Highlights from the Highway

Highlights from the Highway

Ok ok ok… I’m off the highway now and have been since Sunday night, but I liked that title. 🙂

I had a BLAST this weekend.  I saw so many people I haven’t seen in so long, and it was a good time just like the old days!  Friday night, we caught up in my high school’s cafeteria during our mix and mingle.  The highlight of the event was seeing Chad Royston, who was one of my fave people in the ACCENT (gifted) program in elementary.  We were also in orchestra and most of my accelerated classes together.  He still remembered being my 50s dance partner in 6th grade as we learned dances like swing.  And he showed me the Lindy Hop that he’s been learning recently in Texas, where he lives now!

Then, I bar hopped like the old days (but the old days for me was in college–I had never gone from place to place with them since I left early!).  We went to a Mexican restaurant for margaritas, a regular bar to meet up with other folks, and then to another lil place where one of us was hosting a party.  I got in at like 3, so I was beat!

Saturday… I slept in!!  And woke up to text messages about meeting up at Shoney’s that morning.  Oops!  That night, Rick escorted me to our class party, and there were even more people there.  We had over 400 people in our class.  So of course, because I hadn’t seen or talked to so many in so long, I forgot how many friends I had!  Mostly everyone still look the same and are doing very well!  Yay, class of ’99!  After that, Rick and I went to the 930 Blues Cafe and kept the good times rolling.  The okra was to die for, and of course the drinks and music were worth the while.

Overall, we had a really good turnout, and we definitely reconnected.  I’ll probably see my classmates way more often now.  We’re already thinking of doing something around Christmas.  🙂  Go Arrows!

Milestones

Milestones

On Friday, I’ll be attending my 10 year high school class reunion!  Nutzo!  I can’t wait to see everyone who comes out.  It’s been 11 years since I’ve seen many of my classmates since I skipped my senior year (but I was in our cohort since 4th grade so they can’t get rid of me!).  I’m looking forward to seeing how we’ve evolved and how we’ll interact as grown folks.  Facebook has been a blessing and a curse since I’ve seen lots of folks on there but also because they’re not as pressed to come.

I bet I’ll have at least one story to share on here.  So until then!

Reflections – Just Absent yet Everpresent Mind Wandering

Reflections – Just Absent yet Everpresent Mind Wandering

Some things stay with you for a very long time.  I can remember vividly every funeral I’ve attended.  My grandma, who passed of breast cancer (this funeral had a major impact because I had never seen my mom sob, really I have no memory of mom crying before that day); my Aunt Betty, who had planned to teach me how to play the piano; my big ma Suzie, who had a long life; my aunt Vernita (who my mom says I act exactly like), who was murdered in DC (where I ironically would love to live); a school friend, Darnell, who was in a car accident my sophomore year of college; my uncle Alonzo (who helped in getting me here on this earth), who had health problems; my friend YL’s son, tragic story; my friend Angelia’s mom (whose funeral I only attended because she requested my presence–by then, I had written off funerals for good); my big ma Mary, again a long life; my Uncle Jobie.  My mother says that death is a part of life, but as someone who has for most of her life been pretty emotionally stable, some would say almost unemotional, dealing with death has never been something I feel good at.  My emotions go into overdrive when I fully swallow the death announcement and I reminisce on what made that person so special to me and to all the people crying while the preacher tells us to rejoice.

And so it goes, two people who I had connections with have passed in the last month or so.  One of my classmates, Nakemia Riley, who I sang in concert choir with in college, passed with complications with her diabetes.  Talk about alarming.  She was so young and so vibrant.  You couldn’t be in a room with her and not laugh.  She was so full of life and positivity, and abruptly she’s gone.  And her two best friends, also my friends, are just left with memories.  One of the members of my alumni chapter, Clyde Bennett, passed last week from kidney cancer and I attended his memorial service on Saturday.  Again, bright spirit–the stories told were all too familiar.  Everyone got a lil bit of Clyde’s sunshine and thought they had been special!  LOL!  Clyde made everyone feel VIP–especially me.  From the time I got to Atlanta he was so supportive.  When I started having issues within the chapter, Clyde always had a word of encouragement and assurance.  What’s so ironic is that he had been volunteering with the Cancer Support Ministry at his church, not knowing that a few years later, he’d be a victim himself.  And it’s crazy because it was caught so late–and by accident.  Clyde had been in a car accident last year, and after some time, his back was still hurting despite the meds so the doctors decided to finally run some additional tests and it just spiraled so quickly from there.

As I sat in the sanctuary, I kept thinking of how unfair it was that with all the evil people in the world who either have no purpose or whose purpose is just nothing good, that time would be up for these good-hearted, God-fearing people.  Yeah, I’m certainly happy and comforted that they’re going north, but how could they have fulfilled their purposes already??  I know they fought the good fight, but why is their part of the fight over?  Clyde’s neighbor said that part of it is that we need to keep a piece of Clyde with us and try to be as selfless and helpful as he was.  But it just doesn’t seem like enough.

People have been asking me how I’m doing and confirming that I took it hard.  I dunno what to call it.  I’m ok, and I don’t know if it’s that I took it hard or that it’s just making me consider my philosophy on what we’re here for. Part of it is that I look at things at the micro and the macro levels.  So it’s not my thinking about the two people most recently–it’s everybody and how death affects and maybe even defines us.   I hope that in my time on Earth I’ve contributed substantially, even though who’s to say what’s substantial…  I definitely hope to have the people brimming with positive reflections of their time with me. I wonder will I care then though.

