Archive for November, 2013
When a close friend and a family member (or two close friends) start a feud, it is an uncomfortable position because you love them both. Speaking of being the “woman in the middle,” this quandary is not a soft landing spot. How do you maintain your neutrality? How do you handle this hot bed of coals?
Nothing beats honesty! Being a mediator is ideally an optimal role.
Optimistically , both sides will listen so that they can restore the closeness and harmony that they once enjoyed. If nothing works, the saving grace is that the ownership of their feud belongs to them. Although it is painfully troubling to see their fragmentation; hopefully, they will eventually work things out. Nonetheless, this problem is theirs exclusively. I have my hands full with my own issues!
Photo reprint: www.gurls.com
Like a turbulent windstorm that can blow you away; like an aromatic perfume whose fragrance leaves you feeling romantic; so is the man who can “control a room” with the essence of his very being. You know exactly what I am talking about! Although, you perhaps may not have met the guy to whom I reference, I am positive that you know someone who fits that description. This hunk is captivatingly debonair; the man whose business suit majestically covers his body and enticing grabs your and every woman’s attention. For sure, he wears it well. Since I am rattling and garbling, please allow me to continue. His handsomeness is beyond description; his intellect is encyclopedic wise. He can regurgitate an answer quicker than your fingers can goggle the term. Does he have a computer chip in his head?
Man oh man, this “cat” has enticing swagger that governs his every move. The pupils of your eyes flash with his graceful steps. Forget about concentration! How can you possibly be alert when you are in a trance under his spell? He might be a magician too. The list continues… I hear that he is extremely spiritual with an intense knowledge of the Bible. Nothing beats a religious man! His articulation is also incredibly smooth as he rounds out each word with such vocabulary depth that he sounds like he is reciting Webster’s dictionary. If only he knew that you didn’t hear a word he said because you were so caught up in his rapture. Speaking of being mesmerized! His arrogance is befitting, but not over the edge where he is puffy.
Oh yes, his charisma is “all that and a bag of chips.” His sexy body hopefully is a precursor to his sexual prowess. What a man! He walks, talks, and behaves like a prototype worthy of seducing. He is a natural and does not flaunt his attributes.
Alright, I know that I am a writer and can create a paper man with words graphically etching across your computer screen. But he is not a figment of my imagination, he is real. I didn’t make him up. He is a corporate executive who is new to the city; relocating from a neighboring state.
He is in hot demand. All eyes are on him. “To boot,” I understand that is money is long. Rumor has it that he frequently buys rounds of drinks in a top notched establishment that has a table held exclusively for him.
These are his external renderings that characterize him with top rated “bells and whistles.” If you are wondering if he really walks on thin air, his personality and character will either raise him above or lower him beneath the clouds. As beauty is only skin deep, I wonder if his insides match his external being. We all know that “you cannot judge a book by its cover.” It is what’s inside that counts; that never goes away. His character will determine his consciousness. His respect, gentleness, spirit, attitude, personality, and kindness will determine how he treats his woman. If he is “all that,” every king has a queen who sits on the throne next to him. His queen will be sitting there with her diamond and ruby tiara and crown jewels. Now, “that’s what I’m talking about!”
Like a colorful butterfly that comes out of its cocoon, the internal working of a man is the real man; his true epitome of manhood. Without a doubt, his eventual presence will be revealed whether it is in royal fashion or not.
Time always tell. Getting to know him will exhibit if his internal self-worth matches his exceptional external being. As my girls and I always say, “Everything that looks good ain’t always yummy, even if he is as fine as wine!” I truly hope that he meets the expectations for the woman of the hour. If not, he should bite the dust! Why would a woman waste valuable time with someone (although he is a glamorous specimen) who doesn’t satisfy her groove and basic essentials? Men have no hesitations in moving on when we women flunk their test. There should be nothing wrong with us women emulating them? Right?
