Sunday, October 30, 2011

And Now... None

R.I.P. Big Ma.

I got the news about an hour ago...

Thursday, October 27, 2011

And Then There Was One

Life has ways of being interesting.  A lesser known fact about me is that I have had nine grandparents.  How do you ask?  Well... My father's parents, one and two.  My mother's parents, three and four.  This is the usual configuration for most people.  However life happens and sometimes there are additions.  In my case it happened several times. 

My mom's parents divorced. 

Her mom remarried, five.  After a (not very long) while, he passed.  One gone, I was just a babe.  I wish I had known him, I am told he was a really good man.

My parents divorced a couple years later.

Not long after, dad's mom passed.  Two gone.  I can barely remember her myself.  But she lives on in the memories and stories of her children.  A very kind and intelligent woman and mother of 13.  Three years is not nearly enough time, especially when there were so many others to share her with.

Not long afterward my mother's father remarried, six.

Not long after that my father's father remarried, seven.

My father remarried.  Though that bond came her parents, eight and nine.

It is around this time when I am really aware and can remember people and events.  So the relationships began to develop past familial to personal.  Mom's mother was Grandma!  Straight, no chaser, grand parent of all grand parents.  For me she was the most constant.  The greatest presence of all the grands.  She also happened to be my family's Madea... But I digress...  My mother's father, he was number two.  So much I can say about him.  Too much going through my mind to even write it.  That was my man though.  My father's father was a ghost to me.  An occasional visit here and there.  It was hard to be a part of his life since he relocated to California before I really got to know him.  Which of course meant that I didn't really know his wife either.  My mom's step mom. She was grandma too, but without the capital "G".  She was a pretty nice lady from what I can remember.  But there was something I couldn't put my finger on that put up a barrier.  I guess the families never really quite meshed.  Her children never quite felt like uncles and aunts.  Her grandchildren never quite felt like cousins.  I guess they really weren't because after her death, I didn't see much of them.  After his, they became pretty much legends...  My step mom's parents are the last two.  I will be the first to admit that this was a strange relationship.  I never had a problem connecting with either of them.  But it was not really a grandparent grandchild relationship.  More like beloved great uncle and aunt.  There was a certain distance between me and my sister and my step mom's family as a whole.  Just never really engaged with the clan.  No nights spent over folks houses.  No cousins ever came by.  Now that I think back, it was almost always a case of me going where they were.  I guess to a kid, one way don't cut it.  In fact it probably explains the distance between my brothers.  Meetings usually on their turf, not mine.  Hmmm...  Different post that.  But back to it.  Pappa and Big Ma were their identities within the family.  Poppa to me was a stereotypical good humored southern farm boy.  Always happy to see you.  Honest, hard working, Salt of the earth kind of guy.  A great big old teddy bear.  Big Ma on the other hand quite a bit soft spoken.  Seemingly as small as he was big.  Always willing to take up the conversation or relate a story.

This is the grandparental landscape as it was when I was five.  It remained that way for several years.  Then my mom's step mom passed.  This was the first grandparent I really engaged with who moved on, three down.

Things stayed stable though my teens.  Mostly...  Grandma was the next to go.  This was the one I really connected with.  I got a lot from her.  I remember one incident that sealed the deal.  She had a fireplace in her house.  There were pictures of all of her all over the place.  I remember mentioning to her (with my lip poked out) that she didn't have a picture of me up there.  She gave me that "are you effing kidding me?" look.  Then she said something that pretty much meant the same thing.  Then she steered me to the photo albums.  Told me to look though them.  Needless to say after a few moments I felt like a complete jackass.  And never more loved...  Best believe that a couple of years later upon my high school graduation, hers was the first picture I delivered. Four down.

About a year later Grandpa was also gone.  I think he was heartbroken mostly.  He took Grandma's passing, and the circumstances, really hard.  First time I remember seeing him cry.  I will always remember the lesson he taught me about respect and paying attention to what folk say.  Seems he sent me to the store.  Gave me a list of stuff to buy him and I could have the change.  I came back with a half assed order for him and the bounty of the gods for myself.  I think he was a little pissed.  I remember the laughter more.  And that had more of an effect on me.  I will never forget that.  Mostly because he never let me.  Five down.

