Extra Large One

Get your mind out of the gutter, you're crowding me.

I'm talking about Superbowl 41 here people.

I do not expect everyone in the world to know that the big game is next Sunday.  I realize that not everyone is a football fan.  Everyone may not know who's playing or that, even though we shouldn't make a big deal of it, it's the first time in NFL history that a black head coach (even 2!!) go to the dance.  These are things that I understand.

On the other hand, in case you don't know, XLI is being held here in Miami this year where the Colts and Bears will battle it out to see whose cuisine reigns supreme.  No, wait, that's Iron Chef, this is the gridiron.  Anyways, it is difficult to live here and not know that XLI will be here next weekend.  It's all the talk on the news, on the radio, there are banners and billboards EVERYWHERE.  So, praytell, how do two young adult men, living in Miami, have the following conversation at approximately 1 pm on Saturday (1/27/07)?

Guy 1:  Is the Superbowl today?

Guy 2:  No man, it's tomorrow.

Guy 1:  Seriously?  I don't even know who's playing.

At this point, my boyfriend, who is at the counter waiting to pay for our snake's dinner, does the good deed and lets them know that yes, if they don't have to pull their heads out of their asses today, they can stay in the dark for one more week.

Guy 1:     Oh, so it's next week?

My Guy:  Yeah.  Traffic's gonna be rough.

Guy 2:      Why's that?

Why's that?  Why's that?!?!?  Seriously, you LIVE here and you don't know that one of the biggest attractions in professional sports is going to happen in your own back yard?!?!

My Guy:  How much for this rat?

Guy 1:     Two dollars.

My Guy:  Here you go.  Babe, let's go.

We couldn't decide whether to laugh or cry about this.  We chose laugh.  I guess if you breathe snake poop all day, you're bound to lose some sense. 

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It could only come from a grandparent

Growing up, we were a pretty tightly knit community.  My parents had the standard 2.2 kids (myself, my brother, and a half-brother that we never saw….until one day….and I didn't know…but that's another story), a decent house, they worked, we played.  We had a ton of neighbors (which made it so terribly difficult to throw a secret party) of which happened to include my grandparents.

I loved my grandparents and I still do even though they've passed on.  They provided me with all the love and attention a little kid could stand.  My mother tells me that when I was about 3 or 4, yes I was a precocious little bugger, I packed a plastic bag with my stuffed animals and proceeded to walk out the door.  She asked where I was going and I told her that I was running away.  And at the ripe old age of 4, I told her, "And you be good!" and off I went to my Gram's house. 

Ah, Gram's house.  So much packed into a little place.  So many memories, so many stories.  A book has got to be forthcoming.  Working title: Adventures of a Younger Me.  I digress. 

My grandparents were characters.  Gram was very church oriented with Sunday School every week, choir practice, and the like.  Pop, on the other hand, no church for him thank you very much.  Except holidays when Gram made him go of course.  Pop had a ritual that he followed just about daily and through the years, I got to see different parts of it.  The best thing though, hands down, about Gram and Pop, were the things they did and said.  These people who had lived through World Wars, being born in 1910 and 1912, lived through so many race issues, kids, grandkids, so much life!

And lively they were.  Once, I walked into the house to find Gram sitting at the kitchen table with some friends from church drinking beer!  To me, that was a huge deal.  And the topper was that just as I was walking in, someone at that grey-haired, little old lady table ripped the hugest belch I had ever heard.  At the time, I was stunned.  Looking back on it makes me laugh hysterically.  I mean, come on (Timmy), 5 or 6 little old ladies (I'd say they all had to be in their late 60s by then) drinking beer.  No bibles, just beer.  Wonderful!

Pop, well, I could go on for days about Pop, but if you really wanna know, keep bugging me to get the book finished.  But, I will share this one story with you. 

My father, may he rest in peace, was born in 1945.  So, in his teens and early 20s, black people and their hair were going through a revolution.  The young folk were getting their hair "conked", meaning straightened more or less, evidenced by the late, great Godfather of Soul, James Brown.

