Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Colorful Candy Necklace

I had a thought; a memory the other day about some childhood trips to the liquor store. These were the good ol days... I remember waking up on a few wonderful Saturday mornings. I could smell the pancakes cooking in the kitchen and noises coming from the den, which was typically my father working on something or listening to his 8 track player. As I said, this is way back when; the good ol days. I’d eat breakfast, watch the Jackson Five cartoon and then later on I would be checking out Soultrain. Back then, Soultrain was the best thing on TV with real soul sistas and brothas, afros, velvet looking pants, mini-skirts, bell bottoms and that afro-comb that came in a pouch. I had one of those. My mother ordered it for me from the commercial that came on during Soultrain. The pouch had a large peace sign on it and the comb had a fist at the end. I wish I still had it. I lost it somewhere along the way and my cream colored “apple cap” that I used to wear.

Anyway, after Soultrain was over, I somehow would get the urge to walk from our house on Carmona Avenue to this liquor store around the corner about a block from Rodeo Road. I would go to this liquor store because they sold these colorful candy necklaces that I could both suck on and wear as a fashion piece.. One Saturday the guy behind the counter thought I was trying to steal something. I had turned my back towards him and was digging in my pocket. I didn’t realize it until much later how my actions translated into something potentially wrong. The man said “hey!” and I turned around still holding the necklace in one hand and digging in my pocket with the other, trying to pull out a large wad of pennies. Once I did, the man breathed a sigh of relief and started laughing. He could see the innocence written clearly on my very young face because I wasn't really startled by his assumption. I simply and honestly was trying to pull the money out of my tight pocket. I was clueless but I did have exactly the right amount of pennies collected from the previous days, contemplating that moment when I’d proudly buy my colorful candy necklace.

Another time I went to the liquor store, I remember seeing a woman drop her purse and wallet. A bunch of money flew out. She picked up everything except for a five dollar bill that was slightly underneath a nearby car. I didn’t say anything. I just stared at the money but for some strange reason I was afraid to pick it up. The car had driven away and the five dollar bill laid there, uncovered, edges sticking up and I guess in a way, staring right back at me. If it had a voice it would probably say, “well, aren’t you gonna pick me up?” I probably would’ve shrugged in response but instead, I just looked at it. Then some guy came by. Looked like an older teenager. He looked at the direction of my eyes and noticed that five dollar bill too. The grin on his face slowly developed. He didn’t hesitate to pick up the money, in fact he snatched it off the ground and disappeared just as quickly. I bought my colorful candy necklace with my pennies and for some reason after that, I don’t remember ever returning to the liquor store to buy another… That little adventure had ended for me in a way as if the excitement had gone away and I didn't need that any more…

Saturday, January 23, 2010

So much expectation...

In this grand expectation of change, it seems as though folks have already forgotten the moment when it felt like this entire country was one.. Everyone was proud of our newly elected son. It didn't matter the reflection though the achievement was definitely noted in the pages and hearts of history and our-story.. But it seems now, everything matters... He didn't fix the economy, he didn't create more jobs, he didn't get healthcare for all, he hasn't won the war on terrorism, he hasn't killed Bin laden, he hasn't fulfilled all of his campaign promises and we've got CNN, Fox News and all the fact-check-he-said-she-said websites to prove it... It don't matter that it's only been one year into his Presidency. He was supposed to change the entire world and make everyone of all race, color, creed, nationality and situation super rich, happy and healthy during his first six months! Right now, we're all supposed to be just chillin.. taking it easy and watching the NFL playoffs on our 100 inch TV screens... But nooooooooooooooo... and why not!?! It's HIS fault!! I'm sounding ridiculous on purpose because that's how a lot of people are sounding these days to me... I saw an interview with some ladies in Massachusetts who justified their changing vote from Democrat to Republican by saying that their former party and especially the President are very arrogant. I dont get the whole premise and definition of arrogance as it relates to the President. Seems like Bush was fairly arrogant himself. He had a swagger constantly and enjoyed it. But Obama? Is he supposed to keep his head down and speak softly? If he did then seconds later, they'll be saying he's not tough enough which they always say as well... Personally, I wish he would show more arrogance and toughness though that would probably threaten some folks a little too much. I think he's always gonna have it rough in the White House and any little inch of progress he can achieve will be the equivalent of winning a world war over and over and over again... I can't remember any President being watched and scrutinized so closely as this one. He (Obama)basically put the excitement back into Politics in recent years. It's that excitement that from what I remember even got Jay Leno to want to have that prime time show so he could do political humor. It's that excitement that generated more interest in folks watching CNN, MSNBC, etc etc... It's that excitement that probably caused more reporters, writers, camera people and others to have work on the various networks, cable channels, internet news/video channels, etc etc... All this excitement that kinda sorta went away in one aspect.. Now they aim and poke in a different direction... Why haven't you fixed this nation and the world, Mister Obama!?!?! Aaaaaarrrrrgggghhhh!!! It takes a WHOLE LOT OF TIME to undo and bring it all back to where we once were... And now that the Supreme Court decided to do something supremely silly, the cards are truly stacked against Obama and anyone else hoping to do good for the people, now, today, and generations to come... corporate greed I imagine is about to get another huge dose of adrenaline..

