My dad was born in rural Northwest Louisiana in 1924, growing up during the bleakest of The Great Depression. Fourth of seven children born to a sharecropper who was barely scratching a living out of the red dirt, life got even harder for the family when his father died, leaving a destitute widow and six children under sixteen with only a mule, a cow, a wagon, a few farming implements, and the clothes on their backs. The boys took whatever work they could get at neighboring farms, working for their keep, and hopefully bringing a little something home to share, sometimes gone for weeks at a time. A widow with children in tow finds little welcome among struggling in-laws. Mettie was an orphan with no one to depend on except her brother, who provided them a place to stay and a garden patch. She struggled to feed her three girls left at home aged three through ten, doing whatever she could to put something on the table. They always managed to have a cow, pigs, and chickens. This and their garden staved off starvation. In the picture at the center top my dad is the little guy in the bottom center with wet overalls, so he must have been less than three years old. On the picture left lower, my dad is the youngest with two older brothers and two uncles. On the lower right, he is pictured with his two brothers and two black children who lived nearby. He said they played with these kids all the time, and ate many meals at their home. In the racist culture of the time, it is highly unlikely the favor would have been returned. If black children had come to a white home for a meal, they’d have eaten on the porch. I am so glad times have changed.