A Day at Triangle Park…

                  Someone asked me how many fights did I get into growing up and I can honestly say, maybe a handful… It sounds fictitious when I think about the Greats talking about “If you tell jokes a lot, people will not start any drama with you.” Well that’s a dayum lie; have you ever grew up with a family of 4 boys and you tell a joke so demeaning that one take offense to it… We all have witnessed tons of fights throughout our lives, some we brag about and some we rather not discuss… I would like to think that the majority of us have done most of our fighting as kids and are thru with that lifestyle. Because if you think about it, Ain’t Nobody Got Time 4 Dat! Then again, do we wish that we could go back to our fighting ways? Kids nowadays do not waste their time with fighting. Always quick to pick up a gun; #Friday.

                Due to contrary belief from our parents, Triangle Park was the Mecca of survival of the fittest. At any given second, minute, or hour of the day, something was bound to pop off! You had your share of McCaleb’s; who pretty much didn’t give a dayum and was willing to walk up and snatch your lunch and dare you to say something; to the Hughes’ boys who each were born with an extra bone in their foot to kick your azz if you even thought about approaching their crew. Then you had the Douglas family, well-dressed light skin crew from Bazeltown but one person you didn’t mess with in their group was Niki. Ooooh, when she fought, she didn’t fight like the other girls, she had dat caramel complexion skin and did not lower her head and swang her hands in a windmill fighting style as most girls did.. Oh hell naw!!! She had the stance of a professional fighter at age 7, with the mutli-colored hair barrettes in her head. Not to leave the Hall’s out; yea we pretty much had the most kids from one family but we were a relaxed family b/c there was one kid from our group who ran the show. His name was Ron; a man-child as some would say as he walked past you. Not to forget the locals who lived very close and could go home at any given time but when Vic, Kojack and Brent walked up the hill; the park was at full tilt. Anyone was fair game at this point…

               Shoving matches normally start the day off when we hear a bunch of he say she say drama. However, when the delivery driver pulls up with the white sack lunches, now that’s when the park goes on high alert. Swear Ta Gawd, push me one moe time Baldie and I’m telling my brotha! Tell yo brotha, ain’t nobody scared of him; UUUGGLEEE!!! Hey yawl; cut dat shyt out in my line, keep on talkin’ and ain’t nobody getting a lunch today. If I don’t get a lunch, ain’t nobody getting a lunch!!! Now the shoving starts to get a little more physical and during those days; girls fought boys that was the nature of the beast we had to deal with; because anyone can get got.  Twins Melissa and Malossa thought Ms. Jessie Mae raised some punks one day and got a rude awakening by the red monkey bars by dem Hughes’ Boyz… While Janelle thought it was cool to snatch a biscuit from someone else’s bag one day and got mopped up against the brown building; to Aaron and Ron fighting over by the swing set. Protecting yourself while at the park was just something your mother told you to do and if you had a little sister, I’m sure your mother told you “Let somebody put their hands on your sister and you not do anything about it.” It was just the way we were raised, and at the end of the day when we all got our snacks, we would sit back for a second or two and talk about who had the best fight of the day; while slapping hands with one another…

The Switch Tree

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There are several instances where I think of when my momma reached over and smacked the dog shyt outta my siblings and I… We could be walking thru a grocery store and whoever is pushing the cart that day was told one thing… “Let that grocery cart hit my heel just once, swear you gone lose all your fronts (i.e. teeth)…” Better yet; “Keep slamming my screen door like that and I’m gonna beat da black off you boy; what you trying to do cool off the entire neighborhood! Stay yawl azz outside!!! But momma it’s 107 degrees out here and we thirsty… Swallow ya spit boy…”  

Back in the mid 70’s; we had no idea what child abuse was; all we knew is that if our momma abruptly pulled the car over at one of those Switch Trees; it wasn’t gonna end well. The Switch Tree stop was when we really messed up, like getting a bad report card. Looking back, the azz whooping’s were epic because she did it with grace.  Oh you think I’m playing today don’t you boy“; as the car pulls over to the side of a gravel road. As the car door opens and all you hear is the ding ding ding from the ajar door along with quiet snickering from the other siblings who are exempt from this heavy weight azz whooping. “Shut up yawl, it ain’t funny“.

