Friday, December 4, 2009

Do You....Really?

The atmosphere at this particularly workplace was already tense in the days leading up to the historical presidential election of 2008. Situations came to a head the day after Obama won. It was a like a funeral, the white employees were absolutely stunned, shocked, dumbfounded whatever adjective you want to use to describe the way they felt. They walked past their black co-workers without so much as saying "goodmorning," "hello," or "nice weather we're having." Their stoned faces revealed what they had been thinking all along.
Fast forward to smoke break in a loaded dock area where most of the heated debates took place. Employees black and white alike gathered there and for ten, fifteen however many minutes it took they voiced their opinions. The blacks usually sided with Obama, the whites, sided with McCain and Palin. Well today, a white employee just laid it out there for his black co-worker. For five years they had been cordial to each other, gone out to lunch a few times, even met up with others during happy hour a time or two.
"You know," he began after taking a long drag on his cigarette, "I really wished you people would've gone back to Africa a long time ago."
The black co-worker laughed it off, "Aww, you're just mad 'cause we got a brother in the White House now."
"No, I'm serious." The white co-worker said emphatically.
The black co-worker blew out a cloud of smoke and listened as his white co-worker explained his reasons.
"If all black people went back to Africa today the crime rate would be lower, our system would be richer 'cause we wouldn't have to spend money on welfare programs and medicaid. We wouldn't have to worry about Affirmative Action and real estate values would appraise through the roof 'cause none of you would be around to bring the property values down. This would be a wonderful, safe, thriving society."
The black co-worker blew out another cloud of smoke, threw his cigarette butt on the ground and extinguished it on the heel of his steel-toed work book.
"Do You....Really?"
"Yeah, I wish all of you could get on a ship like Noah's Ark and go back and take 'Bama Boy with you."
The black co-worker was brimming but he kept his cool, he didn't want to stoop to the level of his white co-worker. As a Christian he was always taught to take the high road but he couldn't let an incident like this pass without giving a few choice words of his own.
"Imagine America without black people, the economy would shut down. It wouldn't be able to function without us. You know black in America people spend so much money that if they were living on their own country it would be the 9th wealthiest country on the planet? You wouldn't have all these black celebrities with wealth that you look up to like Oprah Winfrey, Bill Cosby, Jay-Z and Beyonce and you know how much money they have."
"So what?" Was all the white co-worker could say, "I don't even like Jay-Z."
"I'm not finished, just imagined if blacks hadn't came over as slaves at all, you wouldn't have traffic lights...your asses would be running over and killing each other. You wouldn't even have the city of Washington DC where all these bullshit laws are made if a black guy hadn't drawn out the survey for the city, hell half the inventions you take for granted around here wouldn't exist."
"I still say America is better off without y'all."
"That's sad," was all the black co-worker could say. Then more thoughts came to mind.
"Imagine right now if all black people went to Africa, today." The black co-worker began, "You wouldn't have all the popular sports that generate money for the economy, existing. You wouldn't have football teams, you wouldn't have basketball teams, boxing, all the big time money athletes would be in Africa. And you know...With all the black athletes in Africa, all the white women are gonna wanna come too."

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thinking About My Peeps This Thanksgiving

Blood is always thicker than water in my book. When you have a large, close-knit family like mine you really don't spend much time with friends. Whenever I go home to visit, I am content just hanging out with my mom, sister, husband, grandparents, uncles, aunts and first cousins.
My family loves to assemble at my grandparent's home where sometimes we throw barbecues, and fish fries for the hell of it. My Uncle Barry will usually surprise us with a wild game catch and most of the time it ends up in his deep fryer. I call his deep fryer a little piece of heaven because it fries everything from rabbit to armadillo (yes armadillo). My hometown, Huntsville is nestled in the piney woods of East Texas and has about 40,000 residents. I consider myself very much a country girl at heart. Thanksgivings in the past you would find me sitting in front a bowl of Grandma's collard greens crumbled up with jiffy cornbread and fried chitterlins (yes fried) with a glass of pineapple-spiked, cherry kool-aid nearby.
My Grandparents are well-known in the community so visitors are always stopping by. Sometimes people we hadn't seen in years would pop up out of the blue to visit a spell. The atmosphere is so welcoming that on occasion they'll have a bite to eat.
This Thanksgiving will be the first without a very special member of the family. My Aunt Jan will be sorely missed. She was the key musician in the family who sometimes loaded up her keyboard and we'd have church right there in living room. When she wasn't playing her keyboard she was throwing down eating at the table. She was only 4'11" so we got a kick out of how much food she piled on her plate. This Christmas and every other holiday will be difficult for us but with each passing year I pray that it will soon get better.
So this year I've decided to do Thanksgiving at my house. We don't do the traditional roasted turkey, instead my mother smokes turkey wings, turkey drumsticks, chicken wings, and pig's feet on the barbecue pit. I tell you the seasoning is sooo good that you find yourself gnawing at the bone with absolutely no shame. Hence another reason why I love being around my family so much. My mother-in-law is in town from Louisiana and she usually cooks rice dressing, a staple for Louisiana natives. It's the eve of Thanksgiving and most of the food is already cooked. Now, I'm just counting down the hours to the minutes to the seconds before I fill my plate with smoked turkey wings, potato salad, cornbread dressing, baked beans, and fried cabbage. God is good.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Your Bravery Will Never Be Forgotten

As you well know, November 11 is Veteran's Day, a day set aside to honor those who have set aside their lives to serve and protect our country. Several of my FB family and friends are members of all branches of the military. I applaud them. I applaud all Veterans for their strength and courage. Not everyone is equipped to take on the task. It takes a special kind of person to want to serve in that capacity. I believe there should be a special place in heaven for our soldiers. As a history buff, I am particularly reminded of the sacrifices made by African American soldiers. From the colored infantry of the 54th Massachusetts, who volunteered at a time when they were still slaves to fight on behalf of the Union; the Buffalo Soldiers who fought in the Spanish American War. The African American soldiers who shed blood during World War I and II, who were treated harsher than the enemies they were set out to fight against and the brothers who perished in the Korean and Vietnam Wars. I am not discounting the sacrifices made by soldiers of other races but an African American soldier should be particularly commended for willing to die for a country that didn't always have their interests at heart. Imagine yourself a young black soldier in Germany during World War II getting ready to see a Josephine Baker concert. Because of your black skin toned you are told to sit behind the white German POW's. How crazy is that? I don't blame Josephine Baker for refusing to perform unless the black soldiers and white soldiers sat together. Again, I applaud all Veterans. Times have changed where women see just as much action as men. They could choose to not enlist, choose to stay home, raise families, or focus on their careers but they don't. They too, put their lives on the line for this country. When I have soldiers on my flights, I make sure they get first-class treatment. If you're at least 18, the first round of drinks are on me. I feel if you are old enough to get permission to kill you can at least have a beer or a cocktail. So to all my Veteran FB friends: Christy Simmons, Willie Hightower, Lanita Winfrey, Tammy Cole, Kelton Gilbert and countless others...today is your day, celebrate and be proud of your bravery and service. I love you all! Thank you!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

When Someone Close Misuses Their Trust....

