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You Have To Love

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Love. You gotta love the poor people too. You have to love the workers. You have to love the survivors. You have to love the whores. You have to love the strugglers. The dirt on their face children of prisoners. You have to love the people who have nothing in common with yourself. You have to love the ones doing anything to live another day. You even have to love the people who live quite opposite to you. Blue has to look across the wheel and love orange.

You have to love those in hard-to-survive, war-torn places. You have to love them – more than you look up to clean looking Hollywood and music stars. You have to love the people whom you have more in common with because you are more likely to find yourself in need of compassion than you are to end up working on a movie set or making a hit song.

You have to love the people you heard bad things about. You have to love people enough to not believe it sometimes. You have to love people enough to not turn a quiet cheek but to lend a kind smile. You have to love people you think are wrong because even if what you heard is true they are still in need of kindness. You have to love more. And blatantly love more.

Even if what you heard is true your hateful words will only make things worse… Even if what you heard is true your negative thinking will only make it worse… Even if what you heard is true your harsh actions later will only make life worse… for you.

You have to love and you have to love yourself. You can’t love yourself and hate other people. You can’t love yourself and think those ways about them. You can’t fly while weighing yourself down. You can’t be free while handcuffing yourself to the receivers of your hate. You can’t be loved and expect the kind of love you deserve while witholding that same love from other people.

You have to love people in different situations as you. You have to love people who have different upbringings than you. You have to love people who make different decisions than you. You have to love the people who have from day 1 had an entirely different series of experiences on this planet as you. You have to love the differences a day in this life makes.

You have to love that you have no idea how hard it has been. You have to love that you have a sea of information yet to learn. You have to love the purposes for which every person is separately alive. You have to love the families you’ve never met. You have to love what some people might do for love. And you have to love the confusion through which you can’t see that love.

You have to.

Or else you become the reason for so much hate in this world.

 

Tubman’s episode 3

Everybody’s got a favorite place where they like to kick back

it helps to keep the balance of a busy life in tact

People come to Tubman’s for the Super Bowl and Cub’s game

and no matter what the season certain things are always unchanged

From hard working hustlers who wanna join the Union

to people after church who want a little more communion 

Early afternoon you see the usual suspects

friendly with the staff they know the crew & who runs it

All the others check in about 4:15 

getting ready for the happy hour rush routine

So Rudy’s at the door once the work day finishes

verifying ages of the local thirsty citizens

It’s the kid again who gets a little loud for everybody

he parks his Masserati always smelling like Asahi

He’s too unpredictable, immature and incorrigible

barely old enough to use a grown man’s urinal

But his money’s still green, I mean his debit card works

spending money like his credit limit’s large as Garth Brooks

So he gives Rudy five and then he slips Rudy 10 

but he doesn’t keep from checking on the ages of his friends

Then they pile into the bar and try to talk to senoritas

out of state from Encinitas, steady drinking Lagunitas

But the locals round here are thick as Mrs. Buttersworth

into loving all the women not just looking under skirts

So their young college game isn’t really that effective

they ought to grow some hair and watch their elders for a lesson

Martin hits the door off of work, a long day

while these kids are representing no work and all play

He grabs a can of Fosters and goes to chat with Reggie

putting beer into an already aggravated belly

Girls after work come to drink and lose focus

the kid and his friends couldn’t help but take notice

They swarm around the open toes faster than lightning

the Sweet Water flows so the Bass start biting

And Kevin’s working shifts cause he lost a bar tender

who took over the waitress spot if everyone remembers

And when he’s on the bar you best believe he keeps tabs

looking over his establishment when things turn bad

When he hears a glass break and a slap to the face

it’s time to cut him off if it isn’t too late

He was gonna toss him out if the lad’s not wanted

but a flash of the door he sees the kid somersaulted

This isn’t a democracy or trial by majority

so don’t try to argue with the girls from sororities

Now the rest of this kid’s friends stand around foolish

looking at each other like they’re lost or just clueless

Dan comes in the door wondering what happened

outside there’s a kid holding face with a napkin

He needs ice, ice baby, what’s these dumb one’s thinking?

