Colon Cleanse

Saturday, November 18, 2017

There's Something on Fire!

I remember the day we set our neighbor’s tires on fire.  Before you start thinking we were bad kids or even worse heathens, let me set the scene for you.

We were on summer vacation and as usual I felt free as a bird knowing I didn’t have to go to school, no homework, it was freedom! My grandmother had made breakfast. Granny always made a full breakfast for my grandfather and me. My mother was gone to work so my grandparents watched me while Mama was at work. This day the bacon and smell of just perked coffee filled the house. I had my favorite a bacon and egg sandwich while granddaddy and grandma had grits, eggs, bacon and toast. As a kid I didn’t like grits, they reminded me of slop and it just looked too messy to go into my stomach.

As usual I hurried and ate my breakfast because I didn’t want to miss one minute of playtime. If I had my way I would have played with my friends from sun up to sun down. Only stopping to come into the house to use the bathroom. I had grown to love my childhood friends; we had so much fun together. I had to hurry and get outside because we were going to finish playing baseball in the alley. Back then baseball meant the world to me and I loved playing it because I could hit the ball far and I could run fast!

We had one problem: a mean old neighbor. I don’t even remember his name but I know each time one of our rubber baseballs went in his yard he wouldn’t give them back! As a matter of fact he would bring his scissors from inside the house and cut the ball in half with those ungodly huge scissors. My stomach would drop a few levels as I watched him destroy our balls. Didn’t he understand we all chipped in to buy that ball? Money didn’t grow on trees Mr. Neighbor. Yet we all grew sad each time he found our balls. We tried to be nice about it, asking if he would please return our balls. Instead Mr. Neighbor appeared to delight in our suffering. No he wouldn’t give the balls back, but I will torture your young minds as I destroy your fun.

One day the baddest kid in our group of friends decided to get back at Mr. Neighbor. You see Mr. Neighbor had a bunch of old tires in his backyard. They were lined up against the fence in his yard. Keith suggested we set the tires on fire. As a group we were powerful and agreed this would be our revenge. The only problem was no one had matches.  I thought quickly and remembered my grandmother had kitchen matches and I could go into our kitchen and grab some for our mischievous event.

Lucky for me my granny wasn’t in the kitchen when I slipped in the side door and grabbed some long matches from the box. I didn’t want to take the whole box because I thought it would be difficult to sneak them back in the house. I gave the matches to Keith and he took and then the other three and struck them against the wooden garage of Mr. Neighbor. Flame came quickly and Keith threw all four matches into the pile of tires. We all scattered and ran to our individual houses. My grandfather was taking a nap on the front porch so as far as he knew I was still sitting on the porch-playing Jacks. 

After awhile I heard the fire truck sirens. Not moving and pretending I didn’t know why the fire trucks were coming, the loud sirens woke my grandfather. The first place he looked was to see if I was still sitting on the porch. To his satisfaction I was.  The firemen were able to extinguish the fire quickly with no damage to his home or garage. I thought to myself, great no real damage, but in all is fair in love and war mentality, Mr. Neighbor got what he deserved. Only this wasn’t the end of it. I looked up and Mr. Neighbor had walked around the corner to my house. You see Mr. Neighbor was one of my grandfather’s neighborhood friends. A group of retirees who sat on the porch and talked about the troubles of the world while finding humor in many things.

Mr. Neighbor saw me sitting on the porch; I started trembling inside while trying to remain cool. My grandfather stood up and asked Mr. Neighbor what was the problem. Mr. Neighbor began accusing me and my friends of setting his unused tires in his backyard on fire. My grandfather went into ‘protect your family mode’ and told Mr. Neighbor that his granddaughter had done no such thing that I had been on the porch at all times. Furthermore my grandfather told Mr. Neighbor to get off his porch accusing his sweet granddaughter of such a terrible thing. Mr. Neighbor didn’t like it, but he knew the rule of life that you don’t go over someone’s house and start trouble. The homeowner always had the advantage.

I’ll never forget that day nor will I forget the smell of those burning tires. To this day I can discern burning rubber over all other burning materials. It’s just something you’ll never forget, like the smell of a dead body. I got away with that but decided then I would never commit another crime, it was hard work!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

I Was Almost Kidnapped

I was almost kidnapped when I was five.  It was a cloudy day, not wintertime, but fall season in Detroit. I had a jacket on I know but as I recall that day it was eerily vacant on our street. You see we lived with my grandparents in Delray, a small community inside of Detroit. Everyone knew each other and people were neighborly in a friendly sometimes-nosy way. But that was a good thing because neighbors looked out for one another. I was in our front yard playing with my dolls. My grandfather and mother were at work. I had been given instructions from my Granny not to leave out of our fenced in yard.

I remember that fence as being gray. Maybe I thought it was gray because of what almost happened to me.  I also remembered the sky as being cloudy and gray so maybe that’s why I thought the fence was gray so they could match. In actuality our fence was a green wooden fence.

As a child I had been taught not to talk to strangers and of course never to leave or go somewhere without first asking for permission. That day was no different. I don’t know where he came from; I didn’t see him walk up to our fence either. It was like he was a ghost or something. He just appeared.

I couldn’t describe him very well only that he had on a gray or dark colored hat and that he was a white man. Seeing a white man in Delray wasn’t unusual. Blacks and Whites often lived next door to one another without disturbance. That was the only thing, if a white person was your neighbor and didn’t like their black neighbor, you knew it; it wasn’t a secret.

This day has been etched in my memory for 50 years. I keep thinking what could have happened to me had I gone with the man who promised me ice cream if I would go with him. I told him I had to go check with my grandmother to get permission. I don’t recall him saying okay or anything. But when my grandmother came to the door to see what man was asking me to go get ice cream, he was gone. Vanished like a bad dream. My grandmother was so angry she ran off the porch down to the fence, opened it and looked to the left and to the right but she couldn’t find the mysterious man. He was nowhere to be found.

