I DO Believe

•July 5, 2011 • Leave a Comment

“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” ~ Theodore Roosevelt

I just got home from the Women for DuPree rally.

This is my second time meeting the Mayor.

The first time was as a favor to a friend. The campaign was having a meet-and-greet at the COFO building on the campus of JSU.  It was a small gathering.  Friendly and comfortable.  Since my friend was  a supporter I thought I’d be nice and toss the Mayor a couple of softball questions.

But then something unexpected happened. He didn’t bunt.  He hit a home run.  And we began to have an actual conversation.  About real issues. Education and the difference between how you teach a child who has every advantage versus a child who come to school as much for a meal as to learn.  These kids have different platforms that they build on and you have to bear that in mind.   Which he had.  He spoke of mentoring and follow-up and how to keep them here once they graduate.  He talked about Delta and how we have to work with and for all of Mississippi where they are and with what tools they have in place.   He spoke eloquently and passionately about Mississippi, her past and her future.

Mayor (Dr.) Johnny DuPree is quite possibly one of the most intelligent men I have ever met.  There was not one question that threw the man.  Not from me, nor from anyone else in the room.  He was prepared, knowledgable, sincere and honest.

I was hooked.  I signed up there and then to be a volunteer.  I go in on Saturdays and make phone calls or spend a Sunday putting up signs.  I am involved and invested in a place that, until recently, I could not think of much good to say about.

Let me back up a little.  I am not a native Mississippian.  In fact, I will admit to having been embarrassed to tell people this is where I live.  We have a horrible reputation with the rest of the country.  People on the outside think we are all bigoted, ignorant and inbred.  One of the things that first struck me about Mayor DuPree is that you do not say those sort of things about Mississippi around him.  He loves his state.  He is not a head-in-the-sand kind of guy.  He knows her faults but he will tell you straight up this is home and he will not tolerate anyone speaking ill of it.  I had become so used to politicians (and really everyone) apologizing for Mississippi, that it had not occurred to me that there were people who genuinely love this place.

Johnny DuPree loves Mississippi.  It shows in the way he speaks and the way he gives and the way he serves.

And with that love, Mayor DuPree brings hope.  For a better future, a brighter future and a Mississippi that does not have to stay on the bottom.  His message is so positive, so hopeful, so POSSIBLE that you can’t help but get caught up with him. He believes in a better Mississippi.  Mayor DuPree knows our faults and loves us anyway.  He also knows the way out.  I truly believe if we follow his leadership Mississippi will one day cease to be the bottom rung on every ladder.  In fact, we may just make it all the way to the top.

www.johnnydupree.com

http://www.facebook.com/dupreeforgovernor

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Author’s note.  I am a volunteer for Mayor DuPree because I believe in him and his message. I am not paid in any way nor do I represent the campaign.  My opinions are strictly that, mine.  Thank you.

Shiloh

•June 28, 2011 • Leave a Comment

There are remnants of her everywhere.  Flashes of pink where you’d least expect them.  Ruffles and bows hidden in drawers and teddy bears lurking under the dining room table.  My life has been invaded by love.  Every where I look, there it is.  Smelling of lavendar and Baby Magic for days after its departure.  I’m not quite sure what to do with it so I simply stop and wonder.  And smile.

What I Did on My Summer Vacation: The Prequel.

•June 2, 2011 • Leave a Comment
An adventure may be worn as a muddy spot or it may be worn as a proud  insignia. It is the woman wearing it who makes it the one thing or the  other.  ~ Norma Shearer

So, I have decided not to go to law school.  As it got closer and closer I realized that I just don’t have the dream any more.  Or, if I do, it is not strong enough to make the sacrifices necessary to bring it to fruition.  I love the law. I am fascinated by the intricacies.  But.

Let me tell you, when you are talking about thousands upon thousands of dollars and at least three years with no sleep and no time with loved ones there had better not be any “if”, “ands” nor “buts” about it.

So, a much less lofty goal is now on the horizon.  I want to do a chin up.  Just one.  Well, one to start anyway.  My entire life I have lacked the upper body strength to do even one chin up, (the flexed arm hang in junior high? Major loser stamp.)  In addition, I promise myself to journal regularly, hang out with friends and family and love my grand-baby until she is the most obnoxiously confident child on the planet.

