Monday, December 21, 2009
"Nice....very niiiice" - Bernie Mac
You've gotten two stories already from the Honest Man about his parents. One story is here. The other is here. Now I'm going to hit you up with another oldie but goodie from my youth. What my readers may not know is that the Honest Man is not originally from South Carolina. While I grew up there the majority of my life, I was actually born in Houston, Texas. How did I end up in South Carolina from Texas you ask? Well, impatient ones, I'm going to tell you....
The Honest Mama is from Tennessee, Springfield, TN to be exact. The Honest Daddy is from South Carolina, Edgefield, South Carolina to be exact. My parents met in Atlanta, fell in love, and moved to Houston when my mom got a new job. That's the cliff notes version, I'mma give you the real version at a later time. Anyway, my Dad started getting homesick, my Mom felt somewhat guilty for having to uproot them to Texas, and ultimately gave in to moving back to the Southeast. So after my sister was born, my Dad found a job in Columbia, SC (about 50-60 miles from his home), and we were off.
Now in Texas, we lived in an affluent neighborhood for blacks and latinos. My parents, particularly my Mom, loved the area because it was a great example for my sister and I to see that minorities could thrive and have their slice of the American pie. When we moved to South Carolina, my parents started looking for a similar spot but not shockingly, that "paradise" did not exist :-). They ended up finding a nice suburb where they were building new homes, which my parents jumped on.
If we were not the first, we were one of the first black, scratch that, minority families in the neighborhood. I'm talking like the University of Nebraska where all the black students are probably there on athletic scholarship and the rest of the student body is white. Except my Dad wasn't a pro athlete...although he did look like Reggie Jackson.
Keep in mind, this is the late 70s/early 80s when we moved and while race relations had definitely made significant strides since the 50s and 60s, you still had backwards ass people. And our neighborhood would prove to be no different, particularly our neighbors that were directly next to us.
When we moved in, I swear you probably could have heard pins dropping. I think the folks at the time probably thought we were the moving people that brought their kids along because they were too poor to pay for a babysitter type bullshit. But nope, we were doing the Huxtables before it became mainstream. Like I said, our neighbor next door was one of those observers, and according to both my parents, he wasn't happy about it.
I don't remember him that much because I was too young. Like I would easily remember if he was rocking a confederate flag or calling me a n***er in front of me but nope he didn't. He simply showed his ass by refusing to acknowledge us, especially my Dad. Like for example, my Dad would be in the backyard doing work, he see the dude, shout out "hello", cat would just go back in the building like "You must be kidding..."
Well there was one time my Dad taught this cat a lesson on race relations. One spring day, ole dude was out in his yard barbecuing steaks. Had his beer in one hand, grilling fork in the other, just as happy as one could be. Remember what I told you in the above paragraph. That day, my Dad went outside and was determined to make that guy talk to him. Well he goes out there, waves to ole boy, and just like before immediately dude goes back in his house. So my Dad goes, ok, I'll teach his mark ass. He stood out there and just looked into the open air like he was on some nature shit, knowing full well that ole boy needed to turn his steaks. Here's the crazy part, that jackass REFUSED to come back outside. You could smell the steaks burning but my Dad stood his ground, refusing to budge. He even had me bring him a tasty "beverage."
You could imagine the look on that guy's face when those steaks burned. All that money spent gone to waste. Your family's primary meat is toasted. And in his mind, all because of some smarty arty n***er. But in reality, he had no one to blame but himself. Instead of trying to get to know someone, he assumed what he had been taught was true and chose to show his ass. And in return, my Dad showed him how stupid being racist is.
You have to keep in mind my Dad does a lot of talking behind closed doors but is more poodle than pit bull in public. My mom, as you read in a previous post, is the Wu-Tang clan member not to fuck with. But my pops had his moments and that one was of them. It was essentially, you don't have to do a lot of waving your arms and shouting to show your anger at someone. You can just flip the game on them and then they see after the fact, how dumb their tactics were. Thanks Daddy, I learned so much that day.....Racists beware, I smell some food burning LOL.