When I was very young, one of my grandmother's neighbors was a black family. This is the first recollection that I have of being around black people. This family consisted of an elderly couple and the extended family members that visited them from time to time. They had a granddaughter that was a bit older than me. When she would visit her grandparents, we would play together. I never really thought of her being different, because of her skin color, instead, I envied her long smooth braids. I had thick, extra curly hair that my mother kept cut very short in order to manage it.
Years later, I met a lady that I consider a very dear friend. The fact that she is "black" is of no concern to me. She has enlightened me on many things through the years, including how to relax this head of hair so that I could have some relief. She is a wonderful daughter to her aging parents. She is a committed wife to her husband. She is a voice when an audience needs addressing. She is a person that is every bit as comfortable in a group of whites as blacks. I don't think that I know anyone else that is as "together" as she is.