Turns out there has been a gas leak in the library for the past few weeks. No, we are not on a mountain, there is no evil coffee shop, and we don't want to get started about what the Gray Man was telling us to do with our children.
Not much has happened really, unless you count the insulting man that came in asking where we kept all our black people.
"Where do you keep your poor black people?" he asked, tipping back his Cubs cap to get a better look down his nose at me.
I was unsure, really. Not about the question. Like a fly that found its way in the refrigerator, asking this man what he meant was sure to lead to a lot of buzzing madness followed by a cold and suffocating death.
No, I wondered how to get this asshole on his way as fast as possible. So I did what anyone would do. I asked him a question right back:
"Do you mean 'poor' as in 'poverty' or 'poor' as in 'those poor people, we should help them'?"
He shifted the camera bag from around his shoulder. "Just need some pictures for the Freedom Summer peice my paper's doing."
In case you were unaware, in 1964 a lot of college students came down to Mississippi to educate and register the African American population to vote. It was a seminal time in the Civil Rights Movement, kick starting poor communities into public consciousness and leading to violence and deaths. The summer was named Freedom Summer and now in 2014 we are at the 50th anniversary of this monumental occasion.
That also means a lot of assholes are coming around to exploit that history. Well meaning assholes. Like this guy asking where we kept the poor black people.
"Ashley," I said to the woman in the office.
Ashley poked her head out. A black woman with a big smile that matched her stature, she raised her eyebrows at me.
I gestured with one hand to the Cubs fan and said, "This gentlemen would like to know where we keep the poor black people."
"In the state, county, city, or just in the library? Cause I'm in here."
The man readjusted his camera case and said, "The county?" as if he was unsure as to what that entailed. I raised my own eyebrows to Ashley.
"Better send him out to the Baptists in Improve," she said. "They won't kill him. Maybe."
A phone rang and she excused herself from the conversation.
I drew the man a map out of the county to the community of Improve. I explained the Improve Baptist Church was having a revival of sorts and he may find many black people around celebrating the Lord.
"So they'll be out there?"
"Yes, sir," I said. "Church holds about a hundred or so, but they'll probably be under the sun. Revivals tend to bring crowds, especially on a nice day like today."
"But it's gotta be a hundred in the shade," he said.
"Then I'd stay in the shade. Maybe make some friends if you talk nice. Probably shouldn't call them poor. Might hurt their feelings."
He nodded as if I had told him how to fend off a bear and set off. I watched him go and felt Ashley come up behind me.
"Ten to one he can't find the church."
She laughed. "Better odds he gets his head cracked asking one of the elders to sit on a stump and smoke a corn cob pipe. Call for you. An appointment with Mrs. Wheeler tomorrow?"
She handed me a note and I read it and put in it in my pocket. It wasn't that important right now. Right now I had to finish ordering reference books so the kids would have something to complain about when their teachers made them have a print source come fall term.