My grandmother took me inside the house and hugged me and began praying and crying. She told me I did the right thing asking her permission to go with the stranger. I’ll never forget that day; my stomach was doing flips as she frightened me with the ungodly things that could have happened to me. In hindsight as I look over my life I can remember many instances where death or ill will was upon me, yet I escaped it. My mother always taught me to listen to my first mind because it would never lead me wrong. This was a time at 5 years old I listened to that gentle voice inside me. That voice told me to go ask my grandmother for permission. Just think if I had of been enticed with the offer of ice cream and went with this stranger. I probably wouldn’t be writing this blog post today if I had of let my desire for ice cream overrule what I had been taught. 

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Walking In My Truth: Today is a Better Day

Today was an interesting day. I decided to stop living a lie. One of the things that prohibit us from receiving blessings or even being comfortable in our own skin is to not face your consequences. Let me explain.

I had accepted a job with a company only because of the potential money I could make. I am a good salesperson but I’m not great. I’m just being honest. I can make a living at it, but I won’t ever be exceptional in the role. Now don’t get me wrong this isn’t about a lack of confidence on my part. Instead, it is about owning my shortcomings and not being embarrassed by them. I can do the job, but I won’t stay committed to it for any length of time. 

You see I’m a writer and a photographer. It’s in my DNA. It’s the only thing that I’m passionate about. If you want to see my eyes light up, let’s talk about photography. I promise you I will go on and on about it. I will spend my last dollar on a 64gb or 128gb high-speed memory card, even before I buy something to eat. I’ve created these great digital and magnets Scripture Photos. I love taking pictures of nature and landscapes.  I do that and add scripture to them. I have created over 100 different images and just added them to EBay for sale. So far I’ve sold 8 this week.  That’s pretty exciting. I never considered EBay sales before. Now I’m glad I did.

Here is one of them:

Writing for me is therapeutic. Whenever there is a problem in my life, I write about it. Sometimes the situation I’m in is so painful that I am crying as I write. I’m no stranger to tears. From my understanding tears have a way of cleansing the soul.

Back to me not accepting the job.  I analyzed the situation before actually informing the potential employer. I kept feeling some kind of way about sending that email so I asked myself why was I feeling so bad about turning this company down? Companies surely don’t feel that way about me when they decide not to hire me.  What I came up with is that I feel bad for them having to be told this decision. Wait, why am I even concerned with how a company feels about me not taking their job? 

It sounds almost comical in hindsight. I actually matured a little. I came to the conclusion that I am not a good fit and the fact that I interviewed last week for a position that starts next month and I’m actually excited about that more than the ‘job in hand.’ 

In the meantime, I am going to continue shooting (taking pictures) and writing because it’s what a creative person does - a creative person who embraces her truth. Walking in your truth means admitting to all your flaws and loving them and using those flaws to contribute to the beauty of our world.  

Saturday, November 11, 2017

The Day I Stopped Believing

My son Warren Jr. has been dead 12 years. I’m not embarrassed to say I miss him everyday. At 9 ½ months old his pancreas stopped working. At that time he was diagnosed as a Type 1 diabetic and required two shots of insulin a day. As a young mother my mind scrambled trying to grab hold of what I had just been told. My ex-husband reacted in a way I never understood. He grew angry and would eventually accuse me as being the reason our son required insulin to keep him alive. Of course that was painful. It hurt to have my husband say something like that as angry as he could. My heart broke each time he said it to me. That kind of behavior was another reason I wanted to divorce him; eventually I would leave him. My ex used to beat me all the time, and being fed up, I left him with our two children. But this post isn’t about my ex nor the violent abuse I endured. This story is about surviving the death of a child.

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of my son. He was a funny young man and if you didn’t know it, you wouldn’t know he was diabetic. He wasn’t over weight as a matter of fact he played basketball daily. He touched so many lives and that became evident at the funeral. It was standing room only at the church and after many years I can look back and smile at the effect he had on so many people. That made me proud. But no matter how I look at it, the day my son died was the saddest day of my life.

We had planned to go shopping that next day but that never happened. Warren Jr. died at 2:18am on April 28th. The sun set on his life.

I try not to be the woman that talks about the death of her child all the time. As a matter of fact the only thing that has changed about me is that I lost a significant part of me. A part that used to define my personality.

I used to think it was just sadness. Sadness that lived in the hole left by my child dying. I stopped dreaming or even planning to do things.  You see my son and I had plans but that never happened. His death impacted me in such a way that I’ve become agnostic. Yeah a new word I learned today that describes my relationship with God. I have hope but I don’t believe God will make my life better. For 12 years I’ve changed jobs like I change shoes. And just today I realized why success evades me. I stopped believing when they closed the casket with my sons’ body in there. I felt like I was living an episode of The Twilight Zone. I kept thinking I was going to wake up and everything would go back to being normal.  Normal never returned, I’ve been waiting 12 years.

I’m writing this because writing has always been cathartic for me. Maybe after 12 years my life will come back to me. Maybe I’ll find happiness. I am thankful and grateful for the love of my daughter and son in law. They are the best blessing I know of. I needed to write this so I will be able to look back and say, ‘look how far you’ve come.’ Tonight I’m going to believe.  I have to or else my broken heart will kill me. I know my son wouldn’t want that. I don’t want it. I just want to be happy again; I want to believe again.

There's Something on Fire!

I remember the day we set our neighbor’s tires on fire.  Before you start thinking we were bad kids or even worse heathens...