he’s tired of these crazies, and young come lately’s

He looks up to Martin wondering where the rhyme’s starting

but Reggie’s throwin’ darts & he needs a good bargain

So Dan steps up to the bar for a drink special

it’s happy hour, now or never, order up a vessel

Kevin tries to say Whattup while handing him a flavored cup

but there’s sounds from the alley like someone’s rowdy breaking stuff

They rush to the front door and Rudy points a finger

Kevin knows to handle it before his bouncer taps his anger

This punk done flipped out trying to cause damage

throwing beer bottles and anything he can manage

So Kevin grabs the kid while he’s mad & caught him off guard

pinning down his arms before he racks up an assault charge

He throws him in his car and grabs his keys from his pocket

shuts the door and locks it

Of course he doesn’t like it, if he wants he’ll call the cops in

but about that time his head’s fallen in a topspin

So Kevin tells Rudy not to let him inside

and he has to wait for later if he’s gonna wanna drive

And the rest of the bar’s already moved on

forgot the last brouha, groovin’ to a new song

Dan’s found some buddies and they’re starting off softly

some guys doin shots off their girlfriend’s bodies

Gonna play a hand and just see where the cards land

and the kid’s gonna wake up with a headache and bar tab

Kevin’s making notes for his credit card bill

gonna charge him for every broken pack of Starr Hill

But it’s just how it goes, sometimes there’s a clown here

tearing up the scene trying to blame it on the brown beer

You better walk straight and if not take a cab home

act grown or you’ll leave the place choking on a ham bone

There’s a million stories in the city, lots of them are Tubman’s

where Kevin runs it on the corner lot and everyone loves him

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Nelle Slim’s Yourz Truly out now!

 

Wonder what No Choice Music Group’s latest artist Nelle $lim is bringing to the scene?

Peep the review and follow the links at the bottom to stay up on the news.

 

Nelle $lim Album crop

Check it out on Amazon MP3 and iTunes!

“How am I going to be introduced to the artist” is always on my mind when pressing Play on a brand new album from a hot new artist. I noticed the first 3 tracks of this album go intro, skit, song track, so – I think to myself – Executive Producer Sleepy Wonder is going to give us a couple little samples, a few tastes of his new find Nelle before giving us the whole experience with the first full song. An interesting start no doubt. Known to deliver gold, ol’ Sleeps I’m sure has gone right again here. So let’s see:

The album starts with a light and refreshing piano melody, an Intro which moves into a beautifully slow beat. Knowing it will be a minute before we truly hear her vocals in full form Nelle doesn’t hide from the opportunity to jump right in on the track here. “When I was a little girl I wanted to sing. I wanted to sing everyday. Singing took away my pain. I wanted to sing.” BAM. Nailed it. I’ve never heard a better opener from an artist on my first introduction.

The piano keys step along with the slow steady beat and take you into a better mood, a higher place, and a more alert state of mind. I’m ready for this album…

“I always wanted to sing. Now I’m doing my thing.”

What an intro to what we need to know about Nelle Slim.

After a strong intro we regress into what sounds like an unmastered, raw segue on track 2, the Phone call skit. As a listener you catch yourself hearing the artist at home or maybe even finished in the studio after a long week, and showing the personal side behind the production. Our heroine is reaching out to see who’s catching tonight. She’s looking to get up with her girls and go out. What I know is going to be a contrast to the following song, the skit acts as a fiendish appetizer to the first full track to appear on this project.

Slip Away feels like dreaming in club land. A brilliantly produced darker vibe with a late night club feel in a place far away from the skit we just heard. Like going from day to night, or reality to fantasy, Slip Away sets it off.

I don’t think anyone is going to hear the opening pizzicato harp and not give this song full attention. “I want to slip away before the lights come on, yeah. Nobody knows what we ‘bout to do.”

Remember this is our first full meeting with Nelle, so as if to put it all out there later in the track after the second chorus we get a few bars spit from Nelle just to let us know this girl can flow as well as ride on a melody. A danceable going-out song, I can picture the video for this one being amazing to watch as Nelle shows us what Friday night looks like.

Grind is a bit more aggressive. Grind is haunting, bassy. After a brief minute the beat develops into a heavy but moving, looming feel that makes you want to turn it up. I’m not sure if I’m nodding my head because I love the song or if I subconsciously wish I could get it to go louder.

Grind is direct, with a hard working beat behind it. “My name is Nelle Slim I’m about my money. I grind all the time.” That’s the sound of the meaning, or is it the meaning of the sound?

Killer, this one is.

