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Archive for the category “One For My Friends”

How Long Does It Take To Get Close To Your Heart

This came from an examination of word usage. I describe a relationship as “dear“. Afterwards, days later I thought ,”I hope that is not taken wrong.” Isn’t that amazing? I said something nice, positive and I worried that IT MIGHT BE TAKEN WRONG?

Here is my explanation. I treasure people in my life, I make every effort to make them know that. None of us has time promised and in a heartbeat LIFE changes. I do not call people friend with an asterisk. It is truly how I feel, what I think of you, and I have examined it in the dictionary VERY thoroughly.

Relationships and interactions with people are complicated. Think of how you know someone for years, decades ; “out-of-the-blue” you discover something about them that it does not make sense, something you did not know. Then think of a person you meet in passing; in a matter of minutes you are finishing each other’s sentences and feel as though you have always know one another. Ask yourself are these instances logic? Perhaps not, but this is where the heart takes over. Not what you think, but what you feel.

Therefore, if there are any questions, any doubts in anyone’s mind when it comes to my usage of the words dear or friend, if I used the words I meant exactly what I said.

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If You Had A Choice

I remember a song by the Impressions from my childhood. I went to YouTube to make sure I was not imagining things and I verified it all. Time and again I remind my readers, I am a girl from Kansas City raised by church-going people. We moved to California and it was culture shock of amazing proportions.

I was questioned about my feeling towards a certain actress. I knew that I was not asked why I don’t like this performer randomly.. I love a debate but I select the ones I will participate in. This was my friend, so I bit. Before the discussion was over I was told( in so many words) that my feeling about this actress made my friend believe/feel/think we would not be friends if she had been born lighter.  I do not feel that way. I did not think my opinion of an actress was indicative of me, but it brought me to a point that I wanted to discuss and write about.

I am passionate about race. I also want to believe that in my lifetime the racism bulls%#@ will disappear. Is that idealistic or naive? Perhaps. However in the wake of a massacre in a church, in the midst of several states introducing bills/ legislature to ban a flag that throughout the history of The United States of America has insighted violence, implied white supremacy, represented death and destruction, I need to believe something positive will result from all of this.

I venture to say my feelings about being black is NOT unique. Some members of the white race may find this hard to believe or understand, but black people are proud people. Black people LOVE being black!The actress I spoke of earlier is “conveniently black”. My friend pointed out others, my response is the same for them as well. The difference being I have NOT heard of an incident in which the others have “tah-tahed” being black off when directly questioned. Is she(the actress) a coward or is she utilizing a special gift( the gift of the chameleon)? “If you had a choice of color, which one would you chose my brother?”Black people do not want what YOU(White people) have; we only want what is ours… YOU argue,” go out and work hard, pull yourself up by your boot straps like other groups”. Then I offer you a couple events in history and places where black people did just that, and the end results are Rosewood, Florida or  Tulsa,(Greenwood Neighborhood)Oklahoma massacres. “Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.” Undermining the efforts of the black race in America is a well thought out plan. We are not “belly-aching”, we have valid substantiated gripes.

In this time period, where so much information is readily available, the thought of someone passing for white is bazaar . Yet not so very long ago you had a woman who by most accounts is clinically white, passed herself off as black. How bazaar was that?  No job application you fill out now will fail to ask a question about your race, the difference now is you don’t have to answer. Once upon a time it was against the law to say you were one race when you KNEW you were another, now one must be cautious not to break the law by being too insistent in asking about someone’s race.

What must it be like to wake in the morning and NOT be concerned about race. I have friends and acquaintances who have lived abroad for several years and what stands out about the experiences they speak of is the LACK of or down-right absence of racial incidents! I cannot fathom that thought. I want to see, feel, believe one day I will experience those things, right here in America. Back to the choice; what must it have been like to be trapped in a society and a body that threatened your existence because of your look….and to have a magic wand that could make all of that disappear, your own personal cloaking device. I imagine it was very similar to what we have STILL have in America. A great deal has changed, but a great deal remains the same.

 

“How Do I Feel About My Country…

And how does my country feel about me.” I wish I could write about so many other things besides race in America, but I cannot. I cannot ignore that race exist, I cannot ignore that people use it as a means to exclude, I cannot ignore that it affects me every waking hour of every single day. I have figured out, like millions of other African Americans, how to move on forward in spite of how I feel.

