The only time I ever saw my father, whose nickname was “Easy,” get visibly nervous — and very, very quiet — was after we got to Cairo, Illinois and could not stop the car for any reason from then until we got to my grandmother’s house in Como, Mississippi. My mother would chirp at me to distract me from his change of demeanor, but I felt his pain, nonetheless. My proud, elegant, dignified father became wary, uneasy. And that, of course, made me feel the same. Later in life it also made me angry that he had to feel that fear at all — that he had grown up feeling that fear “Down South.” Riveting read. Hurt a little bit, but these things have to be remembered, especially right now, when I sometimes feel that fear sneaking up on me again. Sad, but true…

Award-winning former features reporter for the Chicago Sun Times and Arizona Daily Star, HuffPo contributor and author.

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