Monday, October 28, 2013

Who's That Girl?

I walk up and set my purchase on the checkout counter at the corner Walgreens. The girl behind the counter checks me out.

The man from behind the photo counter comes rushing up to the checkout. He recognizes me from somewhere, "Are you somebody?" 

"Yep. I'm a somebody."

"Who are you?"

"I'm me."

We go through a list of potential celebrities other people might say I sometimes kind of possibly resemble. 

"No. Nope." He tells me, "I know you are famous and just won't tell me who you are."  

Great line, Bucko, but it's not working here. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Memphis Music: Arean Alston

Hi! I'm Averill, pronounced like April but with a 'v' instead of a 'p'. 

Tonight I met Memphis musician Arean Alston. Her first name is pronounced like Irene but with an 'A' at the beginning.

Nine years ago, she must have only been a baby, Arean wrote a beautifully touching song called Believe. Last December she followed her own advice to believe in herself. She jumped head-first into recording Believe with a myriad of her friends and fellow Memphis musicians, including the legendary Barnes family.  

The result is outstanding!

Believe is truly an up-lifting message of hope and encouragement. When I listened to the song I became immersed in the music. 

Everyone, no matter where you are in your life, is dealing with challenges and obstacles. Listening to her song and performance ran chills over my entire body because this topic hits close to home. Sometimes life seems too tough especially as a young person trying to figure out who you are and where you belong in this giant world. But Arean reminds us with her powerful message, you will make it through this, continue to believe in yourself, you can be whatever you want to become, you will accomplish everything you want to do, and your dreams are obtainable. Believe! 

That's always a good lesson to keep in your pocket and rattling around in between your ears.

Purchase Arean Alston's cd Believe at Spin Street Music, 3484 Poplar Ave, Memphis, TN. 


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Scandalous, Part I

I thought I had enough drama in my life, but apparently not. 

This is major! 

This is scandalous!!

I've seen his penis!!! 

I know it is him. I've seen that man's penis!

On our first and only date he flopped that thing out of his pants and said, "Look at what you do to me."

It was hard and he cradled it like he would have held a baby out in front of him, to allow for maximum viewing pleasure. 

I shielded my hand in front of my face, "Put that away!" I hissed. "I did not do that to you! I haven't even touched you!  I have not even kissed you! So, you did that to yourself. Put that thing away!"  

I am drunk, full of myself, mouthy, brutally honest, and not interested. I agreed to go out with him because I thought it would make for a good story. Sex with him was not an option. It was nowhere on the table of possibilities. I agreed to the date because what else was I going to do that night? Nothing, except a potential outing to Senses with my best girlfriend. I can have that adventure every weekend. 

We are sitting on the sofa in his double wide that is parked on cinderblocks in the middle of his mother's front yard. I am deep somewhere off of a gravel road down by the railroad tracks in Crenshaw, MS. It is late Saturday night, but because I have not slept it is actually early on a Sunday morning in March of 2005. I do not know what I have gotten myself in to.

Reluctantly he put the monster back in his pants. Soon afterward he made the excuse to change into shorts. As I sat there, averting my eyes, I swore to myself that although this is going to be a fantastic story only a select few in my inner circle will hear about this. 

All that has changed. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Family Dinner

Family dinner with J2 and the Little Rottens is never anything like what you will see on the reruns of television and movies I grew up watching, such as Leave it to Beaver, Happy Days, or Pollyanna. Well, it may be something similar to Pollyanna. Instead of "Oh, I had my heart set on lamb's broth today" it is, "If you wanna eat you better get in the kitchen and fix your own plate," or "I'm guessing we aren't having meat with this meal?" Phae is a pescatarian so we often cater to her. Actually, dinner time at the Empire of J resembles the opening credits to Roseanne, complete with my witch-cackle. It may not be the quintessential ideal of American mealtime, but with five different schedules it is good enough for me. 

Tonight, we sit down on time. Dinner is served at precisely 9:30pm, or as soon as Pan walks through the door from work. No, you do not have time to go to the restroom, my food baby is growling!

Everyone is dressed for the occasion. Meaning, the 'naked child' is wearing his shirt. Two years ago a shirt was merely a suggestion for mealtime attire. I cannot blame him, if I look like a fifteen year old version of Bruce Lee I would be sans shirt too. 

