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.