Holidays with the Hall’s…

           There’s a new fad that is running rampant amongst the younger generation called Knockout, ever heard of it? It’s when a group of teens unsuspectedly run up to you and punch you so hard that you pass out or i.e. get knocked out. Fads are recyclable whims that take their place in society but had the younger generation experienced Real Life Events such as my siblings and me, they would tend to show a more respect to others. Unbeknownst to my siblings and me, my momz introduced this so-called game to us when we were lil rough elbow azz kids. You know, the elbows where your momma tells you before you go into church to “Lick yo thumb and moisten dat crusty azz skin before you cut somebody.” Disciplining us was non-stop, especially during the holidays… Have you ever been smacked so hard after you opened a gift you didn’t won’t on Christmas morning? I’m talking about a smack that made yo momma’s wig turn sideways. Don’t get it twisted, the smack was very painful but it was the adlib she would say after the smack made your ear sting for 17 extra minutes. You didn’t mean any harm because all you said was “a scaaarf?” Keep in mind, she done worked her fangerz to the bone for that scarf and you hit her with a question instead of a pleasant comment. Oh yea, a smack to the back of da head was of the utmost importance. Hit you so hard you get up and go answer the front door… “Did yawl hear somebody knock on the door?” “Nah, that was me smacking yo ungrateful azz upside the dayum head, looking like yo ashy azz daddy. You know what, take yo black azz back to yo room and let’s try this again.” Now you in your room sitting on the bed with that hiccup cry talking to the birthday boy “She she she neen have to smack me like that Jesus, lie lie lie like I wanted a wool scarf and shyt.” While wiping tears from your face she hollers out “Get back in here and open up the rest of these gifts boy!” Even though you done got smacked for talking about the present you received, you had to be on high alert because you didn’t know if she had one more to grow on waiting for you round the corner. So you walk back in the front room (living room) with that I don’t know if this dog gone chase me stance… You know the stance where you walking and you see the mean neighborhood dog named King that done broke loose from his chain… Grasping your hands together; whispering silently to yourself, shyt, King loose today, so you walk past ever so gently before he senses fear. Talking bout, “Mrs. Lucille an’nem need to chain dey dog up.” That’s how we felt when our momma done went upside our head while saying “Now act a fool again, got me looking like Harriet Tubman with this lopsided azz wig on my head.

           The good Lord blessed our family with an amazing Grandmother named Cecil Ivalina Hall who was the matriarch of our family. She was a religious, soft-spoken grandmother who lived her life to the fullest, treated everyone she met with her southern way of respect; you know, smile and greet with a hello. She also ruled with an iron fist so I can see where my mother and her siblings received their determined way of parenting. When moms would say, “Yawl get dressed, we are going to Momma Cecil’s in a few.” Oooh it was on then!!! You see, this was our family reunion, this was the day were all of our cousins would be up under one roof. Yea we were there every weekend but it was something special about Christmas. You had to make sure your Pro Champs were laced to perfection and your outfit was clean. You couldn’t let Raymond out dress you on that day. (Light skinned cousin who got both his momma and daddy in the same house, mawphucka). Like most families, we had our share of light-skinned cousins but there was an unwritten rule within the Hall family. If you were light skinned but lived in the projects, you were treated as if you were dark skinned. That meant; you had to sit at the side table with the rest of your black azz cousins. Try to grab a plate and jump in line first if you were dark skinned if you want too, “Uhm what you think you doing; get to da back of the line boy! Yawl know the rules round here; Jason and Jeff are first, then Raymond, Tyson, then the rest of yawl light skinned project kids. Now the rest of yawl dark skinned kids can just fall in line but put Donnie azz at da back. While in line, we slick sizing up the pretty boys in the front i.e. Jason and Jeff because they are the light skinned cousins from out of town. You know the cousins who only visit during the holidays and never got cussed out by our aunts like we did. Here we are, “Dang look yawl, they rocking da hi top Pony’s, got da fresh outfits from Merry Go Round, both they flat tops look like Big Daddy Kane and they smell like they den where uncle Tony keep all his VHS tapes at cuuh. Man they doing it!!! Aye cuuh, where you get dem hi top Pony’s from? How much they cost? Can you touch da rim in those? You know, typical questions we ask our cousins who have both mother and father within the household.

         Despite the lack of wealth we had within the Hall family, we were rich in many other ways… Our grandmother would always preach family values to us in hopes that we would carry on in life. In which we have for the most part. The good Lord called her home on September 27, 1993 and I can honestly say that a day does not go by that I sit back and thank her for the wisdom, spiritual wealth and lastly, the wonderful times we shared on Old Valley Drive. You see, those days are a distant memory, because now we are the parents and we are the ones who carry the torch she lit on December 15, 1915. Speaking on behalf of your grandkids and even the light skinned ones, Momma Cecil, we love and miss you!!! Happy Holidays to everyone, if you are blessed to have your grandparents in your life today, call’em up or visit them and thank them for lighting your torch.


