The Flowering Vine: More To The Story

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Our Grandparents:  Leroy and Annie aka ‘Mother’ with Lady G’s Son

 

I thought I’d take a second to thank all of the readers who have supported “The Flowering Vine Series.”

Both Ron and I really appreciate your kind comments about our family.

I inserted this picture of our Grandparents, Leroy (Daddy) and Annie (Mother) so that you can see them as they were in later years.

This picture was taken ONE MONTH prior to our Grandfather’s death.

Here’s the story behind the photo.

Basically, my son had just been born a few months prior and something urged me to go visit my Grandparents and take pictures.

While I can’t say that I had a premonition, I can say that I clearly remember my Grandfather saying to me, as he struggled with his cane to rise from his seat, “Whew Bay, Granddaddy can’t haaaardly get around no more.”

 

His rich baritone voice wrapped itself so closely around my heart and I tearfully responded, “I know Granddaddy….I know.”

The next month, he was gone.

Friends, I can’t tell you how much we all miss him.  He was one of the kindest people I have EVER known and he sincerely loved us all so much.

I distinctly remember how he would wait until EVERYBODY, including all of his children, their spouses and his grandchildren had eaten before he would eat.

He’d say, “Did everybody eat? Did everybody have enough?”

Then, he’d pile the leftovers along with some home grown tomatoes and peppers into his favorite bowl.

Boy let me tell you! That bowl of food looked so GOOOOOD!

God knows they don’t make them like our Granddaddy anymore.

Frankly, there is so much more that can be said about both of our Grandparents, and, as long as you’re interested, we hope to continue sharing those stories here.

Anyway, below is a family tree that includes some of the people that you all have come to know and love.

Because our story includes so much information about our biracial heritage, I decided to include a bit of a descriptor under each person’s name.

Note:  The term “mixed race” applies where there is some interracial heritage but the specifics are unknown.  “Recent mixed race” indicates that this person had at least one confirmed white parent.

On a related note, both Ron and I would like to offer a special thanks to two Caucasian cousins who were kind enough to share DNA and Family records in order to help us to confirm information on our Grandfather’s side.  Had they not been willing to step forward a few more of these boxes would have been marked “unknown.”

Also, a BIG thanks to Ron’s Mom (Jet) and my Dad (Jim) for sharing their memories.

Now, let me stop rambling!

Here’s the Tree!

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The Flowering Vine: Notice that there should be a Mr. H and a Mrs. H (LOL!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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: Mother’s Diet, Fashion, and Beauty Tips

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My Daddy and my Grandmother (We all call her Mother)  (1992)

 

Dear Gwin or LadyG or whoever you call yourself when you write,

This is Mother, and I just want to let you know that I’ve been reading those blots that you and Ronnie have and I enjoy them very well.

I’ve also been looking around at other blots and I’ve found people talking about all kinds of things.

So, with that in mind,  I thought I might try writing a blot about how to keep yourself up after you turn 80.

I am hoping that your readers will appreciate this advice as it will stand the test of time.

Now…

Diet:

I keep my meals pretty simple.  You know the doctor said I was borderline diabetic so I have to watch my sugar.  That being the case, I usually eat 2 small cookies with my lunch and my dinner.

Listen now, don’t ever eat sweets between meals ’cause it won’t balance out–your sugar will go too high.  You always need something with it to keep it from shooting up.

Oh and I don’t drink full sugar drinks, I like diet Pepsi with my meals.

 

Fashion:

Always, always, always make sure your pants and skirts have elastic in the waist so you can be comfortable wherever you go.

A good pair of ear-bobs will help you to look nice and neat.

Beauty:

I bathe with Ivory soap and I always put Oil of Olay on my face; it keeps my skin from wrinkling.

If I’m going out, I use some scissors to cut off any stray hairs that crop up on my chin.

Since my hair started turning gray, I’ve been using V05 hair cream to keep it from going yellow.

Gwin, ain’t nothing worse than a head full of gray hair with a yellow cast to it.

Also make sure you use a good sponge roller for your bangs.

Well, that’s it for now.

I hope that some of your readers will find these tips useful.  I’ll go down in the comment section for a little while to answer questions. Tell your readers to begin their comments with “Dear Mother” if they want to talk to me about my blot.

