I learned some startling family history. I was living in Cologne, Germany, a rich time I would latter use as the setting for my novel, Falling Up, available through the Amazon Kindle store http://amzn.to/w9Y8Ag. A trip across Africa had changed my life and shook me to my soul. Maybe that is why I sought out so many African friends in Cologne. Somehow I was still processing what I had seen and experienced in Africa. During a short visit home to California, I visited my eccentric grandma who sat in her home drinking red wine all day and painting with oils in the back bedroom/studio. From the couch to the kitchen counter was what I called the trail of crumbs marked with bits of saltine crackers and wine stains. Grandma would amble in for a refill of her mountain burgundy, and on the way back to the couch, sloshing wine over the tile floor, she'd crunch into a cracker. It wasn't that her eyesight had diminished so that she couldn't see the littered and stained floor, but I think she enjoyed the nonconformity of it, imagining herself a poor artist.
While there I broke out a bottle of Drambuie, for nothing warmed her heart more than the sweet Scottish liquor and the history surrounding it. During a family story that I knew well, she happened to mention that her and Arthur, my grandfather, had been at a meeting in Texas. When I asked what type of meeting, she replied, 'well, you know, the klan.' That about knocked me out of my seat.
And now, looking back, I understand the irony of the situation. There I was, living in Germany with all African friends, and finding out that my family had been members of the KKK! All the ignorance and hatred had dropped away with my generation. How refreshing that is, to know I had been part of the cycle of healing.
Thank you for visiting my blog. My name is Kevin Hill. I'm a novelist and a free-lance travel writer. I also write a column for a national magazine. Because I've lived a very non traditional life, having traveled with a back pack for ten years, hitch hiking around Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Mexico, this blog will allow me to record some funny stories and tell about my books and articles. I hope you enjoy it.
In my next post I'll tell about the abandoned house I lived in on the Caribbean coast of Mexico, on the Yucatan peninsula. There I slept in a hammock where my skin protruded through the netting like bits of a fat ham for the ever present, quick little Mexican mosquitoes to devour. Because I had such a tiny budget, I daily had to spear fish to live. And it was there, in my magical little village, where the one banker opened late if he were hung over, or he had a new girlfriend, or he just over slept. And if the liquor store were closed, you just drove to Rudolfo's house and paid him $1.00 to let you in the back door and buy what you needed, day or night. Yeah, my village ran at its own pace, and that was where I banged out the first drafts of Falling Up, on my little manual typewriter.