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Uncle Remus and An Autograph
By Mona Lease

Hi, all!! I've been listening to our words - as a people. And I wonder if we - as a people - have gotten ourselves cornered. The following is why I wonder:

The whole NFL boycott has gotten so out of hand - tainted with racism. But see - I have not heard (for myself) any white people say anything about slavery, picking cotton, etc.

And in the whole NFL "arena" - I've not heard of anyone being accused of making any racial slurs (formal charges could/would be brought against the slanderer).

And I believe we are omitting some wonderful old stories of "lore" - of wisdom for living our lives.

Let's start with black lore's Uncle Remus. (I mean no disrespect). I was taught in elementary school that we are all different colors for a reason - that we all have something to contribute - that we all have a rich "racial heritage" to embrace and share.

Uncle Remus is a fictional character. One of my favorite stories is "Tar Baby." To highlight: Brer Fox and Brer Rabbit got into a disagreement. Brer Fox is mad and makes a tar baby out of tar and turpentine. Brer Fox puts the tar baby in the middle of the wide road (most travelled). Brer Fox hides in the brush at the side of the road and waits for Brer Rabbit to find it.

Brer Rabbit comes along and finds the tar baby. He tries to talk to the tar baby - who says nothing. Brer Rabbit gets mad and hits the tar baby with one of his front paws - which gets stuck. He is mad and demands the tar baby say something. The tar baby does not speak. Brer Rabbit hits him  with his other front paw - which gets stuck. The same thing happens when he kicks tar baby with both of his hind feet. Now he's stuck good and out comes Brer Fox to laugh at Brer Rabbit. The story says that Brer Rabbit did something to Brer Fox first.

"Tar Baby" has since come to mean: "A difficult problem that is only aggravated by attempts to solve it."

The Greeks had Aesop (E-Sop). He was a slave and a story-teller - according to Wikipedia. In the book "The Aesop Romance" - Aesop acquires the gifts of speech and story-telling. He works hard, uses these gifts, and gains his freedom. Later he becomes an advisor to Kings and City States.

The Chinese had Confucius. He was a real man - a teacher, editor, and philosopher. Some say the Emporer told Confucius to use Chinese folktales when he spoke. However it went - Confucius is credited with emphasizing personal governmental morality, correctedness of social relationships - of justice - of sincerity.

I was taught ....1964-1970 (roughly)...that Indians danced when they were happy....when they were sad. I learned that they hunted animals for food - for shelter - for clothing. Nothing was wasted. Bones were used for food dishes, needles, and the framework for their tepees. I learned they used the bladders of the animals for drinking water when they travelled...nothing was wasted. Pretty cool.

I learned that the Mexicans (no disrespect) wore big hats to shade their bodies from the sun. I learned they took a noon-day nap....called a siesta. They do this in the hottest part of the day.

I learned that we all adapt to our local climate or find another climate and adapt there. I learned that everyone in the long ago past - used whatever materials (clay, flowers, etc) were there to dye clothing and make "paint" to decorate their homes. They used this "paint" to keep track of their history...hunts that made a boy a man...hunts that brought food...hunts that brought the white buffalo - a blessing from the gods. I learned that early on - we all - as people around the world - figured that the thing to do was to trade someone else something you had for what you did not have.

So - I ask myself: Couldn't we all use a black (again, no disrespect) Uncle Remus to make or help us see truth and wisdom? Sometimes another way of saying something...another accent...helps an idea "click" and we have a new-found ability and desire to say: "I see what you mean."

PS - I had an "Uncle Remus" - he was Uncle Bobby. I asked him to sign my autograph book. He asked me what I wanted him to write. I said your name. And - that's what he wrote: "Your Name." I was 12. I still have the autograph book - still makes me smile. That was Uncle Bobby...always trying to get you to use your head...think things through.

Remember the kiddies and our service people. Take good care of the furry and feathered ones out there. Be safe and healthy. See ya next time. Ever Toodles!! MONA


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