I was watching an episode of "In the Heat Of the Night," and the name of the episode was called, "Family Secrets." In it you have a very prominent family with a very prominent patriarch who sat on the boards of various organizations, he was deacon of the church...he was also the type of man who you wouldn't think would sexually abuse his own daughter and granddaugther.
I've had friends who had members of their family violate them inappropriately. I had one friend, whose step-father even offered money to sleep with her. I remembered her calling me crying frantically. She told her mother about it and of course her mother didn't believe her. I'll never forget that on my friend's 17th birthday, I paid for her a one-way ticket out of town via Greyhound.
I had another friend, who revealed to me a plethora of information about her family while we were on a road trip. She told me she was molested by both men and women. I was so hurt for her and sad that she encountered a dysfunctional family growing up.
I always thank God that although I had young uncles and male cousins, none of them wouldn't even think of touching me or my sister or female cousins. It wasn't until I was 21 that a male friend of the family tried. He was always coming by my mom's house to visit. My family has known this guy since he was a baby, his parents lived in the same neighborhood with my grandparents. He was always helpful, he was someone you could trust. When I was much younger, my friends and I would see him in the store and he would buy us candy and drinks. Later in life he would take us out to dinner and pay the tab. I don't know if he felt I owed him something or what...but one night I was complaining about my neck being sore and he offered to give me a massage. He gave me a pretty good massage but what happened next tripped me out. He kissed me on the side of my neck. I immediately jumped up because I was not expecting that. I immediately felt uncomfortable like I had done something wrong.
I remember saying, "That's all right I'm okay now," and I locked myself in the bathroom and I remember scrubbing my neck. Then I remember being pissed. Years later I find out that he raped his own 13 year-old daughter. His wife walked in on her screaming and fighting with him. He got some jail time too and now he's a registered sex offender.
If I see him now the pit of my stomach churns and I give him this look like, "How could you?" It's sick and instead of feeling disgusted I should be praying for him. You have to be a sick-demon possessed individual to do that to another person. That's why I plead the blood of Jesus over my daughter and my niece and over my female cousins on a daily basis. I pray that every perverted, deep-seeded desire that creeps into the minds of those individuals are cast out into depths of hell. Incest, perversion, sexually immorality has no place here, not now, not ever. IN THE PRECIOUS NAME OF JESUS. AMEN!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Hallow-What? I don't think so

About two years ago I was watching the morning news as I was getting ready for work. A reporter was at an elementary school asking kids (ages 6 & 7) what characters are they going to dress up as for Halloween. He asked the first kid, who said he was going as Spider Man. The reporter asked another kid, who said he was going as a wizard. The reporter asked a third kid who just stood there shaking his head. The reporter was puzzled.
He asked, "You're not wearing a costume for Halloween?"
The kid shook his head again. The reporter asked, "Why?"
The kid said, "Because it's not in the Bible."
You should've seen the reporter, he was speechless. I was up shouting yes! Yes! A kid whose mommy and daddy taught him well. Halloween, no matter how much you downplay it, is a day set aside to honor the dead. I'm sorry but the only thing worthy of my honor is Jesus Christ. I take the word of God seriously because as my late aunt always said, "I have my soul to save." Now many people will say that it's harmless, it's tradition, Christians are always taking the fun out of everything. If you knew the truth and history behind Halloween then maybe you would reconsider it. I don't have time to go into details but if you have access to a computer and a library you can definitely check it out for yourself.
My reasons are this: anything that glorifies the dead, anything related to idol worship, or anything with a history that doesn't involve Christ I won't have part in it and neither will my children. What's sad about all this is that there are churches who celebrate Halloween. All I say is read up on it and if you are the type who's into tradition because everyone else is doing it fine. However, when it all boils down to it I only have only myself to give account to when the time comes.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Remembering a beautiful life

She and her best friend used to race home from school to see who could get the first kiss of my chubby cheeks when I was a baby. She still had that same enthusiasm and eagerness to kiss my daughter. Whenever I payed my mother a visit, my mother would call and tell her to come over. She did, with the quickness just to hold and kiss and play with my baby. On Friday, September 18th around 11:30 p.m. she called my mother and they talked. My mother told her that she had spent the evening with my daughter. Aunt Jan wanted to see her too and that whatever she had to do, do it because she really wanted to see my daughter.
Around midnight, a drunk driver ran head on into the vehicle she was riding in, killing her instantly(wow, it's hard for me to write this). A wife, a mother of two, an aunt, a sister, a friend, a cousin, a well known musician - was taken away from us.
Later that morning, I arrived from New York, my husband knew but he never let on. I got a call from my cousins, one of whom was my aunt's oldest daughter, they never let on. I finally called my mom and asked if she had spoken to the cousin. She said, "no." Then I said she didn't sound too good. My mom asked, "She didn't tell you?" I asked, "Tell me what."
Whenever my mom starts off with, "Oh my God," then I know something terrible has just happened. Then she told me. It felt like someone had just knocked the wind out of me. After I let the words sink in "JAN...KILLED" a pain so deep erupted and I screamed out in anger, hurt, and confusion. How could a life so beautiful end so tragic?
She has always been the backbone of the family. I always joke and tell her that she should have went to law school because she was versed on legal issues. She always knew how to read through the fine print. If there were ever any issues in the family everyone went to her and by God she got on it and wasn't satisfied until it was done.
She was a talented musician and singer as well, serving as Minister of Music and even composing some of the songs for her church. During our family reunions she played the keyboard and always led the praise and worship hour. Who would've thought this year would be her last because this year unlike before, the holy spirit was present at our family reunion and the recreation house turned into a church sanctuary. It was a little emotional because we had just buried my Aunt Emma in May. So this was the first family reunion without her. When Aunt Betty got "happy," there wasn't a dry eye in the place.
Later during the family reunion, Aunt Jan entertained us with a bluesy rendition of "Stormy Monday. " She sang her heart out so we started throwing money at her feet. I'm so glad her husband was there to video the moment as he's done on many occasions. I think part of the reason why he did so were to capture moments that included my mother, who was dealing with lymphoma at the time. As strange as this may sound no one thought Jan would die before my mom.
And so the family is still in shock, and when it seems things don't get any worst they do when more members our family are killed in a terrible accident involving a driver who ran a red light. The death angel took not one but four members of our family over the course of the weekend. There's only so much the heart can take, right now all we can do is ask God to give us the peace He'd promised, the kind of peace that surpasses all understanding. I'm also thanking God in advance for his angels of protection over my family and everyone's family.
I can't get angry with the drunk driver who took away such a beautiful life. Aunt Jan had so much to offer, she still had a lot of living to do. She had two daughters; one who is about to graduate from college and the other who is about to graduate from high school. She was planning a party for them and she was excited as well as emotional about the upcoming chapters in their lives. My heart aches when I think of her husband and daughters. My only peace is in the biblical verse: Earth has no sorrow that heaven can't heal. As time goes on my prayer is that they will eventually heal. I pray that God gives them all the strength. And I pray that the girls go on to become the women their mother would be proud of. I also pray that Robert, her husband, finds the peace that God promised him. I pray for my entire family. Rest in peace, my dear sweet Jan. The angels in heaven are rejoicing!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Another snippet from "Spring Cleaning"

Sit time between flights make me more tired than the hours I spend on the plane. I utilize this time to have lunch in the food court for a change. Lucky is next to me with his nose in a box of Popeye’s Chicken while Eddie is across from us nibbling on a six- inch sub with a bag of chips.

