Back in the late 1960’s, the pastor and parishioners of our mostly white Catholic church in suburban St. Louis County partnered with a mostly black church nearby for an initiative to become more familiar with each other and be a more cohesive community. I am told that my parents played a major role in this initiative, which became known as the “The Human Justice Council”.

Along with a few more serious items, one of the main activities was going on large group camping trips together.

I was a very young, preschool-aged boy at the time and had not yet spent much time around African Americans. As we all caravanned down to the state park, I was put in the car of one of the black families. There was a boy, perhaps five or ten years older, sitting next to me. I remember asking him questions like “why is the skin on the palm of your hands lighter than the rest of you?” I can’t recall what his answer was, but I do remember him laughing and being good-natured about it. The whole weekend seemed to be a good time.

As time passed, people get busy with their own lives, and the scheduling of these trips faded away, I being on the tail end of it.

I have no particular wisdom on this matter, and I claim no significant impact on the world. The reason that this story comes to my mind, and why I feel is noteworthy is:

There was a feeling of excitement at the time – the world was becoming a bigger and better place, and we were a part of it. It felt like there was a direction to it. That was nice.