Photo Reprint: www.enwikipedia.org
I know that you are wondering who the gorgeous specimen is in the vintage photograph above. She is a “looker; a vision” as the guys say. I agree! Back in the day, she could stop traffic in the street with a turning of heads to glance her Coca Cola figure. Tantamount to her external physical glamour, she is exceptionally beautiful inside. Her treatment of others is extraordinary respectful.
I know her attributes all too well. She is my Mother. The month of September brought golden colored leaves falling from the trees, a brisk chillness in the air, gray dreary skies, and the momentous birthday of my Mother, Miss Phoebe. Having three children, my Mother is affectionately referred to by her off springs as Madear, Mom, and Momma respectively. Her grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren collectively call her Big Momma and Grandma. With so many names, this amazing matriarch lovingly answers with a politeness, warmth, devoted spirit and sincerity that only she can bring.
Sixty years, I have been in her life and she has never failed me or let me down! It has been a challenging ride though. My coming of age matriculation was quite memorable and eventful. A strict and very structured Mother, there were days that my frustrations with her policies consumed my soul. As a young girl, I remember writing a serious note to her in the mud. I used as my pencil a big branch from the Mulberry tree in our yard. I dug my letters deep into the soil. My note read, “I can’t stand you Momma for not letting me play outside in the rain. It is so unfair!” The rain washed my dirt note away before my Momma could see it. In hindsight, that was perhaps a good thing. Had she read it, she would have perhaps punished me for my childish inscription and sassiness. The audacity of me to question her rules! Almost every day she gleefully reminded her off springs, “I am the only boss in this house!”
In my opinion, her daily and weekly chores posed immeasurable hardships. Waxing the linoleum rugs on your knees until she could see her face; polishing the furniture to withstand her white glove test; cooking full course meals with her being the sole tasting judge; and washing / drying the dishes with a smiley face were some of her arduous assignments. She made you earned your keep. “A little hard work doesn’t hurt anybody,” was her motto. Of course, she didn’t stop there! Her supervision continued with an invasion into your personal life. Her “no talking to anyone but her” until your homework was completed was a bit much. When she conjured up the old fashioned “dating every other weekend” rule when my friends had date nights every weekend, I was enraged; it took me “over the edge.” What was she thinking?
Although America is a country with free speech, if you knew what was good for you, you plead the “fifth.” You dare not voice your opinions on her rules. Imagine that! It was something about her eyes (her keen fierce X-ray look that saw every bone in your body); that put the fear of the almighty God in you. Expressing frustration of any type was not vogue or encouraged. Children stayed in their place in Miss Phoebe’s house. My Mother managed to somehow get into your head as she always knew what you were thinking. She was a mind reader or a psychic. Incredible, isn’t it! “I brought you in this world and I will take you out” was one of her favorite expressions. Momma can make you rock in your boots, then and now! She doesn’t take “no mess.”
What you are about to read next reflects my age and maturity. The older I became, the more I understood her; the more I valued her. I even realized how smart she really was. Originally, particularly in my teenage years, I thought I knew more than my ostensibly old fashioned Mother. Now, I seek and depend on her for guidance and advice. She is always there to speak the truth. A couple of weeks ago, I was nervous about an upcoming testimony. I called Momma; she would put my mind at ease. With a hearing impairment as she approaches her 90 year mark, Momma didn’t hear her phone. I became extremely nervous! In the interim, my daughter called. Although she thinks I am the Rock of Gibraltar, she heard me in a girlish and weakened monotone voice echo the primitive words, “I need my Momma!” I did! About 30 minutes later, I talked to Momma. Her sedative soothing voice calmed my spirit; her words gave me serenity. “Before you speak, ask Jesus to put the right words in your mouth. He will guide you. You just have to ask him,” was my Momma advice. She always has the right answers.
My children routinely asked me, “Mommy, how do you know so much?” The answer lies partly with my Mother’s wisdom. She has been my “go to person” for six decades. How could I not be knowledgeable and enriched?