“Word on the low is.” Lucky begins, “Roxy is about to lose custody of her daughter.”

I’m not a fan of gossip but for some strange reason my ears perk up whenever her name is involved. It has a lot to do with I don’t have a life and she seems to have too much going on in hers. Every week it’s something different. One week she’s not getting along with the nanny, the next week she and her rapper boyfriend are fighting. On an earlier flight, she got confrontational with a passenger over a wrong drink order. Tomorrow she may get off the trip just to show us that she doesn’t need the job or the money. I just look at her and think Lord, why her? She never seems content. If I were in her position I would utilize my time and money wisely. There are times when the crew has gone out for dinner and she orders the most expensive thing on the menu. She takes two bites out of it and she’s done.

Poor baby. Your daddy’s rich and your mama’s a hot mess. I’ve always wanted a child or two and here she is with a daughter and she runs away from her every chance she gets.

“To whom, Mad Lew?” Eddie asks. He’s thinking like me. Mad Lew didn’t want that child anymore than Roxy.

“Mad Lew’s mother wants it. You know what that’s all about.” Lucky dips his chicken strip in a round container of spicy mustard.

“To keep from paying Roxy child support.” I add.

“You know he pays her $20,000 a month?” Lucky fans himself, “Honey when she told me that my jaw dropped.”

“That’s $240,000 a year.” Eddie says.

“Lord forgive me for saying this but for that amount of money I wish I could birth a crumb snatcher.” Lucky looks at me, “You feel me, Boo?”

“No. You are by yourself on that.”

His smile disappears and he rolls his eyes at me, “Anyway, that heifer got Walter Nunnley paying her membership dues in the President’s club.”

Eddie frowns, “You’re supposed to be her friend, why are you telling us her business?”

“Amen.” I second.

Eddie taps my hand. “Ronnie, does he tell you my business?”

“I always put him in check.” I wink.

“Don’t even try it.” Lucky rolls his eyes at me again.

“So what, you and Roxy hanging tight now?” Eddie asks.

“I’m not supposed to be telling all her business.” He turns his back towards me and rolls his eyes at Eddie.

“Suit yourself.” Eddie chuckles.

Once I’m on the plane, it’s still a half an hour before boarding. We’re on a 757 with twenty-four first class seats so I find a seat in the very last row. Somewhere between a light and a deep sleep I wake up to the sounds of Roxy’s voice yelling into her cell phone.

“You knew my status when you got with me.” Apparently she doesn’t see me. What does she mean by status? Financial status? Relationship status? Her status of the War in Iraq?

“You know what Kenny, kiss my ass.” She yells into the phone, “And if you think you’re getting custody of Marlow kiss my ass again.” She slaps her phone shut and I hear it being thrown into her purse. She walks the first-class aisle in a huff and still don’t see me slump against the seat. I hear Lucky come on board and stow his bags in the mid-cabin closet, if he walks into first-class he surely wouldn’t miss me.

“What’s wrong with you?” I hear him ask Roxy.

“I don’t want to talk about it.” It sounds like she’s standing in front of the mirror powdering her nose. “When are you going to New Orleans?”

He answers, “This weekend, why?”

“I need a witch doctor or something. You know any?”

“Do I look like the type of person who know people like that?”

“You want me to lie?”

“Boo, I don’t know what you’ve heard but I don’t know witchdoctors.”

“What about your mother, your grandmother?”

“What are you trying to do?”

“I’ll tell you about it later.” She says just minutes before Whitney and Victor arrived. I remain slumped in the first-class seat until I feel someone tapping my feet. I pretend as if I’m asleep and start wiping my eyes.

Monday, August 31, 2009

I Can feel the Music!

Growing up, music was always playing in my house. Even at night when we went to bed, the radio played because a quiet house always seemed eery. Magic 102 has been around a long time and I still remember some of the DJ's (Captain Jack - Don't Do It Like That Baby!) was his hook, Zoe Bonet did the quiet storm at night, and Uncle Funky held it down in the morning. I've always been a fan of good R & B songs, especially those with good lyrics and an infectious rhythm. Remember this: Love and Happiness...Something that'll make you do right....Will Make you do wrong. Then you'd hear that gospel-inspired moan followed by the five foot stomps and the bluesy guitar. Listen to it and I dare you to remain still.
I grew up in the 80's and 90's when rap and hip hop first emerged on the scene. I'm not really a fan of the genre. I've never been one who memorized rap lines, phrases or hooks, but I can tell you all the lyrics to Stevie Wonder's songs. I have 60 of his songs on my ipod. Stevie will always have a special place in my heart. When I was two, my dad purchased the "Songs In the Key of Life" album and played it daily. Daddy's favorites were, "I wish": Looking back on when I was a little nappy headed boy...He liked, "Isn't she Lovely," he always dedicated that one to me. But the one song that always stood out and is my favorite one on the album to this day, "Pastime Paradise." The cellos, the violins, percussions, the voices of the choir, blend them all together and it was a masterpiece of a sound, an audible musical canvass beautiful from the time it opens with the simple, steady beat of a hand held wood block and climaxes with a thrash of a tam tam drum. The lyrics are haunting: Been spending spend most their lives living in a pastime paradise.
I finally got the chance to meet him after one of his concerts. Just for me, he played and sang another one of my favorite songs that he didn't include in the concert and believe me I was on cloud nine the rest of the week.
When it comes to music I don't just limit myself to R&B. My dad had an extensive jazz collection and at a young age I was able to appreciate Billie Holiday, John Coltrane, and the Jazz Crusaders. My mom loved gospel so it played all day on Sundays. To this day, she still tunes in every Sunday morning to the local station that plays gospel from 6 am to 10 am.
If I had to make a list of my favorite artists I would definitely put Stevie Wonder at the top, followed by Prince. I finally got the chance to see him and the Revolution perform live in New Orleans and I must say for a 50 year-old man he was very energetic. He's also on my list of people I want to meet before I die. He obviously strikes me as someone who is extremely deep and I can only imagine what a conversation with him is like. I wouldn't be surprised if he wrote everything down on paper and passed it over to you. He's just weird like that. Imagine us:
Me: Hi
Him: (writing on a piece of paper) How R U?
Jill Scott is another one of my favorites, I have a pretty extensive collection of her songs, too. I've seen her perform live, the sister is baaad. Her poetry comes alive. Anthony Hamilton is another one of my favorites but I haven't seen him perform in person. I rented a performance of his via netflix and was blown away by it. Next time he's in town, I'll be there front row and center.
There are others on my list: Anita Baker, Erykah Badu, Chaka Khan (whom I met, she's a sweetie) and Maze (seen them many times). I wished I could've gotten the opportunity to see the Jacksons perform, maybe one day I can catch a Janet concert. In the meantime, I'm gonna sit and chill and let the shuffle button play on my itunes. Check out my list of artists: Sly and the Family Stone, Booker T and the MG's, Alicia Keyes, Yolanda Adams, Zapp, Heatwave, Whitney Houston, R. Kelly, the Isley Brothers....

