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by Herbert Metoyer
by Herbert Metoyer
by Laura LaCour,
~ ~ ~
Oakdale was typical of many small, Creole communities in the 1930's. Nestled in the heart of Central Louisiana, the yard of almost every home was adorned with beautiful magnolia trees, and during the summer, the fragrance of their large, brilliant-white flowers would blend with that of the honeysuckles which grew wild on vines along the dusty streets and from every back yard fence.
We lived in the black section of town on the opposite side of the railroad tracks in an area commonly referred to by all as the Quarters. While we boasted a few teachers and an abundance of preachers, most of the inhabitants earned a meager living as servants, mill workers, or peddlers who passed through the Quarters twice a day¾each with their own special, colorful chants which were spoken with a mixture of English and Creole. During the summer, the peddlers sold such items as crawfish, milk, eggs, blackberries, sugar cane, melons, snap beans, tomatoes, and other garden produce. During the winter months, they sold fire wood, fish, and wild game.
My mother was a house wife. Her only outside activity involved the church where she played piano and sang in the choir. My father worked as a laborer at the local sawmill earning fifteen to eighteen dollars a week. Out of this sum came expenses for the house payment, food, clothing, and wood for the stove. What was left went for miscellaneous expenses such as church donations, ice for our ice box, and last, but not least, burial insurance.
Burial insurance was similar to life insurance as we know it today. They were small policies with a face value of no more than one to two-hundred dollars¾just enough to cover the cost of one's burial, and of course, no self-respecting citizen would dare be caught dead without one.
My parents had two such policies, one for each, that was sold to them by a white Cajun that we all called "Frenchy, the Insurance Man".
Frenchy was typical of most Cajuns, those trapped between two worlds, unwilling to accept the new, and equally unwilling to release the old. Most of the time, Frenchy wore a cane-woven straw hat, especially during the summer, and overalls with a starched, white shirt and a bright green tie which he never tied. He walked with a slight limp, the result of wound that he had received during the First World War.
Despite his handicap, Frenchy was an extremely friendly person who usually had a kind word for everyone. He, however, did tend to get a little testy whenever he encountered difficulties in collecting his weekly insurance premiums. In those cases, more likely than not, he would give his customers an impromptu lecture about how they should manage their budgets in order to satisfy their obligations.
Paydays for all occupations occurred like clockwork every Friday evening¾creating an air of excitement and anticipation throughout the Quarters. The lonesome wail of the sawmill's whistle promptly at five o'clock would mark its place in time for the whole town. Supper would be cooked early, and wives would sit on their steps, sometimes in groups, laughing and gossiping, and waiting for their men to come home with their weekly earnings. And while they were so occupied, old man Edwards would sit beneath the shade of his favorite persimmon tree strumming an ancient steel guitar.
My mother's favorite spot was in the swing mounted on our galerie. The evening shade from the china-ball tree in our front yard made it ideal. From there, she had a clear view of the Sante Fe Railway and the direction from which my father always came. My sister, Delores, was a toddler, and while our mother relaxed in the swing, she and I would play in the front yard behind the security of our once white, in need of paint, picket fence.
When my father turned the corner, my mother would announce his arrival, and we would race to greet him at the gate. He would lay his bicycle aside, pick us up, and nuzzle our necks playfully with his day-old beard while we squealed, covered our necks with our hands, and dodged his canine growling antics. Even today, with little effort, I can close my eyes and imagine the odor of the pine and hickory sawdust mixed with that of sweat and Bull Durham chewing tobacco that permeated his coarse overalls.
That evening, grocery bills would be tallied and paid, and debts between friends¾settled. Children would get Lagniappes, penny candies or cookies from the storekeeper, while our parents received extra measures of fatback, red beans, or rice.
Much later, there would be an increase in activity at the "Blue Hall", a popular, local Juke Joint. Drinking and dancing took place in the front half of the two story, boxlike structure, while drinking and gambling took place in the rear. What took place upstairs in the dimly lit rooms inhabited by some of them "fast women", as my mother used to call them, was a secret known only to our parents. We, the children, of course, had our own suspicions.
The revelry and the heavy, gut bucket blues bass beat of the jukebox would last long into the night. And I would lay awake, looking out the window, watching the dazzling display of the lightning bugs, fighting sleep, and yet, waiting for it to come and conquer me.
Every Tuesday following payday, Frenchy would pass through the Quarters, house to house, collecting his weekly insurance premiums.
"Bonjour. Comment ca va?"
