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.