one hot summer day

our mother decided to take us on vacation

driving me and my sister

from sweltering Texas to steamy Oklahoma

in our old air conditionless stick shift Ford

we knew no better so we were happy

our first stop was at a relative’s farm

where we played with the pigs

and were served freshly killed and fried chicken

drumsticks with the feet attached

the grownups thought this was exceedingly funny

i kept my thoughts to myself

the next day we drove out through miles of cotton fields

and stopped in the yard of an old house in need of paint

but neat and clean

the house door opened and to my and my sister’s surprise

all these black people came out to see who we were

mom got out of the car as a graying old woman

emerged, stepped off the porch toward us

she and mom met half way to the house

hugging and crying

my sister and i got out to a flurry of introductions and hugs

from Zada and her husband Tom

who mother stayed with while my grandmother and her sister picked cotton

these people were part of our family

my sister and i played outside with other kids

we got chased by a rooster that seemed half my size

we had more fried chicken

minus feet

and left tired and happy during the night

we never saw them again

they live in my box of good family memories

Copyright Michael Douglas Scott