"Comme si, comme sa, (so, so)," was my mother's usual reply.
"You got you gon' be dead money today, Ruby?" Frenchy would ask while wiping the sweat from his sun-reddened face on the sleeve of his already wet shirt.
In our case, the premium was twenty cents a week for the two policies. Frenchy would collect the money, make an illegible notation in his school-paper notebook, then proceed to the next house, his chapeau de paille (straw hat) bouncing in syncopation with his short, choppy stride.
One week, for several days, there were some mechanical difficulties at the saw mill and my father could not work. The men, however, were still required to report and remain on site each scheduled work day until the repairs were completed¾all without pay. As a result, this unexpected shortage of funds threw my parents already unmanageable budget into total chaos.
When Frenchy came by the following Tuesday, my mother explained the problem to him and stated that¾although she did not have the money then, she would try and catch up the following week. "Lord willin'."
The second week came and we were still no better off. Again, she informed Frenchy that she would try to have it by the next week, for sure... "If the Lord's willin'."
Apparently, the Lord was not willing, for when the third week arrived, we were worse off than before and my mother was too embarrassed to tell Frenchy again that she did not have the money. Besides, she now needed sixty cents.
So, to relieve herself of this situation, she instructed me to tell Frenchy when he came that she was not home. I was a little over four years old then, but followed instructions very well.
While she watched for his approach from her bedroom window, I played marbles on her freshly, lye scrubbed, wood floor, enjoying its sweet-pine odor and the sight of its clean, bleached-white expanse. As Frenchy approached, my mother rushed back into the living room and quickly repeated her instructions, "Now, when the insurance man knocks, you open the door and tell him... My-mother-is-not-home. You understand?"
"Yes-mam," I replied. Well... it seemed simple enough.
She then positioned me at the door where I waited¾poised. As soon as Frenchy knocked, I jerked open the door and shouted as loud as I could, "My mother's not home."
"Salleau prie! (Doggonit)," Frenchy said as he slapped the side of his thigh with his notebook heavily. I jumped. "Well, where you Maman done gone at?"
Without hesitation, I replied, "Behind the door."
From the look on Frenchy's face, I knew immediately that something had gone wrong. My suspicions were confirmed when the big hands of my mother lifted me by the scuff of my neck, and with a backhand flip, sent me skidding across the floor in a wild bouncing turn. Shamed, she apologized to Frenchy humbly.
"Ruby, I don't believe you done done a thing like dat. Dat's one no-for-good, dirty doggone trick¾making you little boy lie like you done did."
"I know it wasn't right, Mr. Frenchy. I just don't have the money yet."
"Well, dat don't make me no sense. Dat sawmill been sawing for most two weeks, now. What you do? Take you money and go buy a new dress or something?"
"No sir, Mr. Frenchy. Haven't bought a new dress for more than two years.... Just seems like every penny I get goes down a black hole or something."
"Well, what you gon' do? Dat's no good, you gon' die and all with no 'sorrance for your graveyard digging."
"Next week, Mr. Frenchy. I'll have it for sure next week¾Lord willin'."
"Well, Ruby, I know hard times been stomping on your corns just like mine. But he done went his way and gone now. And the longer you wait, the mo' you gon' owe. Now, you fix you head so you don't forgot to pay next week when I gon' come back. You hear?"
"I hear, Mr. Frenchy."
"Bonsoir, Mr. Frenchy."
My mother picked me up and we stood in the doorway swaying side to side as Frenchy left and proceeded to the next house. Tears swelled in the corners of her eyes, then ran down the chubby cheeks of her beautiful face, fell to her mammoth breasts, and melted the starch in her homemade, gingham dress. I didn't understand why, but suddenly, I felt very sad, too. My mother later told me that at that moment, she was promising God that she would never teach a child to lie again.
My baby sister, who had been asleep, started to cry. She put me down then, and we went to attend her.
The next week, it seems the Lord was still not willing and our financial situation was even worse. And the closer Tuesday approached, the more depressed my mother became.
Finally, the dreaded day arrived. The morning sun found her up early, preparing herself for the inevitable. Outside, while the chickadees and red-birds chattered away, my father left and joined the line of men passing on their way to the mill, their syrup-bucket lunch cans pinging brightly against the metal buttons of their well worn, denim overalls.
