Monday, November 20, 2017

ELAINE MASSACRE


I love the Internet. I inherited a burning desire from my Dad to know things.  My Dad was a bit of a genius and he thirsted for knowledge. He kept references books handy for the things he did not know. He would have loved the ease of the Internet for its wealth of knowledge at our finger tips.

Sometimes what I search for is frivolous, sometimes it is medical, often it is something complex but many times a day I rush to my computer just to check out an unknown that I hear or read about. I want to know right now.

The other night, there was some severe weather in Arkansas and the weather channel was focused on the south east corner of the state.  Then I saw it. Very near Memphis was a little town with the name of Elaine on the weather map. Not having heard of it before, I hustled off to the computer to see if it was an Arkansas town or a Tennessee town as the state boundaries were not clear on the weather map.

I was hoping to find a small town that I could tell my childhood friend Elaine about and tease her that if she moved to Arkansas, she could live in her very own town. I all ready have notified my sister-in-law about Shirley, Arkansas. So far, no one is moving:)  As best as I can tell, there is no Patti, Arkansas. Darn.

However, what I found completely shocked and dismayed me. Yes the town of  Elaine was in Arkansas but it had just an awful history that you can read about here.  

In 1919 the black sharecroppers in Elaine  were trying to organize to get better prices for their cotton from the white land owners.  When two white men tried to break up the meeting, one of the white men was killed. 

Five hundred to 1000 whites, some from neighboring counties, joined a mob that attacked the blacks on sight. The slaughter of 237 blacks and 5 whites followed including women and children.

It ranks as one of the worst incidents of racial violence in American history.  It was horrific but I only discovered it by accident when looking up a small town in Arkansas. Sure wasn't in any of my history books at school. Makes me wonder what else is hiding out there?

What was interesting was that less than a week later the same news channel ran an in depth piece on the Elaine Massacre. Got the feeling I was not the only one to notice and Google "Elaine, Arkansas" that night.

Did you ever search Google only to uncover something dreadful, perhaps frightening,  or maybe you were luckier than I was and you uncovered something delightful?


Monday, November 13, 2017

HUG THAT MADE MY DAY


I was heading to town to meet some friends for lunch and decided since I was a bit early, I'd stop at Walmart and pick up some needed bread. I try to make my town trips multipurpose.

As I was heading out to the parking lot with my loaf of bread, I saw her.  She was a really old lady--yes even older than me.  She was tiny.  I doubt she carried a hundred pounds and wore a long coat that came to her ankles.  She also wore "that look."  The look that says, "Where in blue blazes is my car."

Now I have owned that same bewildered look on occasion so it was easy to recognize. We smiled at eachother and she confessed that she couldn't find her car.

She told me it was a white Buick. You ever notice how many white cars fill parking lots?  I told her to try her key fob to see if her car would beep or flash lights.  Nothing. The remote looked rather worn out so we started walking.

Up and down the rows we went. Here I am a bit embarrassed to admit that little lady blew my doors off. She could flat out scoot and she was pushing a cart to boot while I carried only a loaf of bread.

By now I realized I would probably be late for the luncheon but there was no way I was leaving her. After a while  I told her we should divide and I took off in an opposite direction.

Finally--I spotted a white Buick several rows over so I started hollering to get her attention hoping it was hers.  When she got fifty feet away from the car, the fleet footed old woman wearing no glasses, read the 4 inch dealer decal on the bumper aloud and let out a delighted yell.

I have never seen a child at Christmas more excited. She then reached up and gave me a really long, tight hug. She said, "I don't even know your name but I will never forget you."

I told her I was just paying forward exactly what someone had done for me once.

Yes I was a little late for lunch but it was worth it. She made me feel good all day. I needed that. A case of just a tiny bit of effort and getting a huge return.

You ever have a parking lot devour your car, making you wear "that look"?