sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

May 5, 2005

kittens, polar fleece, and regularity
posted by soe 2:10 pm

In the spirit of being alliterative, here’s my Three Beautiful Things Thursday entry:

1. A family of four kittens lives in my neighborhood and Mama has been walking them through the top level of our window well, much to the frustration of Jeremiah. (I think she’s teaching them that if they get caught by people, they’ll end up in “kitty jail” like my cats seem to be.) Shortly after midnight, one straggled behind a bit and couldn’t figure out where Mama had disappeared to. I went outside to see if she was okay. She was a long haired tiger. So little, so cute, so loud! It hid under a bush after I stepped away, and Mama must have come back for it because we didn’t hear a peep after that.

2. There is nothing like the soft warmth of a polar fleece blanket on a chilly morning. The past few mornings have been chilly in the Burrow (it may have something to do with that open window in the living room, but I refuse to let go of the fresh air it brings). So it feels extra nice to wiggle my toes under the covers and have them encounter a snuggly blanket instead of the cold reality rising will eventually bring.

3. We have a monthly meeting that generally convenes at Ben’s Chili Bowl, a D.C. institution. We don’t visit other than that, but we’ve been going monthly for 18 months or so. One of the men behind the counter, David, knows us by sight and always stops us as we walk in. “I was asking them if you were coming,” he teased last night when we came in a few minutes late. We don’t have to stand in line anymore — he knows what we want. We just have to catch his eye and he puts food on for us. Certainly, it’s not a place where everybody knows our name, but one person does, and he’s always glad to see us. And we’re always glad to see him.

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will some sort of justice finally be served?
posted by soe 11:57 am

In the summer of 1955, a 14-year-old Chicago boy went down to Mississippi to visit family. He didn’t return alive.

Emmett Till was tortured and then killed by a mob, purportedly for whistling at a white woman clerk in a store. The woman’s husband and his half-brother were arrested, acquitted by an all-white jury, and then confessed in a magazine article to the heinous crime. Because of double-jeopardy (and a complicit judicial system that seems unwilling to have found subsequent, alternative charges), the two men remained unpunished.

My guess is that Emmett Till’s story was, although sad and horrifying, not particularly remarkable. But he did have a remarkable mother, Mamie, who went to court to get her son’s corpse back from Mississippi authorities, smashed open the casket herself with a hammer when the funeral director refused to go against a police order not to open the padlocked box, and then demanded an open casket funeral for her son. The images are stark and moving. I cannot imagine remaining unchanged after seeing them.

Yesterday, the FBI announced their plan to exhume Till’s body from its grave site in Chicago and conduct an autopsy. They believe that Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam (both now dead) had 14 accomplices, six of whom still may be alive and who could still be prosecuted under Mississippi state law.

Bob Dylan wrote “The Death of Emmett Till” in 1963. It ends:

“But if all of us folks that thinks alike, if we gave all we could give,
We could make this great land of ours a greater place to live.”

May we finally show some greatness in this case and convict those who perpetrated the crimes.

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