All three of the children have something to celebrate. Pan raised the first donation at work and it is a high dollar donation! She earned a free fifteen minutes of pay and a heap of University of Memphis stickers. Mav leveled-up at Boy Scouts. He is a Star Scout! Almost there, Dude, you can do it! Phae is so fantastic at singing that she made Eighth Grade Show Choir without even trying out! And, if that is not cool enough she is performing a solo in the Veteran's Day performance. AWESOME! and congrats to all three of them! 

After the three minutes of good news we had five minutes of silence where the serving plates are passed family-style around the table. The food disappears off of plates. Everyone reminds Pan of her lactose intolerance. All of us warn her that her plate is full of dairy and cheese. I made alternatives for her, but she does not care, "I'm too hungry to care!"

Then all resemblance of civility retreats. Speculations of potential heinous bodily functions including passing gas, future poops, cramping, and vulgar jokes run rampant. In order to continue gross and unacceptable behavior I'm thinking that at our next Family Dinner we will tackle the other taboo subjects such as money, religion, and politics. You know, just so we can offend all sensibility. 

But, I'm not counting it as a loss. For the first time in months we are all able to sit down together, tell stories, unwind, and laugh. Nobody forgot their p's and q's. I could not have asked for better behavior!

As an added bonus everyone stays seated after the table is cleared. That means they wanted to spend more time together, without eyeballs glued to electronic devices. Yes, I am guilty of that too.  And, after conversation dwindled they asked to be excused. Can you believe that? To me it practically made dinner a formal affair. That's perfect for me!  If it's good enough for me, it's good enough for Ward Cleaver, uh, or at least Dan Conner. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Painted-on Jeans

I huffed and puffed, moaned and groaned, and even crammed and jammed. I'll be damned if I didn't get these jeans up, over these hips, zipped, and buttoned. 

A few weeks ago I got rid of all of my 'fat' jeans. They were not inspiring greatness. These jeans, I struggled into this morning, are the same size I wore my Junior year in high school. But, don't be impressed; I was a 'chunker' back then too.  Then, these jeans were easy to shimmy up, already zipped and buttoned. Today, I have a severe case of 'Dunlap.' But, I'll tell you what, you're going to have one helluva hard time telling me that I don't look good. 

Celebrating the small things! 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Leeah Vickers "Free To Fly"

"If you could tell your 13 year old self anything, what would it be?"

The room becomes quiet. After numerous attendees are moved to share past hurts, reflect on the experiences that define who each of us are, and how we can become better the room quickly changes from strangers in the same restaurant into a group of friends 

We are at Mot & Ed's on Madison in mid-town Memphis on a rainy fall October evening to celebrate my friend, Leeah Vickers, book release. She wrote a beautiful book of soul searching poetry, Free To Fly

Leeah talks to the crowd, a mixture of family, friends, and fellow Soul Speakers, with familiarity.  She is a genuine person, a caring individual, a woman who has overcome hurt, pain, and anger to appreciate how the life lessons have shaped her into the person she is now.

I absolutely commend Leeah on her ability to be brutally honest about herself.  It is not often a person will stand in front of a crowd to expose their vulnerabilities and deepest secrets.  She has set herself Free to Fly.
Tears of joy are shared at Leeah's journey.

Leeah Vickers

Leeah Vickers making a point.

Leeah Vickers speaking to the crowd,

Leeah reads a love poem to Andrew.

The attention of Leeah and the room completely captured by Yubu's angelic voice. Live performances are held weekly on Tuesday evenings for Soul Speak at Mot & Ed's.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

'Under One Roof' Family

"Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Today marks a milestone. For the first time in their marriage, MarineBrother, his wife, and their sons are an 'under one roof' family. Daily long distance phone calls, watching his children grow up via FaceTime and Skype, a mother pulling Mom and Dad duties on the homefront, cramming family time, and making as many memories in a two week leave every year is all too common for military families. Although this move is bittersweet for the family they are moving away from, I could not be more ecstatic for their new adventures. 

I wish y'all safe travels, an abundance of love, even more patience, and phenomenal new adventures. Congratulations B, N, & Boys!