What does it feel like to wake in the morning and NOT wonder how you will be put in a spot that makes you have to justify your being there, or walking into a room and NOT have your skin color along with hair texture noted, before any other credential you may possess. What is worse,  is feeling that I may never experience this feeling. I push forward, I try NOT to focus on this, but at the same time I have to be aware and remain sensitive to this UGLINESS. On a gorgeous clear, spring day as I take in the sights sounds and fragrances, I must pull myself back and place myself in tune with the hostile environment that surround my being.

I read a little note via social media of a relative, of a good friend of mine. It wasn’t even a paragraph long, I got so angry that I wished for that fantasy ability to travel through time for the express purpose of beating the shit outta someone. Yes that is anger and it was out of control, but it does happen. Fortunately, I do not possess the power to “time-travel” cause there are a couple of nurses(probably retired or deceased by now) who would feel the wrath of an angry mother.  This plague, this cancer that consumes our America so, we bother to share and teach it to those who may not know of it directly or even understand it. How cruel we are with it, to take it to a vulnerable one and force it down their throats knowing they are weak, needy, and/or afraid.

I once thought, how whites in America were fearful and alarmed about something that would not happen. I thought white people fear when the numbers switch and there are more blacks, blacks would act toward whites like they had acted toward us. I thought nothing could be further than the truth, unfortunately I now know I was wrong. Black people have been pushed too far; the black society of 2015, is nothing like the black society of 1955. “Annie get your gun.. well Leroy has one too!”

You see/know the separation exists and it is economic; it is disguised as other things but at the root, it is money. The small and greedy no longer want the bulk of it, they want it ALL. I do not want to see our country fall, but I do recognize there are factions here that would rather see that happen than to have the goods divided up fairly.

The divide continues to grow, the crack continues to widen. The differences are NOT the problem, it is the unwillingness of the people to work with the diversity that IS already HERE. Freedom is not free, but it also does NOT exist if ONE is denied it. How do I feel about MY Country..It’s the people, not the place.

Call Me, Ms. Fix-It

Okay folks, I admit it when it comes o repairs I leave it to my spouse or a professional. However lately I have marveled and been annoyed with paying high costs to have simple repairs done. My better half says ,”I’ll fix it” but the schedule of  when is very hard to narrow down ( I am being extremely polite and understanding here). There is nothing worse than needing something repaired and having a very capable individual at your disposal , yet the thing you need fixed remains in disrepair.

About a year or so ago one of my dear friends sent a picture of one of her kitchen appliances that SHE was going to install some type of switch in. Now mind you my friend is an engineer, but she does NOT fix household appliances for a living, nor is it a hobby. I was in awe. If you saw her with her well manicured hands and bikini worthy body you’d say, no way. I don’t need to tell you that she was successful in her venture. I have to give acknowledgement to my pals though they are talented, creative, and physical. My group of grandmother friends do not let that title hold them back. They are painting rooms balancing baby on their hip and that hip is free of osteoporosis.

My challenge was not a new one. For about 11 months my in door ice dispenser has only been giving crushed ice. I did not really see that as a big problem and  beyond the first month of discussion we let it linger on. Well the warranty is getting ready to be up and the thought crossed my mind what if this leads to something else. You all know they do not build appliances like they used to.  Why repair it when you can replace it, and that is fine if you have resources overflowing. I do not, my money tree has yet to yield the first dollar bill. Therefore, I have to be more practical. I have had considerable luck going to the internet finding answers to tech problems. I found directions on repairing my dryer belt that I passed on to the man of the house, I solved an iphone dilemma, and there were couple more DYI projects made simpler.

I was up early Sunday morning and I said, ironically, “What the HELL”(couldn’t resist that one).  I went to the internet and “googled” my problem. I did not get a feasible answer first time out, but I refined the search a bit and taadaa…”my workable answer”. I went upstairs to the fridge and followed the steps sure enough once I finished solid cubed ice came crashing out into my cup. I felt like Rosie The Riveter, no more crushed ice for me, unless I select crushed.  I don’t have to call for a service man to come tie up my day, I didn’t have to beckon to my spouse, I did it and so can you.

