I don’t know if it was pride from Father’s words or the pleasure from a piece of hard candy that
beckoned, but I felt so good I thought I would burst.
someone who supplies the means for subsistence
Papa was a good
having a strong preference or liking for
partial to the general store, but I liked to walk by the livery stable too.
capable of happening or existing
But at that moment, in the general store, when my father told me that I could do a man’s work, anything seemed
showing great kindness toward the distressed
“I swear to God it wasn’t me. Have
mercy, you’ve got the wrong man. I didn't touch her.”
a spiritual leader of the Christian Church
It was like the
reverend told us: All had been darkness and now there was light.
the cognitive process whereby past experience is remembered
I can’t let loose of my
memories, even if I wanted to. Yeah, I’ve seen it all in these hundred years, the good and the bad. My
memory works fine.
to make better
“George, I know you’re tired. But President Lincoln, he didn’t free us to be lazy and no good. He freed us to work hard and
marked by extreme and violent energy
I heard one of the generals say that he never saw no unit, white or colored, fight as
fierce as we did.
a unit of area used in English-speaking countries
“As freed slaves we were given forty
acres and a mule. It was a start.”
enjoying or affording comforting warmth and shelter
Ever since I remember, even on the cold mornings when the fire had burned down, I would wake up under a blanket, always with some brothers and sisters next to me. We were warm and
something used to lure fish or other animals
For fishing, we made our own poles out of willow branches. Almost anything made good
extend one's limbs or muscles, or the entire body
Next day, I took home as much as I could carry and told everyone all about it, except my arms wouldn’t
stretch big enough to tell it right.
a clergyman who watches over a group of people
“The Lord is my
shepherd, I shall not want,” Johnny read.
the gathering of a ripened crop
Papa always said that our soil produced a good
harvest of rocks and stones.
money available for a client to borrow
Till the day he died, Papa always said, ‘It’s a good thing there was some nice folks like the McKenzies that would lend, because a bank was never going to let colored folk have any
a state of prosperity or fame
My uncle Henry always said, “A white man enjoys his
success, a colored man has to pay for it.”
the feeling that accompanies something extremely surprising
She wore a look of utter
show, express, or direct through movement
I couldn’t hear a word, but Papa was talking and
gesticulating with his arms. He swung his right arm wide and Mr. Blake was laughing. They was just talking like two people, not like a colored and a white talking.
“Okay. See these papers here? They say we can buy eighty acres that Mr. Blake has next to the McKenzie
property we bought.”
a statement of what is required as part of an agreement
We can buy it on time and fill out the
terms that will work for us.
a large knife used as a weapon or for cutting vegetation
Within minutes of swinging that old
machete, the morning chill would leave my body.
a long narrow shallow receptacle
As we worked, cane juice would run down a
trough into a barrel. We called it ribbon syrup. It was good.
the merchandise that a shop has on hand
Since money was scarce, ribbon syrup also made for good trading
stock. At the general store we could trade a barrel for just about anything; nails, shotgun shells, and, if times was good, store-bought cloth and such things.
toasted or roasted slightly
But I think it was
parched corn that I liked the most.
make receptive or willing towards an action or attitude
I felt awfully good when Papa said, "He’s right about that and I told him so. He said that if I was ever
disposed to your doing some work at his place, he could always use you there.”
conduct rational investigation
I’ve never spent much time
philosophizing and such, but I do wonder, “Why am I still here and so healthy too? And why is it that after all these years everybody wants to listen to what I have to say now?”
judge tentatively or form an estimate of
I had never really talked to any other white folks about such things as the Klan and so I watched to
gauge Richard’s reaction.
someone who sees an event and reports what happened
I said, “I am a
witness to the truth. That’s why I am still here. I can’t let the truth die with me. That’s why you’re here: to help me get the true story down, before it’s my time.”
the killing of animals, as for food
We both raised pigs, and when it was
slaughtering time we would get together and help each other.
internal organs collectively
My cousins and I would help take out the
entrails. Nowadays some people throw them away. We would take the liver, and the kidneys, and the heart, and some intestines, rinse off the blood real good, and give them to Mama or Aunt Mary. They would boil that till it was hard. Then they would melt some lard down in a big skillet and fry it up good. That’s what chitlins is.
in fortunate circumstances financially
They weren't as
prosperous, though. We had glass in our windows and their barn wasn’t the size of ours neither.
having unexpected good luck
"Yeah, son, not everybody be as
fortunate as we are. That’s a good thing to remember.”
socially or conventionally correct; refined or virtuous
“Folks around here, white and colored, say that he’s more than
something that remunerates
“Glad to hear it. I understand your boy here is a good worker. You can come and take his
wages at the end of each month.”
a specific piece of work required to be done
I had more
chores every day, but in a short while, I could see what needed to be done without being told.
the amount a salary is increased
Though Papa still got the payments, I understand that I had gotten a
raise that put me over $1.50 a week. I got to feeling pretty good.
stretch out over a distance, space, time, or scope
I had expected an empty wagon and was taken aback to see Ashley there
extending a plate toward me.
give little or no attention to
I felt like smiling back, but I figured that the best thing was to
ignore it all.
a quality of spirit that enables you to face danger or pain
Looking back, I appreciate how much
courage it must of took to say something like that.