A couple of years later, my father's father and his wife returned from California.  His health had starting heading south.  As had her memory.  They needed to be cared for, so they came home.  I got to spend a little time talking with him as an adult,  Digging through the stories and history that he had available in his head.  But there was not enough time.  At least I never thought so.  Six down.

His wife was the one where the connection was weakest.  As I said, they were in Cali most of my life.  When the came back she was in the beginning stages of Alzheimer's.  By the time of his funeral, her memory was mostly gone.  Pretty much everybody was a stranger to her.  I remember the last couple of conversations we had.  She looked at me with a sad and apologetic look and said "I'm sorry, I don't remember you."  I was slightly taken aback.  Remember, Dad is one of 13.  13 who were fruitful.  So there were a lot to remember.  Even in the best of circumstances, that statement was not unexpected.  So I tried to explain who I was.  We both felt better for the understanding achieved.  The next time I saw her, the conversation started the same as before.  This time I simply replied, "That's okay, I remember you".  Not long after that she joined her husband.  Seven down.

Poppa was the next to leave.  He was a good man, who lived a good life and raised a family.  Can't really remember that man ever having anything bad to say about anybody.  We were always happy to see each other.  My biggest regret is that we didn't have more of each other in our lives.  Eight down.

This leads me to the somewhat deceiving title of this post.  See Poppa passed years ago.  So there has only been one for over a decade.  Big Ma is 93.  Good health and a bit of spunk to boot.  She and my father celebrated their birthdays together and the family showed up.  I still smile when I picture that scene,  She was sitting in the chair by the window.  Somebody asked what she wanted from the store.  She replied that she wanted something to drink.  After folk asking about various soft drinks and juices and getting "no" as a response, somebody (I forget who), said "The hell with all that Big Ma want her a DRINK!"  The very satisfied grin she wore after that pretty much told that tale.  She got her a little cognac for her birthday drink.  Job well done!  I also remember looking at her a couple of times during the event.  She wore a beaming and satisfied smile while the late winter sun beamed down on her through the picture window.  An beautiful day, a good drink and surrounded by family in celebration.  That included my absentee ass...  I have to say her last birthday was a good one.

Today she inspires the writing of this post.  Because of recent events, one may soon be zero.  A couple of weeks ago, she fell and broke her hip.  The doctors said she needed emergency surgery or she wouldn't walk again.  The surgery was successful I guess.  However there were some complications that ended up in her falling into a coma.  I was by dad's house this weekend.  She is there, sleeping.  I stole a quiet moment to hold her hand.  Not believing that after 93 years that her time may have arrived.  Though her end may be soon, her legacy is strong.  And like the others, she shall live on.  In me...

Saturday, September 17, 2011

I Work The Black Page...Here And There

For some reason, I am getting the urge to start or even write this whole post in song lyrics.  In the last two minutes I have fought down the urge (mostly, see title) to quote lines from Sting and Stevie Wonder as openings to this post.  But while they might speak to some thoughts in my mind, they don't speak the words needed for THIS post.

See, I am here because of two things, fear and reemergence.

Fear has kept me from leaping into the future.  I feel myself being TOO cautious.  I fully understand why.  I just don't want to end up back where I was before.  But overcompensating is bad in this case.  Slow feet take more time to cover the same ground.  I find myself in a funny place because of it.  The mind knows.  But the mind believes different.

To illustrate that point, I got a story for you.

Way back yon three quarter score ago there was a young man.  Freshly enhappied and newly wed.  Young dude and his new bride arriveth in the magical kingdom of Toronto.  And being young (and dumb(ish)) he loudly proclaimed that he would take her to the highest venue in the land.  And when they would arrive at the high, he would drag her across the magical floor that looked upon everything below it.  So up, up, up, up they went until reaching the highest plateau.  Around the dark circle they strode, until they beheld a most wonderful sight.  Why it was the brightness of the sun blazing up through what appeared to be an enormous hole in the floor.  They walked to the very edge of what seemed to be oblivion.  They gazed down upon the kingdom.  They felt like a king and queen even as they gazed down upon men who fancied themselves Royals.  Many men named Jay in suits of Blue attempted to defeat these men of such lofty goals.  To which the new bride uttered "That's so cool".  And off she went.  She floated across the bright abyss as if an angel with new wings.  Her journey began with her new husband's hand in hers.  It ended with that hand empty.  The husband had attempted to fly with her.  But his foot never actually crossed the threshold between the solid ground and the lighted abyss.  It seems that his mind KNEW that there was a magical force field called plexiglass there (damn you Rio!).  His mind would NOT believe that the next step on solid ground called for a 1,100 foot drop before his foot would reach that ground.  Needless to say, attempts to get him to venture out were (mostly) in vain.

