A Grave Encounter: The Four-legged Ghoul

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It was like nothing we had ever seen before.

I still remember how large he was.

His tongue was flickering in and out of his mouth.

When my grandmother saw him, she raised her garden hoe in his direction.

Unfazed, he slowly turned away and crawled behind one of the graves disappearing into the woods.

My grandmother said later she believed he was a haint.

-Daddy recalls an event that occurred around 1955 in Eufaula, Alabama.

Daddy tells the whole story

When I was little, my grandmother would often grab us kids to go with her to the cemetery to help her and her sisters clean up our family’s graves.

Usually, this would take place early on Saturday mornings.

On those days, we’d all gather our tools and walk down the railroad track to the cemetery where most of my mother’s side of the family was buried.

We’d typically be out there working all morning.

One day, when I was about ten years old, it happened!

Me, my grandmother, and aunt were clearing away some brush when we spotted the scariest looking thing we had ever seen standing on top of an adult-sized grave.

It was grayish black, and spanned, from his nose to the tip of his tail, the entire length of the slab.

The monster, who weighed more than I did then, was facing us from about two plots away–toward a branch that ran through the middle of the cemetery.

It was like nothing we had ever seen before.

I still remember how large he was.

His tongue was flickering in and out of his mouth.

When my grandmother saw him, she raised her garden hoe in his direction.

Unfazed, he slowly turned away and crawled behind one of the graves disappearing into the woods.

My grandmother said later she believed he was a haint.

*********************************************************************************

LadyG remembers that story

I remember my Dad telling me this story over the years and I often wondered about the creature that he and his grandmother, Ma Allie, had seen that day.

Daddy said that it looked kinda like a Komodo dragon…

But not exactly.

He also said that this four-legged ghoul was probably feeding off corpses that were not “housed” in a vault.

A grave-robber of sorts.

Just so you know, vaults were not always used back in those days; especially in African-American cemeteries.

Anyway, it is important to note that Komodo dragons are not native to Alabama, or anywhere nearby, so we figured that whatever it was must have gotten loose from someone who had owned him as a pet.

At any rate, Daddy was never fully content with the fact that he could not positively identify that reptilian gargoyle of yore.

So for 64 years, the whole thing remained unsolved…

Until…

Last week, when I sent an article to my Dad about this reptile called a “Tegus” that had been spotted in South Georgia.

The article included a picture of a reptile that fit the description that Daddy gave based on his childhood memories.

After receiving and reading the article, Daddy immediately called me back and said, “That’s it! That’s EXACTLY what I saw!”

He seemed excited that the mystery had been solved.

Apparently, the Tegus has been around the South for much longer than the wildlife folks think!

But, secretly, I prefer Ma Allie’s belief that it was a haint!

LOL!

Lady G loves you!

 

 

 

A Family Conversation: Ron Brown & LadyG Discuss Mama Warriors

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Don’t mess with a mother’s child!

It doesn’t matter WHO you are, WHERE you are, or, in this case, “WHEN” you are!

Today, Ron and I talk about my post, “Blackie,” which is a lighthearted true story that details my courageous young mother’s willingness to risk everything for her child in the newly integrated South.

“Blackie,” which was set in early 1970’s Georgia, is not hyperfocused on the perils that accompanied integration/segregation.

That’s a whole n’other story for a different post.

However, it does highlight the lengths that a mother will go in order to protect her child.

After listening to, or reading “Blackie,” you will learn that my mother was no play-thang.

She was a warrior!

A soldier, if you will.

Don’t believe me?

Check out what she did for my brother in Mama and the Balloon Man!

After you read it, you’ll be a believer about Queen Diva Eva!

But, back to the topic at hand….

Join Ron and I for parts 1,2, and 3.

***By the way, you can catch our first episode by clicking here.

Lady G Loves YOU!

Ep. 2 Part 1:  LadyG reads “Blackie”

Ep. 2 Part 2:  The Discussion Continues

Ep. 2 Part 3:  Parental Guidance is highly suggested

 

 

 

The Flowering Vine: That Time At Wendy’s… An Audio Episode

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This is a true story.

Allow me to present you with a knock-off mini “radio show” re-enactment of an event that took place at Wendy’s in Eufaula, Alabama—Summer of 1987.

The major players were:

  • Grandma, aka Mother
  • Me, aka Lady G
  • Poor random guy at the drive-thru window

The whole thing was poorly written, poorly voiced and produced on the fly by Lady G.

Enjoy:

Mother and The Wendy’s Drive-thru Sign:  Run time: 1:48 (Not even two minutes)

 

 

 

 

The Flowering Vine: The Iceman Cometh!

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Mama say, “The Iceman is coming Ronnie”.  I say, “What?” She say, “I was just thinking Ronnie, Daddy’s 107th birthday will be celebrated by those who love and remember him on March 1, 2017. She slick didn’t answer my question.

