Sunday, July 11, 2004
5 Most Requested Moments!
I have a fascination with memories and with revisiting what once was. Some moments I missed as they happened and others I was completely aware of because I cherished every second. With that being said, I'd like to take a look at five of my most requested moments. Meaning, if God gave me a time machine, I'd go back to these moments and LIVE them all over again!
Number one: At the tender age of maybe five or six(I can't remember which) I proposed to a little girl living in the same apartment building as me and my family. It was in LA over on 24th Street, near Arlington. She accepted and with the help of our very active imaginations, we created a wedding. Looking back on it, I have no clue how we even knew what to do but we did. We were moved by our hearts and I can remember having a lot of fun. Maybe that was the first sign that I'd grow up with a very romantic soul. The kind of heart that a woman can look inside of and tell I'm genuine if she's able to step outside of herself.(wink 2 all y'all)
The location of our wedding was in this storage room located behind the apartment building. It was the size of a small garage. The little girl's name was April. Her family had boxes of old clothes and in one of the boxes was a tuxedo and top hat. I put on the coat and top hat and danced around. I was probably imitating Fred Estaire or maybe the Nicholas Brothers. I remember feeling very excited and then I stopped in my tracks when I'd seen April putting on a white dress.
"Yuck!" I'd said.
"You should wear something cool like what I got on!"
"I'm a girl!"
Well, despite our brief disagreement we said all the vows we knew how to say and then I patted April on the shoulder and told her she could ride my tri-cycle. Then just before she sat down, she kissed me... "Yuck!!!"
Number Two: Many summers I would visit my grandparents in Mt. Pleasant, Texas. I remember one occasion when I stayed with them as a young boy. I loved spending time with my grandfather but I hated those long country nights! It would get so dark out there. This was before they had any sort of street light and there was hardly anything on the nearby highway as it is today. Now it doesn't get so dark because of a nearby Walmart, Home Depot and a whole slew of fast food places, gas stations, etc etc...
Anyway, I remember one summer getting up every morning to the sound of the rooster crowing and cows mooing outside. I'd look out the window and see my Grandfather carrying a couple sacks on his back. He'd get up even before the rooster every morning. Seeing him outside only made me excited. I wanted to go out there and join him so I'd start putting on my overalls just like him and my cowboy boots. I'd be half dressed trying to run outside, only to be stopped by my grandmother who would tell me she was almost done making breakfast. I'd smell biscuits and eggs. She'd pour a tall glass of milk that came straight from the cow. I got fat during that summer. So much so that my mother put me on a diet when I got back home...
When I caught up with my grandfather outside, I walked alongside of him feeling proud. He gave me his hammer so I could put it in the loop on the pants leg of my overalls. I could walk and feel like I was a working man on the farm! Grandpa would take care of the cows, the pigs, the chickens and the horses all in one morning before taking me to see other farms and places that he'd do business with. He worked from sun up to sundown, as they say. And during this time, all his brothers were still around. They had farms too with green pastures that were as far as the eye could see and the mind could imagine. One very powerful image that always comes to mind is when all the brothers had met up at the oldest brother's(George) farm. I stood there holding the hand of my grandfather, listening to these powerful southern male voices and looking up to them as if they were trees. They all stood very tall... George, Charlie, Oscar, and my grandfather, Virgil Rivers.
The day would usually end with my grandfather telling my grandmother to give me some cake. Although in his words, he liked to call it "boo-boo." He'd say after taking a puff of his pipe, "Senora, give this boy some of that boo-boo you made.." And then he'd sit back in his rocking chair, smile contently and listen to my grandmother tell him about whatever was going on... Maybe he'd given cake that special name because of the affect it would later have on me after I digested it! Whew! It was delicious and super rich! The benefit of having fresh eggs, butter and milk at your disposal.
Number three: Back in the day, me and my uncle Richard used to hangout all the time. We'd play music and sports together. I would get a hell of a lesson on musicianship and watch in amazement as he would imitate some of the musical licks of the Tower Of Power horn players. Richard Moorings was always my hero from day one... My uncle.. Another tall brotha with style and a knack for driving the ladies crazy..