This is when you start praying to God and the prayer requests are so asinine… Crying; “Dear Lord, please let momma wreck this car on the way home, I don’t wanna get my azz busted…” The worst part of it all is when she would narrate the azz whooping. While plucking leaves off the switch; keeping 3 at the top for centrifugal force, she says, “Got me coming to that school for a conference and you up in their acting a dayum fool, oh I’m gone show yo‘ azz, now get in dat room and strip to your drawlz boy… With a pause between each word and swing, she begins… “How you gone be the kid, that the teacher tells to put his entire desk outside in the hallway during class! So you a comedian now huh, well make me laugh dammit..” I’m in my Scooby Dooby drawlz, C-Walkin, trying to avoid every swing she takes…

                      

Now, I didn’t know that was a rhetorical statement she made at the time when she demanded for me to make her laugh but I was much obliged to assist because I felt that my work was worthy of an audience. Have you ever tried to tell a joke during an azz whooping? Well dat shyt don’t work, especially with your momma. Now I talk about my momma a lot and about certain things but I love her with all my heart. She raised us to be distinguished men. She had to be tough to raise four boys with no help and I commend her for that every chance I get… So reach out to your mother today and tell her how much she means to you. Tell her about your final azz whooping she gave you, I think we all remember that one as well. If you never received any azz whoopin’s from your momma, smack yourself 39 times hard in the face or how old you are…

Da Usher Board

                     Despite contrary belief, the Usher Board is considered the engine of southern churches. You see, growing up in a small town in Tennessee, we were trained to become an usher and at any moment, our Aunt would say, “Get cha white gloves out baby, I am shawt one usher and I need for you to help me out today.” When our Aunt asks, you do not say no to her. Its not that she is the mean usher that walks around with the church bulletin and makes the kids spit out their gum on the front row or denies you entrance thru the double doors while devotion is wrapping up. She just carries that persona of greatness when it comes to managing a crowd during service. While on the other hand, the supporting cast; are the ones you have to watch out for…

                     Whether it’s ushering a Sunday service, a Mother’s Board’s Tea or my favorite, a funeral; it is imperative to remain on your toes like a midget at the commode. Although funerals are a sad occasion, you can find humor if you just look around and watch the supporting cast work the room. I cannot stop thinking about the story my brother Tim told me when our Aunt asked him to work for her at a funeral. She told him; “Now, here’s your white gloves baby, I am gone need for you to stand up in the front next to the casket and make sure you greet each person with a sympathy smile and lead them off in an expeditious manner, don’t clog up my front area now. However, before you go, put this smelling salt packet in your glove, this is in case someone gets up there and acts a dayum fool, talking bout NOT MY BAAABEEE, TAKE MEEE LAWD GEE DUS and passes out when they see their loved one. All you gotta do is snap dat packet and waive that glove in front of their nose and they will wake up quickly!!!” Well, my brother went up to the front, greeted individuals with a smile, and directed them to their seats as requested. The choir started singing, the church got to rocking and my brother got to clapping dem white gloves and forgot that he had dat that smelling salt packet tucked in da palm of his hand. They got to singing one’nem Shirley Caesar songs and he felt da holy ghost, the packet busted and dat Ammonia smelling salt seeped thru dem white gloves and traveled across his nose and his knees buckled in front of that casket and the next thang you know, he spread out on the floe tweenst dem funeral flowers, knocked da phuck out!!!

                     Once I heard him tell me that story, I vowed to watch every usher from that day forth! Wouldn’t you know it; they had to usher another funeral and there I was sitting in one of the pews waiting for something to pop off… And thru my peripheral vision, I notice an usher attempting to sneeze. Well that’s nothing to laugh at but it took so long for the sneeze to come out. It was more like an ahh, ahh, ahh, ahh and then a quiet, yet subtle sneeze. So after the service, I had to go up to the usher and ask, better yet say “That was a good azz sneeze you had during service.” The usher’s response was, “I was trying not to shyt on myself in front of all dem n words.”

