Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Basketball as the light fades....

I just went outside on our back porch and realized that the kids in the house next door were out in the driveway playing basketball.

Memory flooded back of playing basketball in our yard as a kid as the light faded.

My father found someone to put up a basket in our yard (he wasn't 'handy' and could have never done it himself--by the way, I found someone to put up a basket for my son, since I'm not 'handy' either) and my friends and I played for hours and hours every day there wasn't any snow on the ground--and sometimes when there was, with a heavy, cold basketball.

Danny Taylor, Billy Bridgeman, Kyle Parks, Bobby LaFon, Jo-Jo Tagnesi, Bennie Graham, others too, wore out the grass on our lawn and played basketball for hours and hours in the summer--nothing else to do in Anawalt.

Who didn't play with us were any Black kids. Though McDowell County, West Virginia was the only county in the US, outside the deep, deep South, to have a 50/50 Black/White population, we were segregated to the extreme.

I only knew two black people by name: Gene and Nora--Gene worked in my uncle Russel's grocery store and Nora was his housekeeper. Amazing how you don't know the names of half the people around you....Oh, I did know the names of a couple of Black guys who hung around my Uncle Del's Esso station. Russel and Del seemed unfazed by the segregation.

And as the light faded, Danny and Billy and Kyle and Bobby and Jo-Jo and Bennie and I would play basketball.

And in other places Black boys would play basketball as the light faded.

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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.