Otherwise, they can talk to you.

Sincerely,

-Mother

 

***Any information contained in this post is for entertainment purposes only.  It is not intended to be used as, usurp or supplement professional medical advice.  Please consult your physician before changing your diet or exercise routine.  

These tips are from a CENTENARIAN…..so there’s that.  By the way, she was 82 years old in the picture above.  Sadly, she passed away a few years ago 🌹

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Grandparents, Sages and Ancestors

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Granddaddy (My Dad), circa 2004, watching over my son at a school camping trip. (Excuse the imperfections in the image.)

 

Every time I see folks taking care of their grandchildren, I always make it a point to say to them, “Thank God for Grandparents!”

No doubt, Grandparents can be a child’s guardian angel materialized on Earth.

Trust me when I tell you that I enjoyed interacting with my own Grandparents–when they were alive–and I’ve enjoyed watching my children do the same with my parents.

Grandchildren:  Always be a blessing to your Grandparents, just as they are or were to you!

Ah, but wait, I can hear somebody in the ethers hollering, “But Lady G, I’ve never had a relationship with my Grandparents.”

To that, I say…

Seek the Sages!

Sages are easy to find–if you’re willing to look around you.

Sometimes they are sitting next to you on the bus.

Other times, they are standing next to you at the library.

Or in the line at the coffee shop.

Interactions with Sages need not be unnecessarily long.

Sometimes, Sages offer a quick word of advice or wisdom that can take you ten steps further down the road.

Sadly, many Sages are slipping away in:

Nursing homes

Back bedrooms

Small apartments

Unattended to…

So…

Find the Sages I say!  Talk to them!  Learn their stories! Take pictures of them! Bestow them with accolades!

(It should go without saying that this advice also applies to Grandparents.)

Treasure them…they deserve it!

For tomorrow you will look and they’ll be gone.

Finally, let us not forget…

The Ancestors!

For the purposes of this post, Ancestors are defined as all of the Grandparents, and Sages who have ‘shuffled off this mortal coil’…having ascended to higher realms.

Remember and honor them!

They are watching!

Make them proud!

Love and light to you all!

Lady G 😘💋

Dedicated to My Grandparents:

Mary

Leroy and Annie Maude

And to my Parents, Sages and Ancestors!

Listen to Mama…

 

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Mama throwing serious side-eye!

My 22 year-old son and I are very close.

We always have been.

From the moment he was born, he and I were inseparable.

I can remember turning down plenty of opportunities to go hang out with friends; opting instead to stay home with my baby boy.

People would say, “I know the perfect babysitter.”

To which I would respond with something along the lines of, “Well, I don’t know that person and neither does my son…so there’s that.”

Sounds harsh doesn’t it?

Oh well!

Anyway, suffice it to say, whenever my son (or my daughter) would ask to do things that were borderline ‘iffy,’ I’d think long and hard before deciding whether or not I would allow them to partake.

And, whenever I decided NOT to allow them to do something, I would explain, sometimes ad nauseum,  why I came to the conclusion that I did.

Then I would punctuate that explanation with the following statement, “Baby, you are extremely valuable and you cannot be replaced.”

That said, Mama watched them babies like the proverbial HAWK!

But then…

My son graduated high school and went away to college.

At that point, all bets were off!

He was his own man and I had no control over his choices.

My only saving grace was the fact that I still had influence.

Luckily, my son and I had always been able to talk about ANYTHING…and I mean anything.

He valued my opinion and often sought and listened to my advice.

YAAASSS!

He sought and listened to my advice…

Until he didn’t.

And that’s when I had to come to terms with the fact that this dude was now an adult who was more than capable of making his own decisions.

In short, I needed to fall back!

So nowadays, when he tells me that he’s leaving to go on a tour of the Moon and Mars, I just have to say a quiet prayer, be still, and know that God is watching over him wherever he goes.

Now…

Having said all of that, I recently told my son, “Listen to Mama…but just not too much.”

Friends, I said that because I want him to benefit from my wisdom and experience but not be paralyzed by my fears.

He got my point.

I hope you do too.

But just in case you didn’t…

Remember, whether you are seeking advice from Mama, Daddy, or whomever, use your own discernment.

