We lived our little drama
We kissed in a field of white
And stars fell on Alabama last night
As sung by Billie Holiday
Long ago in the Bronx, on a walk to get the morning newspapers at Jack Krasnoff's candy store at Oneida Avenue and 233rd Street, just across from Woodlawn Cemetery, my grandfather told seven-year-old me a riddle.
"Tell me, Jimmy," he said, "what's black and white and red all over?"
I thought. I looked around. I shrugged.
He said the answer.
"But a newspaper isn't red," I argued.
"Sure it is," he said. "That's what you do with it. And that's why spelling is important."
I laughed at his joke.
If he asked me now, I would have answered differently.
I would have said, "Alabama."