Version 2.0

Culture, healing, politics and bullshit - Not necessarily in that order

The general, socio-political and very personal rantings and ravings of a hip hop head from the hood hustling for change... Of himself.

You all know me and are aware that I am unable to remain silent. At times to be silent is to lie. For silence can be interpreted as acquiescence.
—Miguel de Unamuno


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Family Bonds (and not Barry either)

Yesterday we buried my aunt. We don't mourn death in my family, we celebrate life, so after the ceremony and burial we dashed over to her home, broke out the grub and a little adult beverage (for those that partake in such a thing) and the elders formed a sister circle in the backyard as they always do, overseeing and mediating. All we needed was Maya Angelou and it would have been a scene out of 'Poetic Justice'.

A lot of people outside of the family don't know that she was legal guardian for my older brother and I for a quick minute back in the day when moms was doing her college thing. Many summer days were spent horsing around in her yard and sleeping in that basement... The memories are still sharp and crisp, it's the people that keep changing around me. That I'll never get used to

It was good to see damn near my entire bloodline all in one place. Kind of scary, not because of death but to see that much family in one place... If anyone wanted to end the bloodline all they had to do was bomb my aunt Barbara's house. There is a certified, real-life celeb or two in this family, thank the lawd we ain't got no stalkers, haters or paparazzi... We still think of certain folks as 'Big-Head', 'Fluffy' and 'Blondie' round these parts.

There was once eleven sisters and brothers that made up the original Harris clan out of Mississippi, now there are three. That is devastating to think about. One thing that has shone thru is out of all of the cigarette smoking, Cutty Sark drinking, fine haberdashery ladened suits and hand sewn evening gowns, hair that was fried, died and laid to the side, and all those verses of 'Straighten Up And Fly Right' sung folk that made up the Harris, Bluester, Poindexter and Williams folk... There was a lot of baby making over the years, and we were (literally) in the house. In mass numbers.

89% of family showing up ain't bad.

All three of the remaining aunts were outside in their sister's backyard. The music was bumping, the kids were playing, and us middle to old age folk were talking, catching up and exchanging numbers, taking photos and such (I got you on the pix later this week, y'all) and then my great aunt Ophelia spoke.

She got in our asses a little about the older folk having kids that don't even know each other. She put it on us to carry on family tradition and even went as far as to assign new officers in the family council. See, my aunts and uncles, grandmother, cousins and such had assignments. There was/is a family treasurer and an organizer. There is/was a medical officer (I swear there is the same setup in the Nation Of Islam!) and such. Anywho, she demanded in the sweetest way to do all of the things they did back in the day that made our family great and very large. This also kept us dependent on each other in the best way. She also requested that family that lived out of town get back to a central point on a more than regular basis and to do so not just when someone graduates or gets married. The kids these days shoot up too much in a short period of time and some of us haven't met each other so how can we recognize them?

My great aunt Ann also requested that we all exchange telephone numbers, home addresses and email info and cousin Eunice also requested a text message class for the old schoolers that have no clue on the IM/texting thing. Cousin Billy explained that it's hard to keep up with sprouting kids and photos and emails will be sent to chronicle the growth of family abroad. Cousin Johnathan suggested that every family member introduce or reintroduce themselves and the family and so upon close from the elders, we did. Most of us either grew up, hung out or spent many a holiday with each other but there was that 15% we've either never seen or never been introduced to so we spent the next 3 to 4 hours telling out immediate family stories, introducing or reintroducing ourselves and taking a gang of family photos in an effort to get our exchange on.

My cousins Ebony and Delecta have been secretly planning the next family reunion and everyone at my aunt Barbara's house yesterday has pledged on to contribute and be present and accounted for. In my immediate family's introduction, I was proud to represent my sisters Robbie and Heather and my older brother Herch (Robbie passed away-she would have been 40 a couple of days back and sis and big bruh could not make it). I also presented my younger brother Alonzo and his wife to the family and he told his family story (his twins are very popular amongst the emailing family members).