Boy Boo sets off right. I love the electronic tones and the slow violin. The producer dipped his brush and painted something nice with this one. We get a few seconds of taste and then they bring it in. Ever surprising, every well crafted is the music saturating any NCMG release. Brandi Edwards adds her gift to this track stringing vocals and harmony along her path. An electric guitar shows up subtly in the background and you fall deeper into the song. I love an artist like Nelle because there’s nothing I like more than music where I get melodic song lines, and then a nice flow too. A high point of this song is the harmonic chorus that is spread over an incredible beat. This one wins it for me so far and makes me more excited to keep moving forward.

Do Me This Way stomps onto the scene. Nelle sings in a heartfelt narrative over a man who’s done her wrong. The beat is dynamic and developing as always. It steps steadily, then deconstructs. It breaks down and returns. Sleepy Wonder himself blesses the track with some vocal accents as well.

Another winner with this one.

How Could You is a throwback to summer. It’s full of bright tones and an easy feel. I close my eyes and feel sunshine. Smokin Dro Frazier appears after a brief intro from our songstress. The two compliment each other over verses and vocals, often with Frazier rhyming to the beat with Nelle providing a musical backdrop at the same time. The layers work well with this one. Dro drops a good verse that goes with the vibe of not only the song, but the album. I like him talking about treating his girl well and appreciate that his voice doesn’t steal the show but instead fits into the music as an instrument. This one’s easy to feel.

Next is another short skit. HipHop artistry brought the theatrical and reoccurring notion of skit work on records, one that I’ve noticed has gone missing over these past years.

This skit is a non-essential addition to the album, but again I like that it takes this highly produced professional album back to a personal situation.

Right away, Friday jumps to be a contender for my favorite track on the album, though it would be hard to actually choose. We all love that “It’s Friday, I just got paid, I’m gonna have fun tonight” feeling.

Once again production master Sleepy Wonder makes heads nod along to a good time. I find it interesting whenever a good party song is crafted from a smooth beat and mid-tempo rhythm. It’s easy to blast the timing into the stratosphere and end up in a hyper situation when your intent is to give someone a “time to party” track, but here we have a “getting in the car, going out to the club” anthem. Kush appears later in the track adding flavor. Friday is a song that I’d like to hear again and again.

The Slip Away (European remix) is a good bonus to this album. A slow build from a place of R&B into a brooding electronic sound scape and arriving into a late hours club beat – a grand reimagining of a featured song of the album and a good note to go out on.

* * * * *

Nelle Slim is a great addition to the No Choice Music Group’s growing catalogue of talent. What I’m starting to know more clearly is how the NCMG artists ended up in music. With these incredible and natural gifts, sense of style, rhythm, and burning to create songs they had no choice but to end up here and now, in this industry, in this profession, making powerful music. I expect we’ll continue to see NCMG grow in quality nd magnitude as their musical paths carry them onward into an increasingly bright future.

Nelle’s first album on NCMG is nothing to be over looked but something to look over again and again.  The tracks and skits are a day in the life of an artist thirsting to sing.

She makes you hungry for music. I don’t know how No Choice Music Group can so consistently find artists with such passion.

Nelle’s album is one that bring a number of different experiences with a backdrop of consistent, top-notch production and brilliant sound imagery. Nelle’s gift as a vocalist and lyricist shine over the entirety of the album. She and Sleepy Wonder execute this project very well. They should both be outwardly and unapologetically proud of this art they produce. The sonic compositions here are as always fresh. As a listener, paying close attention means reaping greater reward as they change, drop-off, develop, deconstruct, and return to original programming.

I look forward to what No Choice Music Group has in store for us in the future. I have no doubt they will, with proper timing, attract the attention of other like-minded artists who will make their own beautiful additions to this large musical project that is NCMG. Maybe one day we’ll even have a label album featuring the combined work and imagination of the label’s artists. There’s reason for excitement and anticipation for anything this group may later bring to us.

But as for now, Nelle $lim’s charging up the scene with something sweet. Catch it while it’s hot.

Follow:

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No Choice Music Group

 

 

Review: Yourz Truly

No Choice Music Group ASCAP BMG Chrysalis US

Sleepy Wonder featured on track #6 Do Me This Way.