With deliberate care, my mother cleaned our house, put on a fresh starched dress, combed her hair, and powdered her face like she did each Sunday morning before we went to church. Afterwards, she spent the rest of the morning preparing and steeling herself emotionally for the task at hand, singing "Trees" and trying to decide the nicest way to tell Frenchy that she still did not have the money.
Again, she watched from her bedroom window, her face set and intense. Before long, I heard her talking to herself, and the more she talked the angrier she grew. "... and who does he think he is, anyway? Always waving them raggedy papers in my face. Hear him tell, you'd swear I was dying tomorrow.... Here, I can't even buy myself a descent pair of drawers, eating fatback and grits, and him hollering about dying money. White folks don't give a damn about nobody but themselves¾must think black folks is fools!"
On and on, she ranted. I had never seen her so angry before, not even the time she got mad, chased my father out the house, and stood on the front porch throwing every biscuit we had down the street after him. She was truly angry then, but that was nothing compared to her anger on this day.
Suddenly, her raving stopped and I knew instinctively that Frenchy was coming down the street. In silence, she got up, bristled, took a deep breath, and started stoutly toward the door. I waited wild eyed and expectantly. My mother was a big woman and I truly feared for Frenchy's life. But then, at the last moment, just before Frenchy knocked, my mother suddenly turned, grabbed me and my sister, and we dashed out the back door and into our Cabane (outhouse) where we hid.
"Keep quiet," she said as she sat down with my sister on her lap and leaned over to peek out through a knot hole in the door. While she was doing so, I peeked down into the black depths of one of the toilette holes, trying to see beyond the maggots and soiled pink pages of the Pittsburgh Courier newspaper, and wondering if these were the "black holes" my mother often referred to¾the ones where all our money went. In our solitude, we could hear Frenchy knocking loudly at our front door. We, of course, made not a sound.
Finally, Frenchy got tired and went away. When we were sure that he was gone, my mother released a sigh of relief, got up, and we went walking way down by the school house, my sister on her hip, and me, trailing close behind.
It was well past supper time when we finally returned home. Solemnly, my mother started her fires, and cooked a hasty meal. She fed my father first, then fixed our plates. After cleaning her kitchen, we all followed her into her bedroom where we knelt beside her bed to say our nightly prayers. And while I prayed for God to give me my own bicycle, I knew that she was praying for Him to deliver her from her dilemma, before Tuesday¾If willing. I, of course, thought her case was as hopeless as mine.
~ ~ ~
The following Sunday after church, Mrs. Benson, one of the local school teachers, approached my mother and asked her to consider giving piano lessons to her daughter. At first, my mother was reluctant, offering excuses about her qualifications as a music teacher. But when Mrs. Benson offered to pay her a month in advance, my mother's face suddenly lit up like a Christmas tree. She agreed, and the price was at for twenty-five cents a lesson, twice a week.
That day was the beginning of a new career for my mother¾one that enabled her to pay her burial insurance premiums and, at the same time, supplement our family income. I, of course, was delighted that God had answered her prayers. Two years passed, however, before He remembered my bicycle....
My mother taught piano to the neighborhood children for almost sixteen years, saving the excess until she had enough money to enroll in college at Southern University. She and my younger brother graduated together....
‑‑‑~ J ~‑‑‑
(C) 1987 Herbert R. Metoyer
Southfield, MI 48075
Tel: (248) 552-0582
Judgment Day on South Street
Herbert R. Metoyer, Jr.
~ ~ ~
This is a short, humorous, fictitious story about a Chevrolet Sedan and its role in judgment day on South Street. The story is based on an actual incident that occurred in 1943, in a little southern town by the name of Oakdale in Central Louisiana. The names of the characters were changed to protect the innocent and the guilty alike. I hope you find the story interesting....
~ ~ ~
In May 1943, I was eight years old, in the fourth grade. It was a hot, humid night. The only kind you would expect to find in Louisiana at the start of the summer.
We lived in an old house of very modest standards that grew as our family grew. My much younger brother, Bryford, and I shared a single twin bed in a back room beneath a tin roof. Although it could get quite hot there during the summer months, it was one of the best places in the world to hibernate during a thunder shower. On such occasions, I would spend many pleasurable hours there, reading, and listening to the many random, rhythmic patterns of the rain.
The walls of the room where my brother and I slept were covered with a variety of old newspapers. In addition to being highly decorative, they also served as insulation during the winter, and a mosquito barrier during the summer. My favorite comics, "Prince Valiant" and "Flash Gordon," graced positions of eminence above the head of our bed.
