Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Crying Wolf - A True Story

My Great Grandmother Cleo was a feisty woman and as a child was particularly mischievous.  She loved to tease and taunt her baby sister, Lula, who was a chubby kid.  Grandma made up all sorts of outlandish stories and would trick her sister in silly ways, some of the stories are so good that our family is still chuckling about them nearly a century after they first occurred.  One story though, will live on well past the others as it has served as an object lesson to all us "Madison" kids.

My Great Grandmother was born and raised in WV around the turn of last century.  The family was poor and one of the chores the girls had to do was pick berries.  One day, Grandma, being ornery called to her sister that she's been bit by a snake and for her sister to come help.  Lula came running and being chubby, this made Grandma laugh, which was the whole point in tricking Lula, so she could watch her run.  Weeks went by and Grandma did it again, and again, Lula came running.  Grandma laughed and laughed, until one day, she really did get bit.  It was a copperhead and in the 1910's, this was serious business.  Lula ignored her sisters cry for help and assurances that she wasn't tricking her again and went home.  Grandma collapsed in the berry patch and laid there for hours.  She nearly died. 

Today, many people need to be reminded of this story as it relates to calling someone a racist.  By flinging the word around at the drop of a hat, they are crying wolf.  One day, when the racism copperhead actually does strike at somebody, they will be ignored, because we aren't falling for that old trick again.

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