Will Hockaday

woppaday@gmail.com

Tubman’s round 2

Tubman’s on a Saturday night, the lights shining

the ice coming out of the bar is like diamonds

The kids in the corner have a round of Blue Moon

while their buddy’s in the alley caught a buzz a little too soon

Ladies look fresh but it’s still a little early

for the dozen extra fella’s from the local fishing tourney

We’ll let the drinks flow and keep illusions narrow

’til the beer goggles get ’em struck with Cupid’s arrow

Tonight we got Abby on the set, a new waitress

tired of being nameless leaving Las Vegas

The inaugural night, gonna see what the tips bring

her first job since sixteen without a strip scene

A face that’s toxic beyond all logic

breakin’ more hearts, makin’ drinks exotic

She takes a cig break in the dim of the back lot

filling out a Pick 3 hoping for the jackpot

And Dan spits a little over Madlib’s medicine

when a new guy enters with a couple heads challengin

They have a back & forth knowing Dan’s reputation

he listens to the man with a little reservation

‘Cause Dan’s innovation speaks to the masses

some others only kick it when they’ve had a chance to practice

But Kevin’s got a motto “It ain’t gonna ruin my night.”

Twitter think he’s tight – gold diggers know it’s pyrite

This new cat hanging out wants to take fame

but you need to be aware cats here can run game

And speaking of a new face Donnie has another too

cleaning up the place, not a stranger in to guzzle brew

Whatever’s on the flop Donnie knows how to play it

but since 7:30 man his face has started fading

Playing around here might land you in trouble

and taking home bank ensures a kerfuffle

But he’s thinks Abby’s cute so now his mind’s on women

but she keeps bringing drinks to the man who keeps winnin’

And he can’t really blame her, the cards tell it all

so he keeps his mind sharp and quits ordering the alcohol

The fifth hand in a row the man throwin’ cards down

gathers up the chips, take a shot that Abby brought ’round

From the other room it sounds loud from a distance

Dan’s on a mission, the new kid’s dissed him

It has to get embarrassing if Dan’s getting handled

but he’s never seen the man dismantled in a battle

He redirects his vision to the problem before him

his hands fast shuffling, his eyes recording

Martin deals a hand with his Little Caesar’s name tag

Donnie’s out of chips, gonna buy-in and change that

They switch swap and bluff and Abby circles round the table

Donnie’s got a straight, high Ace, feelin’ thankful

The stranger’s staring hard at the assortment that he holds

Abby drops a shot of chilled tequila and he folds

He gathers up the chips and takes the shot she supplied him

and Donnie notices something funny with the timing

Another hand down and another ounce of liquor

now he’s got it put together, ’bout to grab a knife & stick her

He stands from the table, Dan comes from the side room

looking like a pair about to stand-off at high noon

World spinning, head dizzy, sitting in a typhoon

Dan thinks for a second tells Donnie “Here’s what I’ll do”

He goes to the bar, gets a dozen Newcastles

to rustle up the cattle with a couple new lassos

A good faith gesture, after the lecture

they’ll see that he’s fresher, and never no jester

But after he’s got ’em all drunk double-fisting

the kid’s train of thought’s off track & all twisted

He orders ten caipirinhas at the same time

and Kevin sends Abby out to get more limes

Now his boy across the circle can’t remember what he’s rhyming

and the stranger at the table lost his key to perfect timing

The kid can’t remember what he’s got memorized

and Donnie’s back in charge with his perfect game initialized

Another couple drinks and Dan’s adversary’s buried

hot rhymes to the heart and the crowd is caught staring

Donnie’s stolen every cent back from the sleek customer

Tubman’s gonna straighten out a bunch’a cheap hustlers

Give it 10 minutes and the three of ’em are faceless

clown at the table, fake rhymer and the waitress  

They’re stripped of their cash, claim, fame and the rest

and no tips for the woman perpetrating this mess

As they leave the bar it’s obvious the shock that they felt

and the local boys got another notch on their belt

Rudy sends them out in the rain like fool amateurs

and Kevin’s not impressed with his hiring manager

Catching it awry like he’s JD Salinger

but it’s one for the books, gonna put it on the calendar

As for the night they’re gonna see a top party

time to meet some tight bodies and buy ’em Hot Toddies

Pong in the back, at the bar quarters drop

that’s just how they do down at the corner spot

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Tubman’s

It’s Friday at Tubman’s, the whole scene eruptin’

people getting off of work and drinking with their cousins

An ordinary scene made of more than every dream

it’s an extraordinary feelin what the local folk are seein’