“Dear Kay”

I woke up thinking about my dear friend Kay this morning. A lady I met in my most recent years, yet she made such a profound impact on my life that she felt like family. Now I do not take family “lightly”. The bloodline we share with people we are connected to is undeniable. They invoke joy and rage in us that is beyond compare. You are taught that there is nothing like family, but have you ever met someone who just “clicked”? No matter what your faith or beliefs you KNEW this person belonged in your life. Well that was my friend Kay. Although, I imagine there are numerous people who probably share this feeling, it is okay for there is a part of my friend that belongs only to me.  Today is Kay’s birthday so I want to say a few things to her and I know she can hear me because I can still feel her.

Dear Kay,

I thought about you yesterday. I had my birthday reminders set and you of course are on that list. I miss you so much. I do not drive over to Lilburn without you and Bob crossing my mind, but you know I shy away from Wydella. I hear your voice and recall how you loved your chocolate, chocolate you were kind enough to share with me.  Sometimes I cry because you aren’t here for me to drop by and have just a quiet little chat with or watch “Ellen” dance across the stage.Then I have to replace those tears with a smile when I remember telling my mother of you and your spirit and resilience, in hopes she  would be inspired and motivated to fight the illnesses you did NOT let stop you. My mom would say, “That lady is something else”. I would say,”Mom you have no idea..”

I still stay in touch with the “kids”. Betsey is still beautiful, like her mother ( Veronica Lake had NOTHING on you my friend). Robbie is sweet and thoughtful, chasing those roaring rapids. Of course  the sources of your true pride and joy, the grandsons, are growing and moving forward in life. They have these positive energies around them and that emanates from you, Kay. Give Bob and hug for me, cause I know he is right there beside you. I simply love you.

Your friend forever,

Eileen

A Birthday Card

Birthdays are special to me. Folks who are close to me know this and know I generally do not miss anyone I know special day.  It is a role I took on when my favorite aunt passed many years ago, it just fit.When mail was a main vehicle of communication our family knew there was a card coming on their birthday, and if you were local the most fabulous cake you could imagine, because Aunt Elinor saw to that.  I am not infallible as she was, nor am I the baker.  I  do offer what is available to me.

Pressed for time I wanted to share something from my childhood. Today marks a special day for a lady I have know since childhood. I met her as an awkward tween, when I moved next door to her. She was a pretty girl and I knew my life would be “hell”. However I was pleasantly surprised.. okay I was down right shocked, when she came into the backyard separated by a chain linked fence and offered a friendly “Hi”. I was swinging like a child, because I didn’t think anyone was watching. I said, “Hi” back to her and froze. She started up the yard and we were friends from that point on.. No not really. The sound of a record scratching drives home this point.

There is far more to our story than that. However, this is called  A Birthday Card not a series of books, and I say that because it would take volumes to cover what Kim and I have shared over these past 4o+ years. I think of the boyfriends, the times we did not speak to one another, the marriages, the parties, the births, and the passing’s. Departures and arrivals, zeniths and plateaus; I know I never dreamed the pretty girl next door would be my lifelong friend, so many years down the line and still as pretty as ever, as a matter of fact she is beautiful from the inside out. On the anniversary of her birth I just want to say, “Happy Birthday!! and Thank You my sister, and my friend for life. It is your birthday, but I have been the recipient of the gift for decades. Be blessed.

Ye Of Little Faith

Every time I look up something terrible is happening. One can’t get out of this bad situation before another one is engulfing them. Today’s high is 25 degrees; I would like to share  with you, a nice 68 degrees with clear skies and a breeze, is MY opinion of a winter day. Needless to say I am not responsible nor in control of the weather. Therefore, I’m gonna work this 25 degree temperature the best way I can.

The challenges of work; with the deadlines and end of the year/beginning of the year requirements, then you walk in the door and your department head tells you there has been another task tacked onto that which you are already behind on. Is he serious? What does he think you are? Wait, don’t you have a job? I mean you may be involved in a seemingly non productive situation, but what if you were unemployed?

This relationship is not what you thought it would be. You did not sign on for drama. The best thing to do(the easiest for you) is to cut the losses and bale out. You knew it would turn out bad because… well that’s just the nature of the beast. However, can you really overlook the positive results (even if it was just one) that came out of the chance meeting.

The intent here is not to give a “when life gives you lemons make lemonade” piece, but if that is what you get out of it perhaps that was exactly what YOU needed. Sometimes if your expectation is low, your result will be exactly that. I realize that the experiences you have are the very thing that shape your perspective, but what about trying to give perspective  a fresh new outlook with each experience. There are disappointments in life, but that does not mean you should throw in the towel and give up.

