In the 1950’s, South Georgia was pretty much all farmland, except for the small towns where agricultural product processing and transporting were important parts of the economy.
Field after field of corn, peanuts, cotton, and watermelons lined the roads and highways.
The farms were large, but the population sparse. Homes with wrap-around porches and clapboard tenant houses dotted the landscape.
When an automobile came down the road, the children playing in the dirt yards of the shacks would stop and stare until the car was out of sight, probably wondering who the passengers were and where they were going.
South Georgia was “real country” back then, complete with hot weather and gnats, much like the day a good friend of my dad’s was heading back to Columbus from the Gulf Coast. Needing a break, he stopped at a service station and bought a cold drink.
Since he was near the outskirts of town and on the south side, he was in the area where the people of color resided.
Down the road apiece, he saw a group of African-American boys playing baseball. Ready for a break from driving, he decided to watch a few innings. He found a good vantage point under a shade tree near the outfield and watched youngster after youngster clobber the ragged baseball with a board bat out to the farthest part of sunbaked field, not far from where he sat. A small boy stood there alone, chasing the balls that were hit past the outfielders.
The audience of one sipped his drink and watched the show. After a few moments, he called to the ball chaser. “Hey, what’s the score in this game?”
“They ahead 18-0,” he said.
“Wow, I’d say you boys are getting beat pretty bad,” answered my dad’s friend.
“No sir. I wouldn’t say that. We ain’t losin’…we just ain’t had our knock yet.”
Now that my friends, is optimism at its finest.
And right now, we need to be more like that child. There is so much wisdom in what he said.
Believing we can overcome diversity, if we just have one more knock, isn’t a bad motto to have…not bad at all.