Now the way we used to do it we would get off on a Friday

and head toward the corner underneath the passing highway

The building, unexpected, people pass it undetected

except for Rudy by the door who checks your license when you step in

Kevin owns the dwelling, keepin eyes on the money

putting heart into his work, not some ordinary dummy

It’s a little anybody with some seasonal descendants

some regulars who visit every week should get a pendant

And Kevin welcomes everyone even under age

they eat potato skins and talk to women out their range

Because they never cause trouble, heck they elevate the cyphers

and when it’s late they make the best designated drivers

The college girls come in with their snap chat and booty pants

showing off their whalebones, tramp stamps & hootie mack

Dressing for the catch, taking shots after shooters

ready with a selfy taking watch of any suiters

The cats from construction get off work and have a couple each

the double X’s from their Dos Equis direct their type of speech

Kevin likes the business and he hopes they’ll con-sume

when the petstore next door’s finished next June

Now it’s after work which means the music’s louder than the afternoon

it has to boom so half a tune’ll make you want to dance a few

Beats and instrumentals turn the bar into a venue

he puts some Dilla donuts on the happy hour menu

Which makes me have to mention Tubbie’s favorite face & common man

a fan of any music here the local people call him Dan

He stands to the side and kicks a rhyme to the rhythm

flowing pretty often over any beat you give him

Every now and then he draws a crowd and holds a forum

as they nod their heads and listen people easily adore him

But he doesn’t over do it, just a little chance to kick it though

in between the ciphering he’ll sit with a Pacifico

They love to hear him rip a flow and people with their laptops

park up at the bar and chat with buddies while the raps drop

Dan’s lyrically killing, Mac users think they Yakuza documenting what he’s spitting

And Reggie throws game into any kind of art form

but in his true fame he’s a master at the dartboard

With Donnie at the table holding cards to his collarbone

stacking chips against his buddies anytime that they aren’t at home

Colleagues and strangers are all fair game for

Donnie and his fast card handling behavior

And Kevin keeps the beer stocked better than it used to be

Peroni and Corona, even two or three that’s gluten free

Left Hand, Magic Hat, Green Flash, Flying Dog,

Sam Adams, Bells, Stella, Allagash, Ommegang

Whatever gets ya open helps to liven up the party

plus after some Tecate people think they know karate

Tubman’s got it going though, for locals and for travelers

but Karaoke Wednesdays are for anyone but amateurs

They welcome any challengers but disregard the meddlers

it’s not about your voice, they love to represent the regulars

And Martin rocks the corner table back from Chitchen Itza

back to work and smelling like a Little Caesar’s pizza pizza

He’s a single man with all the time to travel over all the world

wishing that his hands were holding more than a St. Pauli Girl

A Rolling Rock from Boulder always witnessed with a grin

trying to make the Guiness book for drinking pints of Heineken

The bar’s getting packed so you better tip your waitress

or stand in line and bounce your head and listen to the playlist

You’ll get the best service on the block you can get

but they won’t come back & check if you don’t treat ’em with respect

So take the time to get in line on the corner by the wood sign

and come on down to Tubman’s if you’re lookin for a good time

 