Sunday, August 23, 2009

When You've Been Blessed You Progress...NOT...

All my life I've seen this particular person deal with issues and win! She used prayer and meditation as her secret weapons. But as the saying goes, time brings about a change. Assuming it's a change for the better. When you've been blessed you progress not regress. This particular person has regressed. She's moved a devil back into her house. I mean literally. She's moved a real-life lying, scheisty, alcholic, devil BACK into HER house.

This devil came into her life just like it came into the lives other women through carpentry work. This devil has the same M.O. if you are a single woman and you need major repairs to your home this devil will fix it up as good as new. The work usually ends sometimes late into the night and instead of this devil packing it's materials and heading home...it crashes on the couch. Eventually the devil ends up in your bed. Next thing you know it's moved into your house. Next thing you know it becomes a stick of gum on the bottom of your shoe.

This devil is toxic. The two previous women who moved this devil into their homes suddenly became ill with cancer. One of them died. The other one forced him out at gun point. (Her health improved tremendously afterwards). This devil lived with this particular person for nearly five years. She claimed this devil as a roommate. He paid the bills whenever he got money from his jobs. He took care of the dogs, cleaned the house. He even went to church on occasion to earn his keep. Then the horns emerged.

One day I got a call from this particular person I could tell by her voice she was stressing out. "Come help me get his stuff out of my house." Without hesitation I drove myself and my 11 month-old daughter through a monstrous thunderstorm to help this person. In a matter of minutes we had all the devil's things packed on the front porch. This particular person who had depended on the devil to keep her bills paid and current was on the verge of getting her lights and water turned off. I paid her outstanding bills and put a little extra into her account. Soon after putting him out her health improved. She would get a thousand dollars here and a thousand there from her friends to help her out with the bills. I believed God showed her that she didn't need the devil, all she had to do was trust in Him and he'd take care of her. She read the bible, she knew this to be true.

Two weeks ago my daughter and I go to visit this particular person with the intention of spending the weekend to celebrate the good news of her being healed from cancer. We were spending the night and going to church with her the following day. All of a sudden, I hear keys unlocking the door and in comes the devil. I couldn't mask the shock expression on my face. I asked him, "Have you moved back in?" He snapped, "I never moved out!" I looked at this particular person, seething, fuming, "Is that true?" I asked. She glared at me and told me to mind my own business. I said, "When you called me to help you get his things out you involved me in your business. Why in the hell did you waste my time?" She said on the verge of tears that her bills started mounting up and that the devil gave her money.

Wow, was all I could say, I guess the money I was giving her wasn't sufficient. I was hurt but more than that I was angry. The devil had a reputation in the town for being a notorious liar and a con-artist. He would tell people he'd do jobs for them, take their money and never show up for the work site. He was even on probation for it. Worst than that he was drinking. That night when he walked in, the house reeked like a distillery. I packed my things, grabbed my daughter and I left. I refused to be in the same house with him.

Two days later I vented my frustrations to this particular person and told her how disappointed I was in her. "God has been good to you, he's given you a new lease on life and you insult Him." She knew the bible, at least I thought she knew the part where, "God will supply all your needs according to His riches..." Her faith had definitely turned into fear. I'm still upset but she's made up her mind, she's going to keep the devil in her home. I told her, "When you get tired of him and believe me you will, don't call me." And that was the end of our conversation.



Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Imagine a Not-So-Typical Black Community

Imagine a black neighborhood where all of the businesses are black owned. That used to be the case some years ago. I'm writing this because in every black neighborhood in America you're guaranteed to find three things: A nail shop, a liquor store, and a check cashing place. Nine times out of ten, the nail shops are owned by Vietnamese or Koreans. The Liquor stores are owned by Pakistanis or someone of Middle Eastern origins and the check cashing places are owned by someone other than a black person. The majority of black owned businesses in black neighborhoods are beauty shops, barber shops and fried food joints.

There is an old abandoned building that used to be Kroger just sitting in my neighborhood wasting away. In my dream world, I'm wishing I could turn it into a farmer's market. I would have free range chicken eggs, home grown fruits and vegetables, good quality meats like the kind you get from your grandparents' farm - I would have a cafe set up where my people could nosh on tufu spaghetti with unprocessed tomato sauce, they could drink real peanut butter and banana smoothies. The people who worked there would have pleasant attitudes and some of them would even show up early for work.

Imagine a black community where there are quality schools. Where prayer and bible study are requirements. Self-Respect 101 would be a requirement and Love and Respect for thy neighborhood will be an everlasting motto.

My point is this...At some point when do you come to the realization that you are your greatest asset. That God, your community, and your health are essential to your survival.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Family Reunion Fun

What do you get when you mix hickory smoked barbecue and country, salt-of-the earth, people? A recipe that is my family reunion. Every August since 2004 my family gets together and celebrate with a little church, a little history, and a whole lot of food. We sooo look forward to laughing and joking, playing exciting games, throwing down on my grandma's hickory smoked barbecue ribs, chicken and brisket. Later in the evening, my uncle and my cousins entertain us with live music.
The Merchant, Peterson, and English family reunions originally started with my Great Grandmother, Irene Peterson Merchant. Her birthday was August 2, and she wanted to celebrate her birthday with her family and her husband's family back in the late 70's. My great grandparents lived on a farm in Huntsville, Texas. The best family reunions took place right there in the backyard underneath a shady, huge oak tree. The reunions would last from noon until midnight sometimes.
"Mama" as we often called my Great grandmother, baked homemade pineapple cakes, German chocolate cakes, and made the best red kool-aid in the world. She called it "polly-pop," and it was loaded with pineapple juice. Come to think of it, "Mama" cooked all the food for the reunions that had as many as a hundred and fifty present. Sadly, "Mama" passed away in January, 1986. The 1986 reunion wasn't quite the same. The one following it in 1987 occurred right there in my great Aunts living-room, it was that small.
It wasn't until early 2004 that the grandkids got together and reignited the flame that "Mama" started nearly 30 years earlier. We added more activities and every year we pay tribute to our loved ones who have passed on. We celebrate by having church and then we end the evening with the live band throwing down on everything from Archie Bell and Drell's, "Tighten Up," to the "Cupid Shuffle." My husband loves the band, he usually gets a front seat to video the action with his camera.
I really hope we can continue the tradition so our children and their children can come together. It is always a really good thing.
video video

