From Alternet: http://www.alternet.org/tea-party-and-right/my-confederate-town
I feel hostility every time I walk out my door in Front Royal, Virginia.
By Jose Padua
October 28, 2013
This article originally appeared on The Weeklings.
This afternoon I found myself getting all teary eyed. I was playing the 1988 Dianne Reeves song “Better Days” for my two and a half year old son Julien. It’s the song that begins”
“Silver gray hair neatly combed in place.
There were four generations of love on her face.
She was so wise, no surprise passed her eyes…”
Sometimes referred to as “The Grandma Song,” this tune about her grandmother’s last years is way too sentimental for my tastes, but somehow Reeves sings the sappiness right out of the joint. Or at any rate, she sings it so well that I don’t care anymore, and I let loose with exactly the sort of feeling the song means to convey. In other words, listening to “Better Days” almost always gets me teary eyed—or worse; and halfway through the song this afternoon I was about to take that emotional turn for the worse.
Just a little earlier, Julien and I had left Maggie and Heather at the Royal Horseshoe Farm over on Morgan Ford Road toward the edge of Front Royal, the small town where we live in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. Maggie—Heather’s and my nine-year old daughter—was there for her classmate Annalee’s birthday, and I was considering staying at the party with her and Heather. Which, I must say, was kind of odd.
We’ve been to some of Annalee’s previous parties, and though her parents have always been friendly, a good number of their friends and relatives were another story. Unlike Annalee’s parents, they weren’t the sort to extend their southern hospitality to strangers – especially not a mixed couple like Heather and me.
At the last party, many of them refused even to acknowledge us the entire time. I recognized one young woman as the clerk behind the counter the one time I took Maggie to the local ice cream shop. It was one of the situations where I open the front door of a place, everyone’s smiling and laughing until they take a look at me, standing in the entrance looking, to them, like an uppity foreigner, an illegal alien, or maybe even a terrorist. Whatever it was they saw in Maggie and me, it made them turn completely silent.
Sometimes it’s hard to decide which is worse—when they refuse to look at you because they don’t want to acknowledge your existence, your presence, in what they believe is a world that should belong only to them; or when they do look at you, and look at you with the purpose of sending the message that you don’t belong here and that you’re an intruder who better watch his fucking step. One might think, at first, that invisibility is always preferable, because it precludes the possibility that acts of violence may be taken against you.
Continue reading at: http://www.alternet.org/tea-party-and-right/my-confederate-town