Received this comment the other day at goodmorningfloridakeys.com to a several year old post – Racism.KW – the third of three consecutive posts on black-white relations in Key West.
This is puzzling to me. I’m a black person and feel yes, there is racism but towards the blacks of Key West. I feel most blacks are frustrated with the racism against them and that’s when you experience a explosive situation like the one you witnessed. There is nothing for the black African American culture here. The little that is, is being taken away. The police constantly focus on the blacks in Bahama Village. As a black person you can’t even hang out in your own yard with out police driving by starring at you. The police will literally stop their car and stare at a group of blacks just hanging out in their yard. If you have white friends they will and can be subjected to being pulled over after leaving your house. Most of the white people give off the vibe that the blacks are not wanted here and want to push them all out and take what ever land the blacks still do own. One night the police where called on my boyfriend and his cousins they were sitting on a bench on our property (private property) the police said there was a report that a group of people are sitting on a bench. Wow, you can’t be black and sit on a bench after dark in key west I guess. One day, I and my boyfriend where walking and a guy who was white stopped and moved to walk behind us, then called us niggers. The club and night life scene isn’t catered to blacks at all. If any black event is thrown its surrounded with police. Blacks have a hard time finding jobs. (It’s not just about race in what im about to describe, imagine owning a whole area and then new people come into your neighborhood and are rude and act as if you shouldn’t be there now but your the native not them.) You get constant dirty stares as a black person.. I mean it’s too much to even put on here. Im just trying to get the information out. The grammar may or may not be correct. The blacks are treated different even if they are hired at a job. A black person can be arrested and is immediately terminated at their job with out being proven guilty but a white person is rehired and given second chances. The majority of whites here are rude nasty people and treat blacks like they are slaves like they are less than human. I’ve never been anywhere else where people are so nasty and rude and will bump into you and expect not to say excuse me, because you are black and they are white. The white people here will walk as to make you move around them like they are suppose to have the right away. You will hardly ever hear a excuse me if your black. Its ridiculous here!
Thanks for your comment to an old post, which I need to go back and read again, to see the complete context of your reply. Meanwhile, yes, I have seen racisim against blacks in Key West, and I have heard a black conch say black conchs are not viewed as conchs by white conchs. Being from Birmingham, Alabama originally, I am all too familiar with white racisim against blacks, and was plenty guilty of it myself when I was younger. I have some black friends in Key West, but I mostly run with whites there. I recall when I ran for mayor the first time, in 2003, when I was homeless and living in a Florida Keys Outreach Coalition shelter, KWPD cops’ behavior in Bahama Village was a hot topic in the news. I remember Vicki Weeks, who wrote for Celebrate Magazine, a gay publication, interviewed the mayor candidates re what they thought should be done about the heat in Bahama Village re the cops’ behavior there, and what the cops were saying was going on there, which seemed perhaps slanted by them, although perhaps not entirely untrue. I told Vicki, in an email, that what I felt needed to be done was Bahama Village elders should be allowed to decide which KWPD cops were allowed into Bahama Village, and that those elders should take the lead in speaking to blacks in Bahama Village about what was going on there. At that time, I was tight with Chief of Police Buz Dillon, and he was listening to me about how the city, and a couple of his cops, were being a lot harder on homeless people than often was justified. I probably could have gotten his ear about Bahama Village, too. I remember Vicki wrote her article, and said all the mayor candidates but Sloan Bashinsky said they did not wish to go anywhere near, or something like that, the Bahama Village and KWPD cops issue. She summarized in her article what I had written to her. I may have more to write later, and if you care to add to what you wrote to me, please freel free do do so. I ass-u-me you are okay with my publishing what you wrote to me already, and anything else you might write to me, unless you indicate otherwise. There is no spellchecker in this commment part of this website, so if there are misspelled words in this rely, that is why.
Next day P.S. Sandy Hook School massacre still in front in my posts right now, will have to wait to use yours in a post, when it can breathe better.
Was told in a dream way before dawn today, to publish this above today. Here’s the old post, to which Nakedtruthekeywest replied:
I received this email yesterday from a Key West man about the recent Bahama.Village and Black.White posts about racism. [clicking on those links should get you to those posts.]
