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Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

September 22, 2018

Well said, Ronnie!

Ronnie McBrayer

benny-jackson-222664-unsplashAs my friend Betty Ann unpacked her young family in my Deep South hometown, it didn’t take long for the neighbors to arrive with a strangulating dose of hospitality. Their silver hairdos teased to perfection, and smelling of powder and lilac, they arrived on Betty Ann’s front porch with peach cobbler and smiling faces.

Of course, they came with their questions: “Who’s your folks?” and “Where do you go to church?” were the first two, followed by the usual Bible Belt inquisition that has all the trappings of geniality, but is plain nosiness masquerading as friendship. Betty Ann faced their inquiry with grace, but her answers to their questions all but knocked the wheels right off the welcome wagon.

First, she and her family were not from here, “here” being the confines of the local county. Anyone outside those hallowed boundaries was a foreigner. And for Betty Ann’s part, dear…

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