TALK TO THE DADDY

Hello. Come on in. The daddy writes about current events, literature, music and, once in a while, drops something on you from back in the day to make you pause and ponder, stop and stare, and begin to wonder. Who knows? You may start to pace the floor, shake your head from side to side, then fall down on bended knees in a praying position and cry, "Lawd, have mercy! What is this world coming to?" Check yourself! But this blog is NOT about the daddy. It's about you: your boos, your fam, your hood, your country...our hopes and dreams of a better tomorrow. So let's make a pact: the daddy will put it on the track if you'll chase it down and hit him back. Together, we can definitely take it to another level. Shall we?"

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Ever miss home? Ever have them dreams to remember?

"The role of a writer is not to say what we can all say, but what we are unable to say."
--Anais Nin

"I've got dreams, dreams to remember.
I've got dreams, dreams to remember.
--Otis Redding

The daddy knows: It's only a couple of days after Thanksgiving, and people have come-- or they're coming-- back to the place where they now live. And the daddy understands tha this is probably the worse time to ask this question, but do you Ever miss home? Ever miss the place where you were born or where you were raised?

Listen, the daddy would like to write a very positive post, a post with a little insight and a lot of humor. But he can't. Tonight is one of those three or four nights of the year when Atlanta, Georgia is the only thing he can think about. You see, when he thinks of home, he doesn't just think about a family that, like the wind, has spread to places unknown. He thinks about a comfortable place, a warm place, a safe place.

He thinks of attending concerts, hanging around a small cafe drinking coca cola. He thinks of an older, fat black women who knew his mom or his dad, who would not let him leave that cafe table until he had finished all of his red beans and rice, chicken, and collard greens.


He thinks about the older women, black or white, who called him "honey" or " sugar" and asked about his family. He's thinking about the teachers who lived in his neighborhood, who walked with him to school and sometimes fed us cereal (Kellogg Corn Flakes, he thinks).

He hates to say this, but the daddy even thinks about the policemen, black or white, who would yell at him and the other kids for being late for school. In other words, the daddy misses a period of time when he lived in a community where people who lived near him LIVED community, a community that was defined not by geographical location so much as by real people who looked out for not just their own family members, but for other family members as well. That time has passed for a lot of communities in Atlanta and other places as well. Honestly, some "neighbors" people don't want to get to know. Indeed, getting to know them can be dangerous to one's health.

Still, like small streams from a river, the daddy can still see traces of it in his and other communities: men helping each other fix cars, mothers feeding kids chocolate cookies, a young teenager helping a lady with her groceries.

And the daddy can still hear music that speak about his beloved Georgia, or remind him of a time when blacks breathed community every day and every night.
So, tonight, the daddy is listening to "Georgia" by James Brown, "A rainy night in Georgia" by Otis Rush (which he thinks is better than the original version by Brook Benton), and "Amen" by Otis Redding.

Ever miss home? Have you ever listened to a song that took you back in time and place and memory, that made you think of home and get a little teary-eyed?

Like Otis, do have dreams to remember?

15 comments:

CurvyGurl said...

Hey MacDaddy. I definitely understand. While I'm not far from my hometown, my fam has spread apart from a relational standpoint. I miss the days of having the whole family meet at my parent's house to grab, laugh and shoot the breeze. My parents have passed on, but here recently I've dreamed about them just about every night. This typically isn't my favorite time of the year (my dad passed 10 days before Christmas), but I think this year will be different as I have some great things planned for the upcoming months.

I feel ya on this one :-).

Anonymous said...

I'm from Minneapolis like you. Southwest airlines could take you for $69.

Christopher said...

Morning Daddy Baby!

PBS is raising funds right now and last night, they had a TSOP concert from Atlantic City.

Harold Melvin and His Blue Notes, the Delfonics and, the O-Jays.

I love, I mean I love the O-Jays.

They hit it out of the room with "I Love Music" and "Love Train."

American music from this era is some of the best ever.

nun in the hood said...

MacDaddy....I agree with Annonymous...GO FOR IT! I bet you could get $69 together....By the way, just yesterday I heard a Liberian poetess on MPR talking about HOME.....Maybe you can find her poetry on MPR....The jist is that HOME (Liberia in her case)will always be HOME....but wherever you plant our feet deeply is also HOME...You've been in MPLS for lots of years...Welcome HOME and to your extended FAMILY HERE!!!
That is not to say that you don't need to grieve the loss of Atlanta...I know you do that and have written extensively about grieving....In my opinion, we all grieve losses; it's part of the humman condition...Let's support one another in this very human process...Thanks for the piece. It helped me in my own grieving...You have a unique and sensitive way of touching the heart of the matter.....

SagaciousHillbilly said...