These are the things I plan to do this summer:

  • Audition at Black Rose.
  • Hand-make a quilt for Shiloh
  • Take a road trip
  • Write at least one letter a week the old-fashioned way with pen, paper, stamp.
  • Take yoga.
  • Pull out my old Spanish 101 book and do the all of excercises over again.
  • Meditate.
  • Spend more time with God.
  • Relax.

That’s what I’m doing.  What about you?

The Cheapness of Love

•May 27, 2011 • 2 Comments

“The moment we choose to love we begin to move against domination, against oppression. The moment we choose to love we begin to move towards freedom, to act in ways that liberate ourselves and others. That action is the testimony of love as the practice of freedom. ”  ~ Bell Hooks

Love is not a noun.  It’s not that easy.  At least not love that matters.  Love that gives and shares and takes and fights and does.  That is love.  Love that only speaks is cheap indeed.  How easy it is to speak the words and feel that is your whole debt, paid and square. I had a friend once, a long time ago, a best friend back when I didn’t ask much of my friends.  I was there for her in her ups and downs, held her while she cried and laughed with her joys.  I helped her clean her house for company, feed her pets when she was away, took her two a.m. oh-my-god-my-world-is-crashing calls.  Little by little it dawned that I always went to her house so I invited her to mine.  She never made it.  Just as she wasn’t there during my divorce, my graduation, the marriage of my son or the birth of my first grandchild.  She didn’t help me move or call me when I was first published in the paper.  I know her parents, kids, in-laws, friends, coworkers.  She knows none of mine. I realized then that I was a big part of her life and she was not in any way a part of mine.

Cheap love.

Of course this is but one type of cheap love.  How many of us, myself especially, rant and rave about the state of the world; cholera in Haiti, despotism in Libya, gang wars in Mexico, racism in the south, obesity in Mississippi, crime in Jackson and the neighbor kid who is always dirty and playing alone and then do … nothing?

Cheap love.

I’m not saying give up all your worldly possession and move off to live with the San people, (who actually are currently with home so that is mute but I digress), I’m just saying make an effort. If your mom calls while you’re watching Idol, mute the TV and answer the phone.  Put down the book and go join a friend for coffee.  Let someone in ahead of you in traffic.   Smile at the waitress who screwed up your order for the fourth time and be grateful you have food so handy.  Do a mitzvah.  Every day.  There is an old African adage that says, “Each drop helps to fill the bucket.” Be the drop instead of the bucket.

http://cinderitaadventures.blogspot.com/2011/03/love-is-action-word.html

http://strengths.gallup.com/114082/Theory-Dipper-Bucket.aspx

http://kindnessgirl.com/guerrilla-goodness/

Dennis Miller took a sharp right and other stuff that happened while I was away.

•May 17, 2011 • Leave a Comment
“It’s no wonder that truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to make sense.”
Mark Twain

Say It Ain’t So

So, at first I was outraged.  How dare you, radio station 103.nutjob! Lure me in with Dennis Miller and then sucker punch me with Michael Savage.  WTF.  Granted, I had only caught the tail end of Miller’s rant but he sounded like the same old left-wing ranter that he has always been. Hmm.  Maybe this is the rarest of all birds, an actual, honest-to-god UNbiased, not-leaning-either-which-way-just-letting-the-audience-think-for-themselves media outlet. HAL-lay-LU-yah!

Or not.

WJNT 103.9 FM, home of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and whose “News” tab sends you straight to FOX news, is now also the home of Dennis Miller.  It’s like seeing Jon Stewart wearing a PALIN 2012 (You betcha!) T-shirt.  Your first thought is, *snort*, Very funny Jon, now take it off.  Seriously. Take it off. Jon? Jon! JON TAKE IT OFF BEFORE IT EATS YOUR SOUL! Horcrux, dude, sheez.

ANYhoo. When I caught his next show, he constantly referred to “the left” as if it were a foreign country, not the place where he has made his home and fortune the past twenty-odd years. Decided to google ol’ Dennis and damned if he didn’t take a sharp right while I was studying.

So, what the hell else went haywire while I had my head in a book? Never mind.  I don’t want to know.