Landscape

Landscape

My Sister

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My Sister was always one to stand on higher moral ground. When we were young she sparkled in front of my eyes. She had a kind heart and a sweet smile. Clean blue eyes. She set the example of what a person should be like. She always seemed a step ahead to me in terms of maturity and responsibility. Like she was always ready for the next shoes that she would grow into. The first time I felt lost was when she first went to school and I stayed home. I ate toast after she left and used my imagination to pass the time until she came home. After school she’d ride the bus and tell me about what she did that day in class. It all sounded fun, exciting and scary. She blazed paths years before I was ready to think of them and made it look easy. I copied what she did when it came to what was fun and what was cool. She would set me straight when I would get an attitude or act in ways that make you no fun to be around. We watched movies every kid should watch and a lot that parents nowadays wouldn’t let us see. Along with my grandpa she was the first to stick up for me in front of anyone regardless of who they may be. And it never made me feel anything but protected, and proud. It made me feel like she was watching out for me, not because I couldn’t or wouldn’t ever be able to, but just until I was big enough to watch out or stick up for my own self. She wanted to show me how to do it. As we grew up we reached a breaking point where I could keep up with her when running or riding bikes. When we would push each other around or wrestle she started to not always be the stronger one. We had jokes. We conspired against my parents. She put up with me when I would break her sunglasses or not want to share. We sat at the Fischer Price record played and listened to Disco Duck, and The Sound of Music, and countless story books that we would flip through ahead of pace as the story was read along the record 45. She had pretty brown hair that was long like Crystal Gayle’s. We played PayDay and Memory and Operation. She was talented and tried hard. She got good grades and awards. We bought Trapper Keepers. We had to drive to Richmond to a paper store that’s long been closed because they sold bright colored paper and that was really popular. She twirled baton, sometimes in parking lots, sometimes in parades and competitions. We would go sometimes to all day competitions where tons of other girls her age and older would stand in front of judges and do a routine they had practiced a hundred times to see who could do it most perfectly. I’d sit there bored in my own personal space higher in the bleachers playing with whatever toys I could bring while Sousa marches and other pieces played on repeat. But I’d always wait and watch for when it was my sister’s turn. Sometimes she would do it perfectly. Sometimes she might miss and drop her baton. But she always deserved 1st place. We read books and sang songs. We went to camp and stuck by me because I cried. We went to family reunions and stuck by me because I didn’t know all these people and these other kids. We would eat dinner and move into our rocking chairs in front the TV. Hers was big. Mine was my dad’s when he was a kid. We’d eat fudgsicles and watch The Dukes of Hazard. We spent the night at my grandparents and ate ice cream. We spent the night at my other grandparents and ate ice. She sang in the church choir and liked it. We went to Delaware on a train without our parents to put on a church play and stayed with people we didn’t know. We rode around with other kids and chaperones and saw their big fancy church. We watched Arachnophobia the day we left and I was scared of spiders for a while. We got older and she said I should part my hair. We got bigger bikes. She got more friends. When she got older she was a cheerleader. And cross country runner. And hurdler. A couple of times I came over to the high school from the middle school at the end of the day and went to track practice with her. She was friends with all the high school coaches everyone saw in the newspaper. She was an institution. She taught me about weird science things I had never heard of. She learned Spanish and had to cook Hispanic food and made a piñata. We had matching LL Bean backpacks and rolled our jeans up at the bottom. Her hair was half as long but it took her over twice as long to get ready. She dated a boy who was real nice to me and became my friend too. They did some things together but took me with them all the time. It was so much fun. And soon we all grew up. Time moved faster. As a kid if I had a hundred thoughts a minute I now had a thousand. Sometimes it would be tomorrow already. My jump rope partner and hula hoop partner teacher was now my chauffer and guardian. Now she’s a parent to two boys. She’s a wife and one day might be a grandmother. She’s a coworker to my wife but still an example in a lot of ways. She still sparkles. She’s always busy. Always in a hurry. But still the same. She still has her blue eyes that shine with kindness. Her hair’s shorter. And a little thinner. And it will probably get a little thinner and eventually be gone. For a while. But then it might just come back. It might come back thicker, thinner or even a different color. But she’ll be the same until the end. My sister. With her kind heart and sweet smile.

Unsubscribed.

