Mama believed in rules. She had lots, and she found them in many places. There were house rules, school rules, rules in the Bible, traffic rules… I thought Mama believed in all rules until one day when I was eight years old.
Mama, my sisters, and I were getting on a Trailways bus to return home after a visit with my grandfather. I noticed some strange panels hanging down on either side, dividing the front section of the bus from the back. I asked her what they were for.
I don’t remember her words, but I distinctly remember my two reactions. The first was that I might prefer to sit in the back rather than the front. At eight years old, I was smart enough to know that a rule that prevented one group of people from sitting in the front also prevented me from sitting in the back.
The second reaction was even more startling. Somehow I knew, even as she explained it, that Mama did not believe in the rule. The great rule-maker, rule-teacher, rule-follower thought this rule was wrong. I never forgot.
Thank you, Mama.