Friday, May 27, 2016

The Church Lady and Motorcycle White Boy : Vanessa Goes to Washington

The immediate set-up: On Monday, May 16, my gift-from-God, happily-ever-after trophy wife Vanessa, the elegant, foxy, praying black grandmother of Woodstock, GA, was released from her position as a legal parapro at a small legal firm doing business primarily in the Woodstock area. For several days, we contemplated our next move.

Some deep background, and a sort-of real-life fairy tale: Vanessa's first husband gave her seven children, and then abandoned her to raise them as best she could. Using Social Services provided in North Carolina and West Virginia, Vanessa was able to earn her General Equivalency diploma, and continued on to college at West Virginia University. She moved to Georgia in 2001, had her prior coursework accepted for transfer, and became an upper classman at the prestigious Spelman College of Atlanta University. She was selected to serve as one of the Student Delegates to the Democratic National Convention in 2004; with her fellow college students, she traveled by bus to Boston to see John Kerry and John Edwards picked as the Democratic Party candidates for President and Vice-President.
Her plan was to continue to empower others politically; however a family crisis in 2007 required her to choose between her personal goals and the needs of her family. Tragically, at the same time her own mother passed, it became necessary for her to step forward and take in a toddler and an infant. These were her grandchildren; so, she sacrificed her own career and raised them as her own. Her political dreams were placed on hold, and she exchanged her classes at Spelman for the rituals of daycare arrangements while holding down a full-time job as a legal parapro to pay the bills. And that involved getting up every morning, getting two teenage girls off to high school, preparing two children for childcare, and later kindergarten, going to work all day, picking up children, stopping by the grocery store, making dinner, feeding children, making sure papers were signed, doing laundry, repeat; every day, every single day, and collapsing into bed at night. Weekends were time to recuperate, a little, on Saturday, and buy groceries. Sundays were for church, and a big meal for as many of her children as she could persuade to show up. And then collapse into bed again, because Monday morning came earlier and earlier, it seemed.
And that's the way it went, until Christmas of 2010, when a crippled bearded motorcycle white boy showed up at her door, with presents for her children, and a 40 year old high school ring and his Army dog tags for her, and told her that when she asked him to marry her, he would say yes.

Back to the present day: the motorcycle white boy speaks. I get email from the White House; it's what happens automatically if you ever email them about a concern. Sometime I just trash before reading, but I read this one; it announced a search for women of influence to attend The White House Summit "The United State Of Women." (Diana Ross was going to be there!) Since I happen to believe I am married to one tough lady, who has worked hard for everything she got, and raised seven children while doing it, I nominated her, with a smidgen of 'Deep background' included as the reason for the nomination. I didn't hold out much hope, frankly; I knew there were going to be lots of high-powered women who would love to get invited to Washington (it turned out there were more than 10,000 applications during the few days they were open. But, on May 25, I received :

Dear Vanessa Kay,
Congratulations! You are one of the nominees chosen to attend The United State of Women Summit on June 14th here in Washington, DC.

And we registered the same day! The event is going to be held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, a few blocks from the White House. There will be lots and lots of Women of Power there, but only ONE will have the title of  "Praying Black Grandmother"  on her name tag.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Tomorrow Belongs To Me, with music and pictures

Two long and brilliantly fascinating comments:

1. I was talking with Tobiyah and Jennifer, my intelligent and VERY politically astute young (mid 20's, early 30's) black daughters the other night about the election,

AND I remembered my teen years, particularly 1968, the year I turned 15:

Tet Offensive,

The assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr, and Bobby Kennedy,

Chicago Democratic Convention, (although the song was more about the trial of the Chicago Seven)

and later the Kent State shootings.

It seems to me that we didn't HAVE
choices back then, from my perspective.

I voted for George McGovern on an absentee ballot the day they taught us how to fire Claymore mines (FRONT TOWARDS ENEMY) in Basic Training at Ft. Jackson (D-7-2). (He won Massachusetts and Washington, D.C.)

And then I reflected back a few more years to pre-teen years;the Bay of Pigs in 1961, the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, and how we were traveling from Texas to Georgia on the old two lane roads, and the miles and miles of military convoys we had to pass.

And remembering movies like "Alas Babylon" (1960) and nightmares that the Russians were coming down the hallway to kill my baby sister, and the 'duck and cover' exercises we had to practice in school, and the 1963 school civil defense school evacuation drills where we had to walk home in groups because you couldn't count on the bus if the bombs dropped.

And I suppose I could add my experience as a young GI in Germany, knowing I was there to stop the tanks from rolling across the Fulda Gap; and walking across Checkpoint Charlie into East Berlin in 1975 wearing my uniform and waving to the Soviets and East German troops.

And I concluded that we ain't got nothing now that even comes close to being a problem, compared to then.

2. The second thought followed watching Donald Trump's speech, after he received the endorsement of the NRA (I'm a Life Member), and listening to his rhetoric.

Recently, the last living "Casablanca" actress, Madeleine LeBeau, passed away. When I heard that, I wanted to watch the scene of her crying as she sang "La Marseillaise;" and, after I did, I followed some links. That can sometimes lead to trouble, I know, but in this case, it just gave me occasion to listen to a couple of other WWII era songs, like the German paratrooper song, and the Horst Wessel song, and the apocryphal Hitler Youth song "Tomorrow Belongs To Me" (which isn't from WWII, as it was written for the 1966 Broadway musical "Cabaret"); and then, the thought...