Thursday, July 23, 2009

My Mile High Tales In this Big World

I'm in first class taking food orders and drinks and I see the name, "Mary Wilson," before I make eye contact with this person I say, "wow, you have the same name as Mary Wilson from the Supremes." I look up and see that it is indeed the legendary singer sitting pretty and elegantly dressed in black on her way home to Las Vegas.
Another time I'm standing at the bottom of the jetway awaiting a seat on the plane and at the top of the jetway I see the silhouette of a coke bottle figure, slightly bow-legged, and a little pigeon-toed heading my way. She gets closer and I see that it's Ms. Bey, the bootylicious queen herself clad in black spandex wearing the cutest gladiator sandals en route to New Orleans to perform at the Essence festival.
At the height of their career, KCi and JoJo sipped Courvoisier on a flight from Midland to Houston. The 90's group, "Sugar Ray," were on their way to El Paso when one of it's members decides to join the mile high club with a girl he just met on the flight.
Mike Tyson must've ate a whole cabbage because he had the whole first class lavoratory stinking like it. Although I've never attended her personally, I hear Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee can get a little stinky herself. I believed she was banned for a short time after flight attendants complained of her harassing them with her haughty demands.
Jazz vocalist, Al Jarreau has to be one of the sweetest guys. He and I talked about his upcoming show and he was gracious enough to autograph a CD for my father. Jermaine Jackson was cool even though he sat in a center seat in coach and had what seemed to be a million kids traveling with him.
Broadway actress, Bernadette Peters was sweet. Cornell West was engaged in a book about Antigone. Basketball Star Rashard Lewis and his homeboys must've partied all night because they slept the entire four-hour flight. But the most poignant and proudest moment to date for me when was I sat with George Mitchell, one of the original Tuskegee Airmen. He had just gotten an award for his bravery and he was on his way home to San Diego. Mr. Mitchell was 83 years young, soft spoken, and a very proud dad. He carried a little brag book with him and inside were old pictures of himself and other airman from their WWII days. There was a picture of his wife, who was now deceased and a picture of his son, Tony award wining actor, Brian Stokes Mitchell. I could tell he was a very proud dad.
Celebrities, politicians, athletes, I've come across them all and I am remembered of the day I sat and talked to former NAACP Ceo, Kweisi Mfume. He had just left the funeral for James L. Byrd in Jasper, Texas. We talked about my travels and his travels and I told him that since I was a kid I had always dreamed of traveling the world. He said calmly, "It's a big world." To that I replied, "Yes, it is."

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Another snippet from "Spring Cleaning"

Just listening to the recorded conversations I had with my Instructor gives me a headache. Everything about him was big and loud. He had big hands with a tumor the size of a grape growing on one digit. He was articulate and you could tell he came from one of those families where both parents were educated and they associated with others of similar backgrounds. He graduated from Princeton and worked for a brief time on Wall Street. He moved to Los Angeles and started writing specs. He eventually sold a script enabling him to kick down a door and land him a job as a story editor for a short-lived sitcom. For fourteen years he wrote and sold scripts that never made it to production. Discouraged with the whole Hollywood scene, he packed up and moved back East. He got an idea for a story while sitting in the Barber’s chair listening to some guys reminisce about the year their high school’s football team captured the state title. What made the story even more dramatic was that the coach was African-American. The icing on the cake was that the coach won with an integrated football team, a feat unheard of in the late 60’s and early 70’s.

His script landed on the desk of one of the top producers in Hollywood who happened to love sports themed movies. Even with his backing the script appeared as though it wasn’t going anywhere. Hollywood studio heads only green light one inspirational story a year. They eventually got the movie into production and it became a hit, grossing over 100 million dollars at the box office. The message was its appeal. The script was compelling bringing even the President at the time to tears.

I look over my notes and try to make sense of his writing. He can’t understand his own cryptic markings yet he expects me to decipher them. I work until my words cross up and none of what I typed made sense.

My phone rings. It’s Jeremiah.

I answer by the third ring. “Hey you.” My computer clock reads 8:30 p.m.

“I was thinking about earlier today. I told my co-workers that I had a date with an angel.” Even over the phone I can sense he’s smiling.

“I was thinking about you too. I loaded the pictures on my computer. They look very nice.”

“I wish you were here right now.”

I wished I were there too, but not tonight.

“If I were there tell me what you would do?”

“You sure you want to go there with me?”

The ice has melted and the water is steaming.

“Let’s go there.”

“If you were here I’d take off your shoes and massage your feet.”

“Go on.”

“I’d massaged those beautiful calves of yours in a slow circular motion and work my way up to your thighs.”

“Then.”

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Unforgettable Events

There are some things in life that you just don't forget and surprisingly enough you remember exactly where you were and know exactly what you were doing.  Take Marvin Gaye's death, for example, it was April 1, 1984 and a bunch of our relatives came into town to visit.  We all gathered at my grandmother's house.  That night, the anchor on the 10 o'clock news announced, "Marvin Gaye dead at 44."  Both my parents were huge fans of his and I remember my dad playing his "Midnight Love," album and hearing Marvin sing those famous words, "wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up, let's make love tonight."  Even as a 9 1/2 year old I understood the way Marvin died at the hands of his own father was tragic, and up to that point I never recalled anyone killing someone they supposedly love.
I remember the space shuttle challenger disaster.  I couldn't forget because it was the day after my great grandmother's passing.  I was in fifth grade and the news kept showing it going up and exploding right before my eyes.  There was a school teacher onboard and an African American astronaut named Ronald McNair.  JET magazine featured an article on the family and I recalled the caption reading, "Disaster while touching the face of  God."  He left behind a wife and two little children.  Subsequently, the death of my great grandmother shifted the family dynamics.  "Mama" as we affectionately called her was the glue that held everyone together.  When she died the family seemed to scatter apart, like pieces of a puzzle.  My great grandfather grieved himself to death.  He died the following year on the same day.
There are other events that I recall vividly like the death of JFK,  Jr.  My mom and I were sitting at a hotel in San Francisco and although it was in the middle of July, the temperature outside was cold enough to dun a wool coat.  When the tragic events of September 11 occurred, my plane had just landed in Houston from Cancun, Mexico.  The Captain called us via interphone to tell us that a plane had flown into the Twin towers and another plan had flown into the Pentagon.  When I arrived inside our crew room, all eyes were glued to the television screen and there was a hush inside the room and looks of sheer horror on the faces of the some of the flight attendants.  I remember driving home and hearing it on every station on the radio.  I remember seeing it on every channel on tv.  That event changed the scope of everything. The America as we once knew was heading in a different direction.
The election of the first black president was something I thought I'd never see in my lifetime.  But on the night of Nov. 4, 2008, my husband, my 6 month-old daughter and I watched a new chapter in history unfold.  The excitement, the euphoria, the adulation, the mania.  I didn't shed a tear but I felt vindicated for once and I realized that through God all things are possible.
I was combing my daughter's hair when I received this blow to the gut, "Michael Jackson has just been rushed to UCLA medical center after suffering a cardiac arrest."  When I heard the words, "cardiac arrest," I immediately thought of my 16 year-old cousin taking his last breath.  The doctor wrote cause of death, "cardiac arrest," which meant his heart stopped beating. I admit, I cried and my 13 month old daughter cried, mainly because I was crying.  I felt  hurt, like Michael never got the chance to redeem himself and prove to the world that he was not the "Jacko" they made him out to be.
All of the events run rampant through my mind and they all played a part in shaping me creatively.  I am more determined to get out and complete the task I've been designed to complete.  Tomorrow isn't promised.  My time under God is now.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

