Cross My Heart and Hope to Die...!

Cross My Heart and Hope to Die...!

A Story by Easter3

A reverie of Living Memories on a Time Wave of the Past, Present and Future.


Cross My Heart and Hope to Die…….

Some people are just not good with Time.

Cheyenne is one of those people. She is not linear in her Thinking or Conception of Time. She’s more Cyclical and Organic. She really knows how to enjoy the Present Moment (much to the chagrin of some folks). She also understands the lingering Ripple Effects from her Past on her Present, and so therefore has a tendency (as do we all) to carry the whole Time Wave into her Future.

Some Ripple Effects are sweeter and more constructive than others. Some Time Waves of her personal Past, Present and Future are more like overwhelmingly destructive tsunamis.

Luckily, she’s a Survivor. A fully Present and Cognitive Survivor, Re-Builder and Re-Envisioner.

While driving through the Deep South on a four week Solitary Vacation through the historical memorials, museums and parks of the Civil War, before swinging up toward the east coast, to view and reflect upon the historical villages, cities and monuments of the American Revolution, and Washington D.C., Cheyenne encountered another ‘blast from the past’ she had not consciously considered.

Cheyenne always traveled the back roads. She felt that the towns and people of the American back roads gave one a True Taste of American Life and Culture.

Just outside of Selma, Alabama, Cheyenne noticed a large, staggered group of people walking down the side of the road.

Cheyenne was always up for an interesting Detour when traveling. In fact, some of the Detours she had taken on past vacations and trips had wound up being the most interesting Experiences of her Life.

She slowed her little Toyota sedan down to a crawl, and rolled her car window down. “Excuse me, sir, but where is everyone going ?”

The tall, stately black man wearing a broad rimmed gray felt hat stared at Cheyenne briefly, and then smiled broadly. “This is a re-enactment of the Selma March back in 1965, when folks walked to Montgomery so that blacks could get their voting rights.”

“Thank you, for sharing that with me, sir. And thank all of y’all for making this historical Civil Rights March again for everyone,” Cheyenne replied with genuine sincerity and humility. She was watching a Living Memory of history, past and present, March Hopefully into a more Tolerant Future Destination.

She rolled up her car window, and continued down the wending country road, her own Living Memories formulating themselves within her Mind as the large group of Marchers gradually dwindled, and finally disappeared within the reflection of her rear view mirror.

Childhood Living Memories can be the most vibrant and powerful memories of all. They are the Road Map for Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How we Become the adults we are.

Cheyenne could see Ms. Lorena as plain as day in her Mind’s Eye. Ms. Lorena had been hired by her mom and dad to take care of Cheyenne and her sisters, and the family home, while her mom left home to go to work in her dad’s real estate office.

Ms. Lorena was a pretty, short and somewhat chubby black woman, with a quick smile, and a knowing twinkle in her eye. She loved Children and had a steadfast work ethic. She kept the Family Home just as spotless and organized as Cheyenne’s mom had always done.

Ms. Lorena was the first black person Cheyenne ever interacted with, and she grew to love and see Ms. Lorena as a part of her own Family. That Loving relationship forever changed Cheyenne’s Awareness and Perceptions of the World around her.

For instance, when Cheyenne’s mom took her and her sisters shopping at Sears in Port Arthur, Texas, Cheyenne, in her childlike innocence, decided to challenge, one of the Sears shopping building’s long standing accepted traditions. The mysterious separate black and white tiled and labeled water fountains, and restrooms.

Before her mother could say anything, Cheyenne ran up to the forbidden black tiled and labeled water fountain and took a sip of water. She then ran back to her mother’s side and said, “See mommy. I drank from the black water fountain, and nothing happened to me. The water tasted just the same. There was no difference from the white water fountain.”

Cheyenne’s mother was mortified, but did not believe in public displays. “You stay right by my side, young lady. And don’t you ever let me see you do that again. It’s against the rules.”

“But, why Mama ? Why is it against the rules ?”

“I’ll speak with you about this when we’ve finished our shopping, Cheyenne. But don’t you do that again. You’ll get us all in trouble. We do not have time for your foolishness.”

“Mama, does that mean that Ms. Lorena can’t drink from the white water fountain ?”

“Yes, baby, it does.”

“But mommy, there’s no difference. The water tasted and looked just the same. It’s no fair. Jesus tells us to Love Everybody, and to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. He would never tell Ms. Lorena that she could not drink from the white water fountain. He just wouldn’t and neither should we. And neither should Sears or anyone else.”

“I agree with you, Cheyenne, but we do not own this store, and so we must be polite and abide by their rules.”

“Even when their rules are wrong, mama ?”

“Yes, honey, even when their Rules are wrong. That’s just the way things are. Now, you girls come with me, and Cheyenne, you help me keep an eye out for your younger sisters. Mama needs your help right now, alright young lady ?”

“Yes, mama, I promise. Cross my Heart, hope to die, stick a thousand needles in my eye.”

“Who taught you say that, Cheyenne,” Mama asked crossly.