Momma’s Rules…

            Have you ever got yo azz whooped while in the bathtub? Ooooh once dat belt bust thru dat bubble mix and smack yo skin, you know she meant bidnez! All you hear is, “Thought I told yo azz not to fall asleep in da bathtub!!!” Now I am trying to figure out if this is a question or a statement she is trying to make but by the time she drew back for a second dose of wet skin, I got my azz up real quick. Then she calls her sisters up and says, “Girl, I knew something was up with this ig’nit azz son of mine. I walk in the bathroom and dis negro dead asleep in da dayum water, all I see is lips and nose sticking out tweenst dishwashing liquid bubbles. Ooooh gurl what did you do? I beat his azz like he stole something. Boy came running out dat bathroom sliding on the floor like one’nem Soul Train dancers…” Out of all the whooping’s we received as kids, nothing compared to getting our hair combed before school and church. You see momma had rules and one rule was that we would all line up in the hallway each morning to receive a hair whooping. She would break out dat big azz comb that could straighten out any nap AND we had those project naps. You know the ones were you done played football all night behind Ms. Jessie Mae house and or those 17-mile walk naps, which are the ones, were sweat mixes into the base of your neckline making it very painful to comb.

           Some would say, well why didn’t you run water over your hair before she combed it? Well, we had another rule too, “Touch dat water faucet if you want too.” Looking back, I think my momma’s water bill had to be no more than $8 a month because she was quick to say, “Two of yawl get in dat tub together and don’t drain dat water out either, yo other brother’s gotta use it.” Dats when you look at your brothers and run to da bathroom quick to be the first one in line because ain’t nothing like durty azz water touching yo skin. Another rule for us was “Who got da dayum Frigerator door open? Yawl bet not be in dat dayum Frigerator.” Now I can understand where she was coming from, raising 4 kids and all and trying to maintain a budget. However, there were times were we just had to defy her rules because dammit we would get hungry in the middle of the night… You know dat noise your stomach makes in the middle of the night when you just hongray as hell!! The one that sound like this, PEEEEE OWWWWNNNN and ends with a rumble.  Well one night I just had enough of it and snuck into the kitchen and slowly opened that frigerator door and saw a big azz family size bowl of sliced peaches, just naramating in that thick syrup. She was probably making a Peach Cobbler for church or something but all I wanted was just one, maybe two pieces. Surely, she wouldn’t miss 2 measly ole pieces so I dipped my pointer and thumb fangerz in dat bowl, grabbed one real quick and wranched in for another one. While licking dem two fangerz talking to myself, mmm dat 2nd one was good and cold. I looked up and there she stood, she was on the other side of the frigerator, looking down at me and she said in one’nem stuttering imma whoop yo azz voice, “Oh oh oh oh, so so so so you hongray huh? You wanna dip yo ball scratching azz fangerz in my peaches I gotta make foe da church tomorrow? Yes, I iiiii mean no ma’am. So so so so since you hongray, eat all deez dayum peaches reeeattt now!!! By this time, err body is awake in the house and my brothers are in their rooms rolling!!! Once I finished eating that big azz bowl of peaches, she gone holla out, “Now take yo black azz to bed!!!”

           We never understood why we had rules growing up but whatever our mother said, well dammit that’s what she meant. Now each family has a different set of rules to abide by, some less strict that others but in the end the most important thing was not to back talk your parents. In our case, it was our mother and Mister. We never really formed a great relationship with Mister because his rules were straight out of a scene from Roots. Hell, I thought I was a slave up until I turned 8. Saturday mornings were designed for kids to get up at the azz crack of dawn to watch your favorite cartoons, i.e. School House Rock, Bugs Bunny, Mighty Mouse and the list goes on. Well Mister’s rule had to be the dumbest rule in the book. He attempted to tell us that we were not allowed to get out of bed until 10am on Saturday mornings. WTF!!! I mean the Thundercats came on at 9:30 cuuz and we shole wasn’t finna miss Lion-O, Tygra, Panthro and Cheetara, he done lost his dayum mind. You see, Ron and Mister never got along with each other. It wasn’t that Ron was disrespectful to him, he just didn’t take any mess from Mister and or anyone else who attempted to treat him like trash. Have you ever seen a 10-year-old beat up a grown azz man? Well we witnessed it first-hand. Maybe Mister had a bad day at work and thought he could walk in the house and take it out on us while our mother was at work. Little did he know, Ron had a bad day at school that day as well. Mister walked in like he usually does, checks the temperature on the TV set and began shouting obscene words. Tired of yawl stoopid azz kids watching MY TV and so forth, you know typical shyt. Now, I know people may be wondering or saying to themselves, wow, these boys’ parents are very brutal to these kids. Well, black mothers say this because they can and sometimes have to in order to get their point across. Is it right? No, but it is what it is. However if she married someone who is not your father, well he has no right to use those derogatory words towards kids if they are not his, especially if they are doing everything that is asked of them to do. It’s an unwritten law that most abide by. Well this silly sucka tootsie roll mawphucka sure didn’t and a 10 year old man-child was gonna show him first hand that being disrespectful to kids that are not yours don’t fly well in this camp. Mister approached Ron, attempting to take off his belt while saying “Imma teach you how to follow rules round here” but Ron wasn’t having that, he kicked Mister square tweent dem Buddy Holly glasses he wore and broke them in half.  Now Mister can’t see but he seen dat combo upside his head and I ain’t talking bout McDonald’s b/c dey ain’t neen have dem back in da late 70’s…

          Residing on 514 Mee Drive was a wonderful experience; I would not trade it for the world. It taught us how to remain calm in adverse situations while providing tools on becoming great fathers. Are we perfect? No, not by any chance but with the guidance of a strong woman’s will, we are passing the torch to our next generation. A special shout out to my Momz and brothers on this post, I love yawl with all my heart.