I think the daddy is talking about community. I too grew up in a community. When I walked home from school, everybody knew who that kid was passing their house. Once I was walking home from school and I decided to stomp in a snow bank. My boot and show came off and was buried in the snow bank. I was about 6 or 7 yrs old and had no idea what to do. Next thing I knew a lady came running out of her house, pulled my boot and shoe out, brushed off my foot, warmed it up in her hand, slipped my stuff back on and sent me on my way. I had no idea who she was, but when I walked in the door my mother started scolding me for stomping around in snow banks.
We didn't dare fuck around in my town.
But it was so much more than that; it was a fabric of so many lives that were intertwined and related in one place. It was comfortable and it was secure. There wasn't a lot of tension cause we all knew everyone else's business to some extent.
It really was good.
That is why I live where I do today. I know all my neighbors and can count on them. One of them stopped by yesterday because he said he hadn't seen me around in a while. OF course, when you've opnly got 6 or 8 neighbors in a three or four mile radius. . .

Kit (Keep It Trill) said...

Otis Redding - Stand By Me.

Yeah, I'd say that sums up the feelings of being protected by someone or those who love you.

..."the daddy misses a period of time when he lived in a community...defined... by real people who looked out not only for their own family members, but other family members as well."

That, and the lady who made sure you finished your plate reminds me of a little diner around the corner from my dad's business. Good home cooked soul food, and a mini-juke box on every table.

The owner retired, it was bought out by someone who didn't sell soul food or soul anything, talk nice to the 'natives' and the profit left the community. It got burned down in the '68 riots.

MacDaddy said...

Kit: I was trying to explain the sense of loss of community at the coffee shop and my friends, with all their degrees and glorified job titles, didn't get it. They got all French existential, trying to impress me by quoting Sartre, Simone Debouveaux, and Camus. I'm talking about the loss of real community, something America doesn't want to face. Let's face it: We Americans will tear up a real community in a New York minute. We'll run a fricking freeway through it. We'll get rid of Indian burial grounds without consulting one Nation American, throw some condos on top of it and call it all progress. But we're happy to travel thousands of miles to see a native forest before an American corporation destroys it for the trees. Kit, you, CuryGurl and Sagacious are talking about the loss of a sense of community and, along with it, a big part of who we are as people, who we are as a nation, and not just personal loss.

I don't want to have to visit some tribe in Africa to get a sense of community. I want to do like Sagacious neighbor. Visit a neighbor and say, "How you doin?"

Craig Hickman said...

Nice post MacDaddy.

Milwaukee will always hold a special space in my heart.

MacDaddy said...

Hey, Craig: I lived in Milwaukee for about a year and a half. I was a reporter for the Milwaukee Courier. I left them for the Milwaukee Star. I lived on 2nd and Reservoir, not far from Brewery. I think it was Schlitz. I often went to a black bar on 5th & Locust. Sometimes, I would have a quick interview with some of the professional basketball players. They would order food and pick up after a game. One of the guys I used to talk to was Lew Alcindor. As I recall, he only wanted to talk about jazz. That was the best thing about Milwaukee for me: eating good food and talking to professional athletes, who were pretty smart guys, as I recall.

CurvyGurl said...

You're right, MacDaddy. My parents taught me to have a sense of community...something I don't have now, but really miss.

Anonymous said...

Daddy, I grew up in a very small town, and I never felt at home there. Never want to go back there again. People were small-minded, judgmental -- I even remember being verbally harassed by a former schoolmate / bully when I went back in the 90s.

Home is where you have community and people around you who love. You can go "home" for $69, or you can go "home" in your mind. The elements of Atlanta that you miss are right there in your memories and in how you've built community on-line in your blog and among your friends here in Minneapolis.

I know what you mean though. Even though I don't want to go back to that hometown, there are some memories that are there, physically locked in the surroundings. Memories are often interlocked with physical places.

Somebodies Friend said...

@CurvyGurl: I think this year will be different for me also, I'm not sure what is in store for me, but I can feel good things about to happen.

I've never felt quite this way before, my whole life has been about just getting by, both emotionally and financially. I think this year there is going to be some new opportunity brought into my life.

I've decided to change careers, do so something this is beneficial to others, rather then thinking of myself and what I want all the time, all that ever did was keep my thoughts locked onto what I wanted, and then I never achieved the goals that I set for myself.

Maybe if I quit thinking only of myself, it will benefit others and a positive side effect will be that I benefit also.

I'll give it a shot anyway, don't have anything to loose, because what I was doing before sure wasn't working.

Peace

sdg1844 said...

I miss home all the time and even more now. I miss the extended fam on my block that loved and cared about me as much as my own blood. I miss ppl giving a damn about one another and helping each other.

I miss community and this post brings it home even more.

nicki nicki tembo said...

I've left home before always to return. The sentiment that you've expressed here is exactly why. As always, thanks for sharing and inviting us to do likewise.

MacDaddy said...

Anon: What you said about growing up in a small town and hating is a perspective I needed to hear. Thanks.

Sdg: That idea of looking out for each other was key. The neighborhood, or the block, was like an incubator that kept you warm, safe and protected until you could make it on your own.

CurbyGurl: I feel much the same way.

Somebody: Don't give up. Don't ever give up.

Nicki: Mentally, if not physically, I always return too. I'm thinking Christmas.