“You know”, she paused, gazing ceilingward, “Our conversations have stirred the old dusty spirits of long lost memories. These same spirits have crept once again, and stubbornly, from the dusty hallways in my mind. They’ve slithered and slipped from the cracks and crevices to see what is the commotion. ‘What they say Mama!’ I chided her. “’Someone is here!’ they are whispering. ‘Who goes there—yonder—here, the chorus of their cracked voices croak”’. “That’s nice Mama, but what about that ‘Iceman’ what ‘sposed to be coming?” I queried, attempting to rebuke those old spirits that were shuffling—leaping—lunging—lounging, in her mind.

“Except for the few White people who lived in the settlement near Clayton, Alabama where Daddy lived with Grandma Mary, he didn’t know many people nor did he possess a sense of being discriminated against—until he entered school, that is” her voice trailed off. I could almost hear those old restless—ruthless—recalcitrant—refractory memories roiling around her consciousness.  “Um”, I grunted, hoping to shut those ghosts up for a moment, “What about the ‘Iceman’? When he coming” I goaded, I had to see this guy.

She ignored me—again, and continued, “He visited his Father’s plantation, played with his White sisters and brothers, and ate at their table. Daddy once told me that he did not know anyone of his ancestors as Black. There was never a mention of Grandma Mary’s parents. After years of concentrated study of an old photograph of her, I have summarily surmised that at least half of her puzzling parentage was also White” she grew quiet, as if she currently studied—scrutinized—surveyed—sympathized with, that old sepia-colored photograph.

“Immo knock that invisible darn picture right out of her hands”, I thought evilly to myself. I wanted more information on the “Iceman”. Mama continued, “Daddy’s education ended after 3rd grade. I guess he grew weary of having to run like a gazelle as you described in your last post” she laughed to herself, and then continued, “Even though Grandma Mary and Daddy were biracial, her and Leroy lived as Blacks. They made no attempt to ‘pass’ as it was called back then. ‘Passing’ meant that a person, light enough to be unrecognizable as Black, chose to live as a White”. “So,” I chimed in, hoping to break—bust—bash—barge into her reverie long enough get this question answered, “What about the ‘Iceman’?”

Have you ever felt invisible? Mama began her story again, “As he aged, that old foul villain, with the handlebar moustache, top hat, long black cape and white spats on his shoes; who went by the sobriquet, ‘Discrimination’ made his presence known. And from then on, wherever Daddy went, there he stood, cackling a vile laugh and wringing his long, white, bony hands”.  I looked up and Mama was wringing—wrenching–wrestling her hands against one another, as if envisioning this ‘Dick Dastardly’ reject, from ‘Perils of Penelope’. Sensing an opportunity—a break—a lull—a pause—a halt, in her discourse, I pounced! “Who is the ‘Iceman’?”

“For example, there were no hospitals for Black people”, she went on, as if I had again, done a “Sue Richards” impersonation. “The one or two hospitals that would take Black people put them in the basement.  The Black doctor, who had been taking care of them, possibly Dr. McCoo, was not allowed to practice in nor, attend to Blacks in the White hospitals. I am sure there were many other offenses that existed then, and still exist today. My first anamnesis, or as you phrase it Ronnie, “cryptic memory”, of Daddy having a REAL job was with the ice plant in Eufaula. By then he had married my Mom. I think I’ve given you that info”.

“The ‘Iceman’, finally I get to hear this story!” I shouted in my mind so loudly, my ears popped! Mama pause, and paused, and paused. I waited—wanted—wished—wondered, but she was done. “Damn, Damn, Damn!” my inner voice screeched, like an old Screech Owl that had just missed out on a juicy—jumpy—jittery—joyful mouse meal.

THE ICEMAN COMETH!

My Jams ’72

Icee Diva of Soul
It’s 1972 and Diva of Soul just got back from the Zippy Mart in Eufaula

This post is a continuation of the “My Jams” Series.  If you haven’t already, please check out “My Jams” posts for 1966-1971

There’s a whole lot of ruckus going on today.  Mama is gathering things and Daddy is going back and forth between the house and the carport.

The TV is on and Trooper Terry, the weatherman/kid’s TV show host, is talking about how hot it’s going to be today.  To prove his point, he asks his animated friend, Freddie, to elaborate.  Suddenly, as if by magic, a very sweaty Freddie appears at the bottom of the screen and immediately begins to melt into a puddle of liquid.

Need I say more?

I hear Daddy say, “Bay, did you get everything?”

Mama says, “Yeah, I put all the clothes in the suitcases—you can go ‘head and put ‘em in the trunk.”

Shortly thereafter, Mom leads me to the car.  Although I am a bit bleary-eyed, I ask, “Where we goin?”

Daddy says, “We going to see Grandma and Granddaddy.”

