Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Jackie Lou

A dear friend of mine's grandfather once gave me an unsolicited bit of advice: "Don't ever get a woman's name tattooed on your body." I'll never forget the sincere regret in his voice as he uttered those words and pointed to the antique kitchen tat on his arm with the name "Rose" scrawled in what appeared to be but certainly wasn't a child's handwriting on his upper arm. It was also quickly pointed out that his wife of many years was not named Rose. In typical fashion, I did not heed my elders' advice. I now have several tattoos and my first, as a matter of fact, was a woman's name. Years later, I find myself in a similar predicament: I have a wife and I also have another woman's name tattooed on my body. When I was 11, my parents decided to move me and my baby brother from the swamps of Jersey (I often wonder what might've happened if we never left, gold chains and hair gel?) for the Sunshine State. To say we were excited would be an understatement. First of all, we were moving to the land of Mickey Mouse. Secondly, we could go to a beach that didn't resemble the overcrowded brown waters of the Jersey shore. Most importantly, my paternal grandparents were moving in with us. To review, all three of these assumptions did not pan out the way we had imagined: Number one, we went to Disney World at least once a year on a school trip. After a few round of this, even Mickey Mouse loses his luster. Number two, the beach is awesome and all, but once it's 10 minutes away, one quickly realizes there are only so many sand castles to be made. Besides, it's also super weird when the seasons NEVER change. Number three, we (or at least I) thought that living with our grandparents meant we no longer had to travel anywhere to be spoiled rotten by our grandparents. While the last one may come off sounding like a killjoy at best and a harsh review of my beloved grandparents at worst, our relationship with both of them ascended far above the typical grandparent-grandkid relationship. More specifically, my grandmother certainly assumed more of a parental role, despite her physical limitations. A few years prior to our collective move to Florida, she was diagnosed with a lung disease (though she was a smoker for years, she quit long before the diagnosis), put on oxygen, and given months to live. In retrospect, one of the most amazing things about her was this: she was one of the classiest ladies I've ever known but she could whoop your ass and curse you out if she needed to. With this in mind, she beat the shit outta her ailment for nearly ten years before finally succumbing to her sickness. I believe she would have been 78 today, and she's been gone from this Earth over 15 years. She led a full life, however unjustifiably shortened it may have been and I'm not here to recount that life in an awkward and belated eulogy. That being said, time grants us all many things and I think perspective is one of the most important gifts it gives us. To say that she lives on in the lives of her family would be spot-on but grotesquely cliche, besides harping on what is lost is horribly depressing. For some reason, on this unseasonably cold Georgia day, I find myself needing to recognize the only woman's name that is forever scrawled on my body: my beloved grandmother, the one and only Jackie Lou.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

A proud member of the "Greatest Generation"

In life, he taught me to fish. He justifiably refused to teach me how to clean the fish because he knew that my attention span paled in comparison to the length of time it takes light to travel across the average living room and placing a sharp object in the hands of a mind like that could provide some seriously unfortunate results. I learned the ancient art of cursing during our fishing excursions as he attempted to untangle fishing line from the weeds around my Great Grandmother's pond. He attempted to teach me how to shoot oil cans off the side of a mountain with a .22. Despite his best efforts, that one didn't take, though I am pretty handy with a slingshot. For better or worse, I most certainly inherited my quick temper (via my dear Momma) from the man. In the biological and legal sense, he was my grandfather. He was drafted just before the attack on Pearl Harbor happened and one of his first jobs was to clean up the hot mess caused by the surprise and unwelcome visit from the Japanese. Needless to say, he would never travel back to Hawaii.
As a gunner in the Navy, his job was to take down kamikaze planes that were hell-bent on destroying the battleships and naval vessels that he and his brethren called home during their tour in the Pacific.
Just months after saying "I Do," he moved his wife to Columbia (South America, not South Carolina) because Sears-Roebuck wanted him to manage a few stores they decided to open down there. Despite the less-than-auspicious beginnings of their holy matrimony, my grandparents remained happily married for over fifty years.

He survived all of this and more and lived to tell the tale, until his mind, and later his body, surrendered to the everlasting slumber that all of us one day succumb to. His death was one of the few moments in my life where I was truly lost for words--a time when I found myself stumbling for a voice that has rarely failed me before, which may begin to explain why the recent arrival of his old tools inspired me to sit down and reflect this morning, years after his passing. Here's to you, Gramps.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

The New Year, holiday travels, etcetera, so on and so forth

So everything that I've seen of the Midwest pretty much sucks, but Chicago is super awesome but it is definitely not awesome during those long winter months.

Ellen, Odie and I traveled to Chi-town for the holidays to hang out with her family and were welcomed by sub-zero temperatures, soul-chilling wind and frozen shit everywhere.

No...you don't understand how cold it was.

While attending the sold-out Bears-Packers game (yes...despite the -12 windchill and 20 mph winds, Soldier Field was packed out) my beer froze in my glitten (glove-mitten hybrid). Even with 8 layers of clothes, a wool scarf, a dumbass flannel cap ala Randy Quaid from National Lampoon's glory days I was forced to hang out in the men's room for warmth. Not my proudest moment, but a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do and I knew deep down that the egregious amount of clothing I was rocking would give me a fighting chance at preventing any funny business from transpiring in the restroom, and even if it did, I'm fairly certain I wouldn't feel anything.

I'm not bashing Chicago, and I will admit that I had a blast but I will definitely travel there in the summer next time.
After spending a wonderful Christmas holiday in the Windy City, we hit the trail that was formerly known as dusty but is now known as treacherous and icy.