Take what’s useful and kindly leave what’s not!

***Said the woman who has been white-knuckling her way through motherhood!

LOL!!!

Love and light to you!

LadyG 😘💋

PS:  This is dedicated to my children, R and J, and for ALL of my “babies” in the blogosphere!  

You guys know who you are 🙂

This is also for every parent and child, no matter where you are in the process 🙂

 

The Flowering Vine: Mother Speaks

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Hello Friends and Family:

The following is based on past conversations that I had with our family’s Matriarch, “Mother.”

Mother, who passed away a little more than four years ago, was a very intelligent and educated woman who had some definite opinions.

You’ll learn more about Mother as the series unfolds.

 

Mother Speaks

You may not believe this but a long time ago a fortune teller told me I was gonna marry a White man.

HA!

She shole did!

Back then, I didn’t think too much about it.

At least not until I met my husband.   

Baby, when I first saw him, that woman’s words came back and hit me like a ton of bricks!

Now, I know you haven’t met him but my husband looks like a White man.  

I say that because his Mother’s parents were both mulattoes and his Daddy was fully White.

And, because of that, everybody in his family looks White!

I guess that’s why the fortune teller said what she said.

As for me, they say my people are part Indian.

Now I don’t know if that’s true.  

All I know is that we have high cheekbones, reddish skin and thick hair so I can see why folks would say that.

But you know what?  

Sometimes, I just sit back and laugh to myself because White folks around here don’t make no distinction about what color Negroes are.  

They don’t really care about no dark skin-light skin.

To them, if you got one drop of Negro blood, you a Negro.

And that’s just all there is to it.

But it’s not as simple as it sounds.

It’s really very complicated.

Let me explain.

You see, my husband and I had 6 children.  

Our first baby died.  

Folks said she was too pretty to live.

But that didn’t make it no easier on us.

Anyway, we have three girls and two boys– and baby them children caught hell because of their looks.

Ooh Lord, you oughta heard the names people called ‘em!

Oh and I’m talking about grown folks too!

Them grown folks talked bad about my children just as much as other children did.

Chile, they said all kind of stuff:

“They think they better!”

“Them red niggas!”

“Them high yella niggas”

“Squaws”

“Indians”

“Stringy haired”

Umph…it makes me sick just thinking about it.

And what makes it so bad is that sometimes the Negroes was worse than the White folks.

Baby, my children heard it all!

I can’t tell you how many times they came home crying because somebody was picking on them about their hair or their skin color or their “White” Daddy.

They couldn’t help how they looked!

Ooh!

I can’t talk about it no more!

Let’s change the subject before I get too upset.

 

 

Anyway, I heard that my children and their children are working on a project about the family and I plan on helping them in any way I can so you might see me pop up every now and then.

I ‘spect, they’ll be going back through time to tell you a little bit more than I did.

Til next time, y’all take care.

 

 

The Smiley Thumb Award

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This past weekend, I was nominated for The Smiley Thumb Award which was created by David from the Chape blog.  I received this nomination from T. Wayne of A Joyful Process Blog. If you are a regular reader of “My Jams” then you are already pretty familiar with T. Wayne.  I like to call him my twin–short for Wonder Twins.  Do you remember them? Anyway, I like to say that we are Wonder Twins because we’ve had some pretty amazing music related ‘coincidences.’

At any rate, most of you already know that I blog about music and various other topics.  Well, T. Wayne’s blog has a sharper focus in that he exclusively blogs about music and music related topics.  When it comes to music, he is very well versed about many different genres!

T is from Maryland so I’ve been trying to get him to blog a bit more about go-go!  Yes I did call you out brah!

Anyway, if you are a fan of ‘The Purple One,’ you really need to check out this T. Wayne classic.  I am telling you, my twin ripped it!  He articulated all of the things that most of us were thinking but couldn’t find the words to express.  You DID that T!

Frankly, due to our love of music, T. Wayne and I have become great blogging friends.  Thanks so much my twin for the nomination!

All blogging awards have rules and they are as follows:

  • Include the photo of the Smiley Thumb award. (Did that!)
  • Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their blog. (Did that too!)
  • Tell us what makes you smile.
  • Nominate as many bloggers as you like.
  • Include these rules in your post.

