|Posted on February 2, 2017 at 2:55 PM||comments (0)|
Strange Fruit Like Fallen Mangoes
By Tracy L. Darity
On my morning walks I pass by a home that has a huge mango tree in its front yard. The tree is so big that you can barely see the front of the house. Each season as the tree begins to bear fruit the owner installs a fence around the perimeter of the tree and hangs multiple signs with a “no trespass” warning.
As we get deeper and deeper into the season and the mangoes begin to grow and their aroma permeates the air, I can’t help but wonder how sweet and juicy they must be. The sight reminds me of the mango trees that used to bear fruit in the backyard of my childhood home. So many times as an adult I have met people and once they learn where my parents live they share a story of how they used to come and get mangoes from our tree, or how we had the best mangoes in that one tree, but the other two had “turpentine” mangoes, which are hard and bitter.
It’s funny thinking back on those days because those mango thieves had gotten so brazen that they built a platform in the tree and would leave their homemade fruit pickers (a 10 ft. pole with a wire hook and string attached to it) leaning against the brick wall that separated our property from the business behind us. As much as it annoyed my parents, they were very giving people and preferred the mangoes be eaten and not go bad, which could draw rats and other rodents to the yard.
There were many days that I passed the house with the mango tree and wanted to stop and ask the owners if they sold them, if I could buy some, and why have that fence at all. I was unable to take my daily walk for a few weeks, and by the time I was able to get out again the stench of rotting fruit greeted me as I approached the house. As I passed by I was saddened by all those mangoes just lying on the ground and thought, what a waste. The following week the fence had been removed and the ground cleared of any evidence the tree had produced any fruit at all.
Fast forward to the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend here in St. Petersburg. I had the fortunate opportunity to attend an event put on by Tampa Bay Writers Resist. It was a gathering of writers and poets and educators who came together to presents works on freedom, tolerance and acceptance. Terri Lipsey Scott, Chair of the Board of the Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum, recited a thought provoking poem titled Resolution, in which she juxtaposed the lyrics of Billie Holiday’s, Strange Fruit, and her own resolve to be more engaged and more out-spoken pertaining to matters that impact the community.
As I listened to Scott I couldn’t help but think about those rotten mangoes that were allowed to fall and die. Crazy, I know. So what’s the connection? I’m getting there, trust me.
The city of St. Petersburg touts being the host to the largest Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. parade in the United States. Several years ago State Representative (now State Senator) Darryl Rouson rallied for funding to support area day of service projects to engage the community in more productive ways of celebrating the Dr. King holiday. On the Saturday evening preceding the 2017 Dr. King holiday; I attended the annual candlelight visual at the Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum. The event was standing room only, but as I looked around the room my guestimate would be that 95% of those attending were NOT African American. Yet, the museum is housed on the grounds of the historic Jordan Park housing community, which is predominantly black. Of the remaining 5%, I would guess that about 1/3 were on the program for the evening. This was pretty much the same makeup as the demographics for the Writers Resist event, which was held at one of the larger predominantly black churches in the city the following day. No, I will boost their numbers up to about 15% because there were church members in attendance who were on hand to greet Florida A & M University and Tuskegee University band members who were being fed by the church.
On the Sunday evening of the Dr. King holiday weekend there was an advertised block party scheduled for an area of town known as the Deuces, which is half a block from the museum and two blocks from the church. Only weeks earlier, a standing weekly “unpermitted” gathering at the same location, which had been taking place for roughly eight months, had been shut down. As concerns began to be raised rumors had it that there would be no block party, but a welcoming of FAMU and TSU bands to the city.
So there along the Deuces were families and individuals waiting for what many believed were going to be performances by these two college bands. Instead, what they witnessed was the Mt. Zion Progressive MBC community band leading the two college bands from the church to the Deuces. Disappoint ran through the crowd as they realized that was it, no performances just a group of band members in their school t-shirts walking down the street.
