I peered past her to see Chicken Coop sitting at their kitchen table. He stared at me with a look I could not fathom. Later in life, I described it as ‘blank’ — later still as ‘empty’. As a young adult active in Civil Rights the word ‘betrayal’ emerged, though I never used it. Yet even now, in the sunset of life, it intrudes on that image which has stayed with me ever since.
I never played with Chicken Coop again. I looked for him a few times, but he never came out. For many years I trained myself to use ‘Jimmy’ when I spoke of him–which, to be honest, wasn’t often. I saw him a couple of times after that. Once, when he couldn’t have been more than eleven or twelve, he was smoking. About five years later I saw him in the back of the sheriff’s car. I don’t know what he’d done. I searched the “Greenville Banner” for several weeks but they never mentioned it.
None of us became baseball players.
And the sign? It hung over the main road through our small Texas town for thirty-eight more years.
After growing up in a small town in East Texas in the 1940s, Kendall Furlong went on to graduate from Southern Methodist and a career in international business. After stints with major American corporations in the multi-racial societies of Mexico and Brazil, he started his own company in São Paulo and ran it for many years. When retirement came, a life full of adventures demanded telling and this story is part of them. In “The Colorizer,” he looks back to childhood with Jim Crow. You can find Kendall on Twitter and Facebook.