I usually wasted several hours of sleep trying to make sure that my brother stayed on his side during the night. Most of the time, I was unsuccessful. I slept on my back. My brother was a side sleeper. His favorite position was the "fetal curl" with his feet and legs thrown awkwardly toward my side of the bed.
So, I would lie there, waiting in the night, like a spider watching his prey, just waiting for him to move one inch toward my side. And when he did, I would take my left foot with extreme prejudice, and joust him back onto his.
Now, don't get me wrong. It was not a matter of me not wanting my brother to touch me. There was, however, another matter of greater significance. My brother occasionally wet the bed. Because I was twice his size, he would naturally gravitate to my side during the night. In the mornings, we would wake up arguing about who wet who. Since the evidence was almost always on my side of the bed, you can see that I was usually in an untenable position.
Worst yet, was when this would happen during the winter. We had a potbellied, wood heater that my mother kept burning during the day until we went to bed. On those cold nights, when he would wet, we would have to lie there freezing in it until she got up the next morning and started a new fire.
Anyway, while we were still jockeying for position at about 1:30 a.m., I had no idea that Judgment Day had arrived on South Street.
On this street, lived some of the finest citizens in our little black, southern community. Each, you might say, a pillar of the society.
Mr. and Mrs. Sudds, my sister Delores' godparents, lived on the east side of the street. We all referred to them as Marraine and Parraine, Creole for Godmother and Godfather. Parraine, who some folks considered a little too uppity, ran a small grocery store and filling station of the hand pump variety. His wife was a school teacher in the Hardwood Quarters, a sawmill housing project across town.
Across the street from them lived the McWilliams family with their four beautiful daughters (one of whom was the apple of my eye at the time) and son, little McWilliams, Junior.
Down the street, lived Mrs. Evelenor Lewis. Mrs. Lewis was the typical little old lady who had raised hell all her life, then in her later years, to atone for her sins, she preached "Hell and Damnation" to everyone else in town. Her unofficial position as a "Saver of Souls" gave her license to meddle in everyone's affairs, and she did this on a more than frequent basis.
The rest of the people on the street, like Jesse Bell, JuJu Joe, Delafosse, and others, were neither overly religious or sinful. Just ordinary people, who did ordinary things.
This was true for everyone, I guess, except "Bulldog". Everyone swore Bulldog was the worst sinner in town. Although Bulldog never bothered anyone, he was prone to sip liberally and frequently from a bottle of Elderberry wine that he carried in his back pocket for this purpose. Frankly, most of the time he was drunk¾surrounded by that mystic aroma of liquor and urine that usually identified persons of his persuasion.
In those days, we all had "outhouses". A storm blew Bulldog's over and he never did set it back upright. I don't know where he went for his more serious toilet duties, but I do know that at any time, he was subject to come out on his front porch in full view of anyone and relieve his bladder on a half-dead rose bush that his deceased wife had once planted.
In Oakdale, there weren't many blacks who could afford to own an automobile. Most of them had mules or bicycles. A few had old, antique jalopies or trucks that rattled up and down the dusty streets when they were dry, or churned the mud when they were wet. This being the case, there were not many of them who understood fully how the newer vehicles functioned.
My parents did not own a vehicle of any type, except the bicycle my father rode to work at the “Hardwoods” sawmill. Mr. McWilliams did. He had just bought a brand new, used, baby blue Chevrolet sedan. Of course, this elevated his social position in the community to a new height with friends and neighbors stopping by to congratulate him and admire his new car.
"Yeah-suh, Bro' Mac, you done yo`self right proud this time."
"Yeah, a whole lot of them white folks ain't got no car like that'un you
"I don't know Bro’ Mac, but if I was you, I wouldn't be driving that kar uptown cross them tracks too much. Them Ku Kluxing Klan men might get mad¾might think you poking fun at'em."
"Yeah, you know they can't stand to see a black man what done got hisself somethin'."
"Ain't it the truth."
Of course, most of the excitement was enjoyed by the children who examined the car in detail, while laughing, playing, and begging for rides.
"Boy, bet that kar can go 300 miles an hour¾dust'll be jes' flying."
"Ain't no kar go that fast."
"Well, I bet'ya it'll go more'n 200."
"Awww¾you don't know nothin' what you talking 'bout. That ain't no spanking, brand new car nohow."
"Well, my daddy say¾if he get a job at that mill over in Mabbs, he gon' get us one. And his gon' be better'n this'un."