Yesterday I witnessed an unfortunate observance when I was on the highway driving home. I noticed a coffee cup come bouncing down the middle lane in front of me. We all see trash on the sides of the roads and interstates often but after a second it occurred to me that the car in front of me had thrown it out. I mean she tossed it right out the window. The perceivably Starbucks cup and brown paper jacket separated and went frolicking into on-coming traffic, released of their indentureship as vessels for over-priced beverage now to be run over and lie on the sides of the road with so many plastic bags, fry cartons and cigarette butts. Moments later I passed this car on their right side and glanced over to see who would be so careless or entitled to throw trash onto the roadway in such a way. There is no one I could have seen driving this Infinite sedan that would have possibly impressed me nor made it appropriate to so blatantly litter in work traffic yesterday afternoon. Objectively it appeared to be a white or light-skinned woman dressed nicely and wearing a fashionable vintage style hat and sunglasses. In my mind I shake my head but in reality I continued on my way realizing how rarely it is I actually see something so inexcusable and unnecessary. As if she couldn’t bare to drive with an empty coffee cup and dispose of it responsibly once she arrived where she was going. Or better yet, reuse it on her next outing.
I wouldn’t have thought any more about it until I had another experience this morning.
I parked in the shade at a gas station in Mechanicsville where I had the opportunity to eat a cheap but yummy breakfast burrito at my leisure before checking back in at the office. I faced a quiet connector road with the pumps and market on my left. To my right was a large field and a sparse shopping center with apartments in the distance. While I sat and ate with the windows down enjoying the breeze I saw a person in the distance walking this way, and beginning now I’ll do my best to describe every step of my thought process. It looked like a black man. Camouflage t-shirt, ball cap, carrying a little pull-tie bag. There’s a 99% chance he’s coming to the gas station. One naturally deduces that his trajectory would put him right in line with my car. I figured the chances of him not noticing and walking directly into the side of my car was pretty slim. He’d assuredly notice me and walk around. But – I’m also used to living in Richmond and at times how commonly someone will ask you if you can spare any change. And if so, who cares. I’ll either give him some cup holder pennies, nickels and dimes or I won’t. Am I going to put my windows up or change anything that I’m doing in any way? Not hardly. I’m loving this peaceful breeze and these awesome early remnants of the on-coming Fall. I consider for a second how degrading some people’s view is on the world that they would probably move their car or take some similar action, any action, over someone walking. Or walking their way. As if to say “Ooh, look. A human in the wild. What a sight. We better watch out.” Or probably more often in these rural areas “Ooh a black man coming my way. I better take precaution.” I refuse to buy into such ridiculousness. I’ve lived in the city and seen the world and have only grown richer and deeper through experiences with people. I have no history of hold-ups, assault, or any kind of unprovoked aggression. Why would I possibly be bothered by this? So I keep eating and go back to thinking about work, my wife and Jimmy Buffett. I detach from the guy entirely for a moment until I see him in my side mirror. Interested in what he was doing I watch him bend over. There’s a tree a little bit behind my car, the one providing the shade. I thought maybe he was going to sit down and enjoy it like I myself was doing. Then he stood up and had a cup in his hand. It looked empty and he was holding it like he didn’t really care about it, obviously not trying to save it from spilling anything or caring for it that much. He took a step or two and bend over again. I didn’t see what it was that time.
He stopped and was picking up trash that he saw. In the grass. Under the tree. On the edge of the parking lot.
After a few more times he moseyed over to the trash can and, having done his civil duty, threw them away and kept walking onward, setting a good example for the world.
I hate how the general audience is led to believe otherwise. These kinds of things are actually my usual experience.

Blue Slippers

Walking.
Past all these nice homes.
Lights on. (Lights off.)
Mostly off…
Nodding to those I pass by. Feels good to stretch my knees.
Something feels kind of off though, so I take baby steps.
(Ahhhhh) deep breath.
It’s a little drafty. I’ll tighten my coat some.
Ha – didn’t realize I hadn’t even changed out of my slippers today.
I thought I had my loafers on.
Oh well. They’re comfy.
I’ve forgotten where I was going to go now.
I’ll just have a walk and turn around when I decide I’m finished.
“Hi neighbor.” (smile)
A couple folks are sweeping.
“Excuse me. Ma’am. Mrs. Doughty. Excuse me… ” (someone keeps saying behind me).
I wish they would answer them.
They’re not talking to me.
It’s looks like there’s some things going on up ahead.
There’s always new things.
Why can’t people just leave stuff alone. Always changing.
“Hi there ladies”
They all wear these blue outfits. Maybe it’s a work uniform.
They all seem like they work together anyways.
(I don’t think they said “Hi” back.)
Everybody’s doors are open.
You can see folks watching television or visiting with their family. (“Hi there.”)
This is a nice place.
I wonder what’s around the bend up there.
AH! (Watch out!)
That guy almost ran me over.
Those electric motors are so quiet.
I can hear everyone’s noises now. (Code E… Code E!)
A couple of left turns and I think I’m a little lost.
It’s so bright!
(Excuse me. Ma’am... Mrs. Doughty!)
I turn around to face a young man.
He looks funny at me.
I look down at the floor.
Ah – I’ve been carrying my remote control from the TV.
Funny how you don’t notice some things.
He lets me keep it.
Young fellows are so nice. They’re always helping me with one thing or another.
“Thanks sweetie.”
He wants me to come this way.
We turn around and walk.
Ooh – I don’t think I’ve been here before.
He’s talking to his friend about a lady who doesn’t remember her husband’s funeral.
Poor thing.
That does remind me though – I wonder where Henry is.
He usually wants his breakfast before now.
I think the kids were coming by today after their ball game…
They’re getting so big.
Oh I think this nice man has a friend.
They want me to come this way.
I don’t know them but they seem nice.
They remind me of my son.
I wonder if this is a school.
They help me sit down back in my recliner. (I wonder where it came from.)
I’m a little tired.
Seems like I can’t go too far without needing a little nap anymore.
I think I’ll take one.
I wonder if the kids had a good time at the game today.
Maybe when I wake up Henry will be here.