That Gangsta Azz Relative…

                  Most people call them the Black Sheep of the family but the Hall’s tend to call ours “Dat Gangsta Azz Relative” of the family… You know the one that as soon as they step out of the car and into a family function, chanting, “Yawl Mawphuckas know whut time it iz cuuuh” while twisting their fangahs in a peculiar way. There’s no denying that we do not love our relative but there is also a time and a place for such catchphrases. Some might say that my brother Orlando is the gangsta relative of the family. I would have to agree with them. There was a time when he did not carry this persona on being the certified gangsta that he is or, as some would say; whom he portrays… All I know is that I have witnessed a few occasions of his mannerisms in public.

                 Have you ever seen a thug cry and bounce back into thug mode as if nothing has ever happened? Well I have and I almost passed out, given the situation we were in… You see, the good Lord blessed me with 4 amazing brothers in which I have mentioned in a previous blog. Our family has endured so much pain with the loss of 2 of my siblings within years of each other. My brother Ron passed away back in September ’05 while my other brother Tim passed in March ’12… During these bereavements, Orlando which is the oldest, showed da Phuck Out!!! Excuse my French Montana, but by the time you finish reading this, you’ll understand why… Ron was a misunderstood guy; loved his son more than anything in the world. He was very tough, he had his moments in life; i.e. prison, drugs, etc… but anyone that really knew him, they knew he would take the shirt off his back for anyone in need. Tim was a lively guy; fun loving father; and a comedic genius, a humanitarian to sum it all up. So when they passed on, this hurt the family immensely, especially my brother Orlando.

               Thuggin’ was no secret at this point and the morticians at Davis’ funeral home was gonna find out first hand… Moving forward to the 2nd passing of my brother Tim; Orlando was very distraught. It was just Tim, Orlando, the mortician, and I in the room at the time and I was preparing my brother to go home in style, you know, typical edging of his hairline and beard he had b/c he was a dapper guy and he would do it for me. Now during this time, Orlando was pacing and tears were flowing from his face asking God why did he have to take his baby brother. The mortician was doing an outstanding job to ensure that peace remained in the room; “Yes, I understand sir, umm hmm, I’m so sorry for your loss” while making eye contact with Orlando. Well that peace turned into thug mode in a matter of seconds!!! Orlando starts to clap his hands while he talks and the mortician senses something isn’t right here so he gradually backs up towards the exit door. Orlando wasn’t about to do anything to him, he just wanted to tell him about his two brothers. “Dis is my second brotha dat has passed away, you feel me cuuh? My brotha Ron already in Heaven and my brotha Tim, is on his way. You see, Tim right here cuz is a comedian and my brotha Ron is a fool with it (gangsta). Tim up durr telling jokes and shyt while my ova brotha Ron up durr robbing muthafuckas” Now I am on bended knee, edging Tim up and my knees buckle and I say in my Kevin Hart voice “Whoa; wait a minute, In Heaven dawg? Naaawwww man, don’t say dat!!!” The mortician is gone at this time; Orlando says “You know what, dat didn’t sound right did it? I’m like, Hell naw dat didn’t sound right maaannn; get yo ish together b/c this cannot be like Ron’s funeral when you stripped chest naked at the grave site and cussed err body out dawg!!! Talking ‘bout now who else wanna phuck with Hollywood Cold? 

The Best of Times…

              Growing up in the country was the best of times… We did not have much but we made the best of what we had. Our first home, that I can remember was in Emory Gap; it was a 2-bedroom house with 4 siblings, our mother and oh yea MISTER… So, if one farted; we all could smell it. Speaking of a warm cloud; I think our family was the last family on Earth to have an outhouse; yes an outhouse… So when my mother was promoted to cashier at the local Big K; we moved up like the Jefferson’s; straight to the Projects!!! The Projects was an upgrade from that small house on the hill with an outhouse. This was the first time I witnessed a toilet that would flush. I looked at my mother and said; “No more going to the woods in the middle of the night to use the restroom? That’s right baby; no more shyt crockeries filled with water in case you gotta go in the middle of the night.” 

