Thursday, December 15, 2011
rock me in the cradle in them old cotton fields back home
On Monday morning, we met Archie Lee Harrell, a man about my grandma's age who also grew up in a poor, sharecropping family. He owns a few acres behind his house now. He showed (and shared with) us the most delicious satsumas, kumquats, peppers, persimmons and pecans that he grew back there. He is a humble man, raised with four other kids by a single mother, and he remembers watching Roy sleep on a bag of cotton in the fields. All the sharecropper's kids did that, Archie said.
When Archie dies, he wants to be buried in his khakis. It's who he was, what he wore nearly every day of his life. People should be able to makes those kinds of choices for themselves, he told us, which is why he got into it with a preacher who told Roy to wear a dress. Roy left the church, and judging by the look in Archie's eyes when he told us the story, Archie never forgave the preacher.