When my dad retired from the Army, we moved from Ft. Benning, GA to Center Point, AL (a suburb on the NE side of Birmingham) where he opened a barber shop and cut hair and held court with his friends who happened to be customers. I was maybe 4 years old. This would have been around 1965 in the Deep South.
Center Point at the time had one major intersection in the heart of town, cornered by Civitan Park, the Capri Theatre shopping center, a gas station, and the first Jack’s Hamburger joint.
One day, Dad and I were going somewhere and we were pulling up to this very intersection. That day it was hopping with activity. Guys in white robes were on each corner, holding signs and extending buckets toward the stopped cars. Hands would drop money into those buckets. I remember more folks giving to these white-clad people than those abstaining.
I distinctly remember when we passed by our bucket opportunity, Dad mumbled something to the guy I didn’t quite catch. I could tell he was angry about something. I meekly asked “who are those guys in those robes…?”
“A bunch of GD fools…”
He didn’t use the abbreviation.
My dad was a merchant marine as a teenager, and sailed around the globe a couple of times before serving his country in the Army as a member of the Corps of Engineers. He was one of the first teams in Japan during the aftermath of war-ending atomic destruction. He was in the Korean conflict, and did tours in Europe long enough to have some of us kids born in France and (then) West Germany.
The point of this rambling post is that in his travels, my rural Bama-born father learned that racism and hate are the byproducts of “GD foolery” and taught his kids that all lives matter, long before any slogan.
Under the skin and under the sun
We are all the same
So if you ask what I think of haters marching with torches, declaring their superiority over others, you already have my answer.
What my dad said…