Unformatted text preview: sixty years old and healthy, but trouble was looming. We walked to the street and she peered down at my car. It was March and windy with a chance of rain, so the convertible top was up. In its closed state, the two-seater looked even smaller. "I'm not sure this is going to work," she announced. It had taken six months to get her that far; we were not turning back. I opened the passenger door and she approached with great caution. "Any suggestions?" she said. "Yes, try the rear-end-first method." It worked, eventually, and when I started the engine we were shoulder to shoulder. "White folks sure drive some funny cars," she said, as frightened as if she were flying in a small plane for the first time. I popped the clutch, spun the tires, and we were off, slinging gravel and laughing. I parked in front of the office and helped her out. Getting in was far easier. Inside, I introduced her to Margaret Wright and Davey Bigmouth Bass, and I gave her a tour. She was curious about the offset press because the paper now looked so much better. "Who does the proofreading around here?" she whispered. "You do," I said. We were averaging three mistakes per week, according to her. I still got the list every Thursday over lunch. We took a stroll around the square and eventually made it to Claude's, the black cafe next to City Cleaners. Claude had been in business for many years and served the best food in town. He didn't need menus because you ate whatever he happened to be cooking that day. Wednesday was catfish and Friday was barbecue, but for the other four days you didn't know what you would eat until Claude told you. He greeted us in a dirty apron and pointed to a table at the front window. The cafe was half-full and we got some curious stares. Oddly enough, Miss Callie had never met Claude. I had assumed that every black person in Clanton had at one time bumped into every other one, but Miss Callie explained that was not the case. Claude lived ou...
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