I forwarded your exchange w/J. Curtis to a B. Village business owner, who read it and replied: “I am thankful to Sloan for bringing up the racial issue. It is certainly there and Jerry is leading the crusade.” _______________________________________________________
The person who sent this to me was in a dream just before dawn, dealing out a bridge hand for me to play. Before that, I’d dreamt of playing bridge with Bob Kelly, one of the players in my experiences with racism in Bahama Village. Bob could have bid spades, should have actually, but did not. Instead, he bid something else that misdescribed his hand and caused me to make a bid that left put us into an impossible contract. I had five spades in my own hand, we could have made a game there. In my dreams, spades represents truth. So I’m led to tell of yet another experience in Bahama Village, which I shared last year with Bob Bob Kelly, Jerry Curtis and City Commissioner Clayton Lopez, as well as with my entire Keys email list, and posted to Today’s Cock-a-doodle-doo at goodmorningkeywest.com. I shared this experience back then to try to persuade these three men, especially, that there was a very serious problem with racism in Bahama Village. I didn’t seem to make any headway, and, to the contrary, they all three seemed to disagree with me, and took the side of the black community. Here’s what happened. It was shortly after Hurricane Wilma came through. Early one morning, I was walking to Coffee Plantation, a coffee house and internet café on the corner of Petronia and Whitehead Streets. Crossing Whitehead, I saw perhaps fifteen or twenty back teens on the sidewalk in front of Coffee Plantation, and two or maybe three black girls sitting in chairs on the veranda. They were not customers. They were just sitting there, waiting on the school bus. This happened every morning. Theo Glorie, co-owner of the establishment, alone with his wife, Dianne, went along with this. On this morning, I saw and heard Theo speak to the young girls on the veranda about toning down their language, which was filled with loud four-letter words. To this, these girls took great offense, and pretty soon a big argument was underway, with Diane now in the middle of it on the veranda, as I now stood in the doorway into the establishment. Several more of the teens now were on the veranda. Words passed between Diane and one of the teenage girls, shoving started. Diane and the girl swung at each other, and Diane got cold-cocked. I grabbed her and hauled her inside, and headed back out to do the same with Theo, who now was mixing it up with the entire crowed, now maybe fifteen on the veranda. Boys and girls. Someone slugged Theo on the side of the head, knocking his glasses off. I grabbed him and hauled him inside, and told them both to stay there. I went back out and got his glasses off the floor and started trying to talk down the teens. I never saw such rage in eyes as I saw that day. I kept asking them to stand down, saying they didn’t really want to be doing this. Finally, they withdrew, joined other black teens across Whitehead, where they all were waiting on the school bus. Maybe a week later, I saw Mustapha on his bicycle near Coffee Plantation. I had gotten to know him over the years. He is from Jamaica, Rastafarian. He sings most nights on Mallory Pier, beautiful music. Island music. He draws a good crowd. He almost always sings a trilogy about race relations, including “Amazing Grace,” with some prefacing remarks about how it came about. An English slaver wrote it as part of his own redemption after he realized the evil of slavery and gave it up and became a driving force in England to put an end to that nations practice of slavery. I thought Mustapha could help cool down the Coffee Plantation situation, by speaking with Bahama Village elders. I thought wrong. Mustapha was furious about Coffee Plantation. He said he had applied for work there, doing window washing and clean up, and had not been hired. Nor had any other black been hired. I told him that far as I knew Theo and Diane did everything, had no other employees. This did not seem to matter. Mustapha was even angrier about the name of the place, said it was a slap in the face of African descendents. I said I had not considered that and would mention it to Theo and Diane. This did not seem to mollify Mustapha. He was not moved by my saying that Theo and Diane had long had trouble with black adolescents sneaking into the computer room, which was separate from the coffee and juice bar, and using the computers without paying. My distressed magnified when I asked Mustapha if he thought Jesus would condone physical violence? After pausing to think, Mustapha said, yes, Jesus would do that, if a serious wrong had been done. I could not believe my ears. Mustapha said he would not try to speak with Bahama Village elders. He was shaking. He turned and left on his bicycle. He was wobbling. I did not think it was all about how angry he was. I had called on him for help, and he had gone the other way. Although he and I never again spoke of that day, he has seemed every time we speak to be trying to be pleasant with me. As if he is embarrassed, but he never says it. I did speak with Theo and Diane about the name of their establishment, explained what Mustapha had said. They were shocked. Theo is Dutch, Diane a California girl. They came to Key West from California. They had never experienced racial difficulty before. They had no personal relationship with what had happened to African descendents in the Southern States especially, prior to the Civil War, and even