TWICE AS GOOD
Willie Powell was fast.
He was only in third grade, and he could run across the playground faster than most fifth graders. But the new golf course was seven miles outside of town, and he’d promised his mother he would be home before dark.
Willie’s eyes wanted to cry, but he wouldn’t let them. Of course, Willie knew he was different. He was the only Negro in his class.
It was dark when Willie got home.
He hoped his mother would be asleep, but she was waiting by the door. First she hugged Willie tight. And then she told him, “Now you go get me a good whippy switch from one of the willows.”
Willie knew he deserved a switchin’, but even now he was planning to sneak back to the new golf course every chance he got. Getting in trouble wasn’t going to stop Willie.
Willie was glad to be back in America, and best of all, Marcella was soon pregnant. She had been dreaming about having a daughter. Willie had been dreaming, too. His dream was to be a professional golfer, and his welcome overseas made him think it was possible.
But Willie heard the same story at every course he visited that year. “Only members are allowed to play here, and you’re a little old to caddy, son.”
“Some folks don’t mind me fighting for their freedom,” he told Marcella, “but they sure do mind me sharing their clubhouse.”
But today, nothing could upset Willie. He was playing with his baby daughter Renee. She grabbed his finger and held it tight.
“You have the grip of a champion golfer,” he told her.
Marcella laughed. “But Renee’s a girl,” she reminded Willie.
“I know she’s a girl,” Willie answered. “She’ll just have to try twice as hard as the boys do.”
“And she’s colored,” Marcella said.
“I know she’s colored,” Willie answered. “She’ll just have to try twice as hard as the white folks do.”
Then Willie gave Renee a big kiss and held her up high.
“Someday there will be a course where you’ll never be turned away,” he told her.