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Don’t even try to tell me otherwise

JERRIE OUGHTON

Don’t even try! No! It won’t do you any good. Don’t even try to convince me. I am positive of only a few things, but this is one of them. There is no doubting God’s perfect timing. In 82 years of living, there have just been too many instances to doubt.

Here’s one instance that I will never forget, although I was a mere teenager. My dad had driven me part way to college, Mars Hill. From Charlotte, I caught a Trailways Bus. We made stops along the way and the bus grew fuller and fuller. At one stop, a young black woman boarded and looked around for an empty seat.

I need to inject here that this was about three weeks before Rosa Parks took her strong and stubborn stand. I caught the girl’s eye. She looked about my age. I patted the empty seat beside me. She looked over her shoulder to be sure I was motioning to her. Then she smiled and came.

After she got settled, I asked, “Where are you heading?”

“Ridgecrest,” she said.

I gasped. We spent every summer in our cabin there.

“There is only one Black family at Ridgecrest, and it’s Hezekiah and his twelve children. My mamma and I went to his wife’s funeral and took a pie.”

Her mouth dropped; so I stopped.

“How do you know Hezekiah?” she whispered above the grinding of the bus.

“Well, Earlene babysat me when she was seventeen, and Fannie, when she was twelve. Then, one morning in Vacation Bible School, a little boy called the twins, Precious and Pansy, a bad name, and I grabbed a chair and chased him around the room.”

By this time, her face was filled with wonder. She held up her hand to stop me from my list of Hezekiah credentials.

“Stop,” She paused and tears welled up. “I am Precious. And Pansy is in nursing school in Winston Salem.”

And if it happened once or twice, I’d be willing to have a discussion. But it’s every day. Don’t tell me someone else is in charge. I know who runs this universe. No argument allowed.

Jerrie Oughton is children’s book author and a resident of Beaufort County.