Tuesday, October 5, 2010


I am Grandpa, so I no longer get the first wake up call when Santa arrives. Nope, that honor is reserved for the parents. So I am sitting in my daughter's home, anxiously awaiting the footsteps of my grandson, so I can join in the happiness of his early Christmas years.

Those images, those sights, smells and sound, will be indelibly etch in his mind, so it's still my duty, although I am no longer "dad", to make those memories as great as possible. I know if I do it right, one day, in the future, if he's lucky enough to find a woman that will share her life with him, he might, someday, then enjoy Christmas with a few kids of his own, and do it right.

Thinking along those lines, I thought it was a perfect time to pull out one of my past submissions.
The Apple Does Not Fall Far.

My father asked, “who broke the dining room table?” . Although my brothers and I knew the names of the guilty gang of three, we didn't say a word.

Yes sir, it’s in those moments of butt naked truths, or the prospect of dire consequences knocking at our door, that we feign innocence and ignorance, or find little reason to cheer

First, this post was inspired by a conversation I was having with Tracy Renne Jones @ RiPPa‘s blog http://www.rippdemup.com/2010/10/selling-out-do-some-blacks-think.html

It basically centered on those that are accused of being sellouts because they do not exhibit the stereotypical image of a black person or speak differently than “them” or marry outside their race. Well, I said something about our black friends who try to separate themselves from our culture because they did not want to be considered a “darkie" like those other negroes. Tracy replied,

“I am NOT THEM DARKIES" Wow...if I didn't just hear my mother's voice when I read that sentence! *looks under the desk* My mother's motivation for much of my 'culturing' (piano class, Broadway shows, proper table etiquette..) had nothing to do with culturing me and everything to do with behaving differently from "THEM". It's complicated to be taught 'pride' of a race while also receiving social cues that instruct me to do the exact opposite. Eh, it worked for the most part.

Now, although my topic is not the same as Tracy's, there is a connection. The Apple Does Not Fall Far From The Tree.
In my early years I was a gambling man, Oh yeah, I shot craps and participated in various games of chance. Along the way, I noticed those who were running the games (house man), always came out on top. Then I figured out the intimate details of their “luck”. Well, of course it wasn't luck, they always had the best hand because in some form or fashion, they were cheating. Or at the very least, the odds were somehow slanted in their favor. I never liked losing, so I “borrowed” the cheating mindset. I know, that's nothing to be proud of, and later, I had a price to pay for my indiscretions. I took cheating with me when I entered the military (that’s me on my home page, sitting on the airplane).

Well, I didn’t lose anymore, but there’s a price to pay for adopting another person’s lifestyle.

In reference to my military life and the evil that lurked within, although I wanted to remain in the military, I was denied re-enlistment. Even though I was never prosecuted for any type of crime, it was obvious that I was involved in all sorts of mess, some of which were illegal. I drove around in a brand new, block long Oldsmobile Ninety Eight, and my hair was matted down with Murray’s hair pomade. I used that heavy grease to slide under the code restrictions associated with the length of a soldier’s hair. However, at night, when I was off duty, I'd blowout my hair to achieve a bigger afro than Sly Stone. So, I was not exactly military material. I had taken my street mentality with me. Now, for many reasons, and for many people, that was not a good thing.

So, I was dropping bad “apples” at an early age. I’ll get back to that.

Looking back and taking a deeper look into this tree and fruit thang, I can’t help but look at the tree from which I came. But first, if I was still a gambling man (I am not, I’d rather put a quarter in a wash machine than a slot machine) I would bet that those who are racists or have strong prejudice views, come from a household with a similar mindset. But it does not stop there.
I’d venture to say the overwhelming majority of people that find themselves divorced, separated, or in a rotten relationship, come from a broken home, a fatherless home, or a home were violence,confusion and/or general mayhem was the soup of the day. But don’t make your move too soon, the house is still rockin, the beat goes on. I am prone to believe that if a person is overweight or never engaged in organized sports, it’s highly probable that their parents loved a heap of pig feet, and a pound of cornbread. Yep, eating until one’s gut quakes, is a learned behavior.

Listen, screaming and hollering to discharge our emotions is another character flaw that we give to our children. But see, on the flip-side, some adults take the passive route when they are in the midst of a disagreement with their mate. Yep, the bully hollers while the mate becomes submissive and depressed as they hold their problems deep inside. Our children are always listening and learning. Unfortunately, they seldom learn positive ways to cope with their own life's struggles, while living in that type of environment. How could they, surely not by watching their own personal "Precious"? Sad but true, the majority of apples do not fall far from the tree.

But again, the beat does not stop there. Party time party time, par-tay-time, boogie woogie baby, lets throw our hands in the air and party like we just don’t care. Yes sir, if I was a betting man, and if your daddy & momma, either or both, loved to imbibe a little gin to make them grin, it’s a good bet that the apple didn’t fall too far from your tree. Listen, although my father was not a drinker, nor was my mother, many of their friends were. So, since they did not object to the habits of their friend's drinking and acting a fool, I couldn’t wait for their friends to come to our house, or we visited theirs, so I could sneak a little gin. I longed for the days in which I could take a little nip, so I could fall down and bust my lip. But of course, since I thought I was slick and clever, I had to put a different spin on the getting high process. See, the seed had been planted that’s it’s okay to change how I felt by taking something other than water, to change or alter my emotions. But that’s another story, for another time.

So now I am wondering, how can we break the bad habits given to us by our parents. At first glance, they're obviously nothing we even consider until we end up in some type of desperate situation, and thus, are forced to change. I mean, who sits down and ponders why they are a Democrat, a baptist, alone, or a racist, and then considers their parents? Who among us says they are a screamer because their momma was? Who says they have "Big Bones" instead of saying they learned their eating habits from their parents?

Well, they say if you want to know what your spouse will look like in 30 years, you should look at their parents, but I am left to believe, that look, should go deeper than the parent's physical attributes. Then maybe we can answer the question of why the bad things always feel so good and feel so right?

Personally, I think the truth makes us feel uncomfortable. Unfortunately, if that truth does not need immediate and serious attention (in the mind of the individual), it's easy to cast away, until another day.

What tree did you come from, and what's dropping from your branches? What will your children and grandchildren remember about this day? It's my hope that it's all joy and happiness.


BigmacInPittsburgh said...

Merry Christmas Grand-Dad,thats a honor you should wear with pride.
The apple doesn't fall very far from the tree,thats real and if there are things that need to be changed,then change them.
Problem is like you alluded to in this post we resist change until we are backed up to the wall!

jjbrock said...

Merry Christmas Carey!

Anna Renee said...

Merry Christmas baby! You sure do treat me nice!! You gave me a pretty rap song, and now Im living in paradise!!

Reggie said...

Merry Christmas!!!

One of these days, I'm gonna be granddad I guess too.

Mine are in college now. Let them tell it, neither one are interested in being someone's parent. I guess I'll wait it out. Hopefully I won't have to wait too long...but I sure as hell don't want to be a grandparent too soon either.

uglyblackjohn said...

Merry Christmas Carey.

Anonymous said...

"Merry Christmas, Grandpa Carey"
and Happy Holidays.
The reality of "the apple not falling far from the tree" should be a eye opener, because the truth, however uncomfortable it might be will emerge,whether we address it or not. And in order for our children and grandchildren to understand that tree they come from, we have a duty to try to culivate the fruit coming from our branches,allowing them a better harvest of fruit,that falls from that tree.