I tell you this story to say that I find myself again not able to put that foot where I know it should go.  When I think about it, I wonder why I am hesitant to walk into the future.  When I don't think about it, not walking seems normal.  That said, I think it is going to take some more work for me to reestablish my freedom.  I have shed some of the shackles.  This one is the most challenging.  Challenging because my mind is quite the formidable opponent.

From The Black Page,


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Randomness Returned

Sometimes I just can't turn off.  Oftentimes it feels like I am on a ride, completely out of control.  Sometimes like that stunt that killed Indian Larry.  Just surfing the seat of a moving motorcycle.  Nobody steering.  Not sure if or when it will lose balance and fall the hell over.  Yet sometimes thrilling.

Then there are times like now when I am completely bored with everything.  Not that anything is wrong.  Just...ugh!  I am finding that the things that have been occupying my time are not that occupying anymore.  I am starting to think of the opportunity costs of the time spent.  Like time not spent here. 

I sometimes wonder if letting myself get away from here changed something.  I mean at this point I am down from one post a month to one this year.  Okay two this year.  The decision to not BWM here anymore also kept me from wanting to share anything.  I guess that could change.  Also reading the stuff I wrote gave a third person perspective that I seem to be missing. 

And I realize that, even as I write this, that I have way more to say than I can express.  My organizational skill with the words is a little dusty and a bit overwhelmed.  I am spending more time thinking than writing.

Maybe I will try to rediscover the dude that put the other 400 odd posts out here.  Take my laptop out on the porch and let the scene inspire me to see things as only I can.  Or I can just talk about people...

Can't wait to read this to see what I think about it.  After I tell myself "That is so random..."

Anyhow, I am up much too late!  Guess I better Hulu myself to sleep like I was going to before I started typing...

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


What up?

It's been a long time
I guess I left you,
Without a damn thing to read through...

Eh... I knew I shouldn't have done that.  Guess I am getting on the train outta Cliche'ville.

Feeling a little random.  So a little random you shall have.

I just sat and watched a movie based in Lansing, Michigan of all places... while in Lansing, Michigan! 

You know The Lakers gos swept!!!  And I can't get the vision of The Blog Wife in her Flakers shirt.  All pink and stretched from east to west...  Sigh...

I sometimes wonder what my previous life was like.  Must have been a real asshole because I haven't done enough in this life for the karma that is kicking my ass in this lifetime.

I stopped watching TV for a while.  Got addicted to Hulu, Miami Vice especially.  When I came back, I found that it doesn't keep my attention like it once did.  I blame the waste of good airtime on American Idol, Dancing anything, stuff that survives or gets fired, etc.

Wanna hear some crazy shit?  I just semi watched/was watched by a preview/making of feature of a movie on one channel that was actually playing on another channel.  WTH?

BTW.  Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is a very strange yet somewhat cool movie...

You know, I have been doing some reading.  This place is not my happy place.  Therapeutic yes.  Happy no.  But I guess I always knew that...

My entertainment lately has been flipping between MSNBC and Fox News.  Left wing nuts on one channel and Right wing nuts on the other.  But now I understand how they are gonna fuck us all in the end.  They are in it together.  I mean really?  Who do you feel is really representing YOUR views and values in Washington D.C.?

The America I thought I was growing up in is really dead.  Mostly because there is no respect left it seems.  The rule of the day is to be rude to others and screw over the poor, the elderly and the disabled and children.  And of course folk these days think that they are entitled to mind everyone else's business while loudly maintaining their right to their own privacy.  

I think I realize the other reason why I don't spend much time here anymore.  I am too damn easily distracted...

With that I will bid you goodnight for the next six months, or until tomorrow, or whenever...