Interview with my Brother Tack (Part 1): Our Childhood and Parents

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I am the curve and he is the line.

My brother and I are different, but there is more than enough room in this world for him, me and YOU!

-LadyG

Today, I wanted to share an interview that I recently conducted with my younger brother, Tack.

During our conversation, we discussed our childhood, living paycheck to paycheck; not to mention, our parents and their parenting style.

In this interview, my brother also revealed our mother’s most important lessons about people and life.

Be forewarned, you are listening to a conversation between me and my brother so my southern accent is BLAZING!!!  Good luck and Godspeed trying to understand some of this! LOL!!!

Enjoy!

 

Stay tuned for part 2, when we discuss a bit more about our Dad, and what it was like for my brother growing up with LadyG as a big sister.

Interview with Dr. K. E. Garland Part 3

Oh boy! The conversation is getting juicy!

The louder I get the more thick my southern accent becomes! LOL!

As you know, Dr. Garland’s subject matter centers around male/female relationships.  In this session, we continue our conversation from part 2 on the differences between men and women.

Please be sure to follow Dr. Garland and Michelle!  You can link to them via the first or second post of this interview.

 

A Charming Southern Cottage in Augusta

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Lady G of Seattle at a cottage in Summerville (Augusta, GA)

Salutations!

After last week’s post about my visit home, I got a lot of questions from people who were much too chicken to post a comment on the blog, asking about the accomodations in Augusta.

Well, basically, my dear friend, Lady G of Seattle, rented an Airbnb during the holidays and I must say that she stumbled upon a hidden GEM!

To be specific, this darling little cottage was nestled in a tony section of Augusta known as Summerville.

Now…

If you are a fan of the idea of Southern class, grace, charm, civility and hospitality, this type of place will DEFINITELY exceed your expectations!

According to Lady G of Seattle, the host at this cottage, Mr. —….don’t ask me his name…was the penultimate proprietor! She shared that his main goal was to ensure that all of his guest’s needs were promptly met.

Indeed, this visit was a much needed positive shift away from a world filled with folks hell-bent on hatred and destruction!

And so…

If you’re ever in Augusta, consider staying at a Summerville cottage like this one.

They are absolutely approved and endorsed by the Ladies G!

Love and light,

LadyG 😘💋💋  Don’t forget to like, follow and share!

 

The Best Breakfast!

 

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When I was a kid, the best breakfast was cooked and served by my Aunt Nell!

International House of Pancakes didn’t have ANYTHING on her!

She cooked those grits to perfection…

Her country ham and biscuits were unsurpassed…

And the fact that she let us kids drink Pepsi with our meal was freaking ingenious!

Clearly, she was a woman ahead of her time!

But, the thing that I remember most of all about breakfast with my Aunt Nell was her unrivaled ability to spin a good yarn!

I’m talking about good ole Southern Mama storytelling!

Baby, “captivating” ain’t the word for it!

From the moment Aunt Nell began to tell a tale, everybody in the room was completely mezmerized!

She’d intonate…

She’d gesticulate…

She’d immediately grab your attention and hold you in complete suspense!

A masterful comedienne, Aunt Nell’s timing was IMPECCABLE!

By the end of each story, EVERYBODY would be in tears laughing as she calmly sashayed away to tend to her dishes….completely unbothered!

In essence, she ALWAYS dropped the mic…

EVERY. SINGLE. TIME!

And, as you might have guessed, I wanted to be just like her!

And so…

A lot of the sass that you “hear” from LadyG can be directly linked to my Aunt Nell.

And, as I sit here, approaching my 50th birthday, I can’t help remembering her and everyone else who poured so much into my life; especially her husband, my Uncle Leroy!

I’ve mentioned him a few times before.

At any rate, one thing’s for sure, I’ll always think fondly of Aunt Nell, and will, no doubt, burst into ugly laughter whenever I do!

In this way, she’s just as much alive today as she was in that Alabama kitchen from 1975.

Trust me, she’s here–between every line.

RIP Aunt Nell.

Love and light LadyG

😘💋💋

 

 

 

A Study in Tenacity: My Son, the Graduate

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My Son with his Degree from Emory University in Atlanta Georgia
When he left for college…

We prayed for him.

