Sunday, July 29, 2007

Happy Birthday To Ya....

(For D.E.J. 7/29/57 to 6/26/99)

You are looking at a limited edition photo of a young Strength with Papa Strength, circa 1983. If he had lived, today would've been my dad's 50th birthday. I imagine he'd have a big party to celebrate the day and he'd get his turquoise corvette all washed and shined for the occasion. He'd call everyone -- family, friends, girlfriends -- and remind us all when and where we needed to be. And we'd get there, no matter what.
He'd arrange it so he made some kind of grand entrance where the dj played a special song just to celebrate his arrival. Dad would detest most of the stuff on the radio today, so the playlist would include his old favorites -- Phyllis Hyman, Three Times Dope, Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, Salt 'N Pepa, etc. It would definitely be an old school jam. The one exception would e Beyonce', I'm sure he'd like her.
We'd stroll out onto the dance floor in full view of his insecure ex girlfriend, Susan. Dad always had a way with the ladies and the poor thing always got all a'flutter when she saw Dad around them. She once called over his place and got mad when I answered the phone, thinking I was someone he was cheating with. (Pobrecita -- I hope she got the help she needed.) His other exes would be there as well, including Debbie, who, along with her daughter, remind me of the main characters from 'The Parkers' ; and Joyce, who drove me crazy with all her pets but was with me at the hospital when he died in 1999.
The party would be packed with folks who knew Dad in one way or the other. Some smart aleck would find a way to put 50 candles on a birthday cake and he'd try his hardest to blow them all out. Mom probably wouldn't attend, but he'd ask me about her, like always. He'd tell me that I'm looking more and more like her everyday and then he'd clown me once he noticed that I'm getting the same gray hairs that I once teased him about. Then he'd ask me how long I'm planning to let my locks grow before I come to my senses and cut them off. He'd roll his eyes when I tell him that I'm letting them grow as long as possible, then I'd give him a big hug. Somebody would snap a picture and soon, the party would be over.
Anyway, that's how I wished things could've happened. Rest in peace, old man.

10 comments:

Tha L said...

Beautiful beautiful words, sis. It's an amazing blessing to have memories and imaginations...and the ability to put them both together. btw, you're sooo cute!

Smiling Sista said...

hey there. thanks to you too for beautiful words. interestingly enough, i was listening to phyllis hyman just last night -- well before reading your post. your dad is still in the atmosphere and i'm glad you're remembering his power.

motownrunnergirl said...

what a wonderful post. wonderful, wonderful, wonderful

Strength/Courage/Wisdom said...

Thanks ya'll....

Juicy77 said...

beautiful

natural muze said...

awww. very sweet.

mlle smith said...

You are truly beautiful and so is this post...and your dad is handsome, too. When the hell are you writing a book?!

Have you written to that "Broke Diaries" author that I told you about yet?!

My cousin kept calling Stamford until they got tired and finally put Toni Morrison on the phone. :0l She said TM spoke to her for a long time, even though she was all crying and sniffling and stuff.

:0)

Strength/Courage/Wisdom said...

Wha -- Mlle. Smith has surfaced? Hooray! Thanks for the comment. I have about 10,000 words before I'll finish draft one of the book and then the real work begins. Sigh.

I did check the Broke Diaries' website, but I did not email the author. I have no clue as to what I'd say. Maybe I'll wait to finish the book and then I'll stalk/solicit her. I dunno -- what do you think I should do?

mlle smith said...

I'd totally write her and establish a "relationship" with her first...prior to proposing anything or presenting any of your work. These guys can be great about giving you advice, inspiring...guiding.

I did that once. I wrote to someone that I'd seen on TV a few times...She was on a few different shows in the US, but she had a legal background and was a creative type, like myself.

I wrote her a brief letter and told her how much her story inspired me and thanked her for her honesty and openness and she actually wrote me back and we had a little mentor/grasshopper thing going on for a while! Yeah!!

She really helped guide me in the direction that I truly needed to go and she was able to put me in touch with people that would be helpful.

I wish someone would present some contemporary brown literature that doesn't require that I be fluent in "ebonics" (wtf) to follow the story. Have you SEEN the crap people read on the subways in NYC?! Omg, it's horrendous. Seriously.

It's self-publishing gone awry.

I just purchased Breath, Eyes, Memory from Edwidge Danticat (she's one of my absolute favorite authors) at a local bookshop and I'm going to read that while I wait for classes to start and take a break and just chill out!

Have you read "The Farming of Bones"? It's by the same author...it's AMAZING...

Strength/Courage/Wisdom said...

Great advice, Madmoiselle! I'll shoot this woman an email.

Yes, I am frustrated with the plethora of street literature that's available these days. I LOOOOVE Edwidge Danticat and Breath, Eyes, Memory is among my favorite books. I did read Farming of the Bones, but I enjoyed "Breath" better.

Did you check out Bebe Moore Campbell yet? "Your Blues Ain't Like Mine" shouldn't be slept on!