I have just finished Trevor Noah’s autobiography, Born a Crime. He tells of growing up in South Africa during apartheid, when relations between his Swiss/German father and his “native” mother were illegal, and punishable by a prison sentence of up to five years. It is a moving and often funny book, and I recommend it.
Until about fifteen years ago, we drank nothing but farm milk at home. Obviously, when I was away at school, this wasn’t possible, but my grandmother’s neighbour had a cow, and when the Burkheimers moved away, we started buying our milk from an elderly couple, Mr. and Mrs. Braun. After I was married, we bought our milk from a lady up the road from us. When Maryland cracked down on it, we drove up to Pennsylvania to purchase milk from an Amish farmer.
The Brauns were old. Not just I’m-sixteen-and-you’re-ancient type of old, but they were probably in their nineties at the time. Mrs. Braun once told us about her beau, who had gone off with a sheriff’s posse to capture a robber. “Before he got on his horse, he grabbed me and kissed me, because we were going to get married, and it was wonderful.” That was the only kiss he ever gave her. He did not return from that ride.
Anyway, Mr. Braun was a man of simple, and unreachable, bigotry. He firmly believed there were no good black people (although he didn’t used that word) and they were all going straight to Hell. When I pointed out that there were orders of black Roman Catholic nuns, so they, at least would go to Heaven, he stopped me cold.
“Nope. They are only hoping they’ll get in, but they won’t. None of them will. They’re all bad, bad, bad people.”
My mum signaled me to drop the subject, and when we got in the car, she chuckled. “He’s going to be in for a big surprise when he gets to Heaven and finds out God is black, too.”