               In spite of moving the Projects, we still enjoyed weekend trips to our Grandmother’s house in Emory Gap. It wasn’t that we asked to go, we were told that we “Was Getting Dropped Off.” Upon arrival, our cousins who were dropped off as well greeted us with that slow talking voice “Mah Cecil made biscuits, white rice and sausages again” look. Bet not say you’ve already eaten; when she prepared 1 million pieces of rice, 100 homemade biscuits and 42 sausages; which equals out to one sausage per child. After you’ve eaten, you just did not sit there and not do anything while at Momma Cecil’s house; she put us to work. “Get dat Post Hole Digger boy and dig me a hole so I can plant this flower…” When Momma Cecil asks you to do something, you best do it right because if you didn’t she would say things that would make your bottom lip twerk in a bad way. I mean this woman may have started the craze on cracking jokes the way she would snap on people with her words… She would call you out in front of all the grandkids, which would give them ammunition later in the evening when we would sit up under the big oak tree laughing about the events that took place earlier… Dang Donnie, Momma Cecil called you a Black Goat today cuz; so Gus, she called you a Red Eyed Mule, what you laughing at Ron, she called you an Ashy Rat. It was the best of times, when we were dropped off to visit our Momma Cecil in Da Gap.

How the story began…

back in da day Donavon J            This is how the story began; I was the 4th child born to a wonderful mother named Sheila. First, it was Orlando, Ron, Tim and I. You see, back in the day, I don’t know what the deal was but moms was popping us out on a yearly basis. The reason why I say that is b/c we all were a year apart from each other. Our ages to date are 42, 41, 40 and 39. Right, putting in work as some would say… Don’t judge my momma, I’m sure your momma was twerking on da low too… Anyway, she would tell us the story on when we were born on our birthdays and my story was; uhm let’s say a little different…

             My mom said, “Well son, here is your story… Your brother Tim was born on January 20, 1973 and you were born on November 25, 1973. She paused and said Stay with me Jesus… Your daddy Wayne found out that I was pregnant again and tried his best to get rid of you son… Yes baby; he found out that the carnival was in town and he put my azz on that double Ferris Wheel 7 times and I told him enough is enough Wayne, shyt!!! Well a week had passed and I was still pregnant with you and I said if it is in your will Lord, please protect me and my baby from this crazy azz negro… She paused yet again then continued shaking her head from side to side; umm, umm, umm, the last straw with your daddy was when he tried to boil hot liquor on the stove and make me drank it. That’s when I said, Let me tell yo black azz one thing right here, if you don’t want to claim this child I’m carrying then get on Wayne!!! Now, I am sitting there as a 7 year old saying to myself; WHAT THE PHUCK!?!?!! But she seen it in my facial expression and said to me; this is why you are special baby, while patting me on my head. Now people are gonna think you look drunk all the time b/c you got eyes like Lou Rawls and walk like Fred Gable (Neighborhood pimp). To this day, I will never forget that story; it taught me several things but one in particular is that people will come into your life but your mother will always stand in your corner no matter what obstacle is in her way.

For my dark skinned folks…

This is a public service announcement to all my dark skinned family members and friends!!! As fall steadily approaches, we need to become proactive in prepping ourselves for the workforce, church and leisure activities… Don’t you hate when you reach in your pocket and draw out change for the cashier and your knuckles look like you reached in a bag for powdered doughnuts instead? Well there is a cure for us all! Wal Mart and or the Dollar store has a special lotion designed for ashy kneecaps, knuckles and elbows and it’s called Queen Helene Coco Butter Cream… Its designed to soften that dry azz skin around yo neck on a cool fall and winter evening… Fellas, sistas do not want to see ashy azz kneecaps when you pull down yo britches. You standing there bowlegged and dem knees just as crusty as they wanna be, talking bout “Do a lil sum’em strange for a piece of change.. She like “A hell naw, bedda get cha momma to do dat ish.” If you a baller, stop by Wal Mart; you can get the jar for $5.36 but if you a baller on a budget; take yo broke azz to da Dolla Stoe and grab da small tube for $1.75… Trust me; it works… It will smooth that dry azz help yo grandmomma outside skin into that imma sit my azz in this house and watch Young & The Restless skin… I put some on this morning and I feel so light skinned right about now with my black azz…