So this September, I say Happy Birthday Momma! Thank you for life, your strict upbringing (that I didn’t appreciate until I had children), your advice, and your ever present love and devotion. Today, I can float on a cloud because truly “you are the wind beneath my wings.” Bless you my dear Mother!
Miss Phoebe, my darling Mother could not only lay down the rules and dare you to violate them, she was a teaching, disciplinarian as well. She had a way of having “her say;” with a distinguishing sharp tongue that telegraphed her sounds throughout your soul. Her words of discernment majestically floated from her mouth with relative ease tantamount to a sail boat gliding across Lake Washington.
I remember one day, my teenage mind was preoccupied; probably over some boy drama. I saw one of my Mother’s friends and forgot to speak. Before I could make the 10 minute journey back home, Miss Beauty had already reported my lack of politeness. Preparing dinner with a light blue scallop trimmed apron tied around her waist, my Mother called me into the kitchen. With piercing eyes that frightened me before she opened her mouth, she sternly said, “It doesn’t cost anything to speak,” along with a few other choice words to make sure that I truly understood the ramifications of what might occur upon a lack of adherence. “Don’t let it happen again!” Believe me; I never was called to the woodshed again …at least not for that infraction.
She had a plethora of many memorable, life changing clichés, but this next one stuck with me like a man that you don’t want to turn a loose. Not exactly a fitting example, but the “special effects” reference, I am sure brings home the point.
Momma said, “The same escalator that takes you up, brings you down. The same people that you see on your way up, you see coming down.” That statement was one of humility; one of not being lofty; one that resonates with me today. “Don’t let success swell your head. What goes up may come down,” she continued. “Keep your feet on the ground;” never feel that you are infallible was the theme of my Mother’s message. When we smell success and travel in its realms, we often times see a different set of people on our walk of fame. They are no better than the folks who walk the earthly grounds of a lower worldly status. Stay grounded, treat all people the same, and be appreciative of what you accomplish were my interpretations of Momma’s quotes. With the exception of greater auras of materialism that a higher income can buy, you are still the same person before success engulfed you.
I knew if I violated those cardinal rules, my Mother would roll her eyes at me with disdain. It’s amazing how much she knew and how far she could see. Speaking of telepathic vision, my Mother saw trouble before it came my way. It took me some time to understand that.
My words of wisdom to my children:
Although I probably wasn’t as effective with an indoctrination of healthy fear, (a grip that my Mother had on me), I tried to guide my children with the same Mother Wit. Haha…I hear them laughing! Of course to them, I am old fashioned and ultra conservative, but admittedly, they do listen.
I have two clichés that I am proud of fostering to my two darlings. Whether they are proud recipients of my inheritance of words remain to be seen. Their compliance will determine the effectiveness of my teachings. Listening and doing are two different things.
To my laid back son, my lips imparted, “Treat a woman like you want someone to treat your Mother and sister.” I pray that he religiously follow that simple instruction.
To my feisty daughter, read my lips, “Everything that you think, you need not say.” It’s been a long time coming, but it’s beginning to sink in. I believe that she is slowly getting the point.
The nectar from a Mother’s lips produces the sweetness from the soul of her maternal instinct and wisdom. As good children, we never want her words to be bitterly tarnished. In an echoing tone, my Mother would utter in her stern, but loving voice, “Do what I say, if you know what’s good for you.” Decades later, I still hear you Momma, loud and clear! “I get it!” I hope my children will do likewise and become obedient stewards to my teachings; I hope that they follow suit! They better or else!
Photo Reprint: www.bloomingwithjoy.files.word
Most people have a reminiscent teacher story. I cannot wait to share mine.
After matriculating through elementary school with Miss Ross who was going to beat the mathematical times tables in my head through my rear end, and Rev. McBeth who was a fierce proponent of disciplinary protocol, I met Miss Toni Jean Patterson in the 7th grade.