The human spirit allows for us to be able to endure and overcome unimaginable obstacles.  Physical roadblocks, mental torment; yet a tiny doubt can undo all one strives to achieve. Then you must come face-to-face with the fact you, yourself may be the one who does the most damage. Remember you can do anything if you put your mind to it and “I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me”. Have a little faith, it truly isn’t all bad.

I Don’t Want to Live Without You

Life and the irony surrounding it never ceases to amaze. I hope you listen to the song by “FOREIGNER” whose title I used for this piece and in my mind it is so very fitting.

I went to a memorial service of a dear friend of mine this past Saturday, Robert Howard Short. Bob was a war hero, a husband, a father and a grandfather. I told myself I wasn’t going to cry that I was accepting of his passing, for he lived what most would deem a long, happy, productive life. 89 years is quite a feat. Well I lied, I think I was in my seat a full 4 minutes looking at pictures of him, with his children, with his plane, and with the love of his life, Kathryn for 65 years before my tear ducts exploded.

I recall how I felt when I realized how much he and his beloved wife meant to me. I believe I fought long and hard to keep from caring and becoming their friend. When in reality I know better. I know I told myself that because caring for them made me have to accept the fact that one day I would very probably lose them, and I did not want to deal with that. Yet I couldn’t help it, they invaded my heart and before I knew it I loved my friends. Knowing them for 5 short years allowed me to see we as human beings still possess what we had in childhood, the ability to love and be kind for no other reason than, it is what we feel. Unbound and without obligation to anything but our hearts, simplicity in life still can exist.

This was news to a rat race baby boomer and it was refreshing. I suppose you can understand why I was unwilling to let go of such a precious gift.  Now both my friends are gone and in such a short span of time. Bob KNEW he would go before Kay, but the good Lord had something else in mind. Bob and Kay were truly a matched set.  I thought of the family they left behind; they are testament to what lovely people Bob and Kay were, for it is genetic. You can see it in their children Robbie and Betsey, and grandchildren 7 fine young men.  I know they will all be okay and then I think of something that was written by one of their daughter Betsey’s friends, lovely words of comfort, “He and your mom are together and happy again”. What a wonderful thought. What a wonderful love; to be able to see and experience the fruits of that love is just special beyond words. I love you guys, keep us in your sights.

Picture This

We took up no less than 7  hours of the waiters time, but we made it worth his while.  How many of you have friends that you are separate from. There aren’t enough hours in the day, you are too far away, but when you get together well it is amazing. When you sit across from someone who you have know since they were the age of the little one in the picture who now calls them grandma, it can be sobering as well as wonderful. We probably could have talked until nightfall but you know the time is coming to a close when the PHONES come out and everyone needs someone (waitstaff earns the tip here as well as earlier) to take the pictures to be accessible immediately to all.

We are so fortunate to have access to people we love and care about instantly, yet there is nothing like that face-to-face. I have some very beautiful friends and I mean outwardly as well as inwardly. I grew up in Southern California, I don’t know that any other place boasts of beauty and generally demonstrates it like Southern Cal does. I have to give my Georgia friends their “props”  on beauty though, transplants and the ONE native alike.

In my youth I attended the bridal shower of one of my  very pretty friends at a restaurant in Marina Del Rey. Everyone was dressed beautifully, but it looked like a magazine shoot for VOGUE, not because of the outfits but the ladies in the outfits.  The all-girl group Klymaxx’s song ” The Men All Paused” would have been appropriate, with slight rewording “everyone paused”. It was  absolutely amazing and it was fun. 20 women immersed in the celebration of an upcoming wedding, relatively oblivious to the fact people were watching them for no other reason than they were breathtaking. Cameras clicked and flashed, yes back then that is what a camera would do to let you know a photo was being taken, recording the memories for another time. Depending on who had the camera, you may or may not see those pictures for years. If you didn’t want to lug around a camera, that was the risk you took.

A  decade later a smaller group of us got together, for no reason other than we wanted to be together. Babies, work, relocation, life changed the outward appearance a little “more to love” on several  levels, yet the beauty was still there. A graceful aging process taking place, but the energy and positive vibe was breathtaking.  The waiter’s final duty take that picture.

