if you’re new to this segment or this blog, please read the first post HERE. Our goal is not to whine, complain, or criticize on Wednesdays.
So far, we’ve pretty much covered complaining and whining but No Whining Wednesday also means no criticizing.
Criticize – indicate the faults of (someone or something) in a disapproving way.
One thing about this is that it’s easy to see the faults in others. Even in writing it is difficult to see your own errors (i.e. the need of editors). Sometimes we need to apply this to life in general, that is, edit your life. “Your” being the key word here.
Criticism is sneaky and can roll off the tongue so easily. It can be done in many ways and even more so today than before since technology conceals much and through emojis and semicolons people roll their eyes and smack their lips. Speaking negatively under their breath while they throw up a smiley face.
If we really thought about it, we’d probably discover that we spend most of our day criticizing others. We criticize the woman taking too long in the grocery line in front of us. We criticize the woman whose pants are too tight or shirt that exposes her breasts. We turn our lips up at the homeless man or the drunkard stumbling down the street. In our own thoughts, we do more criticizing than we’d admit outwardly and let’s not talk about writing! There’s a load of judgment here. The truth is that we can often see the splinter in the eyes of others but not the plank in our own. While we are pointing fingers, we tend to be far worse than the people we’re judging.
“Any fool can criticize, complain, and condemn—and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.”
– Dale Carnegie
When I was in High School, there was the perception that the person who was the loudest and the most critical was the toughest and they often became the most popular. This perception could not have been any further from the truth. The person who talks a lot knows nothing. Likewise, the person who is so quick to judge others is a fool. Be not mistaken, it takes a strong person to be kind, gentle and forgiving in a hateful world. Seeking vengeance and refusing to forgive is just as cocky and critical as condemning someone for what they wear.
Today, focus on editing your own life before you point out so much as a missing hair from someone else’s.