The year was 1966. The state of Mississippi finally enforced integration. Much to our chagrin and to our parents’ expectancy, the White kids were not our future classmates at Glen Allan High School. In fact, they abandoned the school in its entirety. Black and White children in the same classroom in Mississippi were a taboo at least that was the opinion of the White populous as they vacated integration to maintain segregation. They even established their own private school. Now, it was them, instead of us, getting up at 5:00 a.m. in the morning to drive by several schools to get to theirs.
Waiting on the horizon was a group of young Black college graduates zealously eager to put their teaching certificates to work at Glen Allan High School. Meeting Miss Patterson, a petite, personable, and smart teacher who taught me science was a unique experience. She had double duty as she provided us with extracurricular instruction when she formed a choir. Being an honor student, I soon became her “pet.” What a glorious position to have as I could get away with my characteristic excessive talking without being punished.
On one occasion, Miss Patterson had to make a trip to her home in neighboring Greenville, and she took me with her. I was astonished at what I saw! She had a closet full of purses, shoes, and clothes. I had never seen that much merchandise in one place other than in a department store. I was speechless and amazed! Realizing that an impression had been made, Miss Patterson said, “Vernadeane, you can have all of this stuff if you finish college. You must study hard and continue to make good grades.” That one sentence changed my life. The straw that broke the camel’s back was that she had a modern upright piano in her living room. That was an instrument that was not seen in Black folks shot gun houses in the impoverished Mississippi delta. Her house and possessions formed a pictorial snapshot that became a lasting memory permanently sketched in my head! Since I loved clothes and accessories, I wanted what she had for me. It became a motivator.
I also remembered her talking about her future plans. Should she marry the doctor or the lawyer? Wow! Amazing choices, I’ll say for any woman, let alone a Black woman. How could you not admire her? After graduating from college, I went to see her. By this time, she was a principal living in Mitchellville, Maryland with her lawyer hubby and son. Some things hadn’t changed over the years. By now, she had a fabulous baby grand piano. Her closet was still full of clothes, purses, and shoes….tons of them.
As if it was yesterday, I can hear her saying, “Vernadeane, you look like I thought you would look; you talk like I thought you would talk.” “Thank you Miss Patterson,” who was now Mrs. Menchan. Continuing, she said, “I just have one additional thing to say, I thought that you would go to Hollywood, since you were so theatrical.” Laughing, I said, “Not yet, but maybe I will make it there.”
A thought recently hit me as I traveled to Baltimore (and saw the Mitchellville exit sign) this past August 2013. I realized that it’s not too late. Maybe, I might still make it to Hollywood as a screenwriter if my book becomes a movie. Or maybe, and highly likely, my presence may emanate through my daughter who has already made numerous appearances on national television. Still, it’s in the genes, the bloodline! We will see what the future holds.
Miss Patterson, you planted seeds of knowledge, hope, motivation, and inspiration in me. I thank you because you truly changed my life. I will always remember what you taught me!
This article is dedicated to the late Mrs. Toni Patterson Menchan, my favorite teacher who taught me lessons in books and life.
Photo Reprint: www.loc.gov; (Johnston) Frances Benjamin Collection; Annie Davis School near Tuskegee, Alabama.
Just as we humans need food, water and air to live, my girlfriends and I have as a vital necessity the requirement to look glamorous. It is mandatory for our existence.
To be fabulous and glamorous come with a price; an expensive one at that!
Glamour requires daily, weekly, and continuous maintenance on our nails, hair, face, body, and feet. Manicures, pedicures, facials, hair styling, massages, eye brow arching, among other beauty and fitness regimens are necessities. Time must be reasonably allocated to receive the beauty enhancements and maintenance regimes.
For penny pinchers, beware the cost of beauty! Trust me when I tell you that the tangible and emotional benefits outweigh the monetary costs. It is worth every minute and penny of it!
Although this is an unproven hypothesis, the nexus between beauty and emotional gratification is crispy sharp. In other words, when you look good, you feel good!
So, establish a budget that will assist you toward maintaining your beautiful self. What a pleasure it is to showcase one’s natural glow!
Photo reprint: www.naturallycurly.com