Edited By William M. Reynolds
Chapter Three: Southern Satellite
I began my long journey to class consciousness a little after 2 o’clock, July 12, 1977. My Aunt Margret had just called my grandma, my momma’s momma, to tell her that my daddy had been hit by a county trash truck. At the time, I could not have known the identity of the caller or the purpose of the call. I was simply taking advantage of the telephone ring to stand inside my grandma’s refrigerator door and drink Pepsi-Cola straight from the bottle. I remember sizing up how long I had to stand there and drink by the nature of the conversation taking place in the front room. The caller must have asked for her by name because immediately after her initial “hello,” my grandma declared, “This is Miriam,” and I knew right away that I had plenty of time.
July in South Carolina can be hotter than a motherfucker and this particular Tuesday had been all that—not to mention certain and secure in its routiness. Momma and Daddy had left for work well before daylight. My grandpa was out exterminating bugs. My little sister and brother were over at Uncle Ronnie’s until the first shift let out at 5 p.m., and as usual I was left to roam the quarter mile between my house and my grandma’s, which was at the top of the street. My daddy had left a list of chores...
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