To eliminate some of the congestion around his house, Mr. McWilliams would load the car full of kids and give them a ride around the quarters, stopping periodically to chase some of the older boys off his running boards.
So, on this particularly quiet summer night, about a week later, the stillness was shattered when the car horn started blasting away for no apparent reason.
The first person out of the house and into the street was Mrs. Evelenor Lewis. Scared out of her wits, she immediately started crying and shouting, "Oh, Lord! Oh, my Lord, it's Judgment Day! Gather up the sheep. The day of reckoning's here. Blessed be th' lamb."
The horn blasting away and her crying and yelling, soon aroused everyone else. Sleepily, they came out, and without one question, assumed that Judgment Day was, in fact, upon them.
Mrs. Sudds, who was a very impressionable person, to say the least, soon had everybody marching around in a daisy-chain circle singing "Neer-row My God to Thee".
About halfway through the refrain, Mrs. Lewis decided to go back to her house and will away all of her worthless furniture and treasures. How this little old senior citizen, ninety to one hundred pounds at the most, was able to drag her furniture, including the couch, out onto her front porch, is still one of Oakdale's unsolved mysteries.
Talking to no-one in particular, she yelled, "Reverend Wieley, you gets my mother's Holy Bible and two of them guinea hens out back. The rest goes to my cousin Rochelle. Tell Ladybird, she can have my white, rabbit-coon, fur coat."
Then, down the street she yelled, "Mrs. Sudds you still want that yellow feather, Sunday-go-to-meeting hat I bought last summer?".... The circle kept circling.
Most of the larger kids were standing around, open mouthed, gazing up at the nighttime sky¾waiting for some sort of apparition to appear. Some of the younger kids, who did not fully understand what was going on, were crying. Every dog in the neighborhood was up, howling and barking while one playful pup raced around the outside the circle taking periodic snaps at Mr. Sudds' flannel nightgown.
Bulldog, half-drunk, finally came out on his front porch to see what was going on and to tend his ablutions.
Spying him, Mrs. Lewis started shouting "Oh Lord, no, Bulldog! Don’t do your business out here in front of us and God Almighty. Have some decency ‘bout yourself!”
If Bulldog heard her, he showed no visible evidence, but continued with the task at hand.
“Shame... shame, shame. Lord hav' mercy on his soul. I done what I could for 'im, Lord¾but, that old stinking goat been a'testing my Holy Spirit."
Then, down the street, she shouted, "Everybody stop the singing! Stop singing and start up the Prayer Band. Pray for po' Bulldog's soul, Satan’s straining on 'im right now¾dragging him right straight down to the bottom of hell!"
To Bulldog she said, "Bulldog¾fall down on thy knees, cast away thy sinful ways, and throw thyself down on the mercy of the Lord." Then she did the "Sanctified Foot Stomp" (jumping up and down while clapping her hands) and shouted, "Hallay-lew-ya! My God's a forgiving Gawd...."
Bulldog, not ever really looking up, finished shaking his spigot, mumbled "Ole Bitch", then turned and staggered back into his little shotgun shack.... The circle kept circling.
Little McWilliams, Junior, who had been standing in the front yard during most of the commotion, finally noticed that it was the car horn blowing. It took him, however, several trips around the outside of the circle shouting, "Daddy, Daddy! That's dat car hone blowing," before he was finally able to get his father's attention. Abruptly, the circle stopped as if someone had suddenly stuck a pole into the spokes of a fast moving bicycle.
After a few moments of milling around, several of the adults followed the boy across the yard to the car. Sure enough, it was the car horn¾still blasting away.
The situation, however, was still far from being resolved. Since no one present knew anything about cars, there followed an impromptu brainstorming session to determine the best way to stop the horn from blowing. And since the key was not in the car, and the switch was already off, someone suggested throwing water on it.
"Well, I don't know about that," Bro' Mac said, more than just a little skeptical, "I don't wanna go chunking water on it and mess-up somethin'."
"Well, ya got to do something, Bro' Mac," JuJu Joe pleaded, "Its been squawking like that most an hour now and hit ain't let up none, yet."
"Shootz, we could be standing out c'here all night," Jesse Bell added.
"Now, ain't that the truth."
"Well, I don't know about y'all, but I needs to get myself some sleep fo' that sun come up. I got to go 'cross them tracks and hang out Mis' Vidrine's washing in the morning," Jesse Bell stated as she folded her arms and reared back, quite disgusted with the whole situation.