Some believed, myself including, was that this “welcome march” was simply a facade for the block party, which did take place, if only briefly. There was open drinking, weed smoking, loud music, etc. Things were not allowed to get too far out of hand because there was also a police presence and orders that whatever came of the event it would be shut down at 9:00 PM. Now let’s fast forward to Monday, the actual day of the famed Dr. King national parade. The parade takes place in downtown St. Petersburg and last year a tradition was added that included a family fun event that takes place in the parking lot of Tropicana Field, home of the Tampa Bay Rays major league baseball team.
In St. Petersburg there is another tradition that is as old as the parade itself. Decades ago the city renamed Ninth Street, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Street. It is along this street, in 1985, that the parade originally took place. Although it was moved long ago, 100’s, if not into the 1,000’s, continue to gather along Dr. King Street for what they call the “night parade.” Again, an unpermitted event that costs the city’s taxpayers $1,000’s of dollars, in police and sanitation services. It has also been a night when the possibilities of shootings or even murders are increased.
I recall going with my daughter last year to buy some barbecue from one of our favorite street vendors. To my heartbreak and dismay I was stunned to see police officers lining (like literally standing in a line) up and down Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Street, at 2:00 pm in the afternoon. “Why?” I asked. “Oh, it’s always like that on King’s day, wait until tonight,” was the response of someone standing by. He said it as though this is how its supposed to be, as if the community doesn't deserve better.
This year several people shared Facebook Live videos showing the events of the “night parade.” Now I am not going to pretend like I haven’t heard the stories of trashed streets, residents unable to leave or return to their homes, or the intermittent violence that breaks out in the area of the city known as Midtown. But watching the video I couldn’t help but wonder why the focus of some in the community is to congregate on the streets, break laws by openly drinking, using drugs, playing loud music and disobeying noise ordinances. Why must our people create an unsafe environment in the name of celebrating that garners a response from the city that sends out police in riot formation to herd the crowd like cattle? Why are major city streets blocked off to prevent citizens from traveling into “hot” neighborhoods on a day that is supposed to be about celebrating a man who championed for peace and unity? Most important, why aren't our youth being encouraged to participate in the various activites that about uplifting the memory of Dr. King, and enriching their lives?
Then, again, I thought about that strange fruit and mangoes left to rot on the ground. I thought about the candlelight vigil, the writer’s resist, the countless “day of service” projects that received very little attendance and/or participation, and I thought about those mangoes laying on the ground rotting. I thought about how despite the chaos of the night before when unsanctioned street parties took place; like that homeowner, the city came in early in the morning and erased any evidence of its existence.
Is the city of St. Petersburg that homeowner who puts a fence around the next generation by simply allowing them to perish in a community with failing schools, dwindling employment opportunities, and a sense of being ignored as the rest of the city changes before their eyes. Are we, the black community, that neighbor wondering by who might ignore the fence and pick the best fruit while the majority falls to the ground to decay? Are we the passerby who looks over perplexed as to what is going on? Or worse, are we the person walking by thinking of all the possibilities of how great our fruit can be and simply keep walking because we’re too distracted or too afraid to ask, can we do something more with this fruit than letting it just fall to the ground and die.
Iynala Vanzant once asked, “If our children are the fruit, then what is going on with the tree (the parents).” Have we become the ones bearing strange fruit for a bitter crop?
Let’s get the conversation started, leave your comments below, like and share.