 

Here we go!

What makes me smile:

My friends and family; especially my babies!  Oh yeah, and my brother Tack kills me! He is one hilarious dude.  He’s the kind of person that makes you go into ‘ugly crying laughter!’  He’s been very busy lately but he promised to make an appearance on the blog in coming months.  You guys are gonna love him!

Making musical connections with others.  I love it when someone says, “Hey do you remember such and such song?”  Oh I live for that! Trust me, I have made some crazy cool connections with fellow bloggers over a good jam!

Young kids! I love the innocence and sweetness of children. Having said that, I like them for a little while then I want somebody to take their little asses on home.  No, I’m just teasing; but not really 😉

Cryptic memories!  You might recall me telling you that my cousin Ron coined that term to identify memories that are so old that only snippets of them remain.  I usually start all of the “My Jams” posts with a cryptic memory.

People who boldly stand in their identity!  Right now I am thinking about how my late friend David used to spin, dance and kick to the song “And the beat goes on” by The Whispers!  Uh huh, he didn’t give a tinker’s damn what you thought about him! Yass baby you better work it Ms. David!

Being around people of all ethnicities, cultures, nationalities, sexual orientations, educational and socioeconomic backgrounds who are having a freaking good time!

It’s like this, if you wanna be down with me, I can certainly be down with you!

And so…

My nominees for this award are chosen below. Now in the words of that great mastermind T. Wayne, they may or may not accept, but here they are anyway:

Ron Brown at The Time Tunnel

The GeoGee Experience

Tony Vega dot Net

Naztastic

Les Food Amants

Thanks again Twin!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alright?

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Updated 3/30/2016 at 10:47 am

“I am a full grown woman, what in the hell do I look like listening to some Kendrick Lamar?”

Yes friends, that was my exact response to my dear twenty-something year old son who had tried his absolute best to convince me to check out one of his favorite hip hop artists.

Now let me level with you.  Even though I opted NOT to listen to Mr. Lamar at that specific point in time, I did keep the idea under my cap.  Frankly, I felt comfortable doing so because I happen to know that my son is quite discriminating when it comes to music; best believe I raised him to be that way.  As the mother of a young and beautiful black man, I simply refused to allow him to listen to BS lyrics even if they were attached to a funky track—and you know how much I love a funky track 🙂

Side note:  Never underestimate the level of impact that both lyrics AND music can have on the development of a child’s mind.

Anyway, one random Tuesday, I picked up the TV remote and began ‘flipping’ stations.  I landed on a black and white music video that began with screams and spoken verse.  Intrigued, I decided to continue watching and listening.  Believe it or not, after just a few minutes, I was completely transfixed by what I was seeing.  To say that the video included several profound elements would be an understatement.

Now, in the words of my Corsican twin, Gloria, here comes the killin’ part!

Right before the video ‘faded to black’ I sat alert so that I could note the song title and artist. Wouldn’t you know it; the title of the song was “Alright” and the artist was Kendrick Lamar. Warning, if you decide to watch the video, do know that it includes graphic language and images.

I just be damned!  My baby boy was right!

Okay, let’s get this straight! You need not worry about me, as a middle aged woman, riding around town bumping Kendrick Lamar.  But, having said that, I ain’t mad at him because his lyrics are FAR from being superficial.  In fact, they are quite deep.  Bearing this in mind, the refrain, “We gone be alright” planted itself right into my frontal cortex.  In other words, that thang rented some space up in my head.

But, in light of local, national and global current events, my mind transformed that very statement into a question:  “Are we gone be alright?”

Well, one thing is for sure, if we continue on this trajectory, it would seem that we certainly are NOT going to be alright.   Even the most cursory glance at the nightly news would cause us to conclude that our society is fully mired in a tangled, matted and mangled mess.

Ya’ll we got problems and we need a serious intervention plan.

So, at this point, you might be asking, “What would our ‘intervention plan’ look like?”  While I am not at all sure, I do think that, in our solution finding, we must consider the following:

“We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.”

                        -Albert Einstein

 

At any rate, I do tend to agree with Kendrick’s optimistic proclamation that “…if God got us then we gone be alright!” Baby I have to if I am going to maintain my maternal sanity.

