Mama Black Widow, Mama moaned, “Thet fool chile.”

“But, God, you taught me to love and to help everybody regardless of race and color. And it was you, Lord, who directed me to go everywhere I was needed. You sent me to the Northside to lay my healing hands on a poor white spinster sick in mind and body. And some black lying snake in this church is trying to show my good works as evil. And about the church’s money, you know how I sacrifice many of my comforts to save church money. I would never steal the church’s money for—”

At the end of our first week in Chicago a snowstorm hid the grimy bleakness beneath three feet of glamorous whiteness. Cousin Bunny made Papa smile for the first time in Chicago. She gave him a pile of winter work clothes that her dead husband had worn to work sewers and to collect city garbage for twenty years. Then she had Soldier Boy, an acquaintance of hers who was a snow scuffler, pick up Papa to help shovel snow from the sidewalks of commercial businesses for a fee.

Continue reading “Mama Black Widow, Mama moaned, “Thet fool chile.””