This One's For My Girl


It's difficult to watch a loved one deal with health issues.  But my mom is taking everything in stride.  Her doctor advised her to take two more chemotherapy treatments.  Chemotherapy is no walk in the park.  First of all before you begin the treatments a port gets inserted in your chest.  A port is a thin, soft, plastic tube that allows healthcare professionals to draw blood and deliver chemotherapy drugs into your vein without having to insert an IV needle each time. 
I was with her when she received her first dosage. The entire time she was there I sat thinking, here is a woman who eats healthy, she power walks and she's never been sick an entire day in her life. What's wrong with this picture? We sat and pondered it out and came to the conclusion that it had to have been the hormone pills she took over the years.  Suffice it to say she immediately stopped.  She suffers from side effects like terrible hot flashes but according to her, "she'll be damned" before she takes another pill.
I love her so much and this set back in her health is only a setup for a major comeback.  I always tell her that she is a testimony.  It is a proven fact that with faith and the proper diet you can overcome any health obstacle.  Later in the month, our church and members of the community are giving her "flowers," we are celebrating her life with music and awesome words of encouragement.  I do believe that we should give people their flowers so they can actually see how beautiful and how sweet they are to us.
So this one's for my girl, the rose in my life, the true north on the compass of my soul, the hand I fan with, my solid rock.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Is It Ever Too Late to Help Someone

My family and I took a ride to Creole Country this past weekend to spend some time with my mother-in-law.  She just celebrated a milestone of a birthday on June 18.  The weekend spent at her house was trying my patience at best.  Please don't get me wrong, I love my mother-in-law, she's a sweet person and I'd like to think at times that she's in her right mind.  I mean she raised my husband to be a spiritual, hardworking, honest and very caring man.  But there were times I just shook my head and said nobody can be this ignorant.  I'm sorry if that's a harsh word to use, but it is the truth.  She talks about things without having done the research and will argue you down if you try to correct her.  Having a conversation with her is like trying to figure out a riddle, she'll jump from one subject to the next in one sentence.
If you're in one part of the house talking about apples she'll come out of nowhere to talk about oranges.  You can tell her the correct information about something she'll take that add something else to it, and then she'll say, "I'm older than you, I know better."  If my daughter is asleep and my husband and I are whispering she'll loudly interrupt the conversation.  To which I have to shush her and remind her, sometimes more than once, "please lower your voice, the baby is trying to sleep."  
Have you ever been around someone and all they talked about was the ex-spouse owing them?  Not only that, they harp on things in the past.  Things that happened 30, 40, 50 plus years ago.  Have you ever been around someone and they start off a conversation with, "They say?"  "They say the state is 'bout to run out of food stamps," "They say they going to start making candy from wax." Instead of picking up a newspaper to read it for herself she relies on second-hand information.
I ask my husband has she always been like this?  He said no, and that the older she gets the worst she gets.  He sometimes jokes about having to get her checked out to which she adamantly replies, "I am not crazy!"
It's sad to admit, but the only highlight of the weekend was spending it away from her and instead, spending it with my husband's old college roommate and his family.  He grilled t-bones, rib-eyes, and German-styled potatoes.  His wife and I both loved wine so we drank two bottles.  My 13 month old daughter had a wonderful time playing with their daughter and the evening flowed smooth, until we came back to my mother-in-laws.
I overhead my husband telling her that she needed prayer and that he was going to anoint her by The Father, The Son and Holy Spirit.  She shouted, "I don't care about no father, son, and holy spirit!" OH-Kay, this woman has gone far enough.   She's 70 years-old, I wonder if it's too late to get her  1) Spiritual help 2)Into some GED classes 3)Out of the environment that's bringing her down with it?
My husband tries to get her to spend time away from home but it's like competing in a decathlon to get her.  First I take my husband to the airport.  He flies from Houston to Lafayette and from there he has to find someone to pick him up because my mother-in-law refuses to drive anywhere other than the town she lives in.  Once he arrives at her house he has to take her car and drive three and half hours from her house all the way to Houston.  After her week here is up, he has to drive her all the way back home then figure out how he's going to get from her house to the airport.  Then fly from Lafayette all the way back to Houston. For some strange reason she does not want to leave her car behind, even when we spend time in Lake Charles with her sister, she'll come only if someone comes to pick her up and drive her back using her own car.  Is it too late to help her?  God, I'm praying for her and I'm praying for my husband, too.  She raised five boys and my husband is the only one who will spend time with her.  

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Getting some things off my chest

Some people may or may not get this as a first impression but I am so shy to the point that I dread being around people.  Now you may say that seems a bit strange.  I work in the airline industry and come across thousands on a daily basis.  That's true but that's my job and with my job I can be strictly business and I don't have to get personal with the passengers.
In the back of my mind I always knew but my husband pointed it out to me; I have anti-social behavior.  I admit, I am a loner.  I don't talk much on the phone, I don't text, and I don't do a lot of visiting or have visitors at my house.  I prefer being curled up on the sofa reading a good book or sitting with my lap top hammering out pages.  I've always been this way. I'll go on vacation by myself, I'll go to the movies by myself, I'll even dine alone.  I attribute a lot of this behavior to the way I grew up.  When I was six, my parents moved my sister and I away from a neighborhood where there were kids everywhere.  I had no problem going from house to house playing with the other kids and visiting with their parents too. Then we moved to a neighborhood where all we had were each other.  The neighbors didn't look like us and their children were grown. 
Now as my sister and I got older, she started hanging out with a lot of her friends whereas I just kind of did my my own thing.  If I never talked to another soul that was just fine with me. I remember attending my high school and people not knowing who I was, they knew my sister, but not me.  
I remember attending a retreat with a group of ladies and one of them asked, "are you always this quiet?"  I have to admit, yes, even around my own relatives I can be shy and withdrawn.  I prefer to be the wall flower instead of the social butterfly.  I admire people who can walk into a room and strike up a conversation with ease.  I may walk into a room, speak from a distance and retreat to a spot to sit down and check things out.
I've been called weird before, I've been called sneaky, and even a little eccentric.  There are times when I just don't care what people think of me and other times where every opinion about me matters.
Some of my friends get angry with me because I don't share a lot of myself with them.  My husband says in order to be a friend you have to show yourself friendly.  I'm working on it and praying about it.  I get invited to a lot of socials and I'll admit, it's not cool to be on the outside looking in.  Everyone gets the inside joke and you're always the odd one out.  I'll be honest, sometimes I get a bit lonely.  Sure I have my husband and my daughter always keeping me on my toes but sometimes you need friends to come by and swoop you up to say, "Hey Wendy, let's go to bible study, or hey Wendy let's go check out that new stage play."
I may not be the loudest person in the group or the one with all the witty jokes but I'll be the listener and I'll go as far as being the designated driver.  I wish people reading this will see that I'm trying and working on getting out of my comfort zone.  I'm praying to God for help more so now than ever before.  Just thought I'd get this off my chest.