We encouraged him.

We guided him.

We supported him.

We cheered for him.

We consoled him.

We pushed him.

We pulled him.

We LOVED him…

But the one thing that we could not do was go to school for him.

 

Nevertheless, we did all that we could.

And now…

After enduring any number of set backs, this young man soldiered on and did the DAMN thang!

He NEVER gave up!

And we expected nothing less.

So, please join us as we celebrate the accomplishments of my beloved son.

First, a word about his alma mater, Emory University.

Emory is a private university, nestled within the tony Druid Hills neighborhood of Atlanta, GA–actually it’s more so Decatur but anyway….. 🙂

The University was ranked by The Wall Street Journal as number 17 of 500 US national private and public universities.

It is the only University in Georgia to make the top 20.

Some notable alumni include, Robert W. Woodruff of Coca-Cola fame.  In fact, Mr. Woodruff’s family and charitable foundation remain huge supporters of the University.

Other notable alumni include:

Dr. Bernice King (Daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.)

Robert Jones (Professional Golfer and Father of The Masters Golf Tournament)

Kenneth Cole (Famous Designer)

Notable Faculty include:

39th U.S. President, James Earl “Jimmy” Carter, Jr.

19th U.S. Poet Laureate, Natasha Trethewey

His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama

It is also important to note that Emory University Hospital accepted and cared for American physician and Ebola patient, Dr. Kent Brantly back in 2014.

So….

I’d say, this kid was in good company huh?

But seriously, I am so proud of my sweet boy—now young man!

That said, we don’t get to celebrate the accomplishments of African-American men very often, so please indulge me as I do that here.

Here is a short video and a collage of pics.

First, a 30 second video of the Graduation Processional.

The music was provided by Atlanta Pipe Band.

Bag Pipes!  YAAAAAYYY!!!

 

Additional program music was provided by The Atlanta Symphony Brass Quintet.

 

 

Mama loves you Rod!  And in the words of the great Theodor Geisel aka Dr. Seuss, “Oh the places you’ll go!”

Oh the places

Thanks for allowing me to share this with you.  Please be sure to comment and offer any words of advice to my son as he starts a new chapter in his life!

Love and light to you all!

Lady G

😘💋

 

 

 

 

Fifty Shades of Black

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Mama (Eva) holding Tack, that’s me on the right with my mouth wide open!

 

Random Woman:  Hey Brenda!

Brenda:  Hey girl, how are you?  I haven’t seen you in some years!

Random Woman: I know!  It’s been a long time.

Brenda:  Yes it has, by the way, let me introduce you to my friend, Eva.

Random Woman:  (Very dry, cold and nonchalant) Hey Eva.

Random Woman: (Directly addressing Brenda) Ooh Brenda, your little girl is so pretty, how old is she?

Eva: (PISSED) That’s MY child!

Random Woman: (Slightly Embarrassed but still chilly) Oh, I’m sorry, she just looks more like Brenda to me.

Eva walks off with child (ME) in tow.

Yes friends, my mother, Queen Diva Lady Eva, was tee’d off!

Why, you ask?

Because ‘Ms. Random Woman’ assumed that I was Brenda’s daughter based solely on the fact that we shared the same skin complexion.

She never thought for a moment that I could belong to my mother–who was a shade or two darker.

It simply didn’t occur to her to ask.

Sadly, this type of attitude was nothing new to Mama.  As a child, she had received whippings from a lighter skinned uncle for being “too black.”