Love & Blessings,
Tracy L. Darity is the author of three novels, He Loves Me He Loves Me Not!, Love...Like Snow in Florida on a Hot Summer Day, and The Red Bear Society. Available in print and e-book. To learn more, visit www.TracyLDarity.com or Amazon.com
|Posted on June 18, 2016 at 11:30 PM||comments (0)|
It’s Time to Put Daddy Back into “Daddy’s Girl” - #FathersDayChallenge
By Tracy L. Darity
June is the time of year that we celebrate fathers and if we’re lucky our social media timelines are filled with awesome daddy daughter moments. Bonding moments like those between Nicole Paris and her dad Ed Cage who took the internet by storm. The duo lit up social media last year with their beatbox challenges, landing them guest appearances on shows like Good Morning America and The Late Late Show with James Corden. Another moment that comes to mind is a story about the Chicago Police Department and the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, hosting their 2nd Annual Daddy Daughter Dance. The dance made headlines last year during the time the youth ministry at a local church here in St. Petersburg was struggling to register participants for their daddy daughter outing. What made the Chicago dance stand-out and set it apart fromt the local event is men, in this case police officers from various ranks, stood in the gap for girls with absent fathers. This in a city that makes the news daily in regards to the number of shootings and deaths, mostly among black men. I’m sure a large number of the dads are absent due to incarceration and homicide. On the same day that I read about the Chicago dance, I heard a very different story about a man standing in the gap. Instead of men stepping in to ensure some special girls had the opportunity to dress-up and attend a dance with their father or a positive role model; this story took a different turn.
If you haven’t heard, Periscope is taking over the world. (JK) If unfamiliar with the app, check-out my blog Is Your Lemonade Sweet or Bitter? It is a wonderful tool full of useful information, but also a time killer if you are not careful. On this particular day Timothy D. Massey (@Tim_is_TSPEAKS), author of 8 Steps to Wholeness, was sharing with his followers something that happened at his local gym. He subtitled the scope That Could Have Been My Daughter and Sons. In the video he talks about catching three teens, two boys and a girl, in the gyms’ sauna. The trio was in a compromising position and when he approached and addressed them, the boys left the girl to fend for herself. To his surprise the girl did not run off, but stayed and talked with him. Through their conversation she admitted she was about to engage in sexual acts with the boys, whom she stated were her friends. He was shocked by her bluntness, but even more surprised when she stated she wasn’t from a home without a father; her parents were married and they all lived together.
I was the epitome of a daddy’s girl. When my dad died almost seven years ago, a part of me left with him. It is an unexplainable feeling to know that there is one person in the world who loves you unconditionally, with all your faults and blemishes, screw-ups and missteps. Someone that will always choose to see the best in everything you do, and never judge. Even to this day when I mess-up, I can hear my dad saying, “Baby you got to do better.” It is easy to assume that misbehaving promiscuous girls are the product of single-parent homes and have daddy issues. But this is not always the case. A father can be in the home and the daughter still missing that special relationship she should have with her daddy. Too often men believe that being the provider, working hard and insuring the family’s safety is enough; unfortunately this is not the case. Girl’s often need more attention than boys and constant reassurance that they matter. If it doesn’t come from the most important man in her life, she will seek validation elsewhere.
For the young lady in the gym there could be a thousand reasons why her self-esteem could be so tainted at such a young age, with her father in the home. I commend Tim for taking the time to speak with her and sow encouraging advice into her life. It would have been amazing if he had the chance to meet the dad and share with him how blessed he is to have a daughter. He could have also expressed how important it is to really get to know her so he can have a significant impact on her life. This thought resonated when Tim revealed in a scope the other day that he has a daughter, but due to issues with the mom, has been unable to develop the relationship he so desperately desires.
Earlier I mentioned a local church hosted a daddy daughter outing last year. The event did take place, but it was disheartening to see the organizers begging mothers to sign-up their daughters. The level of resistance to the idea of their daughter spending time with her father at a church led event was sad and embarrassing. In the end, about ten daughters participated with their dads…and this is not a small congregation. The experience made it clear, there is so much to be done in our communities to combat the absentee father epidemic; everything from changing the hearts and minds of mothers, to instilling in fathers how important their presence is to their children. Our girls cannot think it is okay to freely give away herself to any boy that comes along and asks. There are simply too many consequences to this behavior…unwanted pregnancy, STD's and the latest trap, human trafficking among teenage girls, to name a few. It is time for fathers to be present, engaged and the men we need to stand on the front line to protect our daughters.