Friday, June 5, 2009

"Spring Cleaning" on the brain...

With music playing softly in the background, I hammer away a scene on my keyboard, one in which the main character falls for her mentor.  The setup is at a campground in which Zydeco music is heard and people are two-stepping and swinging out. As she Zydecos with her mentor she catches a leg cramp.  Her mentor uses his expertise in the powerful way of healing and he gently kneads the spot where she feels the most pain.  Their quiet interaction speaks volumes.  The careful consideration he takes into making sure she feels better.  The way she stares at him, never before having him up so close that she notices his scars.  She inquires of each one and punctuates each inquiry with the soft tip of her finger.  She takes her finger and traces the outline of his full lips.  He takes her hand and kisses the inside of her palm.

            I am so deep into the scene, writing and rewriting to make sure it works that I don’t realize I’ve spent six hours just trying to make sure I give them the right words, I even try to imagine myself as the character.  I have a digital recording of my Instructor giving me pointers on how to fine tune the scene.  Now all I need is a way to transition it from a quiet little scene on the back of a double cab pickup to a scene filled with passion so intense the reader feels it.

            I put it aside and close my eyes more so to rid myself of an impending headache. Jeremiah floats in my mind like a sheet of paper being blown by a mighty gust of wind.  I try to remember his face and just can’t get past his eyes.  There is something about them.  I remembered how his long lashes fluttered when he tried to see what all I had to offer from behind the counter. I force myself to halt my thoughts of him and be about the task at hand.  My cell phone rings.

That thing’s supposed to be off when I’m writing.  I glance at the ID and see Jeremiah’s number.  Just as I reach over to answer, it stops.  Oh, no he didn’t.  I glance at my cell again to make sure it’s the right number.  I even go so far as to compare it to the number on the paper he had given me.  Why did he do that? I want to call back and ask but I am too afraid for fear that I might appear desperate...

Monday, June 1, 2009

Easy Like Sunday Morning

I had a very good and pleasant weekend.  My hubby and I along with our year-old daughter loaded up the bags and headed east to Creole Country.  I love going to Creole Country.  People you don't know share their lives and their homes with you.  You are always somebody's "Bebby," or "Boo," or "Chere."  The atmosphere is always festive, and the food.  Don't get started on food.  Anybody who knows me, knows how I am about my health and my food.  I'm a veggies type of girl (particularly green vegetables),  lightly steam and crunchy to taste. But when I'm in Creole Country, my taste for veggies fall by the wayside.
There is a place in Lake Charles called "Famous," and they have the absolute best boudain, it's an even amount of meat, rice and just the right amount of seasoning.  My one year old could eat it and not flinch.  And check this...they have smoked and sauteed cracklins.  What is cracklin'? Cracklin is fried pork skin.  It gets it's name from the sound it makes when the skin hits the grease or better yet, when you pop it into your mouth.  
I admit, I'm a sucker for the sauteed cracklins.  When you go inside the place, you are greeted with the overwhelming smell of creole spices.  But there they are sitting pretty in a nice roasting pan just waiting to be scooped up.  They are loaded with vinegar, seasoning all and hot sauce and if spicy isn't your thing, then I wouldn't recommend it. 
There is a Daquiri shop/sports bar called House of Soul that hubby and I go to.  The first time I went (two years ago), my husband recommended the 190 Octane.  I ordered a medium and just like the name says, I was lit.  This time around I knew better and got a small one. 
That Sunday, I missed church but it sure felt good to walk out on the porch and speak my gratitude and blessings in the air.  I am thankful for so many things but most of all I am thankful for Jesus.  I know because of Him I have grace...even when I'm not suppose to eat swine or drink joy juice, He still loves me.  I took it easy for the rest of the day and enjoyed the atmosphere. It was laid back and peaceful, just the way I like it.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Snippets from "Spring Cleaning"

The van ride to the hotel was an interesting one.  Nightfall had just settled in over Aruba and I couldn’t help but think about Natalie Holloway, the girl who disappeared.  On the radio, Backseat Judy by Mad Lew plays.

            “There’s your baby’s daddy.”  Lucky shouts behind us, startling me and Whitney. 

            My ear was ringing. “Everybody on the island heard you.” I said.

            “Driver, turn it up.” Lucky starts popping his fingers and rocking in his seat, “Where are the clubs around here, I'm feeling like Ginger Rogers tonight.”

            “We have Carlos and Charlie’s.”

            “I’ve heard of that place.”  Vincent says, “I believe that’s where Natalie Holloway was seen last wasn’t it?”

            “That place is wild.”  The First-Officer adds.

            Lucky stops dancing and leans forward.  “As in how wild?”

            The Driver coasts to a stop, “They have wet t-shirt contests, beer drinking contests, tequila drinking contests.”

            “I don’t wanna see no chee-chees.”  Lucky sits back in his seat.  Roxy is next to him, too preoccupied with her cell phone to be bothered with us.

            “We’re game for drinks.”  Vincent says to the First-Officer and the rest of us.  “Roxy are you coming?”  He asks.

            “I’m meeting someone.”

            “Who do you know in Aruba?”  Eddie asks, speaking for the rest of us.

            “Why is it your concern?”  Her around-the-way-Bronx attitude is in full effect.

            Eddie not one to bite his tongue, “I’m not, you can trust me on that.” 

            Whitney glances over her shoulder. “You have a myspace date?”  She askes.

            I hear Roxy sigh and suck her teeth, “Again, I’m telling you what I told your boy.” She closes her cell phone.

            Whitney hunches me, “She met somebody online.”

            “Whitney you know what you can do and driver will you TURN THAT DAMN RADIO OFF!”

            “Hey, watch your mouth.”  Eddie says.

            “Roxy, was that necessary?”  Vincent adds.

            Lucky forever the peacemaker, gives her hug and a squeeze.

            “That’s all she needs. Shame on you, you and you.”  He points to me, Eddie and Whitney.  I look back and notice her scowling at him and him looking back at her and trying his best to not laugh.

***

            The bartender at the hotel says $12.50 for a margarita.  We say no thank you and walk outside across the street, past the casino and follow the sound of the live salsa band.  I figure where there is salsa playing there are reasonably priced drinks.  The First-Officer and myself, along with Whitney and Victor find a table for four.  They order beers you only find in Aruba.  Whitney and I like our fruity drinks so we order margaritas.

