I have written this blog post five different times. I’ve deleted the drafts, because I realized afterwards that I was still too angry to blog about it. It’s now been a week. I’m still angry, but I am hoping this attempt goes better. A week ago, I met my 12-year-old neighbor girl. We happened to both be exiting our houses at the same time. She had a puppy on a leash and I had my book bag heading outside to work in the backyard and play with my own dogs. We’ve said hello before, but never really talked. She approached me and asked me the best question ever: “Would you like to meet my new puppy?” Absolutely. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to meet a puppy.
We played in the side yard with Arielle the puppy for a close to ten minutes, which was driving my two girls nuts. I invited the neighbor girl and Arielle the puppy into the backyard to hang out and play. Once inside the fence, I introduced her to my girls and told her my name and she introduced herself: Skye. I expected the visit to last about half an hour, I’m old and the most interesting things about me to a 12-year-old girl are my dogs. However, Skye was enjoying playing with my dogs as well hanging out. A little after 4 in the afternoon, we heard the buses for the school district we live in.
I already knew Skye was going to Columbia Public and they are fully virtual right now. But the school district just north of our neighborhood is not virtual. So I asked the important question, do you want to get back to walking Arielle so she could show her puppy off to her kid friends in the neighborhood. This is where reality smacked me really hard in the face.
Skye told me no, she didn’t want to go show off her puppy to the kids getting off the bus. Skye doesn’t have any friends in our neighborhood. She’s black, they’re white and they won’t play with her. As a matter of fact, Skye and her family aren’t well liked in the neighborhood and she’s actually not supposed to leave her yard because adults driving past her have yelled at her “N*gger go home”. My family is the only one that even speaks to them (we at least say hello every time we see them out) and they have a lovely dog named Rambo who when he escapes his yard beelines over to see my girls. When he does end up at our house, we try to keep him there with love, play, and even treats if we’re desperate. They always know when he’s gotten out and come get him quickly. But we live on a very busy rural highway and I worry about Rambo getting hit by a car, if we don’t keep him at our house when he escapes.
Furthermore, Skye was delightful. We talked about the kind of stuff 12 year-olds and adults talk about sports, school, dogs, etc. She was polite and lovely to talk to. She spent three and half hours at our house, letting the three dogs play and just hanging out. So, despite being a good student, who doesn’t like reading or history, she plays basketball for her middle school as well as for the city youth team, she’s an “undesirable” friend for the other kids in the neighborhood because she’s mixed. That just blows my mind. I told her she, Arielle, and Rambo were always welcome to come play with my dogs or just hang out if she gets bored.
I just can’t believe adults think it’s acceptable to behave like this. It reminded me of my own incident with human stupidity nearly four years ago. A few days after the election in 2016, I was walking to get my mail when some morons in a white truck with a flag in the back window shouted at me “Now that Trump is president, you’ll have to get off your lazy ass and get a job.” What the f*ck? I work from home you morons. I do have a job. I had lived in that area for quite some time and never been accused of being a jobless and gaming the system. Here I am an adult woman just minding my own business and some assholes decide they have the right to be rude and judge me… someone they have never once spoken to about something they know nothing about.
I can’t imagine being 12 and having that happen to me. We need to do and be better as a society. I cannot believe this is supposed to be the “Greatest America” ever. These are hard working Americans… Skye told me her dad was a small business owner, just like her grandfather had been. As a fellow small business owner, I know how hard they have to work. If this America was great, it would not be acceptable to harass people they don’t know as they drive by.