Four and a half hours after leaving Ellen's familial estate during a "heatwave" (it was a balmy 38 degrees) we were still attempting to traverse the Southside. Icy Roads + Rain + Fog + dumbass drivers = headaches all around and precious moments of your life that you will never get back.

After this debacle, we hit Indiana and things went from worse to worser than anyone could imagine (I realize poor grammar is an unorthodox method of illustrating a point, but I feel it is necessary to do so. Especially when one is discussing events that occur in Indiana. I will leave you with my thoughts regarding the matter: FUCK INDIANA!

A leisurely 800 mile drive and 14 hours later, we arrived in Maryland at my brother's abode for some much-needed rest.
Ellicot City is nestled between Baltimore and our nation's capital; thirty minutes in either direction.
They also have a brewery there with dollar beer specials on Sunday and Monday nights.
We arrived on Saturday and just took it easy after our long drive. But there was much rejoicing on Sunday night.

Maybe too much rejoicing.

Monday was going to be our big day in D.C. but most of it was spent lounging at the apt.
When we finally made it to D.C. it was after 4 p.m., but we still made it to the National Mall (not a retail outlet but the location of most of the free museums and not far from the Washington Monument, Lincoln and WWII Memorials, you get the picture).

2300 miles later we arrived back in the ATL and haven't done much other than going to see Hot Water Music on NYE (which was fantabulous!). It's nice to be back in the land of iceless roads and sweet tea and I'm looking forward to the New Year.

The New Year traditionally brings resolutions that people set and never have the time or gumption to realize, so I'm gonna skip all of that and just ramble on for a bit.

I still don't know what I wanna be when I grow up and I'm still okay with that. That being said, I'm starting to get a better idea of what I would like to do and I have a confession to make.

I am in the process of applying to start my Master's in Library and Information Science next fall. Yes, dear reader, that means that yours truly has aspirations of becoming a librarian. The ultimate game plan is to pursue a Ph. D in Music History/Musicology and become a Music Librarian but in the meantime, I would be perfectly content being paid to be a bookworm.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

So it's been a minute...

And I'm not so sure that I'm not the only reading this anymore, but here goes nothing.
I have decided to become a statistic and retire from teaching after three years for reasons that should be blatantly obvious for anyone with even a mild interest in public education.
I have finally moved to the big city to pursue music and writing opportunities. Employment's still a bit iffy, but I've got some solid prospects. All in all, this is the best decision I've made in a long time.
I'm reconnecting with a lot of old friends and making new ones.
Still playing in two bands, may start a few more, who knows.
Trying to stay busy and creative.
Got another tattoo a few days ago. I'm well on my way to becoming a full blown weirdo and loving every minute of it.
Finally dating a girl that's not bat shit crazy and loving every minute of it as well. Insert luvvy duvvy fluffy adjectives to describe how awesome she is, b/c she is.
That's all for now.
May have sweet tat pics soon.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

My random life

So we threw a party at my house last night.
It was good times until two cops showed up at my house last night around 1:30 am.
They brought a steamer pack of Krystal's hamburgers.
Let the good times roll motherfucker.

Sometimes I feel like my life is a TV show, which is why I don't watch cable.
I don't think my life would be important enough or have the required amount of mass appeal to make one of the major networks, but I think it could definitely make UPN and maybe PAX if I didn't cuss so much.

Now I must take care of some business that directly pertains to the aforementioned Krystal's hamburgers.

Have a blessed day.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

If Franklin had won

One of our founding fathers, Ben Franklin, woke up one day (not sure if it was before or after being struck by lightning) and decided that the turkey should be our national bird.
I'm glad he lost that argument.
But as I sit here in sheer exhaustion, I wonder, what would have happened if Franklin had won the argument?

Just think, we could be giving thanks by eating Bald Eagle with family and friends.
American Outfitters T-shirts would be drastically different. I'm not so sure a turkey, super-imposed on a rebel flag with God Bless the USA emblazoned in sweet lightning bolts, would look tough or patriotic. In fact, if I were I betting man, I'd put my money on the idea that you would most certainly have a Sams Club-sized can of whoopass opened on your lily-white ass during Race Weekend.
There would be lots of Turkey flash in all of the tattoo parlors across our great land. Nothing says freedom like a jailhouse turkey tat.
Quarters would have turkeys on the back. I think this would make it much more difficult to prevent children from swallowing their church offering...and covering their lunch money in gravy.
Bikers would have sweet turkey patches on the backs of their leather jackets. That would actually be pretty badass.
A club sandwich would consist of Bacon, lettuce, tomato, cheese, and Bald Eagle.
The President would pardon a Bald Eagle every Thanksgiving.
Fancy flagpoles would have a graceful brass Turkey at the top.
Our great halls of justice, courthouses, and various government structures would be ornately decorated with birds that look like they have an empty ballsack dangling from their beaks.
Dick Cheney would shoot his close friends in the face on Bald Eagle hunting excursions.

Today, I give thanks for many things, but most importantly, that the founding father that graces the cover of our hundred dollar bill lost his bid for our national bird.

It is all about you, Benjamin, just not your taste in feathered friends.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I realize I'm a day or two late and many dollars short, but Veteran's Day was Sunday. I'm not going Toby Keith on everyone, just take a moment to think about what that means. Thank your friends and family for what they've done (or are continuing to do), despite any polarizing political views one may hold towards the current administration and/or the current conflict overseas.
Do it...
or I'll grow a mullet and stick a boot in your ass.