Now we have grandchildren, retirement, some health challenges that are a part of our everyday lives. However each time we get together  the photographs we take  not only capture the current image but the memory of those 20 something beauties that are still alive and kicking. The inner beauty never changed therefore the outward appearance seems as though it has been air brushed and retouched just like VOGUE. I am so blessed to have ALL of you in my life, for so many years, coast to coast, and to be able to call you friends. You are always in my heart, my thoughts and looking forward to the next “half of a day” brunch.

Final thought for my readers; cherish your friendships and take lots of pictures!

“All-Out” Pregnancy

It’s not spring but it feels like a good time for this “Autumn Baby” to talk about having babies. While our group has long passed the age of reproducing or as only nature says and defines(i.e. menopause); we are still being affected by child birth and babies, mostly as grandparents. Two of my friends are expecting new grand-babies within a few months; one a seasoned veteran, the other a novice, but  the excitement, anticipation, shopping, party planning is evidence we are enjoying this role.

She walked into Kaiser’s pharmacy,  in between what appeared to be six to eight months “along”. She wore the morphed version of platform styled shoes with stiletto heels, figure hugging leggings, hair perfectly coiffed (weave and all), her top was well coordinated and showed off ever curve and bulge of her pregnancy. I tried not to stare, I am not certain I was successful. My initial reaction was reduced to internet lingo “SMH”, but my mind would not allow me to stop there.  As I studied this young woman and wondered was I feeling this disapproval because I am beyond the child bearing years and jealous(because my hormones make me crazy), am I out-of-touch, am I old and judgmental,  or was this mother-to-be just inappropriately dressed. I concluded that many of the prior cited thoughts, could very well be applicable.

I was researching my thoughts when I came across an article in The New Yorker from two years ago titled “Parents Of A Certain Age”. It was a remarkable piece, I was enlightened and amazed by it. Covering everything from the bliss of being first time parents at the half-century mark with financial stability, to the the possibilities of having a debilitating stroke during or right after giving birth. I kept going; now I was on a mission, looking up fashions and cultural aspect of pregnancy. Why was  this grandmother so intrigued and involved with this natural phenomenon? Be certain I was not trying to join the ranks of the older mothers from the New Yorker article.

I was seeking understanding. I wanted to know why this  redefining of pregnancy  was happening. Fashion was only one aspect of it, although it was taking a very interesting turn.  Now I am a mother, so I have been pregnant. I went though my childbearing years with Demi Moore”gracing” the cover of a magazine nude. Fashion’s cutting edge suggestions for the 1980’s was to use your husband’s dress shirts and a opened front vest, in opposed to a frilly, childish, or matronly top. We ever wore over-sized tee shirts designed to drape over the “baby bump“. Maternity fashions have historically been expensive and down right ugly; it is easy to see why women would look for alternatives, but pregnant women should look carefully.

Now you see painted bellies, outfits that accentuate(like that is needed) the bellies, and yes bare bellies many with protruding belly buttons. Celebrities are known for being out there, but we everyday people are supposed to know better. Seriously anyone, these days, three years old and above knows what that protruding abdomen means. Are young women so obsessed and pressured about their looks that they still need validation in pregnancy.  Whose attention are you trying to get?

When I read an excerpt from a fashion article  encouraging women to display their “baby bumps in form fitting materials is so sexy”, I thought I would scream(and vomit). Now we are turning the bellies into a fetish? Great, objectify a woman in a state that should ONLY be appealing to HER mate. Wait a minute this woman is not only unavailable she is not alone (i.e. with child???)! Please understand I am not saying pregnancy is sickening, embarrassing, or something to hide; I am saying modesty, health, and safety are things women in the condition should consider. You are having a baby, not prepping for a bikini photo shoot. Tight clothing can slow the digestive process causing heartburn, those beautiful high heels and your expanding out of balance body may have a propensity to stumbles, trips, and falls(which could be devastating in “flats” let alone 3 and 1/2 inch stiletto heels).

Expectant mothers are beautiful, glowing and full of new life. Realize your pregnancy is a personal experience, unique to YOU and your partner. As we weren’t audience to the beginnings of this impending blessed event, we should not be “knee deep” in this aspect of the event either. Therefore beautiful, proud, elated “mothers-to-be” take one more look in the mirror before you step outside; realize that precious cargo you carry within you, will be exposed to the world soon enough.

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