So as we celebrate Father’s Day, I want to challenge every father who has a relationship with his daughter to write her a love letter. A letter telling her how much she is loved and admired, expressing his emotions the first time he held her, and share all the dreams and aspirations he has for her life. Even if you are not active or present in your daughters’ life, write the letter and get it to her by any means necessary. I would also extend the challenge to father's of adult daughters, we still need affirmations, too. It’s time for our girls of all ages to know what it truly means to be a daddy’s girl, it’s time we put daddy back into her life.
Don’t forget to comment, like and share.
Peace & Blessings,
Tracy L. Darity is the author of three novels, He Loves Me He Loves Me Not!, Love...Like Snow in Florida on a Hot Summer Day, and The Red Bear Society. To learn more, visit www.TracyLDarity.com
Mother's Day Isn't Just About Being a Mother It's Also About Honoring the Women Who Have Touched Our Lives
|Posted on May 7, 2016 at 9:20 PM||comments (0)|
Mother’s Day Isn’t Just About Being a Mother It’s Also About Honoring the Women Who Have Touched Our Lives
By Tracy L. Darity
It’s the day before Mother’s Day and I just came across a blog post titled, An open letter to pastors (A non-mom speaks about Mother’s Day). In this blog a woman speaks on behalf of women who have lost their children, who have experienced miscarriages, and those who have yet to start a family. She talks about feeling like an “empty shell” when the pastor of churches asks the mothers to stand on this special day.
The blog goes on to give a litany of things pastors can say to acknowledge every woman in the congregation from those who have kids, those who have lost kids to miscarriages, those whose kids have become adults and left home, and even those who suffered abuse at the hands of their mother. Can you imagine if pastors did this on every holiday? Think about it, we all have had moments in our lives where we have experienced loss, hurt or disappointment. Imagine on Valentine’s Day if the pastor did a shout out to every person that had been dumped, cheated on, whose spouse had died, and who has never received roses or chocolates. What about the child on Christmas Day who has never received a gift because they were poor, or their mother or father was deceased, maybe their parents didn’t believe in God or Jesus Christ.
I started reading some of the many comments that women were sharing as their own experiences as to why Mother’s Day is a solemn day. I couldn’t help but think, they have totally missed the point of what this day is all about. Mother’s Day is about honoring the mother’s in our lives. Not just our mother or the woman who is a mother. The blog came across as another attempt at someone wanting to change things for their own selfish reasons. You know, the parents who want all children to get an MVP award at the end of soccer season, the students at a Christian college who do not want to be told that they should forgive, and my favorite, the mothers who want to be acknowledged on Father’s Day,
Everyone has their own unique experience with their mother’s and for some with motherhood. Yes, there are women who desperately want children but can’t have them, and there are women whose own mothers have transitioned from this life. But to suggest that the focus be taken off of the countless number of women, whether living or have passed, whether with children or childless, seems a bit much. My mother is still here and thank God for her. There are also my sisters, aunts, cousins and friends. Numerous women have made a tremendous impact on my life and some have transitioned from this world. On Mother’s Day I remember them all and what they did to make me the woman I am today.
My father passed away seven years ago, and on Father’s Day, his birthday and countless other days I miss him with a pain so deep in my soul it seems almost unbearable. However, this doesn’t make me not want to celebrate the man he was, or what other men in my life have been, on their special day. I wonder if the writer of the blog thinks Father’s Day should encompass all the men who have lost children, haven’t had children, whose fathers have passed, or who were abused or adopted. Or is this just a female thing?
Sometimes we have to realize that everything is not about us. Life is so much more and we should learn and grow from every experience. Instead of focusing on what we don’t have in any given moment, we should focus on what we do have. Someone may not have given birth to a child of their own, but may be impacting a child’s life in a very positive way. Doesn’t that child’s acknowledgement mean something on Mother’s Day? Your mother may have been abusive or didn’t show you the love you wanted, but does that mean you can’t celebrate female figures in your life that did. I am in no way discounting what any of these women have experienced or feel on Mother’s Day, I’m saying, look beyond yourself and see all the marvelous women who have touched your life in some way, and be grateful for the experience. And if you feel it in your heart wish her a Happy Mother’s Day, because the day is really about her. If the pain is still that unbearable, stay home from church, spend the day doing something that will hopefully make you smile, but don’t ruin it for it for the rest of us. Please don’t try to guilt us into not celebrating the wonderful mothers of the world.
HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!
Don’t forget to comment, like and share.
Peace & Blessings,
Tracy L. Darity is the author of three novels, He Loves Me He Loves Me Not!, Love...Like Snow in Florida on a Hot Summer Day, and the Red Bear Society. To learn more, visit www.TracyLDarity.com
|Posted on December 18, 2011 at 4:40 PM||comments (0)|
What if there was no God…no scriptures to quote…no well intended words of encouragement…and no catchy sayings. What if there was no God because He decided we could be the comforter, the healer, the provider, the answer to each other’s needs. What if it was just us, standing face-to-face with people just like us, who have real problems, and need real help…and that help could only come from us?
Whether you or I want to admit it, people with real problems come and go in our lives all day everyday and all we offer is words that can never measure up to the actions that we can produce. We constantly talk about a God who can do all things but never consider our role in getting it done.
Someone could need a hug just to know what it feels like to be touched, because they haven’t felt alive in months, but we’d rather say “God is a comforter.”
School is now out for winter break and the family that relied on free breakfast and lunches as a source for food, must now figure out how to make it through the next two weeks. We hear these stories on the news and say “God please make a way.” Yet, we haven’t donated one can good to a church or other organization.
The car belonging to someone you know has been sitting on the side of the road for days. You learn the car is out of gas. Instead of giving them a few dollars so they can, at the very least get the car home, we chose to shake our head and say a half-hearted prayer like, “God I hope they get some gas before they get towed.”
You haven’t seen the lights on in your neighbors’ house in a week, and come to think of it, that was the same day the guy from the power company was turning off your street as you were returning home. So you start checking to see if a light comes on after the sun goes down, and mumble, “Lord I hope their lights aren’t off,” instead of going over to see if there is anything you can do to help.
Someone you know has been out of work for over a year, their background is in Information Technology; you know your company has an opening in the mailroom stuffing envelopes. Rather than make the suggestion you just say, “Something will come-up soon, just trust God.”
Someone you know hasn’t been feeling well lately. Truth is, money is tight and they can’t afford all of their medications each month. The canned response, “God is a deliverer,” as you wonder why they haven’t looked into getting help from some of the programs out there.
I’ve long believed that when people are going through whatever they are going through, the last thing they want to hear is words. No matter how well-intended, encouraging, of heart-felt they may be. Even if we’ve gone through something similar and survived, our experience is not their experience, and our pain is not their pain. When someone opens up to us and share their problems they want to hear that we care and that we may have a suggestion or answer that can help. Otherwise, they never would have opened up to us. Oftentimes, if we just stopped long enough and set our own priorities to the side, and really listened, we’d know that we could do a little more.
So the next time you want to say, “God answers prayers…will make a way…can do all things,” or the next time you want to tell someone, “It’s not that bad, you still have this or that,” why not go beyond the convenience of words, and ask yourself if you hold the answer to the problem. Yes, God is all the things we say He is, but the world can’t experience His goodness if we aren’t willing to be the vessels He uses to work His miracles in the lives of others.
Merry Christmas and Much Love,
|Posted on June 22, 2011 at 2:32 PM||comments (0)|
Something is seriously wrong in the city where I live and it has nothing to do with the beautiful sandy beaches of the Gulf of Mexico; the near perfect weather where the sun is said to shine at least 360 days a year; or the fact that for every person you meet you are probably connected to them by at least 3 other people. No, when I speak about something being wrong, I am talking about the lack of black culture being celebrated in a city that celebrates everything.