 

That hair looks shiny, even in black and white, for a reason.  It was more often than not, just plain greasy. 

Now, Pop, being a traditionalist and not much for the fads of the day, didn't care much for my dad having his hair in such a manner, but he apparently held that in for years and years and years until he could share that sentiment with me one day.  When that day arrived, he said to me in no uncertain terms that,

"Back in the day, your dad had a greasy mess on his head.  He had his hair conked.  There was so much grease in his hair, that a fly would need chains to land on it."

Flat out hysterical.  If you come from a warmer climate and aren't familliar with the reference, when it's cold and snowy, sometimes you put chains on your tires to get a better grip on the road.

Maybe you had to be there.  Maybe you'd just have had to have known him.  But maybe, maybe you don't. 

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I heard it on a ski lift….

I have recently returned from a WONDERFUL, albeit minimally snowy vacation to Tennessee.  Our group contained myself, an African American, my daughter, half AA, half German, my boyfriend, Cuban, our former roommate, half Cuban, half Mexican, and his girlfriend, Honduran.  Why do I go through the ethnicities?  Read on.

Please, put aside your preconcieved notions that all of our southern states are places only for WASPs, for that is not true.  Even a small town like Gatlinburg, a resort town, found its fair share of culturally diverse crowds.  We ran into many people who spoke Spanish, French, German, and even Russian (we think).  There were even quite a few black folks out trying out this snowboarding sensation. (Keep at it!  Don't leave me out there alone!)

All this and more I tell you only to relive the funniest thing I heard all week.  It's funny in a sad sort of way, but I laughed as did all in my group when I relayed the story, which in turn, allows you to laugh too.

Skiing/snowboarding is quite the social sport.  Either that, or I must have a sign on that only other people can see that says "I want you, a compete stranger, to tell me everything about yourself and ask you everything there is to know about me."  Long sign, I know, but I must be wearing it.  At any rate, I've been off riding by myself for a while as my daughter is in a lesson and my poor baby is home sick on the first day of our trip.  I've made fast friends with 2 girls from TN that just love me for some reason (am I Token?), as well as several other kids.  I guess it could be that I look younger than I am and act nowhere near my age, but I digress.

On one particular lift ride, I had the opportunity to ride up with a southern gentleman and his son.  I can say southern with absolute certainty because not only did the accent give it away, but he flat out told me that he was from TN.  The conversation started as most do on a lift ride.  Hellos, weather, first time, etc.  Something like this:

Him: How y'all doing today?

Me:  (Wondering if I've multiplied) Fine thanks, you?

Him: We're doing great!  Great day of skiing.

Mind you, his son says nothing this entire ride.

Me:   Good to hear.

Him:  So where ya from?

Me:   (Because I've told this story many times today, and many times at Club Med) Pittsburgh originally, but now I live in Miami.

Him:  Oh yeah?  What do you do down there?

Me:  I'm an Administrative Assistant.

Him:  Oh?  Where at?

I think that's one too many personal questions at this point, but….

Me:   A property management company.

Him:  You been down there long?

Me:  (Is this ride over yet?!?!)  About 3 years now.

And now, the moment you've been waiting for…..

Him:  You gotta learn to speak mexican to live down there, huh?

Me:  (Blank stare.)  Guffaw!

First off, I didn't capitalize Mexican to accentuate the way in which it was said.  If nothing else, I do know punctuation and capitalization (as I hit spell check).  Secondly, the brunt of the Hispanic population in Miami proper is Cuban although we do boast a large Mexican population.  Third, my newly made redneck friend, if you're going to be stereotypical, at least get it right, because learning to speak SPANISH goes a long way here.

He didn't say much after I giggled in his face and thankfully, the ride was over shortly thereafter.  By the way, southern gentleman, where did you get that gaiter?  It's such a lovely shade.  Oh, wait, that's your neck.

 

 

 

 

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