I was telling Aint Ruby about my new babysitting job. It sparked her memory.
“Yeah, I used to keep them little nigger boys up the road,” she reminisced. No matter how many times I heard her use That Word, it always shocked me and I wondered again why she didn’t know we didn’t say it. But she continued cheerfully, “I used to take them down to the bridge and we’d hide behind the bushes and throw rocks at people …” She dissolved into what could only be described as giggles, then composed herself and looked at me sorrowfully. “People just don’t know how to laugh any more,” she said.