There use to be a time when St. Petersburg, Florida, was considered the retirement capitol, but things have changed and we are experiencing a lot of growth and a lot of energy, particularly in the cultural arts. Yet, on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, at a tree-lined park, just blocks from downtown—and a block from Tropicana Field where the Tampa Bay Rays, our major league baseball team was scheduled to play later in the day--the 19th annual Juneteenth Festival took place. Juneteenth of St. Petersburg, Inc., the organization that took over the festival five years ago did a great job in providing entertainment, recreation, and a wide variety of vendors offering something for everyone. The only thing missing were citizens of St. Petersburg, and many of the tourists in the area for summer vacation.
Does that last sentence sound familiar, if so, it’s probably because you read it in my blog about the 1st annual James Weldon Johnson Festival? What is really going on in our city? If it were a matter of certain people not supporting the event because it celebrates a part of our history that makes them uncomfortable, or because it was held in “South St. Pete,” which is code word for the “black” part of town; I could easily scream racism. But what perplexes me is what I see not only at Juneteenth but many events organized by, and used to celebrate, our culture—we, the people being celebrated don’t even bother to show up. I go to festivals and various events within the city and most are well attended, some to the tune of ten’s of thousand’s of people over the course of a 3-day weekend. But the only event in our city that matches those numbers for an event that celebrates who we are; are those held over the Martin Luther King, Jr Day, weekend.
Two women stopped at my booth during the Juneteenth event and asked me where the “black” part of town was. They were visiting from out of state and staying at a hotel downtown. After breakfast they started walking, which was how they stumbled upon the festival. (No, there was no literature or marketing material at the hotel, and the concierge service didn’t suggest it as something they should do while in town.) I really didn’t know how to take the question. I am all about diversity, so the fact that tourist couldn’t identify a part of town as being designated for a group of people, is good—right. But on the other hand, it begs the question; do ethnic groups lose their identity when their city becomes a melting pot? Or, is it that we need designated areas as a reminder that we in fact, have a culture that should be celebrated. After I gave them the coordinates of the plot of land known as Midtown, they looked saddened to learn that the park we were in and the festival taking place was actually in the black community. I can only wonder if they were thinking the same as me, what is wrong with this picture.
This thing that I speak of seems to be engrained deeper into our community than we may like to believe. Earlier this year Goliath Davis, a top city official, and black man, was fired from his position. He called a midday press conference and two hundred people showed up to hear what he had to say. Yet, a few weeks later the James Weldon Johnson Festival was held at the same location, to celebrate the legacy of the man who composed “Lift Every Voice.” Aside from the vendors and staff only a small fraction of that number attended. We encourage our children to develop their talents and strive to be successful, but when it comes time to present them to the world the community support is not there and we ask why. Events like Juneteenth is the place to showcase their talent. It is a collaborative effort and we must all show up and support what is important as much and as often as possible.
Perhaps the focus of our community is simply misplaced and as a result our culture is being ignored and slowly fading from existence. Maybe other people see our lack or interest and participation in things that should be important to us, and think; why should they care if we don’t care. Or maybe there is something buried deep in our City’s history that is manifesting itself and making us think we have nothing to celebrate. Whatever the reason, we need to figure it out and move beyond it. We have a rich history and a bright future. St. Petersburg is birthing so much talent in various spectrums but our contribution is failing to thrive because it’s not being supported by our community. If we aren’t willing to collectively shout from the rooftop that we’re here and have something to contribute to this city, then we can’t complain as we are systematically washed from the landscape.
Tracy L. Darity is the author of He Loves Me He Loves Me Not! and Love…Like Snow In Florida on a Hot Summer Day. For more information, visit www.TracyLDarity.com.
|Posted on June 20, 2010 at 1:15 AM||comments (2)|
A couple of months ago, after I had dropped my daughter off at tennis practice I found myself sitting at a traffic light with tears streaming down my face…uncontrollable tears that didn’t seem to have any end. Prior to reaching the traffic signal, a song came on the radio that I had never heard before. The lyrics were so beautiful but more than anything they ministered to what I was feeling at that very moment. The song, “Long As There is You,” by The McClurkin Project say’s, if there were no gates of pearl, if there were no streets of gold, if there was no other world, in a land where we won't grow old…I'm not thinking about those sites, won't be there to enjoy the view, I think Heaven will be alright, just as long as You’re there, as long as there is You.
