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Junior: Keith Jr, my son. Sunday morning didn’t get off like I wanted. I actually woke up around 3am and forced myself to stay in bed. I dozed in and out till sixish. I didn’t really want to get up except I had to use the bathroom. I probably should’ve started getting ready for church, but I had one more round of on the wii of the Tiger Woods 2010. I was tied for first after three rounds and Cog Hill and I just needed one good round to win the tournament. My wife was sleep on the couch so I turned the volume off. In the wee (wii) hours of the morning it’s quite like and 8am tee time. I got to the last hole, I was down one stroke. I tried to put something extra in the drive and I hooked it. It landed in the rough. I went up a club and gave it some umph and landed on the far side of the green. I had a long put that I left short. I finished up for par. The game congratulated me on being 2nd and making the ‘cut’.

I drive the church van and I like to be on the road around 8am to pick everyone up and have them to church on time. It was already past than 7:30am. Generally, I would just get dressed and take off, but my hair was a mess, I had to jump in the shower. I got out of the shower and got dressed by a little after 8am, still no harm - no foul, but I couldn’t find my blue blazer. Ordinarily I would just grab another, or where something different, but it’s 3rd Sunday. The adults usher on 1st and 3rd Sunday, and our colors are blue and white, blue, I needed my blue blazer. I looked frantically, I checked the hall closet, and the closet by the back door, and the upstairs closet, and my wife’s closet, and then I began to double back and double check. My phone was starting to ring. Sis. Kiser called for me to pick her up for Sunday school for the first time in weeks, (crap) which was too bad because she lives on the other side of town, still I needed to talk to her. I’ve been so worried about her. Her fb page is so hateful. Sis.Cross called for a ride to the 11 O’clock service, which was good because I needed to talk to her about Rahim. Sis. Foster called, that’s okay, she lives nearby. My wife had wakened and was helping me look for my jacket. She looked in the closet, that one that I had checked three times already and said “here it is” (I hate it when she does that).

The calls kept coming, but that was okay because I was on the road. Then my nieces called. They said they were ready, but Michael wasn’t coming. Michael didn’t come last week and I had had enough so I asked her to put him on the phone. I asked him why he wasn’t coming to church? He said he didn’t want too. I told him that he still had time and that he’d better be ready by the time I got there. He said that his ‘mother’ said that he didn’t have to go; I hate her; I hate that little lazy, one-legged heifer! I’m reminded of the old adage: nothing can ruin a black man faster than a black woman. Does she realize that she arguing with me about doing something ‘good’ for her son? My sister-in-law is a diabetic/alcoholic. They amputated her leg last year in an emergency operation. If you ask me they cut off the wrong appendage – they would have done us all a favor if they had cut off the poison in her tongue! She doesn’t realize that once kids see you arguing with another authority figure like a teacher they’ll never be good for anything again.

I told him to be ready or I was coming in with my belt, he started that crying, whining thing, (Michael always cries when you threaten to whoop him). Then I told him I’d talk to his mother later. She doesn’t understand that life isn’t about what you don’t ‘have’ to do; it’s about what you ‘can’ do.



Junior came down stairs, “Did you call me, Dad?”



“Yeah, your boy Michael says he’s not coming to church today.” Michael isn’t really Junior’s boy. Michael’s 11 and Jr’s only 26, they’re cousins.



“Did he say why?”



“Because he doesn’t want to, and his ‘mother’ says he doesn’t ‘have’ to. This is all your fault.” I started in on him. “He doesn’t ‘want to’ because you don’t go.” I gave him the ‘stink eye’. “If you’re going to be his ‘role model’ than you’re going to have to be his role model 7 days a week. Neither of you understand, if you start telling that boy that he ‘doesn’t have to’ pretty soon he’s going to figure out that all he ‘has to’ do is stay black and die; and that’ll be all he does! If he doesn’t learn to thank God now then he’ll grow up where his pants down around his ass with an earring the size of his fist, jewel incrusted teeth and tattoos he can’t even read, and he’ll walk around here and be in an ungrateful SOB like his father and then no one will be able to do anything with him, let alone get him to go to church! Heaven knows, and then I wont want him too.



“I don’t want to go to church, it’s boring.” Why did he have to say that?



“Church is about ‘entertainment’,” I began, “It’s about worshiping God!” It isn’t there for you to dance, shout, or shake you booty! It’s about giving thanks to the All Mighty because He deserves it. The House of God isn’t a Community Center for holding Yoga classes; it’s not her for you to show off your ‘gifts’, it’s her for you to worship God in spirit and truth. You children want to ‘take over’ and do things ‘your way’ when you haven’t learned ‘our way yet.”



My wife chimed in that this wasn’t the way to handle things. She’s always on me about not handling things right. Why isn’t she on my side? Why isn’t she on the others about doing things the right way, for the right reason? That’s all I ask. I’m trying to set some positive direction and leadership for our families, and they keep holding me back.



“I’ll talk to my sister,” she said, “let me handle it.”



I agreed to let her ‘handle it’ and went back to driving the van.



I saw Rahim today. He came with his mother Sis. Sarah Cross. I was coming out of the finance room when I saw Sarah walking up the isle on her cane. I asked Sis. Rivers if Sarah was okay. Sis Rivers said that Rahim had left the church some time ago. I went out to the vestibule and there was no sign of him. I went outside, there’s a McDonald’s not far from us, I figured he’d follow his nose, he’s a big kid and he’s always hungry. I turned toward McDonald’s trying to decide whether or not to trudge over or not when I heard a psst from the far side of the parking lot. It was Rahim. I asked him why he was out here. He said his aunt called and he had promised to answer anytime she called as part of his condition of staying with her. Asamatteroffact, he was on the phone with his mother now and he was coming back in. I took advantage of the moment and asked him why he hadn’t called me. He said he didn’t call me back that night because he didn’t have his charger and his phone was dead and he had like 16 phone messages. He said he hadn’t called me back since then because he’d been busy. I bet he has; gun charges, suicide attempts, and Community Mental Health. I told him that I understand and to call me when he was ready to talk.



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The following comments are for "Men Of My Tribe: Junior"
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