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?"

Thursday, July 2, 2009

In Praise of Crazy Ole Black Men

Listen up. Today, The Daddy is feeling the crazy ole black men that lived in his community and who still exists in many black communities today. They are the neighborhood drunks or mental cases--the physically injured, the psychologically damaged from World wars, racism, humiliation and years of working cheap labor. Even as kids, we could see from the way they looked and their mangled speech that these experiences plus cheap alcohol had taken its toll.

On the other hand, most of them were really funny. They cursed, told wild stories, and, if you caught them on the right day (when they weren't too high off wine), made a lot of sense. So we would go away laughing at them, but there was always one or two things they said that stayed with us.

Not too long ago, The Daddy came across a crazy ole black man in Minneapolis who reminded him of the ones he grew up around as a kid in Georgia. Like the ones back home, Grimes hung out on the street, drank and told a lot of funny stories. He was very dark-skinned, wore a green soldier's coat and spoke in riddles.

Grimes had a lot of pride. Because of that, he would never beg for money. On the other hand, he would take advantage of a situation. For example, he knew a brotha loves fresh, home-grown tomatoes and would come to his office and promise to get him tomatoes for a few dollars. The Daddy would give him $10 or $20 bucks and he would come back with lots of tomatoes...about a week later. But they were always fresh and home-grown. Of course The Daddy knew he needed the money but was just too proud to beg.

Here's the poem The Daddy wrote about him.

Old Man Grimes...

Standing white hair
Thick-lipped face
Talking in riddles
All over the place

"Stir the pet cream
That’s smooth as wine.
Swing the Sugar Babe
That’s hard to find.
Lose ya Tender Brown
Better not fuck with mine.
Now what I say!"


Crazy Old Grimes...

A sawed-off leg,
A pieced-up hip,
Tapping stones with a limp
When talking to the pimps:

"I remembers you, boy,
When you was just a little child.
Used to bounce you on my knee
Fo’ you started running wild.
Now peddling girls and pushing dope
Boy, you don’t know which way is up.
Now what I say!"


Rapping ole Grimes...

Left a project in Chicago for
Some cardboard off Hennepin
Fighting nazis beneath a fence
But still don't make no sense:

"Miss the Amtrak?
Don’t catch a plane.
Take a stroll outside
Hop another train.
Fire in your room?
Stay home just the same.
Now what I say!"

Did you have any crazy old men in your neighborhood when you were growing up?


SagaciousHillbilly said...

HA! Great post Daddy.
Made me think of my old friend James who would look at the young bloods who had been coming into meetings for a while and say "look at that one, he got the goat head." or, "you don't take a drink and you won't git drunk long as the day ya live."

I sat by Jame's bedside as he took his last breath. He was finallt ravaged by too many years of smoking bad cigarettes, drinking too much bad wiskey for too many years and just plain tough living, but he died a pillar of our community and fellowship.
Thanks for the memory.

MacDaddy said...

Sagacious: I and my little posse loved those crazy guys. We used to steal my daddy's liquor and bring it to them. "What's that you got, boy? You know you kids shouldn't be having no liquor. Give me that bottle!" They would claim to be keeping us kids from becoming addicted to alcohol, when what they were really doing was confiscating for themselves. As for us, we liked it when they were high, because they would curse and tell wild stories.

Our parents wouldn't let us disrespect them in any way. They would say "Leave that man alone. He was in the war." We'd be wondering what war? We kids read stuff in school about the civil war. So we thought he had been in the civil war. Damn, we thought, this guy must be pretty old.

These guys were harmless back in the day. They must drank and told crazy stories. Now, you gotta watch out for pedaphiles and other perverts.

ZNun in the Hood said...

MacDaddy...Get busy with that book of poetry...You have to gasther these all up in one place! Please!

CurvyGurl ♥ said...

LOL. I guess we've all met at least one Grimes in our lifetimes.

Have a great weekend!

P.S. Please stop by, I'm having a little "celebration".

Anonymous said...

Richard Pryor celebrated "The Crazy Ole Black Men" in his Mudbone routine. I think Pryor got tired of doing Mudbone because fans asked for it all the time. But, that's because we loved Mudbone. Whoopie Goldberg once said of Pryor's act, "We all had our Mudbone" and she went on to name hers. Mine was named Parks.

Corey said...

I love this! Really love this!

There are so many things that you write about growing up that remind me of my own growing up, the community we lived in and what it was like then. You do it masterfully and I want you to know I appreciate it.

Yeah! I guess we all had our Grimes's back then. And I loved (most) of them, too! I'm also remembering all the others - the "sporting men" too. I remember so well carrying on as a teen up on Greenup St., trying to be grown, only to have my father report my activities back to me the next evening. I was being watched and these "crazy men" weren't so crazy not to know who I was, when I didn't know who they were.

This makes me laugh. And cry too!
Thanks for remembering these men and giving honor!

MacDaddy said...

Corey: You remember. So do I...The more I think about it, the more I realize what a wonderful childhood I had, despite the racism and all that. Within my community were some of the greatest teachers, the most loving mothers, the most hard-working, nurturing fathers, and king neighbors, including the crazy old men. They made life joyous and sweet. I was spoiled on safety, love, and stories from crazy old guys who hung out in the neighborhood. Blessings, my brotha.