Timothy Swiggert was the first person to solve a mystery on a train. He was paid in deviled eggs.

The Rockefellers were the first to rent barns to Pilgrims.

Eels are our only natural source of bio-renewable energy.

If you’re gonna play in Texas be home by 6.

The first public riot was hilarious and enjoyed by all. Things have since gone downhill.

Yellowstone National Park folk hate being compared to Yosemite National Park folk.

The Yakuza fear no one other than the Cobra Kai.

The Gutenberg Bible was printed in a font called “No Mercy”.

Relying on devices to tell time used to be a sign of weakness and would get you the nickname “Chumsley”. Hence the pocket watch.

If you’re gonna play in Texas, you gotta have a griddle in the van. 

The Barbie doll was originally intended to teach young girls how to be pretty and silent.

Restrooms were originally owned and operated by gypsies who would provide shelter for the long hours of night it would require for a traveling man to expel the excretions of wild berries and thornwood they would consume during the workday.

Knowing that Henry Ford was colorblind, the factory charged him premium money for barrels of black paint labeled things like “Queen Elizabeth’s rose” and “Tangerine Sunrise”.

With trade open to Cuba and South American music influencing the youth of the era, Henry Ford expected the popularity of iguanas to peak in the late 1800’s and therefor wanted his black vehicles to absorb as much energy from the sun as possible because there were no good portable heat rocks with which honest knickerbocker could travel at the time.

There’s 17 ways to eat nachos – only four of them involve cheese or make any sense.

Ancient Mayans practiced many forms of yoga, the most popular was Hot Corn yoga.

If you’re gonna play in Texas, you gotta have a riddle for the fam. 

For hundreds of years the American Indians used to honor Creeping Badger, the squaw who was believed to have invented the tomahawk. Until it was discovered he merely found a pile of them in the woods one day.

You can teach a man to fish, but once you do – can you trust him?

Before sogning Edddie Murphey, Shrek was originally a retelling of Roger’s and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma. 

If you raise a donkey to think it’s a pig it will not produce superior bacon.

Richmond was actually founded by Spanish settlers looking for a better route to Canada.

Howdy Dootie was just a knock-off of Howie Dooley. Both were invented by Robert Cranton. 

If you’re gonna play in Texas, you gotta give your Ritalin to Graham. 

No one recalls cigarettes were first marketed at Cancer Pops. 

It’s a  special man that brought us here today

we’ve been so blessed, with the fellowship and fond memories,

many of us for our entire lives 

with the love and joy of spending time with my grandfather, 

we’ve come to share one last moment, and show our love for him one more time

My grandfather represented to me so many things

He always brought me back to another world during another time

older times

with values like hard work, honesty, simplicity, 

things that never become unpopular or go out of style

My grandmother and him in so many ways were examples to the world

in how we should care for each other, in ways that two people affect the lives of so many

he’s the last of my grandparents,

and with his passing concludes four of the most special people in my life who have moved on beyond this world 

and taken a world of love with them

Big Papa as we called him was gentle in his ways and strong in his beliefs

one of the many ways I see his example and am proud to have him all these years

I always liked to see him and my grandmother (because seeing one always meant seeing the other) 
and that dedicated love, again, is something I so love about them

but it really was in the more recent years

where they needed a little help sometimes

that my time with them became even more special 

For the first time I could really DO something for them

and it made me enjoy my time with them even more than I ever had

My sister and I will always remember my grandpa’s jokes, and his playful ways 

as some of the things we’ll miss most about him

Any meal I’ve ever eaten with him ended in a full force effort to give him as much and many desserts as our Noni would allow

because it made you happy to see him happy

even through his weakest moments he’d still perk right up over something sweet

my father and I recently one night helped feed him, having trouble understanding what he wanted and wondering if how well he understood what you were trying to do – but we said Papa how about some ice cream
and he said “oh yeah I’ll take some ice cream”

I always joked with him about being so good looking and wishing I had gotten a little more of that

And his smile and the sound of his laugh are two things I don’t think I’ll ever forget

it’s hard to do justice to someone that you and everyone that You love, cared so greatly for  

but to remind ourselves of the many fond memories we all have of my grandfather

is a gift in and of itself

may those good times be stirred

and sit forever in your hearts

as we remember someone so special