There’s a New Sheriff in Town

Some jackass in Madison had the audacity to point out that Jackson has more crime than Madison and that pissed off all of Jackson.  Fact is, crime is down in Jackson.  Last I heard something like 27%. Of course that could be attributed to the passing of Mayor Melton, as he spent more time in court than in office.  Either way, the hullabaloo over the ad got Mr. Buford T. Pusser 2012 enough free-press to pretty much assure his election.  Looks like there’s gonna be a new sheriff in town.

No thanks, I have a penguin…(mind lint – just pickin’)

Found out there are only two states in the nation that require a prescription for Sudafed.  One is Oregon.  Care to guess about the other?

You know that move you make when practicing baseball alone, where you toss the ball up in the air and swing at it as it fall back down? That move? Has a name.  A fungo.  Who knew?

Good news/bad news – the nightmare edition: Haley Barbour has decided not to run for president (score!)  Newt Gingrich waddled in to fill  the gap. Good to know misogyny is still safely represented in the GOP. Whew, that was a close one.

Osama Bin Laden is dead.  He’s already been spotted in Arkansas.

Mississippi is commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Riders.  Jury is still out on the Nathan Bedford Forrest license plate.

*sigh*

Think I’ll sign up for some summer classes…

The One With All The Quotation Marks

•August 22, 2010 • 1 Comment

“Hey, hey, Cinderella, what’s the story all about? I get a funny feeling we missed a page or two somehow.  Oh, Cinderella, maybe you could help us out. Does the shoe? Fit you now?” ~ Suzy Boggus

Even as a kid I knew Cinderella was a bullshit story. Don’t get me wrong.  I was a believer.  A gap toothed wide-eyed little naif.  Fairy godmothers and magical mice? No problem. BUT, and this is a big “but”, there is no way on earth that a girl in a big-ass ball gown, wearing high heels – glass no less – could go barreling down those stairs like her head was on fire and her ass was catchin’, lose a shoe, and not do a full on face plant.  Un uh.  Not buying it.

This is how my mind works.  I will buy the big picture, the wild stories, and the absolute ridiculous. And then one little thing, one offside stroke, will bring it all crashing down. 

When O.J. was first charged with the murder of Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman I was convinced he was innocent.  Not because he was a good guy.  I didn’t have an opinion one way or another.  But because the news said that he got from Brentwood to LAX in 11 minutes.  Un uh.  Not even O.J. can get to LAX in 11 minutes from Brentwood.  Hell, you can’t get from LAX to LAX in 11 minutes.  As it turns out, they had the time wrong on a certain drive through trip. 

As the trial wore on I became convinced by the facts presented that he was indeed guilty.  But the “race thing” bothered me.  I never bought that he was set up because he was black.  Because in the mind of your average racist there are “black people” and there are “celebrities”.  O.J. was a “celebrity. ” On one occasion Nicole Brown was at the gate of their home, beaten, bloody, screaming for help.  The police were called. They were white. She was white. They asked for his autograph.

I have been hearing a lot of talk lately about “reverse discrimination”.   This is one of those terms that  have never set right with me. Like “hot water heater”.  As my mother always says, “If it’s hot, we wouldn’t need to heat it, now would we, dear?”  The correct term is “water heater”.  And the correct reference to discrimination is, simply “discrimination”.

According to Websters:

dis·crim·i·na·tion –noun 1. treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit: racial and religious intolerance and discrimination.

Note that there is no reference to minority vs majority, black vs white, male vs female.  If you look at someone and see a group rather than a person, well, there you have it.  Have I ever faced discrimination as a white person? Sure.  As a woman? Definitely. As a Democrat? A heterosexual? A blonde? A Yankee? A Saint’s fan? Yup.  Is this the same thing people of color face everyday? Not by a long shot. 

The defining difference is that I can look at these occurrences and know they were isolated incidents with idiots and jackasses.   I can do this because discrimination is not a part of my daily life.  It is not a part of my history.  My government may have once said I needn’t worry my pretty little head about voting but it never said I was 3/5 of a person.  That I could be bought and sold and have my children ripped from my arms. I have never  had to see a postcard with a picture of my grandfather hanging from a tree while children picnicked in his shadow.  I have never had anyone assume I spoke German because I have Germanic features, nor stop me on the street to ask for proof that I didn’t just sneak in from Denmark.