The Rain The Rain..

We're supposed to dread times like these but I was personally loving the rain... all that wonderful water overflowing from the sky and causing folks to act like fools, driving super fast on the wet roads... I didn't love that part but I did get a kick out of so much rain... Hearing the water outside is a great sound to kick back and fall asleep to. And as they always say, we needed all this water because there has been a shortage to the point where we cant have the sprinklers on during certain periods and no more than five minutes, etc etc.. The rain helped all of that and made for a bunch of beautiful green front lawns all down the street. Unfortunately there's a lot of potholes out there caused by so much water but we survived it.. Rain aint nothing compared to what other folks in another part of this world have had to deal with.. Now, they're predicting a few days of glorious California sunshine and we can go back to being spoiled... Ha!

Friday, January 15, 2010

God Bless Haiti and it's People

You've got to love, honor and respect the strength of the Haitian people. I pray their pride holds up during this unimaginable crisis. I was blown away especially by the images and video of people being buried in graves that belonged to someone else. I don't know if that's a good thing but the desperation embedded upon the faces of the people is truly heartbreaking.... What's even more devastating to imagine is what Anderson Cooper of CNN kept reporting during his coverage. He said people who have died will simply disappear because there's no way of identifying them. That is the saddest thing of all.. Women, children, men, father's, mother's grandparents, babies, etc.. gone... Someone who was smiling that morning and perhaps looking forward to a good day. Someone dreading the work week but had major plans to party on the weekend. Someone struggling to make ends meet but using every day to it's full advantage by working, hustling, dreaming, achieving... whatever it takes; whatever it took.. Gone.... And now just like Wyclef holding the flag with pride, hopefully somehow, someway they can achieve the seemingly impossible... survival.. God Bless... donate..

Thursday, January 14, 2010

RIP Teddy Pendergrass

Rest in peace and much love and respect for Teddy Pendergrass... wow.. he was such a big part of my life through his music, which I heard so so much thanks to my mother. She wore out his records. I still have the LP's/Vinyl in boxes in the garage. Memories! At times, I would say to myself "not again" as my mother would spin the same song over and over. There were times when she would be playing that song "And If I had" and she would turn it up louder each time. I knew she was feeling down; thinking about my father and feeling heartbroken. I'd peek down the hallway and see a half full glass of wine on the coffee table. Her foot would move slowly to the beat. I'd try to listen closely, not so much to the music but for tears that she might be releasing.. My mother never experienced Teddy live except for a video that I bought her but I was able to see him perform in concert at the Houston Summit arena with my father. As I look back now, I cant believe all the now legends of music that I basically witnessed in that arena but that's another story... I was still in Junior Highschool when I saw this concert and besides seeing and hearing so many women screaming so loud as if they were either losing their minds or having an orgasm, I remember so vividly two men getting into an argument in the next row and immediately throwing punches. Neither was able to connect with each other because they were large men wearing very tight suits with large lapels. One fell over the seats and the other perhaps slipped because of all the soda or beer that was on the ground beneath. When it was all over, the women accompanying those two men helped them up, sat them down and told them how foolish they were. Both just sat there with lips poked out like little kids for the rest of the concert while the women continued to dance, party, and be blown away by the incredible passionate voice of Mr. Teddy Pendergrass. He was in his serious prime around that time. He lit up the arena with his smile and shook the building with his performance. And of course during the slow jams, he brought intimacy to a whole new level all the while building the song and the moment to a climax... I actually saw him again perhaps that same year or the year after; I cant remember exactly but that performance was in a smaller arena with a round stage. Again the performance was passionate and powerful but a little more intimate and personal. He showed off his more playful, one to one side... his sense of humor.. his powerful control over the gift that was his voice... his soul.. He was on fire back then. I was blessed to be able to see it for myself like I definitely grew up at the right time... Rest In Peace & Love.. Teddy Pendergrass.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

