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Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Chickens Have Come Home to Roost

When I was a boy my father took me out to get ice cream the day after Martin Luther King was shot. Richmond Virginia was dead still that warm April evening and my father commented on how empty the streets were and how strangely quiet. I remember holding my hand out the window and letting the warm spring air push it up and down. I was the one who had been watching television when the man flashed on saying King had been shot in Memphis. My parents shook their heads but they were not surprised. There had been so much hate on television and in the newspapers and a lot of people in the South just assumed someone was going to shoot King.

We pulled into the Highs Ice Cream store and there was just a lone fat man there. He had greasy hair that fell down on his forehead and he was sweating. My father ordered our cones and the man scooped quickly and it was then I noticed every store was dark. The man quickly handed over our cones and waved off my fathers money. I looked around at the shopping mall and saw there were no cars in the parking lot. The man stared at us while we sat at a table and ate our ice cream. It was then my dad said it sure was quiet out and where the heck was everybody.

The man looked at my father like he was the dumbest man alive and said everyone had left. My dad looked at him and asked why that was. The man frowned. Because the niggers are going to start burning any minute. I'm closing up when you leave. My fathers ice cream fell to the floor and the man said he would get it. We left and my father drove almost a hundred miles an hour back to our house and I looked around to see when the burning would start. It started that night and my father, who was a liberal, shook his head when we heard the sirens and watched on the news as all hell broke out. I asked him what was happening because I wondered if the whole country was going to burn down. He turned and looked at me and said, the chickens have come home to roost.

Now we have this poor Congress woman fighting of her life and six people including a nine year old girl dead. Disgusting. Go ahead and read the shooters postings and you know where the hate comes from. Its been spewing out there for years by men making millions on television and radio. And now this woman was assassinated and no one should be too surprised. We have been sick a long time and the disease has progressed. There is as much hate now in our country as that night in 1968 in Richmond. You have to wonder if the whole country will burn.
Rocket Man will blast off in February

Books by William Hazelgrove