As recently as 1972 Mississippi still kept separate record of “white marriages” and “colored marriages”. This I saw with my own eyes when I happened to  glance into an open storeroom at the Rankin County Courthouse in Raymond, MS.

We know what we have lived.  What are parents, grandparents, friends, and lovers have suffered through. 

There are plenty of people who don’t like me.  They don’t like my attitude, my sense of humor, my politics (there are a lot of people who don’t like my politics), my taste in footwear, whatever.  And yes, there are some who don’t like me just because I am white.  I know this.  But to compare these small matters to what African-Americans, Latinos, Asians, Arabs, Native Americans, and countless others, have suffered at the hands of this nation is akin to bitching about a headache to man who just had his head crushed by a boulder. 

If you are thinking, “That’s old news, times have changed”, think again. Just this month a lawsuit was filed in Pascagoula, Mississippi, by a Mexican woman who had her  two day old child taken from her arms and given to white strangers.  She spoke little English, (nor Spanish – she speaks Chatino, an indigenous language in Mexico.), was denied a translator even though a cousin volunteered, and was then placed under a gag order to keep her from going to the press.  Just this week I had a “friend” post a rant on Facebook about “black muslim reparation” referring to our president, (aaannnd, click, “unfriend”). Just today I had a clerk look right past the young black man in front of me and ask if they could help me.  I said, “No, he was first.” and I left. Then, of course , we have , Ross Barnett Reservoir, Jefferson Davis day, and Confederate Rememberence month.  Times may have changed, but there is still a long way to go before any white person can start screaming about discrimination.  

PS Jesus wasn’t white, just sayin.

Tip-Toe Cooking, Cracker Barrel Grandma and Other Things That Leave You Standing There Blinking

•August 1, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Ordinarily he was insane, but he had lucid moments when he was merely stupid. 
~  Heinrich Heine 

Tip-Toe Cooking

So, I was standing in the kitchen, stirring my scrambled eggs, when I realized that my left foot was cocked at an angle, on tip-toe. Odd, I thought, flattening my food against the floor.  Two seconds later, tip-toe. The hell? And then it struck me.  I have ALWAYS cooked on one foot.  Looking back, I can see me standing in front of countless stoves in myriad places, always with that left foot cocked.

So the toe thing may sound silly, mostly because it is, but how many other things are there that are so deeply ingrained in us that we fail to see them, even when they would be blatantly obvious to a total stranger?  How often to we let that stranger’s view of us cloud the way we see ourselves?

Here are some things I know about myself:

  • I’m smart.
  • I’m funny.
  • I have ridiculously low self-esteem.
  • I am shy around people I admire.
  • I write well but only in certain genres.
  • I would take a bullet for someone I loved.
  • I have a good eye for photography but I suck at portraits.
  • I second guess myself on virtually everything.
  • I want to eat better but have no idea how.
  • I love to learn.  Anything, anytime, anywhere.
  • Loyalty is a must-have characteristic.
  • On a regular basis I find something that scares the hell out of me and make myself do it.  G. Gordon Liddy inspired that one.  Don’t ask how.  It’s not pretty.
  • There is one person’s forgiveness that I desparately crave and do not deserve.  The pain I caused stabs at me every single day.
  • I love coffee with an abnormal veamonth.
  • My iPod has Billie Holiday, Hannah Montana, Sir Mix Alot and The Beach Boys all on heavy rotation.
  • I collect dialogue like others collect stamps.
  • You can have my book when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.
  • I love corny jokes and hate tear jerker movies.
  • I am constantly looking for myself in all the wrong places.

Finding Grandma At Cracker Barrel

I recently took a road trip to the Ruins of Windsor.  I was feeling the creative muse tap-tap-tapping on my mind’s window so off  I went.  After a fabulous day of wandering (my favorite kind) I decided to swing by the Cracker Barrel in Vicksburg and grab a quick bite. 