2009 Year in Review...

2010 is here now and another year has come to an end. It’s amazing to even see the new number; 2010. I can remember when thinking about any year beyond 2000 was like a fantasy. And then when my life flashes before my minds eye, I cant help but wonder how I/we got here. The steps/experiences have been many and the life lessons enormous, especially recently. But right now, it’s all about remembering another chapter of life closed with an exclamation point because of 2009 being the year that my mother passed on to the heavens above. Even as I reminisce about her struggle and fight with cancer, it blows me away how the time went by and how it all started. One moment she’s in vegas enjoying her bingo playing, eating mexican food and sharing a fun outing with her sister. The next moment she’s telling me that she may have cancer and she’s not so sure how bad it could be. Soon thereafter, she knew how bad it could be and then began to get things in order and guide me through the process of what would become the end of her life. A life filled with some ups, downs and disappointments.. but also a life where she’d found her place in the end and was really joyous about her self discovery, her friends, and her life as a very active, young spirited senior citizen. Her only complications at that point was the worry and concern she had for me as I’d become knee deep in my own trials and tribulations. My mistakes and mis-trusts of certain individuals only ended up preparing me in a huge way for what was to come with my mother. And even as she fought until her last breath, she maintained her concern and preparation for me to be ready once she was gone. She worried that I still had to deal with a situation that seemed never-ending due to a certain individual who champions excuses over truth and simply doing what’s right. It’s pathetic but the negative energy by no means blocks the blessings of all that my mom left behind and all that she instilled in me. The best part was that she met and and enjoyed the presence of the special someone who blesses my life unselfishly to no end and her family who remind me of how times used to be when all of my family was still here on earth.. Those times when gift giving was made special by the effort, the smiling faces, the hugs, the visits as we’d travel from house to house all over LA on a cool Cali night sharing Christmas cheer. Then we’d return home eventually for some sweets, some eggnog and watching Santa Claus or Rudolph The Rednose Raindeer or The Grinch. My love’s family is incredible; truly and I feel beyond blessed that I’m embraced by them. I was thinking the other day that sometimes you can have experiences that basically kick your behind so tough that if you’re smart and truly gracious, you’ll discover the kind of humility that will always keep you appreciative… as I said, I’m beyond blessed, thankful, grateful…

But anyways, here we are now… 2009 has come to an end.. Unfortunately, I don’t think all the negativity that we see in the news and on TV will cease. And lord knows those folks out there who love to bash Obama wont give up until he’s gone. And then they’ll let up on him and probably begin to recognize his accomplishments and sincere desire to do what’s right. I question him sometimes as well and wish he would fight back harder against the critics and nitpickers but nevertheless he’s got my support and prayer. I’d like him to realize a lot of successes before he leaves office and then when he’s done, I hope he puts out a serious tell-all memoirs that details what has got to be an extraordinary experience in the White House; good, bad, sad and unbelievable… So many expect so much like he’s the second coming and others hate hate hate because of his complexion/reflection in their eyes.

I cant think of many more reasons to talk about 2009 as the major moment of losing my mother pretty much dominated it. I’m so grateful for the continued growth of my creativity and look forward to discovering more of it. And love being the greatest gift of all is truly all of that… I watched the usual year-end review of all the important individuals who left this earth in 2009 and the list is truly awesome…. Percy Sutton, Gene Barry, Oral Roberts, Edward Kennedy, Les Paul, Eunice Shriver, John Hughes, Walter Cronkite, Karl Malden, Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, Ed McMahon, Keith Carradine, Dom Deluise, Bea Arthur, Ricardo Montalban, Soupy Sales, James Whitmore, Paul Harvey, Altovise Davis, Wayman Tisdale, Koko Taylor, Fred Travalena, Dominick Dunne, Steve McNair, Patrick Swayze, and my mom, GLORIA RIVERS.... Her train to heaven was filled with a lot of other first class individuals… I wonder what 2010 has in store for this world… Happy New Year… Peace?