Wednesday, January 7, 2009
"Years of Absence Day of Return"
The other morning I had a vision, a momentary dream as I was waking up. In it I saw three Black children walking down a highway. An interstate somewhere in the American midwest.
It was as if I were floating just above them following along. There was a young boy maybe 12'n wearing a "Yankee's" cap, a little girl 9 with a "Hello Kitty" back pack, and a toddler maybe 3 or 4 wearing an old fashioned Amish style sun bonnet.
The boy was pulling a red wagon of the type common for kids to have in the 1940's, and 50's. I had one, an "American flyer" with white walls. In the wagon sat the baby, and various pieces of luggage.
A little American flag fluttered from the back as the wagon bounced along. That flag though. It was an odd sort of thing,..the stars were blue, and the stripes were different.
Now the children, they were cheerful'n good hearted. Laughing, and singing as they walked. The youngsters spoke a musical sounding language to each other. Very sweet'n gentle like.
Imagine old time Harlem hipsters speaking "Jive" in middle english.
The boy began to sing a bright rhythmic hymn, and the little girl walked by him doing old south gospel response, counter point. The baby was waving an eagle feather at the sky.
As I say these young folks was walk'n the highway, and headed for a town. Smokey Hill Kansas. It was just across the next bridge. Just another peaceful mid 21st century American town.
The morning traffic was starting to build. Though many cars had slowed their occupants staring in amazement at the children. The kids took no mind of them, they was used to gawkers by now, and continued on their way.
Still cars slowed, others stopped outright. All this for good reason. See these colored kids, these negro children was the first African Americans many had seen in decades. For some it was the 'first' they'd ever seen,..outside of old movies or picture books that is.
America, at least the "United States" part of it hadn't had any black folks since "The Day".
It was maybe 40 years ago when all the Coloreds just up, and left. No one ever found out where too or why.
It was a particular Labor Day just after the desert war had ended. All the Negros, all the slave descended decided as one to leave. They left their houses, their cars, business's, lawn sprinklers, everything.
Well almost "everything."
They took their pets. Yes they did. They take them to wherever they went off to. All their dogs, cats, birds, gold fish, and hamsters. They didn't take no snakes though. Black folks don't like no snakes. That's a fact!
Anyway nearly 300 years of slavery, and another 100 or more of phony "freedom" would piss anybody off. So away the coloreds went. Nobody has seen any of 'em till today. Till these three children peacefully walking down Route 24.
Ya know this sort'a thing has happened before or so I hear.
Over there in Russia where they treat the Jews bad. There's stories of whole villages vanishing. When the Cossacks came for their monthly murder, rape, and robbery they found empty towns. No Jewish folks, not one.
I hear them Nazi's had the same "problem" sometimes.
But in this case seems 'some' tormented folks had decided to come back to visit the Earth. Some Coloreds have come back to America to find out if the folks here had learned anything while they was gone.
Some, just a few, just for now.
Years of Absence,..Day of return.
To be continued.
(Click on Norman Rockwell painting at top to see why the Negros may have left.)
Above is a story I was working on a while back. It's very loosely based on a play by Douglas Turner Ward "Day of Absence". An early 60's production about a southern town where all the Negros disappear for a day, and the chaos the results.
I try to imagine what would happen if they never came back.