Colorism 
col·or·ism
ˈkələrˌizəm/

noun

Prejudice or discrimination against individuals with a dark skin tone, typically among people of the same ethnic or racial group–Oxford Dictionaries
What the Oxford folks failed to mention is that this phenomenon is a ‘carry-over’ of Slavery; having been birthed from the actions of slave owners.
In essence, slave masters created division among their chattel by treating them differently based on skin complexion.
The darker slaves were treated far worse than the lighter slaves.  Because of their color, dark skinned men and women were forced to engage in heavy labor while the lighter skinned slaves were treated better–relatively speaking.
Naturally, the lighter skinned slaves were told that they were superior to their melanin rich brothers and sisters and both groups bought into that belief.
And there we have it!
A lifelong mutual animosity between darker slaves and lighter slaves…which sadly continues with their descendants today–albeit to a much lesser degree.
Come now!
Let’s re-evaluate the scenario that I offered at the beginning of this post.
Notice how dismissive Ms. Random Woman was toward my mother.
She all but ignored her darker skinned ‘sister.’
‘Ms. Random’ never imagined that chocolate Ms. Eva could be the mother of a caramel colored daughter with long pony tails.
Of course, at the age of 3, I was too young to notice or understand the larger implications of this woman’s attitude.
I had no clue what was really going on.
Little did I know, I would continue to experience some form of this lunacy throughout my life as my father’s racial identity was, to the average onlooker, perplexing… to say the least 🙂
Lord, I got all kinds of questions like, “Is your Dad Mexican?”

Puerto Rican?

Cuban?

Arab?

West Indian?

East Indian?

Native American?

And everything in between….

Oh, and then there were the really stupid questions like:

How did your Mom get a handsome man like your Dad?

Ok, that’s when I got rowdy!

All bets were off!

Seriously?  What do you mean?

Do you not realize that you’re talking about MY MOTHER?

You better back the hell up!

I’m sorry guys but that mess really got under my skin!

Oh and if you think things got better as years passed…

Think again!

My Mama often recalled a time when an associate of my Dad’s came by to borrow a drill.

Apparently, he peeked past my Mom, who had answered the door, in order to get a better glance at me and whispered, “That must be Jim’s daughter.”

Mama said, “Yes, and she’s my daughter and we have a son too!”

What an idiotic thing to say!

“That must be Jim’s daughter.”

It rolled right off his ignorant ass tongue without a bit of thought attached to it.

The fact that he knew that my parents had been married for 100 years added insult to injury!

Ah…but here’s an even more egregious example.

One day, back in 2012, I had been sitting in the hospital room with Mama for most of the morning.

Well, this black nurse, who had been in and out, and who had seem me sitting there the whole time, asked, “Has any of her family come by yet?”

What the hell do I look like?

Chopped liver?

Of course I didn’t say THAT but I did say, “Well I’m her daugther.”

Naturally, the nurse apologized.

I thought to myself….Here we go again…after all this time.

Still dealing with issues of color.

Mama caught hell for being too dark and Daddy caught hell for being too racially ambiguous.

Good grief!

 

 

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Daddy and Mama at about age 15

 

Inspiration for this post came from comments between myself and these great bloggers:

Kelley at Gray Suede

Dr. K. E. Garland

Ron Brown 

 

 

 

 

 

Blackie

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“Blackie” the dog

 

Ok, let me hang on to my integrity by admitting that I never learned the dog’s real name.

That said, he will forever be known to me as “Blackie.”

Anyway, many long years ago, when I was about six or seven, Mama would take me to my bus-stop every morning to catch the bus for school.  Honestly, the stop was very close to where I lived—but it was at the top of a rather steep hill.  Mama thought it would be better if she drove me to the stop in the mornings; that way I could start my school day looking nice, fresh and clean.

She said, “I’ll take you in the mornings so you won’t have to go to school all sweaty– looking like a field hand.”

And with that, a deal was made, Mama would drive me to the bus-stop in the mornings but I would walk back home each afternoon.

Well, the first couple of days, my walk from the bus-stop was rather enjoyable; I liked the independence of it all.  Besides, I didn’t have far to go and it was completely downhill.  This was going to be a breeze! No problems!

The deal between me and Mama worked out fine!

Until it didn’t.

Enter “problems!”

One day, as I was making my usual trek home, I came upon a little black dog who started barking at me from a yard across the street.  Naturally, this startled me since I had never seen him before.  At any rate, although I was startled, I was not afraid because I had been raised in a home with all kinds of dogs. In fact, my Dad rescued and trained hunting dogs. That said, a barking dog was a non-issue to me.

By the way, you can read more about me, daddy and our dogs here.

Anyway, as I was saying, I wasn’t scared, but I was on guard so I did my best to quietly walk past the dog’s ‘dominion.’