afterwards. It had never occurred to them that they were insulting blacks by calling their place Coffee Plantation. Theo did not seem amicable to changing the name. He was angry about what had happened. I was angry, too. I had seen him several times decide not to call the police on the adolescent blacks sneaking into his business and using the computers. Then, once, I saw him do that, because he felt he had no other choice. Also in my thoughts was that I have traveled around a bit. I had been where coffee is grown. Where they call places where coffee is grown coffee plantations. They do not call them coffee farms. Let me go back to the beginning. Clayton Lopez [who is mixed white-black blood] and I had a pretty extensive dialogue last year about this race riot, which is what it was. He said he was troubled, but even in his trouble, he tried to defend what was indefensible, even after I brought Martin Luther King into the fray, reminding Clayton of Dr. King’s steadfast commitment to non-violence. Bob Kelly was a regular customer of Coffee Plantation when it was still at Petronia and Whitehead. He arrived there shortly after the riot was over. He saw none of what I saw. He heard none of what I heard. Yet when I tried to speak to him about racial prejudice in Bahama Village last year, he steadfastly denied it existed. For all I know, Bog still steadfastly denies racism exists. Well, it exists. I saw it up close and personal. In those teens. In Mustapha. In Jerry Curtis, who did not bend an inch, even after I told him about the race riot at Coffee Plantation, which he surely already knew about. Everyone in Bahama Village knew about it. I am told by the angels assigned to look over and keep after me when I am out of line. Not once have they corrected me over anything I have written about racism, other than to get onto me when I don’t write about it when they want me to write about it. I know from my dreams last night that they want me to write about it again, today, so that’s what I’m doing. In no way am I saying this is one-way. The public meeting the other night in Bahama Village over police coverage and actions in Bahama Village was rank with racism, whites toward blacks. That is what I wrote first this time around, which prompted a strong counter reply from Bob Kelly, to which I responded, which prompted Jerry Curtis’ own strong reply, because he was mentioned in my reply to Bob. Yes, Theo and Diane relocated their business. No, the race riot was not the reason. The reason was Ed Swift owned or purchased that corner of Bahama Village and did not renew their lease, which forced them to find another location. They still call it Coffee Plantation. It’s near Schooner Warf and Waterfront Market, on Caroline Street. Theo is the driving force behind the Schooner Western Union being saved as Key West’s flagship. Ed Swift gave it to a foundation Theo set up. Now Theo is trying to raise money to finish the restoration of the ship, which mostly will be used for public service. Before getting into that project, Theo spearheaded the clean up of what we know as Christmas Tree/Wisteria Island. Theo, who was born in Holland. Theo, who never experienced racism until he reached Key West. Nor Diane, either. By law, because I am running for public office, I have to say this is a political advertisement, written, approved and paid for by me, even though I bet the plantation I am not a politician. Sloan Bashinsky, non-partisan county commission candidate, District 3 (Key West)
Since then, Jerry Curtis invited me to a fish-fry gathering for a relative of his, as I recall, near where he lives in Bahama Village, and it was a very nice event, I might have been the only white man there, and since then things between Jerry and me seem to be cool in the okay sense.
Since then, Clayton Lopez and I have had a few ups and downs, but on the whole, we seem to get along pretty well, given all the crud I am gotten into and write about. Clayton has a tough row to hoe, representing whites and blacks and people of other ethnic backgrounds in his district in an international city, which is Key West.
Since then, Tom Milone, who is white, while out for an evening walk in his Old Town neighborhood, was jumped and beaten nearly to death by several black Key West high school students, who had already jumped another white man just a little while earlier.
Since then, Norma Jean Sawyer, who is black, was convicted and sent to prison for embezzling funds from Bahama Conch Community Land Trust, on which Trust’s Board of Directors sat Bob Kelly, who is white, and not heads up the City Commission’s Truman Waterfront Advisory Board. I was saddened how it ended up for Norma Jean; I see and speak with Bob from time to time, we seem to get along pretty well.
I cannot change black-white race relations in Key West, however I wonder if it would help if the schools provided job training alternatives to the college prep curriculum it pushes so hard today. And, it might help if Bahama Village elementary school students aren’t bussed all the way out to Stock Island to attend school. And, I still think Bahama Village elders should be allowed to decide what Key West police are used in Bahama Village, and I still think it is on Bahama Village elders to try to lead Bahama Village youth toward decent, productive and enjoyable living.
The person who most influenced me in my relations with black people is described in this chapter from A Few Remarkable People I Have Known
, which fell out of me in the fall of 2004. Clicking on that link should get you to the entire text of the book at goodmorningbirmingham.com.