I was amazed and astounded with the love that we shared yesterday. I also got a chance to reacquaint myself with a few cousins I haven seen since high school and I got a chance to meet a few cousins twice removed that I never knew. I also took that moment to bury any anger and resentment I had about the situation(s) had with my mother over the past couple of years and in mere moments we were fine and back to normal shortly after the elders spoke.

We were also advised to inform the elder council when times got rough for us individually. Some folks have a little too much pride and cannot be helped if they never come to family which creates a bigger problem, so there was also private council for some and prayer for others. Family must help family and that new council established yesterday will carry on our strong family heritage of doing for each other in any way possible. I just wish this could have been done years ago because there has need a lot of separation in my generation based on lies, gossip and innuendo. Some of us thought that it was a little too personal back a few years ago and tried to break free only to disrupt the family bond. I'm sure folks long passed would have been pleased with what has happened and I'm glad I got my mommy back as well.

That's right, I said it. That's what we call her. So what I'm damn near 40.

Feels good to have family. We don't just pass by on the holidays, we build each other up round the clock all over the calender. We're all we got, might as well make it strong for the times we get weak. It was good to reaffirm family yesterday. I hope you have a strong unit 100's strong as well.

I'm back on the road y'all...

Be easy.


Gallis said...

I found it hard not to cry while reading this. Any family I have that give a crap are 3000 miles away in Scotland. I'm glad you've found more connection. It's so important.

Luke Cage said...

I pray when my time is up on this planet that my family does it up like a celebration for me as well. Knowing me the way they do, it would behoove them to do it that way too. Or else I'll come up from 6 ft. below to haunt their asses for all eternity! -lol

Naaah man. But your family did it up bigtime. I loved that about them. Don't mourn the passing, celebrate the life. That's awesome Hassan. The ties that bind and all of that good stuff. Be good fam.

Muze said...

wow that does seem like a scene from poetic justice. must be lovely to have such a big family.

...and i call my mommy mommy! nothing wrong with that.

Anonymous said...

Hey Hassan....

aquababie said...

beautiful family :)

your family sounds like mine. we try to stay in touch. when someone makes their transistion, we try not to be sad.

Bananas said...

Ya really are good at this writing thing.

It's all you...


TJ said...

That's so beautiful. I have a family reunion coming in 08 and this really is an inspiration.

Anonymous said...

Simply beautiful.

Muze said... i know that you probably won't repost it, but i thought i'd come by and let you know that i tagged you in my post for friday the 17th. ..and we had to say something nice about the people we tagged (barf) you can peek in and see what i drummed up. lol.

hope all is well.

La said...

I wish my family would do this. They're all in the same damn city and won't even drop by each other's house except to fight and raise hell.

New to your spot. But I'll be back. Love it! :-)

LadyLee said...

Funerals turning into a celebration of life... that's the way it ought to be....

Paula D. said...

Great post! Glad you have such fond memories & good family ties

Anonymous said...

That is a beautiful thing you wrote about. I wish my family would come together like that, but it won't happen and I've resigned myself to that fact of life. But, despite my family's lack of unity, it does my heart good to read about black love and strong families. Great post.

Rose said...

Your post makes you want to reach out and grab all your relatives. In our family when someone dies, we end up after the burial & tears having fun reminicing, some drinking, etc. Some of my family members made it clear that they don't want all that crying and sadness. They have said please don't cry and carry on about me, celebrate my life because it was beautiful. Some of my relatives take that and do it!

princessdominique said...

89% really isn't bad. I think celebrating life is a great idea. Memories live on forever.

The Real Prada Jones said...

what a beautiful tribute to your aunt and the purpose of family!

Mo said...

I'm sorry to hear about your loss. I'm happy to read yet another post from you. I may not comment, but I adore your writing.


Miz JJ said...

I love this. Celebrating life rather than mourning. Good stuff.