“Steven Cox. He always makes all of the kids say it when he doesn’t want us to tattle on him.”

“Is that so,” Mama smiled.

“Yes, ma’am,” Cheyenne nodded in the affirmative.

“Mommy, mommy can we go up the escalator now ?” Cheyenne’s younger sister Downy asked eagerly, tugging persistently at the hem of her mother’s dress.

“Yippee !” Cheyenne called out jubilantly, the water fountains forgotten for the time being. “Last one up to the top of the escalator is a rotten egg !”

A few months later, Cheyenne asked her mom if she could invite Ms. Lorena and her family to dinner.

“I don’t see why not. Lorena does so much for you girls and this family. I think that’s a wonderful idea. But let me talk to your daddy first. And don’t you say anything to Ms. Lorena until I’ve had a chance to talk to your daddy. Promise ?”

“I promise, mama. Cross my Heart, hope to die, stick a thousand needles in my eye.”

Every day Cheyenne asked about the dinner party with Ms Lorena and her family. And every day Mama told her to be patient. That daddy was very busy with work and had a lot on his mind. That she would have an answer for her, as soon as he gave her Mama one.

At the end of the week Mama approached Cheyenne while she was coloring in her flower book. “Look Mama. See my Morning Glory ? Don’t you love all of the blues ? It’s such a pretty flower.”

“Yes baby, it’s beautiful. You’ve done a very good job coloring it.” Mama looked directly into Cheyenne’s curious green eyes. “Cheyenne, your daddy does not think it proper for us to have the help to dinner.”

“But Mama, Ms. Lorena cooks for us all of the time. Why can’t we cook for her and her family to show her how much we love her ?”

“Your daddy says no, and he’s the head of this household. What he says goes. Now, that’s the end of it.”

Cheyenne uncharacteristically stamped her feet down onto the hardwood floor. “It’s not fair. Daddy makes stupid decisions !”

“Young lady, you go to your room, right now. I’ll let you know when to come out,” Mama announced angrily. “Wait a minute” Cheyenne’s mother walked over to one of the kitchen drawers and pulled out a piece of paper and a pen, and began writing a single sentence at the top of the page.

“Here,” Cheyenne’s Mama held out the pen and paper toward her. “Take this pen and paper with you. I want you to write ‘I will not talk back to my mother’ fifty times, just as I have it printed out on this page.”

“Yes Ma’am, but daddy’s wrong. He’s just like Sears. He’s the deacon of the Church, but he’s just like Sears. Jesus would let Ms. Lorena drink from the white water fountain. And Jesus would invite Ms. Lorena for dinner. He fed a bunch of strangers he’d never met before bread loaves and fishes. He’d invite Ms. Lorena and her family to dinner in a heart beat. I just know he would.”

“Cheyenne, please, stop arguing with me. You’re singing to the Choir, baby. I agree with you, but your daddy pays the bills around here. He is the head of this house, and he always has the last word. He has said no, and that’s the end of it.”

“I can’t wait to have my own House, Mama. I’ll invite anyone I want to, to dinner. And I’ll let anyone who wants to drink from my water fountain, because Jesus tells us to Love Everybody. Daddy and Sears do not have a Right to treat people the way they do. How would they like it if someone did those things to them ? Told them they were not good enough to drink their water or eat their food. They wouldn’t like it. Not one little bit.”

“Cheyenne, I understand why you feel the way you do. But I must now insist that you write ‘I will not talk back to my mother’ one hundred times. Now, go to your room. When you have finished your sentences you may read until I come to get you for supper.”

“Yes Ma’am. I’m sorry Mama. I’m not mad at you. I’ll do all one hundred sentences. I’m mad at daddy and Sears, and all of the stupid Rules they are making all of us have to follow. I don‘t like having to follow Rules I Know are Wrong. When I’m a grown-up I will never follow Wrong Rules. I will Help to Change them. Cross My Heart, Hope to die, Stick a thousand needles in my Eye.”

As Cheyenne studied the rolling green hills, and tall, lush trees whizzing by on both sides of the country road she was driving upon outside of Selma, Alabama she mused at how some Living Memories seared themselves into your very Soul.

Hearing one of her favorite songs begin to play on the radio she chuckled and reached over to turn the volume up saying, “Timing and Opportunity are everything.”

Tapping the steering wheel, she began to Sing, “Born Free. As Free as the Wind blows. As Free as the grass grows. Born Free to follow your Heart. Live Free. Let Beauty surround you. The Whole World astound you…”

She smiled and added, “Cross My Heart, Hope to Die, Stick a thousand needles in my Eye.”


© 2012 Easter3

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Added on March 15, 2012
Last Updated on March 15, 2012
Tags: racism, bigotry, tolerance, Christianity, love, Selma, Alabama, civil rights, individual and social morays and



Liberty Hill, TX

Leah Sellers is a native Texan who has enjoyed four varied careers in her lifetime as a: Secondary Education teacher in the fields of English, History, Journalism and Special Education, an Activity di.. more..