Luckily, as He always is, God is right on time because there’s a women’s conference at my church this week.  So I’ll definitely be there trying to put my wandering and scattered mind back together.

Speaking of Twilight…

Speaking of Twilight…

one of my fellow Twilightians has written a nice piece on her thoughts after reading the series.  Check, check it out.

And my comment, slighty revised (cuz I write more on other people’s blog than I do my own…):

I think that when we dream of our own fairy tales, we only focus on the ending. The happily ever after. And dismiss the actual story it took you so long to read. The whole part after the once upon a time. And that’s why we have a hard time accepting that our fairy tales will have the twists and turns and requires that unconditional love that gets us to the happily ever after.

I think this series has given me a new appreciation for my own relationship(s) because the ongoing battles force me to think of happily ever after as an ongoing state of existence–not as a goal of somehow getting to a future with no problems and all happy days. They/We don’t live happily ever after at the end of the book, but they lived happily ever after throughout the book and beyond. It’s like a cycle bundled in one–it takes the unconditional love to get through those major obstacles and the major obstacles at the same time somehow make the love stronger.

These books were right on time.

<Back to my own blog>

I saw relationship(s) because it occurred to me today while chatting with a friend that my circle has drastically changed in last couple of years.  My best friends at various points of my life, who I thought I would never be without, are no longer my closest friends.  And knowing that I once thought they would be my ride or die chicks until I died makes me sad.  And quite honestly, it makes me a little afraid to get close to people, even though I know deep down that God puts people in our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.  It’s not just some cliche.  But the hurt of waking up and not having a friend is still real.

I think that’s the beauty of Twilight–it has made me reflect on my ideals of a romantic relationship is, what I think a soulmate is or feels like or can go through, but it also has made me think more deeply about relationships I have as a whole–which has always been an area of my life that’s not exactly a strength.  I’ve been blessed to see that goodbye isn’t always forever.  More than once.  My best friend in high school and I are cool again after not keeping touch throughout our college years, and that lets me know that our friendship wasn’t a fluke.  But at the end of the day,  I still have to make the choice between my overall happiness and (how related my happiness is to that relationship) and how important a relationship is to me.  Bella grapples with this throughout the book, and I think one reason I’m so engaged in this book is because I can find my life throughout it.

Ok, that’s it on that for now.  Unlike Vonetta, I have one more book to go!

What do black people read?

What do black people read?

So… I’m in the midst of reading the Twilight series (which is one of the best love stories I’ve ever read, probably because I see so much of myself in it), and after I finished book #3 Eclipse, I decided to run to Walmart and pick up the final book of the series.  Now, I chose Wallie World because I wanted to get a particular brand of taquitos, which my Kroger does not carry, so getting the book for a few dollars less would be a bonus.

Now, generally, I go to the Walmart near my job (and my last place of residence) because I know it well and because there are lots of other places around it in case I need to run any more errands.  But not too long ag0, my friends asked why I go to Midtown West rather than just go to the one on the Southside, which after a certain point, I just feel is too far–probably just for the mere fact that it goes outside the perimeter. Eek!  haha  They’re actually about the same distance/or at least the same time to get to.  Anywho, so I said, since I’m always the one preaching about shopping in your own area and supporting businesses in black areas, I decided to go to the other Walmart, rather than MY Walmart.

After being sorely disappointed in finding NO taquitos, I drag myself to the book area, to find that there was a full formal setting for a ROW of Twilight books, and half of it had been replaced by MICHAEL JACKSON TRIBUTE BOOKS!!!  WHAT??!?!?!  I wish I had taken a picture.  These three Michael Jackson books had their own setting, and Walmart decided it needed extra space I guess.  NOTE TO WALMART: MJ’S TWO WEEKS ARE UP!  Only late scragglers are buying those books now, so either you were late getting on the gravy train, or you ordered way too many in the first place.

So since the 1st and 4th books were totally missing, I decided to ask an employee if they had any stocked away.  Surely, if the books were selling to the point they sold out, they wouldn’t just not order anymore and completely replace them with MJ books that they already had.  Well, evidently, that’s exactly what happened.  The associate said, “Huh? Black people don’t read Twilight! But I’m sure once we sell these MJ books, we’ll order more Twilight.”  As I stood there peering down at my skin color and looking back at him to study his face and decide if he was being serious, he asked me if I really was into the books like that.  UH YEAH!  So I informed him that I have several friends reading the book, and that I was disappointed.  We then had a conversation about what the books were actually about, since he turned his nose up and dismissed them as books about vampires biting people.

Of course, I just went on to the Kroger next door and found both my taquitos and my book.  But it left me wondering, what do black people read?  Are we really so limited in the books that we read that purchasing managers in black neighborhoods would leave the fact that they sold out of a book as a fluke and that noone would miss a book because they’d be ecstatic about an overflow of books that were clearly created as a ploy to make money from a man’s death?  I have some friends who read black romance novels only, some who read black literature as a whole, others who like nonfiction books, others who don’t read for fun at all, and others, like me, who just like good books, even if we have particular preferences.  What do YOU like to read?