2 SHE WORKS BEHIND THE SCENES
I wish to tell a story about a wonderful woman I once knew named Charlotte Washington, who was not, I don’t think, a descendent of George Washington, whose name her Negro slave parents or grandparents might have taken as their own. As I was told it, Charlotte came to our home looking for work while I was in the hospital being born. She was there waiting when my mother and I came home. She would stay there, through two moves to successively larger houses, for twenty-five years, living with us except on Thursday afternoon and Saturday night and Sunday, when she went to visit her other family in Bessemer, which lies about twelve miles westerly of Birmingham, on the road to Tuscaloosa where no Negroes attended college in those days. Except I came not to call her Charlotte, but “Cha,” as that was about all I could get my mouth around when I was a tot. And as Sloan was a pretty hefty moniker for a tot, I was called “Bash,” borrowing the first four letters of my last name, which is Bashinsky. How that came about, Bashinsky, perhaps is a story to be told another time. Cha called me “Bashlabuttons,” and she loved me like I was her own. She loved my parents and my younger brother and sister like they also were her own. And my grandparents and uncles and aunts and cousins, and my friends. She cooked food so delicious, old Southern style cooking, the way the wealthy white folks had long eaten, that I was spoiled for life. Her biskits were a closely guarded secret, that is, how she made them. They weren’t big and fluffy but where thin and a bit crunchy, and with a pat of butter and some honey, yummmmmmmm. She cooked greens and peas and beans the old way, with bacon and pork back. She used Crisco to slowly cook fried chicken in a black cast iron skillet; I never yet ate any other that good. She cooked roasts (standing rib, rump, we never had pot roast), ham, leg of lamb, country fried steak (made from cubed sirloin), and stewed and fresh corn and homemade rolls that were to die for. I liked leftovers, and hash from the meats, as much as the first pass at it. Her chocolate pudding and whipped cream, and boiled custard, somewhat rare treats, still linger in my mouth at age almost sixty-two. She must have known the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Cha also must have known that in my soul I was a fisherman, because she was the one who first taught me how to fish: cane pole, string, cork, spit-shot, safety-pin or small hook, worms or grasshoppers in fresh water, a small piece of shrimp or cut bait in salt water. It may not be stretching it to say she probably liked fishing better than I did, but she didn’t get to go much when I knew her, with all the work she was doing for us: cooking, washing and ironing our clothes and bathroom and bedroom linens, and cleaning house. That was the first house, which was small. We had other Negro housekeeping help in the bigger houses, and to take care of the yards. About all I ever did was mow the grass and sometimes weed out crabgrass, all of which I did my best to get out of doing. Somehow I had gotten the notion that white children did not do yard work. I’d gotten some related notions, too, I’m now ashamed to say. I don’t remember Cha ever preaching the Bible to me, even though she was always listening to Negro religious radio stations while she cooked and ironed, which she seemed to do most of the time except when she was sleeping. She had a schoolmarm way of tilting her head down, looking sort of up at me, hands on hips, or at her sides, saying, “Umh, umh, umh, ain’t you shamed!” whenever I did something that even I knew I ought not to do. But usually I acted as if I hadn’t done it, while I backed off from doing that I shouldn’t be doing. Usually is wasn’t all that awful, compared to some of the things I would get into when I wasn’t at home, usually on weekend nights, when I was allowed to stay out until about ten o’clock. Then came the misadventures away from home, as I approached manhood, and those that came afterwards. As if Cha, where she now perches, doesn’t see it all anyway. She will speak to me about it when I am there with her, and I sure do hope that she will not then threaten to leave and go to Bessemer like she sometimes did when my brother and I really gave each other and her a hard time, when our parents were out for the evening or off on a business trip. I finally got to where I didn’t believe Cha, that she would go off to Bessemer and never come back, but she finally did do that, and I’ll tell about that later. In the meantime, there’s more to tell about just what a wonderful presence she was in my young life. She was joyous whenever I brought home some bass or bream, but catfish she loved most. She also liked the game I shot, doves, quail, squirrels, rabbits, but would have loved a possum, which I never wanted to hunt. I never shot a deer and am now glad for it, but in those days I would have liked to notch one or two up. Nowadays I’m not even glad I shot anything, but I don’t feel too bad about the fish I caught and brought home for Cha; sometimes I got to eat them but usually not, as my family was not into eating fish very much in those days. I can’t say I was all that fond of fish either back then, but I sure did like catching them. If I had to do it all over again, I might never get all those increasingly fancy rods and reels, spin