When I got home, I didn’t mention this to Mama, because, after all, apart from all the loud barking, the dog had kept his distance.

Until he didn’t.

The next day, after I got off the bus and commenced to walk home, I noticed that same little black dog in his yard barking like he was one of my Doberman Pinschers.  Again, I was startled but not too concerned so I just looked straight ahead–kept my stride and walked past.

Friends, the next thing I knew, that little joker had crossed over to my side of the street and had begun biting at my heels!

And we were off!

Me and the dog–both ‘flying’ down that hill like two bats out of hell!

Y’all I was in a race for my life!  In fact, I was sprinting so fast that I could barely stop myself!

You may recall that I was coming down a steep hill.  A steep hill that, by the way, ran perpendicular to a busy thoroughfare.

Had I kept running, I might have crossed directly into the path of several cars.

Good thing I was able to stop and catch myself!

Needless to say, by the time I stopped, I was totally breathless and scared out of my wits!

When I looked down, I noticed that the little black dog (whom I later named “Blackie”) had already turned around and was making his way back home.

Enter Mama!

After somewhat gaining my composure, I walked the last few yards home.  Mama was standing there as I entered the house through the kitchen.

Having noticed how disheveled and discombobulated I was, she asked, “What’s wrong with you?”

I said, between wheezes, “A dog chased me home!”

Mama asked, “What dog? Where?”

I said, “Up Wycliffe Street.”

Mama said, “Come on let’s go!”

And with that, me, Tack and Mama jumped in the car!

Mama drove up Wycliffe and said, “Show me the house!”

I pointed to “Blackie’s” house.

Mama pulled up into Blackie’s yard, parked and said, “Y’all wait right here!”

Folks, Mama got out of the car, strutted up to the front door and started knocking like she was the Chief of POLICE!

Within a minute or so, a man came to the door and said, “Can I help you ma’am?”

Mama spotted Blackie standing behind the man and said, “Your dog chased my daughter home.  She almost ran into traffic! Now look, she gon’ have to walk down this hill everyday after school so you gon’ have to keep that dog in the house!”

The man said, “Ma’am I’m so sorry about that.  I’ll make sure he stays inside when your little daughter comes by.”

Mama thanked the man, bid him a fond farewell, got back in the car and drove us home.

The next day when I passed “Blackie’s” house I noticed that he was not in the yard barking but he was peering at me through his front window.

I imagined him saying, “You so lucky I ain’t outside!”

LOL!

All jokes aside, Mama was bold!  You have to remember, this all took place in Georgia in the early 1970’s and “Blackie’s” owner was an older White man.  At that time, most places in the South were newly integrated so Mama, who was only about 29,  was gambling with her life when she decided to approach that man about his dog.

But, as they say, don’t mess with a Mama bear’s cubs!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…Black…Black…

 

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A real life dialogue from 1990 between two young co-workers.  

One Black and One White.

 

Me:  “Hey Teri!  How are your classes coming this quarter?”

Teri:  “Hey Gwin!  They’re coming along OK.”

Me:  “Are you making any new friends?”

Teri:  “Well, yes…but, to be honest,  I’ve noticed that the Black students in my classes aren’t really friendly and they only talk to each other.”

Me:  “Well have you tried starting a conversation with any of ’em?”

Teri:  “Well, no… I mean, I’m not used to being around Black people so I wouldn’t know what to say.”

Me:  “Teri, you’re forgetting something…in case you hadn’t noticed, I’m Black and we talk all the time.”

Teri:  “Gwin, that’s different, you’re Black but you’re not Black Black.

Me:  What?  What do you mean I’m not Black Black?”

Teri:  “See… now you’re trying to make me feel bad, I’m just saying that you’re not like most Black people.”

Me:  “Come on Teri didn’t you just say that you’re not used to being around Black people?  So how do you know how most Black people are?”

Teri:  “Gwin, please don’t get mad.  You’ve been a very good friend to me and the last thing I would want to do is offend you so let’s just drop the subject, I’m sorry.”

Me:  “I accept Teri and I agree; we probably need to move on and start talking about something else.”