One of our favorite past times was going up to this local school called Palms Elementary. We'd usually do this on the weekends. We'd have with us a can of tennis balls, two baseball bats and two gloves. We'd play what I believe we called, Strike Out. We'd have to strike the other out. As I got older, I got better but I do remember many years of seeing Richard's bat connect with my fast ball. I hit a few good ones too but mostly I just remember the fun we had and how proud I felt just being around my uncle. It would probably be a trip to play against each other now. We've allowed too many years to go by without really hanging with each other. Growing up, working hard, leading different lives, etc etc... It's a trip how things like that get in the way but nothing ever stops the love and my uncle to this day remains my hero.
Number Four: Back before that infamous 9-11 impacted our world's history, there was a moment in time that impacted the history of my heart. I'd find someone very special. A connection first generated by words and shared thoughts. We found common ground in the past. A passion for seeking out our roots and at the time, a passion for discovering who we were to each other. So began a beautiful love affair...
Every milli-second of the times we spent talking, I can remember. Every thought shared from day one, I can still visualize. And when that day became a reality that we'd meet for the first time in her gorgeous city of Seattle, I can still walk through every emotion that I felt that day.. Excitement, nervousness, fear, happiness, comfort, love, belonging, and making sure that the time we had meant everything to the both of us... This moment was nothing short of magical. THIS moment is what movies should be made about because if everyone could've seen this on a big screen, the whole world would fall in love. It was 24hrs of heaven that I wished could've been stuck on repeat mode.
Number Five: Discovery... I love to travel and discover new things, places.. I love to experience actual journeys when I travel. Ever since my father passed away a few years back, I've been taking trips usually during the month in which he died. My first such trip was when I decided to travel to places that I thought would've been so cool to do with him and to this day I wish we had but in hindsight, we always come up with the best ideas.
Anyway, my journey as always took me to east Texas. Mt. Pleasant, Daingerfield, and Pittsburg, Texas. I hungout in the backwoods and small towns, visiting family and meeting those I'd never met before. I spent a good week doing this as I prepared for the unknown part of my trip. I was to drive for the first time through Arkansas and on into Tennessee and eventually into Mississippi. My first stop was Memphis. I had the time of my life. A visit to the Lorraine Motel forever touched my heart and a sweet smelling discovery on Highway 61 forever set my tastebuds on fire! I'm speaking of Jim Kneeley's Interstate BBQ. Wow!! And now, it's always my yearly mission to get back there and get some more!
My next stop was Clarksdale, Mississippi and at the time, this was my first time in this state. It felt so different to me, so eerie and yet so addicting too.. I loved feeling like I was so close to history in a way... The kind of history that fascinates me and when my father was alive, it fascinated him as well.. Blues history... Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson, Son House and others... I visited the infamous crossroads but I imagine it looks nothing like it once did many many years ago. It's now an intersection with gas stations on a couple corners and way too much traffic blowing by. I visited the beautiful Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale. I've been twice more since this first visit and each time it gets better as they continue to add on to it. This journey was very special to me and then I can remember running out of time.. I needed to get back to Texas because I had only a few days to spend there before heading home to California. And with that said, the most powerful moment of this trip happened as I'd crossed the Mississippi River coming out of Memphis, headed toward Arkansas. The sun was going down, the sky was like a lazy orange color melting away slowly.. I switched from my cassette player to the radio. I picked up on a station coming out of Memphis. I dont remember the number but the song playing was "A Change Is Gonna Come" by Sam Cooke. That song was the perfect soundtrack to the highway I was traveling as I could see the Mississippi river in my rearview mirror fade into the distance. And by the time the song was over, I could see Memphis no more. Darkness had rolled in and so began the end to my journey in celebration of my father. I know he enjoyed the ride 'cause I sure did! Hits and more hits! Life is a helluva journey if you allow it to be..