I sit down at my little two-top, glance up and damn near spill my coffee. (Side note – on the drive to work Friday there were not one but two idiots, weaving all over the road in front of me.  Probably texting each other. No matter. My first thought was, “They are going to crash and make me spill my coffee.” Yes, I have a problem. No, I do not want help. Thank you. )  There on the wall was a picture of my late grandmother.  Of course, it wasn’t really her but the resemblance was striking.

I immediately whipped out the old iPhone and started snapping pictures.  The server came with the coffee pot and it took me a good five seconds to notice, I was that distracted.  I had also drawn the attention of my fellow diners having shot up, shouted No way! and commenced above mentioned picture taking.   At which point I gathered my wits, explained to the waitress, for the benefit of the other diners, that my grandmother was on her wall and I was quite surprised to find her there.   To which the server smiled indulgently, nodded her head and scurried back to the relative safety of the kitchen.

Stuff That Leaves You Standing There Blinking…

Something I left off of the list above; I’m a tad opinionated.  I left it off because it didn’t occur to me to include it, much as it I left out I breathe, for pretty much the same reason.  However, I value the opinions of others, even if they are directly in conflict with mine.  I truly want to know why someone thinks and feels the way they do.   I do believe there are two sides to every story and many is the time I thought, Well, if I were them, I would feel the same way. 

For example, I understand why rich, white, Christian, males tend to vote Republican.  If I were at the top of the food chain I probably wouldn’t give the prey an elephant gun either.  Of course, being that I am neither rich nor male, (and female mitigates the white to a certain degree), I have a different perspective on the world.

That being said, there are still times when I stumble across something that just makes me scream, OHMYEFFINGGAWD! They did NOT just say that! Most of the time I, and my friends, am pretty quick with the snappy comeback.  But sometimes something hits you so quick, so hard and is so stunningly ignorant that all you can do is stand there and blink. 

For example the following was posted in the middle of a 37 post rant about immigration on Facebook:

“Yeah, women still make 30 cents on the dollar LESS than men here in corporate America (less than that for women of color), so duh…get OUT of corporate.”

Okay, so that’s bad. What made it exponential worse that it was posted by a woman.  A successful, educated, business woman.  What the hell? (click – annnnddddd  UNFRIEND). Henry Kissinger once said, “Nobody will ever win the battle of the sexes. There’s too much fraternizing with the enemy.” The tragic truth is that all too often the enemy? Is one of our own.

And then there is the Chamber guy.  This guy is legend amongst the coffee klatch.  My friend, The Hot Chick, was working her little heart out at her coffee house when in wanders a perfectly normal looking fellow.  He mentions he is new in town and is looking for some breakfast, whereupon she presents him with a freshly baked muffin or somesuch and says, “See, now aren’t you glad you stopped in? Much better than McDonald’s, right?” to which he replies, (I swear on my library card I am not making this up), “Oh, I don’t go to McDonald’s.  They openly support gays, lesbians, and the Chamber of Commerce.”  Esqueeze me? Hot Chick, who is also, amazingly, Smart Chick and Witty Chick in addition to being Hot Chick, was actually rendered speechless.   To this day we still can’t figure out what the hell he was talking about.

 Glen Beck, Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh. ‘Nuff said.

Other unforgettable (no matter how hard I try) snippets:

  • An anti-immigration rally where one protester held a hand painted sign reading, “No way, Hose ! [sic]”
  • Hey, can I tie you up and bring over my brother?
  • I would never hire someone named Shaniqua.
  • I just got off the phone with a beaner and the whole damn burrito was on the call.
  • I’m all for women’s lib and all that but I still don’t think they should vote.
  • Ohmygod! Are you one of those Obama-lovers?
  • Exactly how big IS your ass?
  • Me, on being asked out by a man with a young, pregnant, girlfriend: Wait, aren’t you dating  ______?, Him: No, why would you think that? Me: Ummm…cuz she’s having your baby? Him: Oh, I f*cked her, but I never dated her.
  • Wow, you make that much? That’s what we pay me around here.
  • And, of course, no list of WFTs would be complete without an entry from The Funeral Groper aka RL, (handing the new widower a free pass to a strip club AT  HIS WIFE’S FUNERAL!); “You may not want it now, but sooner or later you are gonna need to get laid.”

You’ll have to excuse me now.  I have to go bang my head against a wall.

 
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