But, I don’t think that we are going to get to the state of ‘alright’ by diffusion–remember, osmosis refers to liquids 🙂  It is going to take some doing.

Friends, I’m curious, what do you think needs to happen for us to get to “alright?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mama and the Balloon Man

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***This post is dedicated to parents who are working tirelessly to advocate for their children’s well-being.  God bless you!

When I was a kid, the month of October bore two special gifts.  First, it brought much needed respite from Georgia’s 200° ‘hell hot’ summer days.

And, best of all, it brought the fair!

My friends, I can’t begin to tell you how much my baby brother and I loved going to the fair!  While there, we faced down Ferris wheels, haunted houses, bumper cars, and ‘flying pirate’ ships.  One of our favorite rides was the Himalayas!  Baby, that thing flung us around and around, forwards and backwards!  We lived for the music, flashing lights and the carny/DJ yelling “Do you want to go faster?”

Yes my dear hearts, it was ALL good in October at the fair…until it wasn’t!

You see, one time, while we were at the fair, my brother Tack, a fearless and curious kid, walked over to a balloon stand.  My mother, her friend and I were standing nearby chatting.  All of a sudden, we heard a harsh voice bark: “Get your hands off that!”  Well…it seems that my brother, who was about five years old, had touched one of the balloons- much to the chagrin of the ‘balloon man.’  To top it off, the ‘balloon man’ pushed my brother’s hand back!

Clearly he didn’t know whose child he was messing with!

Before I could fully process what was happening, my mother had jumped -20 feet- right into the ‘balloon’ man’s face and yelled “Who the hell do you think you messin’ with, you don’t put your damn hands on my child!”

Yes, it got UGLY!!

Soon after that, a small crowd began to gather; some of whom had already witnessed the events.  In fact, a lady who had been standing near the balloon stand said, “the child barely touched the balloon and that bastard yelled and hit at him.”  Baby, by now, every mother at the fair was gunning for the ‘balloon man.’  Please believe that this poor guy quickly learned about the superhuman powers of a mother who has gone into protective attack mode for her child.

Anyway, my friends, you’ll be happy to know that in the end, everything worked out fine.  As a matter of fact, my brother ended up getting a bigger and better looking balloon from a different stand.

So, there is a point to this story and it is two-fold:

-We all need to be protective of any and every child.

-If you (man, woman or child) have a dream, you should nurture and defend your dream as a mother would her child.  Be sure to quickly recognize the cranky ‘balloon man’ and stop him before he harms your ‘baby.’

What are you fiercely protective of?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

True Railroad Stories: The Coal Toss

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Greetings Readers!

If you read my ‘about’ page you may remember me mentioning that my father would be making contributions to my blog.

Today, he decided to share a ‘feel good’ story from his time as a conductor on the railroad.  It is important to note that this is a true story; and frankly, it is my favorite.

Enjoy!

– Gwin

The Coal Toss

     Many years ago, I was a young railroad conductor who was in charge of a train running between two major cities in the South. At that time, I had a beautiful wife and together we had two healthy children.  I felt very fortunate to be able to provide a comfortable living for myself and my family.
     Anyway, I had been working the same train route for several years so I was very familiar with the surrounding areas.  Oftentimes, I would get to know the people who lived and worked in the smaller towns along the way.  But of all of those places, one place sticks out in my mind for sentimental reasons.  Basically,  it was a tiny ragged shack where a mother and several small children lived.  I remember how the children, whose clothes were always torn and tattered, would run outside and wave to me and my crew whenever we passed by.
     When winter came, I would think about this poor mother with her children.  I thought about how cold they must have been at night.  I also thought about how warm my own children were in my home.  Just as I had completed that last thought, it suddenly occurred to me that there was something that I could do to help.
     The very next day, while gathering supplies for work, I packed an extra bag of coal and tossed it to the family when we passed by.  I knew that the mother could use the extra coal for her potbelly stove to help heat the home and keep her children warm.
     I continued tossing coal to those children for quite some time. I’ll admit that tears welled up in my eyes every time I did it.  I am sure that the railroad wouldn’t have been thrilled to know what I was doing but I felt good about doing it anyway.
     More than 40 years have passed and to this day I often think about that family and I wonder if they remember the conductor who tossed the coal.