Now, Bro' Mac loved his new car, dusted and polished it religiously every evening before he retired. He, naturally, was deeply concerned. But, for lack of a better idea, and to keep the peace among his neighbors, he reluctantly lifted the hood while the rest formed a haphazard bucket brigade. At his signal, they feverishly started pitching water on the engine. Finally, the battery ran down and the horn died a slow painful death....
Unnoticed until now¾the lightning bugs, for some reason, seemed to be lighting up the whole sky.
Needless to say, there were some mighty embarrassed folks standing around in the mud and water, fanning away lightning bugs and slapping at mosquitoes. Not only were they embarrassed in front of each other, but they were anticipating the even greater embarrassment that would result if the rest of Oakdale found out about the incident.
So, to circumvent this, they gathered all the children together and dared them with threats on their lives, if they told another living soul about what had transpired.
The matter settled, they each filtered back into their respective homes¾ignoring the pleas of Mrs. Lewis, who called for someone to come and help move her furniture back into her house.
Since the black quarters in Oakdale were pretty small, many of the people on the adjacent streets had heard the commotion. Most of them thought someone had died. The next morning at school, the teachers were especially anxious to find out what had happened on South street. Naturally, they asked the children who lived there. All disavowed any knowledge. This only served to incite my grandmother's curiosity all the more.
My grandmother, Mrs. Edna C. Glenn, taught the fourth grade. She was a formidable woman, who was an expert in the efficient use of an 18-inch ruler. It served as a ruler, a swagger stick, a blackboard pointer, and when the situation dictated, it served as an exceptional tool for "tanning" little black bottoms.
So, with that introduction to my grandmother, you can understand the concern that Boo-Boo (one of my classmates) displayed when she directed him, sternly, to the cloakroom.
With ruler in hand, she demanded that he tell her what happened on South street. We all feared for Boo-Boo's life and were quite surprised to hear my grandmother's laughter pierce the silence.
With tears rolling down her chubby cheeks, she stumbled out of the cloakroom hanging onto the walls for support. She then called Mrs. Simpson and Mrs. Benson, the third and fifth grade teachers, over. Back to the cloakroom they went. There was more laughter and more tears.
Boo-Boo, who had started to enjoy his new found popularity, spared none of the details.
This went on all morning long with different teachers trooping in and out the cloakroom to hear a firsthand account of the episode.
We students learned no lesson’s that day. We slept, threw spitballs, and sailed paper airplanes until things returned to normal¾all because of "Judgment Day on South Street."
___ ~ J ~ ___
(C) 1993 (Revised) Herbert. R. Metoyer
Southfield, MI 48075
Tel: (248) 552-0582
Let me tell you a little story.
My name is Laura LaCour, seventh child (of 11) of Emile LaCour, youngest son of Elois and Eugenie "Rose" (Llorens) LaCour, and Mary Leola Couty, daughter of Gracien and Gertrude (Derousseau) Couty. I am SO happy to have found your website. It has bugged me all my life that so many of the Cane River Creoles don't believe that they have ANY Black blood running through their veins. Even some of the websites I've visited have asked me if I was a Black or White Creole. (?!) Please allow a fellow Creole--(yes, I don't know how to stop talking! ) to tell you this story.
My dad and 2 of his brothers moved to Albuquerque New Mexico in the early 50's with all their families. And because some of us Creoles can "pass" for something else (whatever that is), some of my relatives took to calling themselves "Cajun" because they didn't want people to think they had Black blood, (stuuuuuppppidddd! because you can look at them and see they're Black!). Anyway, I refused to play along with the game and whenever anyone would ask me what I was (which was just about every day), I'd tell them, "Black, French, Indian, Spanish...they call us Creoles."
Well, because Albuquerque was small, mostly Hispanic, all the LaCours stuck out like sore thumbs and everyone knew we were related, before long, my "passing" relatives got mad at me because I blew their cover. It was HILARIOUS they way they dogged me! But, because God don't like ugly, those same relatives now are the proud grandparents of Black grandchildren, because their own children couldn't wait to be with the Black kids of Albuquerque.
Herbert, don't let those idiots who posted that crap on the discussion board sweat you one bit. They are just probably some of those "passing" folks like certain relatives of mine. And we already know what happens when you try to keep deep roots buried and because God don't like ugly: The deep roots of the family tree tends to come up for air, out in the open, where everyone can see them! I love it!
Thank you for listening, my brother, and for the great website. God bless you and yours and may your New Year be blessed. I remain your Black Creole sister...
Laura Ann LaCour