Thursday, August 27, 2009

Grandma Is 90 Years Young

Today is August 27, 2009 and my grandmother Mildred Harris turned 90 today. I know she's doing well at home in Opelousas, LA and my aunties let her have a drink. If you make it to 90 you deserve a celebration toast. I'm going to have at least two myself. I need to go and find me some boiled crabs too. I dig both of my grandmothers so much and I would like to direct everyone to this post I dedicated to them on Just a Song. That post will cover all the sentimental things. I have two other things I want to say today.

Two days from now is Katrina's anniversary. Just like last year I am taking a pass on writing anything on that day. I want to say something about it right now because August 27, 2005 was the last time my family was all together at our home base in the Lower Ninth Ward. We sat outside and ate crabs on my grandmothers 86th birthday. Obviously the house and grandma aren't there anymore because of the man made natural disaster. While all the experts, and smart people debate about the economics, opportunities, and the value of one neighborhood over another caused by the storm, please remember that for people like me you can't put the lost of tradition and lifestyle into perspective. The other day when the Katrina survey taker asked me to estimate the cost of the things I lost I wanted to tell her the government could give me a blank check and it still wouldn't cover it. I decided not to bother with saying it because she wouldn't understand. I was 31 when the storm happened and it’s still difficult for me to feel comfortable. Imagine what the older people felt after thinking the adjustments in their lives were over already. None of our grandparents deserved that. I guess we just have to deal with it because we live below sea level in poor black neighborhoods and our leadership was too busy getting paid from their side hustles instead of worrying about stuff like levee protection. I am looking forward everyday but some days I get a little bitter and this is one of those days on the calendar. I should be eating crabs on Benton and Miro St. this evening.

There was a lot of cussing in here when I first wrote this but cats like me don't talk like that when dealing with their grandma'nem.

The other thing I want to say is that growing up I was lucky enough to have a lot of older people around me that liked to talk to me about life. I didn't really want to hear it all but they talked anyway. I am only 35 but the reality is that even at this age I have seen and experienced a lot of different things and almost every human emotion. Sometimes when I am alone I think to myself that if I feel this kind of mental fatigue at 35, how do you feel at 65 or 75? That's 30 more years of dealing with unpredictable human beings than I have now. That's why my grandfather used to just shake his head when people half his age used to try and break down life to him. He already knew what was going to happen. What I am trying to say is that if you have some people older than you sit down, be quiet and listen. They might use references from the 50's or have no idea what Facebook or Twitter is but remember; technology and times have changed but human beings are still wired the same. Their experience in that area is invaluable. I am glad I was paying attention because who knows where my crazy self would be.

Happy Birthday to Mildred Harris with love from your grandson Rock on behalf of your grandchildren, great grandchildren and great great grandchildren. I promise not to have a random emotional moment and have to hide from my co workers like I usually do on days like today. I'll see you soon.


Leigh C. said...

Raising a galss and making a toast to your bubbe (grandma) even as I type. L'chaim! (To life!)

And we most definitely need the older folks to keep on talking, even when we may not wanna hear. My great-grandma lived to 99, got to meet the man who became my husband, and was sharp as a tack all her life. I wish I'd talked with her more, actually - it seems, in the end, as though there is never enough time.

May Mildred Harris keep on sharing her spirit with those who love her most, like you. Y'all be well.

Kim Hambric said...

Cliff, thanks for the random emotional moment I am having now.

No one can love you like a grandmother can. I wish mine were still living and could help me out through life. I still talk to them every now and then.

Wishing you and your family strength for the upcoming anniversary.

Jenn said...

What a blessing to have such a pilar of strength in your family...I cannot relate to your bond because my grandparents passed prior to me being born...but I can definitely feel your connection to your gramas through your words...The things that you thought u werent listening to when they talked are permanently penetrated in your subliminal mind...and those values, beliefs spoken through words of wisdom and experience exists in your words and actions daily...always remember that.

Happy Birthday Ms Mildred...Cliff can she still second line?

sussah said...

I wanted to have my Katrina post, that I've been thinking about for two months, to be dated Aug. 29 but last night I realized I just wanted to get it over with. Nobody knows how long we will live so we should listen to everyone of every age, to learn about life. thanks, sp, n.o.

Red said...

Beautiful post darling.

Happy Birthday Ms. Mildred. 90 more years better than the first!

mominem said...

Go Granny Go.

You're lucky to have her.

BigCheze said...


dangerblond said...

My 87-year-old grandmother, Ruby, says, "Happy Birthday, Mildred!"