Shortly after Mr. Darby received his degree form the “University of Hard Knocks,” and had decided to profit by his experience in gold mining business, he had good fortune to be present on an occasion that proved to him that “No” does not necessarily mean no.
One afternoon he was helping his uncle grind wheat in an old fashioned mill. The uncle operated a large farm on which a number of coloured sharecrop framers lived. Quietly, the door was opened, and a small coloured child, the daughter of a tenant, walked in and took her place near the door.
My uncle looked up, saw the child, and barked at her roughly, “what do you want?” Meekly, the child replied, “My mammy say send her fifty cents.””I’ll not do it,” the uncle retorted, “Now you run on home.” Yas sah,” the child replied. But she did not move. the uncle went ahead with his work, so busily engaged that he did not pay enough attention to the child to observe that she did not leave. When he looked up and saw her still standing there, he yelled at her, “I told you to go home! Now go, or I’ll take a switch to you.” The little girls said “yas sah,” but she did not budge an inch. The uncle dropped a sack of grain he was about to pour into the mill hopper, picket up a barrel stave, and started toward the child with an expression on his face that indicated trouble.
Darby held his breath. He was certain he was about to witness a murder. He knew his uncle had a fierce temper. He knew that coloured children were not supposed today white people in that part of the country.
When the uncle reached the spot where the child was standing, she quickly stepped forward one step, looked up into his eyes, and screamed at the top of her shrill voice, “MY MAMMY’S GOTTA HAVE THAT FIFITY CENTS!”
The uncle stopped, looked at her for a minute, then slowly laid the barrel stave on the floor, put his and in his pocket, took out half a dollar, and gave it to her. The child took the money and slowly backed toward the door, never taking her eyes off the man whom she had just conquered.
After she had gone, the uncle sat down on a box and looked out the window into space of more than ten minutes. He was pondering, what awe, over the whipping he hat just taken. Mr. Darby, too, was doing some thinking. That was the first time in all his experience that he had seen a coloured child deliberately master an adult white person. How did she do it? What happened to his uncle that caused him to lose his fierceness and become a docile as a lamb? These and other similar questions flashed into Darby’s mind, but h did not find the answer until years later, when he told me the story.
PERSISTENCE IS THE KEY TO SUCCESS
Categories: Training and motivation