I ask, “Are we gone see RonnieEricLeshiaandLenel?  Sorry folks, I tended to singsong my big cousins’ names.  Mama smiles and shakes her head to express the affirmative.

Now that I know that, I’m good!

Needless to say, just before we leave, mama pops her 1971 “various artists” 8-track into the tape player.   Then she gives daddy a moon pie and a cold drink. Remember, it behooved us to pack our own snacks in order to keep from having to make too many stops in rural Georgia towns. I’ll let you ponder our reasons for keeping those stops to a minimum.

Anyway, after taking a big bite of moon pie, Daddy looked at me and said, “Bay, go to sleep.”  We’ll be in Eufaula ‘bout dinnertime.”

Mama asks, “Georgia time or Alabama time?” He says, “Alabama time.”

Side note:  In cities that border Georgia and Alabama, there is no such thing as Eastern or Central time; it is either Georgia or Alabama time 🙂

Phenix City, Alabama is a different story altogether.  I’ll tell you about that some other time.

At any rate, as I start the process of getting settled, I hear Al Green croon, “I’m so tired of being alone…” I look over at mama, and for the first time, I notice that her stomach is getting bigger 😉

And with that, we rode out!  Right into the summer of 1972!

Yes sir, you know what time it is!  Greetings and welcome to 1972!  Are you good?  I hope so!  Please believe that as long as I got my Mama and Daddy everything is copasthetic!

Anyway, let’s do this!

My Jams ‘72

“Let’s Stay Together” by Al Green

You might as well know upfront that you will see Mr. Green’s name on this list again!

Y’all, I love me some President Obama, but he needs to leave this song alone and stay in his political lane!

“I’m so in love with you, whatever you want to do is alright with me.”

Baby I wish I had some extra keys on my keyboard so I could accurately demonstrate the way in which Al styles this verse.

Good Gawd!

“Superstition” by Stevie Wonder

I’m not gonna lie; this song scared the wits out of me when I was little.  Even as a young’un, I knew that there was something spooky going on here- hell I didn’t even need to know what the word “superstition” meant to know that it wasn’t good.

No matter, I still love it!

“You Ought To Be With Me” by Al Green

What did I tell you!  I told you that you would see this name again! HA!

Goose bumps, goose bumps, goose bumps!  The horns, the organ, the guitar, THE VOICE!

Aw sh!t now!

“I don’t want to waste my time/ if you want to be a friend of mine/I want to hold you tight, love you right/Put good feelin’s in your night”

What Al does to the word “night” at the end of that lyric…  I JUST CAN’T!!!!!!!!!!!

“I’m Still In Love With You” by Al Green

Yeah, I can see right now that you don’t believe fat meat is greasy! There are no words!

“I Wanna Be Where You Are” by Michael Jackson

“Could it be I stayed away too long!”

I can barely contain myself!  At this point, I don’t know if I can finish this damn thang!

“Ask Me What You Want” by Millie Jackson

If you don’t know who Millie Jackson is then somebody needs to freeze your assets and take your freaking soul sista/brotha card!

Mama’nem (Translation:  Mama and them) use to bump the hell out of this 45!

Yessuh…Millie can blow!  She is something of a home girl for me; straight outta Thomson, GA.

I think I read somewhere that Millie might not have liked this song that much.  To me it doesn’t matter if she liked it or not; hell we couldn’t tell.

A great singer can belt out the dictionary!

“…and I’ll try my best to get it, get it, get it, get it!”

 “Harry Hippie” by Bobby Womack

This is a beautiful, but sobering, song.

I heard that “Harry Hippie” was really meant to be more of a folk or country type tune.  Clearly, Bobby must have said, “To hell with that!”

Mama used to play this one when she was getting ready to run everybody’s behind out of the house party.

Time to clean up!  As they say, “You ain’t gotta go home but you gotta get the hell out of here!”

“Work to Do” by The Isley Brothers

After you finish reading this blog, I want you to go listen closely to that damn piano on this jam!

What??? Bananas!!!!

NO!  I simply CANNOT!!!!!

“…I gotta make it for you, I gotta make it for me!” Ron! Ron! Ron! Ohhhh Ron!

If you dig that piano, you might want to go check out their song “Brown-eyed Girl.”  No worries, it is not a remake of the pop song.  It is something altogether else baby! If you do, let me know what you think.

 

Well it looks like my work here is just about done! Farewell 1972!

But before I go, I have to list these:

“Woman’s Gotta Have It” by Bobby Womack

“Victim of a Foolish Heart” by Bettye Swann

“You’re Still a Young Man” by Tower of Power

“Santa Claus is Coming to Town” by The Jackson 5

“Trying To Live My Life Without You” by Otis Clay

“Doggin Me Around” by Johnnie Taylor

 

Your move!!!!

 

Next Thursday:  My Jams ’73