Archive for July, 2012|Monthly archive page
Many places fill me with joy. I love my city – New York, as well as new places to connect with new landscapes, peoples, foods, and cultures. All that aside, by far, my favorite place to be is ensconced in music.
Physically I can be anywhere, but mentally, I am in a state of pure bliss. Mind you, this doesn’t happen anytime I hear music. That could be a blessing or a curse. Rather, this happens when I am engaged with the music. Sometimes through singing and understanding, relaying, and simultaneously feeling the intricacies of the harmonies. Sometimes I am engaged for nostalgic reasons. A song can bring me back to high school or earlier childhood in mere seconds. Sometimes I am overwhelmed by sentimental lyrics. Other times I am moved simply because I am moved.
My body refuses to stay still, and is manipulated by the rhythm.
For these reasons, wrapped in music, is my favorite place to be.
Rodney Phillips and I grew up together. His grandmother and my grandmother were church friends. We lived in the same neighborhood, just two blocks apart. As kids we played stickball, manhole stops, even characters from old movies like Lone Ranger and Tonto or Tarzan. Then we came to 9 and 10 years old. Rodney’s grandparents were going out of town for a funeral, and my grandmother was asked to look after Rodney, just overnight.
The day after they came back I was to take Rodney home. When we got to his building the elevator was open. We got on and before I pressed the floor I wanted a voice said, “Hold the elevator please.” We looked and saw nobody so I pressed the floor I wanted and just as the elevator door opened the person said, “Third floor, please.” It was an elegant lady, heavily made up with a turban on her head. She looked straight ahead and said, “Young man, your laces are untied.” Then Rodney said, “You are not my mama and I ain’t gonna tie them.” She grabbed him by the collar and said “In this elevator I am your mama, you daddy, and the rest of your kin folks.” I looked at Rodney and he was peeing on himself.
We got to our floor. The door opened and Rodney dashed down the hallway and went home. When I reached his apartment, his Grandmother asked me what happened because he ran past her and locked himself in the bathroom. I told her what had happened and I told her some elegant lady roughed up Rodney. She asked me to describe the lady. I did and she laughed. She said, “You boys are coming with me to her apartment to apologize for Rodney’s rudeness.” We got to the apartment and this elegant lady lives in. She opened the door and Rodney said, “That’s her, that’s her!” She said, “Oh, the pisser.” Now I’m going to tell you who this lady was… Miss Nina Simone. Rodney apologized. On our way back to his apartment, I said as long as you live you will never live this down. His grandmother laughed. He was embarrassed.
Fact or fiction?
A large house on a high hill- the only house on that hill. There was an upstairs, downstairs and basement – a spiral staircase. There was a large kitchen, a pot belly stove. Two large bedrooms on the first floor – a front porch and back.
There was a vegetable garden with corn, stringbeans, tomatoes, strawberries.
We had a horse, and I used to help plow the field— I was a learning young man.
My mom, my aunts, my grandfather and uncles lived there, my brothers and sister.
We had a dog names Hepsey with brown and gray hair.
I enjoyed every moment.
I can remember living in the house on Sherman Hill.
Home sweet home.