Friday, February 25, 2011

Fine Man Friday...

I've been writing and re-writing this post for months... I started it about 6 months ago, the moment that he called to tell me that my fears were soon coming to pass.

"Aunty... I'm being deployed to Iraq."

Today he is leaving to go to Fort Hood.  He just called to tell me that he loved me.  I'm typing while crying y'all... In about a month he's flying to the Middle East. 

He joined the military against the wishes of everyone and he did it so innocently.  He's not a scholar, he's not good with his hands, he was working at some chicken joint and really wanted to do something with his life.  I remember when he called to tell me he was enlisting. 

I asked him not to, begged him not to, reminded him that we're in the middle of a war - it's like straight Revelations right now! - he said, so sweetly, made me think he was 5 years-old again... "but Obama is about to be elected and he's going to end the war".

I realized that I was not going to stop him.  My brother, his father, who was in the military tried to stop him but couldn't deter him.  I remembered how my mother told me that she begged my brother not to enlist.  "Go to college", she said - that was back when the City University was free - but he was following behind a friend and decided to go anyway.  With tears in her eyes she signed him up because at 17 he was too young to do it himself.  I remembered how my mother broke down every time we drove him back to LaGuardia or JFK to go back to his stationed state.  I knew the minute that my nephew enlisted, he wouldn't be traveling the world as my brother did, he would be trained and traveling to one destination...

He spent the holidays with me and we brought in this new year together, purposefully, before his deployment.  I love when my nephew visits because I put him to work.  He's been cooking for me since he was 8 and during this visit, I also made him clean.  While sweeping the floor, he looks at me innocently and asks when was I going to have children.  I told him that 22 years ago I had one son and he's enough.  Thank you Aunty, he said, "But I'm not your son and besides you were only a teenager when I was born".  With bass in my voice I told him that I said he was my son.  I reminded him that I was there when he was born, one of the first faces he saw was mine, how he used to call me "Mommy", how I was his first babysitter, how we'd play and how I used to pick him up from school and do his homework with him.  He recanted and said, "Well now that you say all that, I suppose you are my second mother...

Here's my Fine Man Friday... my 22 year-old baby... my nephew
and  now

May he be completely covered during his deployment... May he be strong and wise and connected... I am believing for and claiming his safe and speedy return.  Amen.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Fine Man Friday... Order of Merit

My love of music came early.  My parents listened to everything under the sun.  Disco, R&B, Salsa, World Music (ala Fela Kuti), Calypso and Reggae...

Not only did we relax, kick back and listen but more often than not, we'd dance.  We would push the coffee table aside in our livingroom, turn the lights down low, kick up our legs, jump-up jump-up, dance and prance to the sounds of great calypsonians such as Mighty Sparrow and Short Shirt.  Other times we'd groove, prance around and rock to lazy reggae beats.

Robert Nesta Marley... I thought the man was family.  
We had pictures of him in our photo albums.  A large portrait of him hung in our hallway (right next to Jesus).  Even now I have a Bob Marley picture on my desk at work and a small collection at home.  On any given Friday or Saturday night we'd play, listen to and dance to Bob Marley and the Wailers for hours.  It wasn't just for enjoyment, it was like religion, a form of release.  

Later me and my friends would throw one of Bob Marley's vinyl's on the record player, march around the living room all the yelling "Woy Yoy Yoy Yoy Yoy Yoy Yoy, Woy Yoy Yoy Yoy Yoy Yoy Yoy Yoy!" singing right along with the record "Buffalo Soldier"I remember listening to "Positive Vibration" and thought "this reminds me of church"!  Or when I heard the soulful organ shuffle on "Who The Cap Fit" and learned a life lesson... the ones closest to you can be the ones to betray you.

His words are brilliant, prolific and timeless.  The message that resonated through my parents then, resonates through me now.  Not all music lyrics are cross-generational.  Surely I forget half of what I heard just yesterday but some words stand the test of time...

"The road of life is rocky and you may stumble too / So while you point your fingers someone else is judging you" ~ Could You Be Loved

“If you get down and quarrel everyday, you’re saying prayers to the devil, I say / Why not help one another on the way / Make it much easier"  ~ Positive Vibration

 "Life is one big road with lots of signs / So when you riding through the ruts, don't you complicate your mind / Flee from hate, mischief and jealousy! / Don't bury your thoughts; put your vision to reality, yeah!" ~ Wake Up and Live

There are the words delivered at his eulogy by Jamaican Prime Minister Edward Seaga :
"His voice was an omnipresent cry in our electronic world. His sharp features, majestic looks, and prancing style a vivid etching on the landscape of our minds. Bob Marley was never seen. He was an experience which left an indelible imprint with each encounter. Such a man cannot be erased from the mind. He is part of the collective consciousness of the nation." 

And this quote from Bob Marley, OM himself. OM stands for Order of Merit and the order of merit's motto is:
"He that does the truth comes into the light".  However controversial his life was or is documented to be, he has left a musical legacy continues to stir up and unite.
“My music will go on forever. Maybe it's a fool say that, but when mi know facts mi can say facts. My music will go on forever.”

Friday, February 4, 2011

Fine Man Friday...

I'm drained.  Mentally, physically... I have just been so fatigued.  Besides weathering the elements, climbing over heaps of what was snow but is now ice... looking like something straight out of  a sci-fi movie... I have helped my pastor to finish his doctoral thesis.  I have toiled through many nights of writing and then worried about him completing his part.  We crammed what should have taken 8 months to complete into 3 weeks.  I. am. burnt. out.

That explains part of my absence...

I am in need of therapy, physical that is... I'm thinking massage (deep tissue) or perhaps vacation therapy (Bahamas) to escape the cold and the busyness...

I have heavily relied on my trusty companion, the MP3 player, which never leaves my side, nor does it fail me.  I've been soothed, consoled and even wooed by the soulful sounds of my Fine Man Friday who has been on heavy rotation.

He's a Detroit singer, songwriter, producer and his vocals gets me through my days and comforts my nights... I smile when I listen to him sing Possible:

Question, can your smile, lead to my hello?
And my hello, lead to a first date?
And a first date lead to a "Can't wait to do it again!"
Ain't no pressure, we can't just let love develop
Get to know one another, from a sister to a brother
I'm just wonderin'

At work I bob my head and dance my "cubbie dance" to I'm Cheating or I Think I Love You or Find A Way and during my evenings I listen to Old Lovas or The Simpleness of Passion.

My Fine Man Friday for this week is:
Andwele Gardner
Also known as Dwele

Here's a song I found on YouTube... and it's simply adorable... "Trust that trust is the only thing that will keep your love from seeing rain" L.O.V.E