            On a 25 inch-television screen above the bar the Dallas Mavericks are playing the Phoenix Suns.  Victor and the First-Officer talk basketball and airplanes.  Whitney and I nurse our drinks and comment on why the bird handlers across the walk from the restaurant have colorful parrots, and toucan chained to the perch.

            “Isn’t that animal cruelty?”  I feel a sudden sadness.  Those birds are too beautiful to be chained.

            “Reminds me of life before I got married.”  Whitney says with her eyes still glued on the birds.  Her expression turns somber.

            “Honey, what’s the matter?”  I admire how Victor is in tune with her.  She points to the birds.

            “I don’t like how they have those birds chained.  I want to tell them about it.” Victor gently taps her hand.  “Sweetpea, there’s no PETA in Aruba, leave them alone.”

            “I feel the same way when I see those horses in New York City with all that stuff weighing them down and they have those blinders.”  She mimes as she speaks, “Up near their eyes with that sack trailing behind.”

            “The sack is a good thing, the streets would be in a lot worst shape than they are now.”

            I add my two cents.  “I don’t like when people abuse dogs.”  My mother has two small dogs that she treats so much like children she even allows them to sleep with her.

            “Maybe I should join PETA.”  Whitney says half jokingly, “My girlfriend Nikki has a couple of furs that I want to take out and burn.”

            Victor takes her margarita glass to examine it. “They put a lot of alcohol in this?”

            “I don’t have a buzz, yet.”  She says, “When I do, you’ll know.”

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Another snippet from "Spring Cleaning"

I pull out Jeremiah’s number and contemplate whether or not to call him.  It’s seven-thirty Seattle time which means it’s nine-thirty in Houston.  Today is Wednesday and he is probably sitting at a happy hour somewhere on Richmond enjoying a beer with a few of his co-workers.  Or, he is out on a hot date with an exotic looking girl sipping on Mumms Cuvee and  listening to smooth jazz.  A single young, good-looking man like himself could be doing a number of things besides sitting at home.  I take a leap of faith and dial his number.  By the fourth ring I hear the phone pick up and I hear a soft shallow voice utter, “Hello.”

            I am about to leave a message before I realize he is on the other line. 

            “Hi Jeremiah, I expected your answering machine to pick up.”

            “I’m unwinding, sipping a little cognac and listening to some music.”

            “How was work?”

            “Double shift.  My dogs are killing me.”

            An image of Jeremiah in his uniform pops into mind.  I’ve always seen him from the waist up so I envision his forest green shirt with the AirExpress emblem and ID badge dangling around his neck.

            “You sound really tired.”  I say for lack of a better word.

            “I’m much better now.” He says just as the tempo of his voice increases. I hear a Louisiana based dialect that wasn’t there before.

            “I just knew you were out somewhere having yourself a good time.”

            “Why do you say that?” 

            “A single good-looking guy could find a lot to do on a Wednesday night.  Don’t you have a girlfriend?”  It’s not uncommon for a guy to be involved and still dabble on the side.

            “No girlfriend at the present.”

            An alarm went off.  I’m not looking to get involved but you can’t tell that by my conversation.

            “Have you ever been married?”

            “I was married for ten years.”  Wow, that’s a lifetime in today’s age.

            “Any children?”

            “No.”  Dear Lord, something’s wrong with his soldiers.

            “How old are you?”

            “How old do I look?”  Thirty-five.

            “I might guess the wrong age.”

            “You’ll be surprised.”

            “Thirty-seven.” I blurted out.

            “You’re way off.  I’m forty-two.”

            “You’re not forty-two.”

            “Yes I am.”

            “You easily had me fooled.”

            “You should see me when I haven’t shaved. That gray starts sprouting like wild grass.”

            “Salt and pepper looks sexy on you.”  I don’t want to sound too suggestive.

            “I’m a little self-conscious of it.”

            “They have dye in a box you could use.”

            “No way. That’s not me.”

            “So tell me about your marriage, what happened?”  I open the curtains to my hotel room.  Darkness is just falling across the Seattle sky. I pull up a chair and rest my feet on top of a desk.  I don’t care if I have to get up around five-thirty tomorrow morning. I am on the phone with Jeremiah and I am all ears.

            “You want the Reader’s Digest version?”

            “I want your interpretation of it.”  I was told there were three sides to every story.  His side, her side and the truth.

            “My ex-wife was a very selfish woman.”

            “Did you know this before you married her?”

            “I saw signs of it but I was too blind to see it.  You know about that?”

“Boy don’t I.”

 “When we met she had no college degree and she was still living at home with her mother.”

            “Where did you meet her?”

            “We worked in customer relations.”

            “What was the initial attraction?” 

            He paused.  I don’t know if he was thinking or taking a sip from his glass.

            “She was outgoing, witty, charming.  She carried herself with a lot more class than most of the women at the office.  She was well-traveled, she came from a really good family.”

            “When did you start seeing the truth?”

            “About two years into the marriage.  I saw how she dealt with money.  I worked so she could go back to school.  She got her bachelor’s degree and worked part-time and I thought that once she got her degree she would join the workforce.  But, she went back to school and got her master’s degree.  She applied for loans that she didn’t really need and went shopping like she had a million dollars.  She ended up getting a car she couldn’t afford.  I thought once she got her master’s degree that she would get a job.  But no, she went back and got a doctorate...”

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Wondering...What Was the Last Good Movie I Saw


BET aired one of my favorite movies, "The Color Purple."  I remember seeing it twice with my mom, two of my aunts, and a cousin.  I remember being captivated and moved from beginning to end.  As a matter of fact, I watched the movie so much over the years that I memorized EVERY line, did you hear me?  EVERY line.  My favorite scene occurred at the dinner table, where Celie gives Mr. and his father a piece of her mind.  You may know some of the lines, "It's time to get away from you and into creation and your dead body will be just the welcome mat I need."
Another good movie I saw that left an impression on me was "Forrest Gump."  Tom Hanks played a convincing role and the movie was somewhat like a history lesson put together over an unforgettable soundtrack.
Lately I can't recall the last good movie I saw, I'm talking about a movie that's so good that you leave the theater thinking about it.  Even while riding in the car with the music playing, you think about it....Hmmmm....I'm drawing a blank.  I think the last movie my husband and I saw together was Tyler Perry's, "Remember the Browns," although not necessarily a good movie, it was something to do to past away the time.  Hmmmm....I'm still trying to think of a good movie, maybe it was "Dreamgirls," yeah....I liked the scene when Effie is replaced by a new singer, I have it memorized.
"Curtis was supposed to love me....I turned my back and find myself right on the line...you could've warned me but that would've been too kind..."
The segue from that scene to Effie's, "And I am telling you..." sometimes makes the hairs on my arms stand up.  Jennifer Hudson's interpretation was just as good as Jennifer Holiday's and when she finished, the audience cheered.
Last week on a trip, a co-worker and I wanted to check out Beyonce's latest flick, "Obsessed," again, just to pass away the time.  Needlessly to say, because of delays out of New York, we ended up spending that day on the beach in Cancun instead. Ha!