casting outfits and then the fly rods. I might just stick with a cane pole, and I just might make a lot of noise about Cha getting to go with me. I’m getting sentimental thinking about that. It’s difficult for me not to get sentimental about Cha. Maybe it’s because in my soul I’m half Negro? Maybe I felt invisible kinship with her many children and many more grandchildren and great grandchildren out in Bessemer and down in the country in middle Alabama in a place she called “Eeps,” but I later learned it was Epps. My mother told me Cha didn’t know how old she really was because the census taker had come around only once every ten years. She might have been ninety-eight instead of somewhere around eight-eight when her heart finally gave out on her out there in her grandchildren’s home in Bessemer. But how could I feel such kinship, when I was racially prejudiced against Negroes, didn’t think they should ride at the front of buses, drink out of the same fountains or use the same restrooms, or go to the same schools? Yes, for a brief while I was for George Wallace. Came the freedom marchers, and fire hoses and police dogs and police with riot sticks and mace and probably tear gas. I was off in another state at a white prep school, getting ready to go to a white college, Vanderbilt, but I didn’t know yet I was going there. I was not emotionally involved in what was going on in Birmingham, Selma and Montgomery, but I really was emotionally involved because I was starting to experience mixed feelings. I was sometimes remembering when I once told Cha that I would not eat what she had prepared for the hired help, when I asked about lunch. It was turnip greens, black-eyed peas, corn bread and buttermilk. It was the buttermilk that caused me to say I would not eat nigger food. I can’t imagine the black arrow that shot into her heart, but my mother let me know about it pronto, and I felt so bad that I wanted to crawl into a hole and never come out. I felt just as bad one night some years later, when I was readying to go out and discovered that I didn’t have a clean dress shirt to wear and demanded that Cha get me one ready. My shirts were washed but not yet ironed. She stopped what she was doing and fetched one of my shirts out of the ironing basket and started ironing, as I impatiently stood over her and watched. The longer she ironed, the more awful I began to feel. I’d never seen her iron a shirt, or anything, except in passing. I had no clue what was involved in ironing by hand just one long-sleeve cotton dress shirt. I told her I was going out the next day and buy drip-dry shirts, and that’s what I still wear to this day. I don’t feel badly, though, about all the attention Cha, and my mother, lavished on me when I would get sick and not feel like even getting out of the bed. I doubt any child ever got better nursing care, even as my father’s brother, a pediatrician, came over — Leo made house calls until he retired — to look down my throat, sometimes stick me with needles, and tell them to give me dry toast and jelly and plenty of fluids until I started getting better. Sometimes I delayed getting better by saying I was sort of feeling dizzy, because there was nothing I hated worse than going to grammar school. They saw right through it, even when they let me pretend to be getting away with it, for a day or perhaps two longer than I really needed. Then was the time when my favorite dog ever, George, a wonderful basset hound my mother had gone to New England to get and bring back on a train, got run over and killed and nobody even stopped. When I came home from school, Cha came to me and grabbed me in her arms and told me. I was so upset I went upstairs and got my .22 rifle and loaded it and made off down the road looking for the bastard that had killed George. But I didn’t get really out of my bedroom — the rest of it was in my imagination — because I was so heart-broken that I couldn’t hardly move. I cried and moaned and threatened and cried until Cha called Uncle Leo. My mother and father were in Colorado Springs on a business convention, and he read me the riot act, which shut me up, but it didn’t stop me from wishing George was still with me. The next basset we got didn’t match up to George, but when I was in law school I had one that did, until he got run over, too. That time the car stopped, after I started yelling after it, but I was so upset over Heathcliff that I didn’t really feel like loading my shotgun, but my wife, Dianne, gave him hell. Cha saw me go through a lot of pretty awful things, but I don’t know if it was any different for any other little boy in the big scheme of things. But there was one thing she saw me go through that probably wasn’t exactly ordinary. I was not looking like a little boy my senior year in law school at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, after my seven-week-old son died of sudden infant death syndrome. I was a lot number then, than when George had gotten run over. I was so numb I couldn’t even cry. When the funeral was over in Birmingham, I headed with Dianne for the car to go back to Tuscaloosa. But before we reached the car, Cha ambled straight to me and even before she reached me I burst in to tears so awful that I couldn’t deal with it and I got into the car and somehow drove away. That night, my Uncle Leo, a man I had wanted to be my father because he loved