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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Death to Iggy(s)!

I have a friend, we'll call her H.  H is very low-maintenance.  Always there when I need her.  Haven't had a problem with her since we met in September of 2005.  Some may say that I'm not the best friend to H.  I've left her alone in the rain and at times, I've driven her harder than she prefers, but overall, things aren't so bad between us. (In case you hadn't figured it, H is my car.)

H has, what I at first believed to be, quite a cushy parking spot.  She's out of the direct sunlight most of the time, shaded by either our house, or the great mango tree in the front.  She used to be happy there and I used to be happy she was there.  Now, things have changed.

Iggy (and his wife/life partner) have moved in.  There was no warning, no moving van, no "Hi, we're the new neighbors".  The only way that I know that the Iggys are around is that they've taken to leaving presents for, or I should say on, H. 

The Iggys have made a residence in the mango tree.  For the most part, they're quiet neighbors and you wouldn't even know they're there except for one glaring huge middle iguana finger thrust at me on a daily basis….

THEY SHIT ON MY CAR!

I will soon wash the paint off of H because of the daily washing that she needs because the Iggys are disgusting pigs.  If you weren't aware, iguanas poop in much the same way as birds.  LARGE birds!  Every morning I go out to my car, half asleep, to find the present of the day.  Today, it looked as though the Iggys put in a joint effort.  There's a large section of my back window that I cannot see out of.  It's gross.  It's annoying.  It's offending.  Some folks want to call someone to take them away, but as I believe that the Iggy family are all either spies or CIA agents, or Jack Bauers in training, they are never seen. 

Now, I am angry.  Do not look for me, do not call me, for I will not be around.  I am becoming one with the Iggy family.  I will hold vigil in my front yard with the necessary equipment to remove the crapmakers.  I will think like them, I will look like them, I will eat like them, and I will kill them.  Hopefully before I poop on someone else's car.

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