...the thought that I was wishing that I could be patriotic, and feel good about what Donald Trump says, without hearing (in my head) Adolf Hitler using some of the same type of rhetoric to gain leadership of Germany.

(S.A.H. :All we can do is pray and stand ready to defend our ideals.) A worthy addition to end.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Cherokee County GA: COPS LIKE DONUTS!!!

NOTE: This is MY blog, and MY opinion, and I am in NO WAY affiliated with ANY candidate for any office.

There are some times when I wish this blog had about a million subscribers, and this is one of them. It's because we have an election coming up that matters for Cherokee County.
I'm not a native of Cherokee County, but I've been here since 1991, which may make me an adopted son. I've been here for all of Roger Garrison's term of duty as Sheriff, though, and that gives me something to think about: donuts.
Now, cops love donuts. EVERYBODY knows that. And when Roger Garrison first took office all those years ago, he brought donuts with him, and he put them in the break room.
And nobody would eat them.
Evidently, before Roger was elected, the environment was a lot different in the Sheriff's Office. So different, that the deputies were afraid to eat donuts that were left out for them.
It took Roger making a special announcement before anybody helped themselves to that most favored snack of law enforcement everywhere.
It wasn't just a more hospitable environment Roger brought to Cherokee County; he brought in more professionalism, training, and community outreach programs. We now have a first class Sheriff's Department, one we can be proud of.
And Roger is retiring. So, what does he say we need? (From the article in which he announced his retirement; I can't get the link to work)
He says:
1. We need a younger man, who will have the energy and stamina to get the job done.
2. We need a man who has high-level training in law enforcement.
3. We need a man who has a solid grasp of municipal issues, with a graduate degree in administration.
4. We need a man with local roots.

We have some excellent candidates to choose from for Sheriff this year, but for my money there's only one man that meets the criteria set by the man who modernized and professionalized the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office, and that is Frank Reynolds. He has my vote, and I hope he has yours as well.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

My thanks to the girl at the USO

It's a Friday night in 1972, and I'm a broke 19 year old PFC in downtown San Antonio. There are lots of things to do in San Antonio if you have money, but if you don't options are really limited.
I don't remember how I found the USO, there may have been a fellow medic trainee with me, but find it I did, and it was a great place to go. Not much in terms of privacy, but some really great home made pound cake.
And girls.
Forget the scenes in the WWII movies about the jumpin' band rocking the place; I don't remember there being any music at all.
But there was a girl. neatly attired in a very modest and patched dress, who came up to me, and asked me if I would like to talk. Well, yeah.
I poured my heart out to her, giving her my tale of woe, and she listened respectfully. At that point of my life, I didn't HAVE a plan, I was in the hands of the Army for the next three years, and I just had to deal with it. I felt trapped and pitiful, and I told her all about it.
As for what she was doing? She was there with some other girls from her church, to provide a friendly face to whatever lonesome troops showed up.
And on the next Sunday, she was very surprised and happy when I showed up with a friend at her church service.
And that's the end of the story. After church was over, I rode the bus back to base, and met a different girl, and she was interested in fooling around. So I never saw the girl from the USO again.
But 44 years later, wherever you are, thanks. And if you ever happen to visit San Antonio, and see a pleasant lady about age 63 or so: would you smile at them for me?

Friday, May 6, 2016

My mother did all the work. Congratulate her.

I turned my Facebook off yesterday to avoid the birthday greetings, but a number of people found out how to wish me a Happy Birthday anyway, so thanks. And Moose dropped by the house last night and outed me, so Vanessa and the kids (including the adult kids) found out.
In case I haven't mentioned this in an earlier blog post, I don't care for holidays in general , and holidays in which I figure as a main character particular. There is ONE exception to that, which is January 1. I love that holiday.
Okay, so I'm 63. That's 3x3x7, or 9x7. The number 9 is the first non-prime odd number, and 7 is the perfect number in some numerology systems, but I really can't find any significance in there. 
How many years is 63? One way to look at it is to measure the distance from my birth to now, and count BACKWARDS from my birth that same number of years, we arrive at 1890; in other words, the distance from 1890 to my birth is the same distance from my birth until now. And, if we postulate (just for fun; I believe I've passed the half-way mark) that I have lived exactly half my life, then I will live to see the year 2079.

f f f f f f f f f f f f f
p p p p p p p

l l l l l l l

1890 1900 1910 1920 1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020 2030 2040 2050 2060 2070
(Don't worry about the values in the cells. They are worthless. But 'l' stands for decades I've lived; 'p' represents my life span extended backward; and 'f' represents how long I have if I'm halfway through. See? worthless.)

I don't know what any of that means, or if it has any symbolic value at all. I rather doubt that it does.

So, now, I turned Facebook back on, and lots of people are saying 'sorry for yer belated birthday.'
It's not your error; I took my page down.
Look, I didn't do anything on my birthday. If you MUST honor it, tell my mother., She did all the work.

But thanks, anyway.
And sorry for making you think you forgot. (This is the worst blog post I ever wrote, by the way, in terms of incoherence.)