“Why do you continue to associate with those guys Corey?” is what my mother used to ask me more than anything else. I would glance back at my mother with a look mixed with uncertainty and a little bit of shame. To me, my friends were cool, but in my mother’s eyes they were everything but that. I’m from the small rural town of Kelford, NC, located in Bertie County. It’s one of the poorest counties in the state, but rich with farmland that produces major cash crops. Being the middle son of a loving family, associating with friends who didn’t have a strong family structure was interesting. In high school I would associate with peers who listened to infamous gangster rap, watched R-rated movies, and wore the latest fashion apparel. Because of this exposure, I found myself using profanity more often, sitting in In-School-Suspension for clowning around in class, and taking on a persona that made me known amongst others at school. Even though my grades remained satisfactory, my mom would still call me out for my, in her words, “reckless behavior.” She called it “reckless behavior” I called it “harmless fun.” Normally I brushed it off and continued taking on this distinguished swagger in school. My mother is a very religious woman who would say to me all the time “ Bad association spoil useless habits.” I knew that one day the words she preached so faithfully would prove to be beneficial to me, but at that time I was young, wild, and out of control. I continued to hang out with my peers that my mother dreaded so much throughout high school. After graduation, a lot of my friends moved away so I lost contact. One of my friends that I use to associate with on a regular basis was involved in a bank robbery and is currently doing federal time for it. I was shocked when I realized this happened to my friend. This was the same guy that I use to “cut up” with in school, meet females, ride out, and go to the mall with. I sometimes ask myself “what if I was the driver that day?” and not knowing what his intentions were. I could be in the same predicament as him right now. I never spoke to my mother about what happened to my friend. But the words she often spoke to me replay in my head every time I think about what happened to him, “bad association, spoil useless habits”. I think I finally learned my lesson, and that’s what I believe.
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