to fish as much as I did, who had taught me some of the modern methods of doing it, called and gave me the dickens. He had no idea how many more times I would cry over the loss of that child, but I imagine Cha sort of knew. I also will never forget when Cha cornered me and asked me to tell her what was wrong with my mother. “She’s got cancer, Cha, she’s dying,” I said, grabbing her to me. I’d been sworn to secrecy by my mother, I was not to tell anyone who didn’t already know. How could I not tell Cha when she asked? I could not not tell her, any more than I could not weep for George or for my son. Or now, maybe because I’m leading up to the parts of this story that I feel are the really important parts of it. Cha began to decline after my mother died in 1966, more so after my son died the next year. After she went to live with her grandchildren in Bessemer, I remember going by there only once and seeing her in the big bed in the main bedroom in their not very large house, a midget house compared to the one she had left, which was my family’s house. She seemed sort of delirious and didn’t want me talking about her being sick. I didn’t even hug her, I don’t think, but I gave her family some money, maybe $20, for medicine, if she needed it; and said to let me know if she needed more. Then I headed back to Tuscaloosa. A couple or so weeks later, I was back up in Birmingham and had just gotten through playing golf at the country club all of my family belonged to, when Dianne came to pick me up and told me Cha had died. I collapsed into her arms, said I didn’t think I could take anyone else I loved dying. We came back to Birmingham a few days later for the funeral at a large Negro Baptist Church in Bessemer. Dianne and I were the only two white people in that packed church. The minister said the congregation welcomed their white brother and sister, surely knowing I was one of Cha’s white children, and Dianne, too; she and Cha were very close. Only to Dianne had Cha revealed the biskit recipe, and then very begrudgingly, after I asked her who would cook me biskits after she went to be with God? Then the minister told a story I’d never heard: that “Sister Washington” had from behind the scenes led the civil rights movement in Negro churches, counseling tolerance, patience, loving their white brothers and sisters, never stepping forward and claiming any public credit for herself. Then it was over and time for us all to pass by the open casket, where my Cha lay in quiet repose. When I got there beside her, I wanted to jump into the casket, never let her go. At the very least, I wanted to lean over and hug her, kiss her cheek goodbye. But all I did was keep moving, out toward the front of the church where her son, Tom Dew, was already sitting on the front steps, head in hands. Tom had worked for my family around and in the house for many years. He had worked for me in Tuscaloosa. I knew him pretty well. As I sat down beside him, he wailed out, “My momma is dead, Mr. Bash, my momma is dead, what’s I gonna do?!!!” He burst into tears. I burst into tears, didn’t know what to tell him. I felt embarrassed, crying like that. I stopped it, patted Tom Dew on the shoulder, got up and walked with Dianne down the steps to our car. I still remember crying out when I was a little boy and Cha wasn’t nearby and I was hurting about something, “I want my Cha! I want my Cha!” It would be many years before I saw Cha again, early 1993, actually. She came to me in a stunning spirit vision, the first of a number of such visions. I am not going to describe those visions, which are indelible in my heart and I can tell every last detail if I wish. What I will tell instead is that I became convinced Sister Charlotte Washington is an angel in service to the Holy Spirit, who came to earth to live as a person. She instilled into me something I cannot describe, not so much by talking to me but mostly by simply being. The Holy Spirit has, I believe, been pretty much in charge of my spiritual journey since it consciously began in 1987, which is another story altogether. She has loaned me out to Jesus and angels to instruct, comfort, protect and refine me. But always, at a distance, if not always hands-on, She is behind the scenes, holding me to her breast, loving me, keeping me on this world from which I often have wanted so badly to leave. Why was I was put into the stewardship of Sister Charlotte Washington, then Judge Clarence W. Allgood, about whom I wrote first when I started this writing the other day? Why was that priceless gift also given to me? Perhaps it is so some day I might write about them, as I knew them, both on this world and from heaven after they left this world. Perhaps there are other reasons I do not yet know and have not yet been told, that these two angels came down to walk among men and women, and were men and women. Perhaps it is that we are all angels, which we forget when we come to earth, and it takes the Holy Spirit using angels like Judge Clarence Allgood and Sister Charlotte Washington, working behind the scenes, to remind us of just who and what we all really are.
[I did meet and get to know somewhat one other living saint – Dorothy Sherman, who started and ran the soup kitchen in Key West.]
There is a different post today at goodmorningfloridakeys.com, which you should be able to reach by clicking on this link: America in hell