My daddy passed away October 10, 2009, and for the first time in my life I asked myself, “What if there is no Heaven?” I have loved the Lord for as long as I can remember. I have always put my trust in Him. I know He is real because there is no other explanation for how I have been able to deal with the loss of my earthly father. As a little girl, even into my early adult life, I use to ask God to let me die before my daddy because I just didn’t think I could bear living without him. But here it is some 8 months later and my Heavenly Father continues to console me and reassure me that everything is going to be alright.
Growing up we were taught never to question God, just trust and obey. But it is simply human nature to wonder about the things that are unseen. One thing that has always plagued me is the concept that when we die and go to heaven there will be no more suffering, no more heartache, and most important, we will see our loved ones again. The thing for me has been; what if your loved one doesn’t go to heaven. Will there be no remembrance of that person? Will they cease to exist in our psyche, and if not, wouldn’t that cause heartache?
Now don’t get me wrong, I believe with all my heart and soul that my daddy is going to Heaven, and I pray that I will be there with him one day. I recall talking to a friend after his death and I asked him some of these questions and he said to me, “I believe when we die we are just dead, that there is nothing else, no rapture, no Heaven, no nothing.” I thought his comments were callous and cold-hearted, and even frightening coming from someone who professed to be a Christian and attend church on a regular basis. Of late, it seems that no matter where I turn there is some contradiction to the whole concept of Heaven and an afterlife. It makes the healing process that much harder because as with most of us, we want to go to Heaven and see our loved ones again.
I keep my daddy’s memory stored safely in my heart where I can feel his presence at will. The song ends with, when we all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be, when we all see Jesus, we will sing and shout the victory. I hold steadfast that there is a Heaven and it will be that much better because my daddy will be there too.
Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there, I love you and wish you a wonderfully Blessed day!
Tracy L. Darity is the award winning author of “He Loves Me He Loves Me Not!” and her second novel “ Love…Like Snow In Florida On A Hot Summer Day.”
© Tracy L. Darity 2010
|Posted on May 9, 2010 at 1:35 AM||comments (0)|
The mother/daughter relationship is one of the most intricate relationships known to mankind, regardless of ethnic background or culture. It differs greatly from that of mother and son, and heaven forbid if that daughter is a daddy’s girl because that only complicates things more. What is so weird about the mother daughter bond is that no matter what transpires between the two, daughters often spend a lifetime desiring a special connection with their mother that is often times hard to express.
As little girls we believe our mothers can cure whatever ails us. She can kiss our booboo’s and make them all better. She can explain everything and is our biggest supporter. She finds joy in everything we do, and the highlight of her life seemed to be receiving those handmade gifts like the rickety clay pot, the macaroni decorated picture framed with popsicle sticks, and the card with the images from the latest fashion magazine pasted to colored construction paper that depicted our image of her.
By the time we’re nine or ten we’ve decided there is no one else in the world we’d rather be. We begin to emulate our mothers. We want to know what she knows and do what she does. My mother use to sew when I was younger and nothing compared to going downtown to Sierkese Fabrics, where we would shop for patterns in those huge books by McCall’s, Butterick, Simplicity and Vogue, and then pick out our fabrics and accessories, then home we would go to create our fashions. Second to that was putting together those 1000+ piece jigsaw puzzles.
If you asked me today if my mom and I have much in common my immediate reply would probably be no. But if I thought about it, I’d have to admit we have a lot in common, aside from our past passion of sewing. As I was working in my youngest daughter bedroom recently, I had to stop and laugh. I love to decorate, and love to create unique settings, just like my mom use to. I suddenly remembered when I was younger; my mom designed a room for my sister and me. The walls were painted black and white stripe using 3 inch wide masking tape (I remember that tape because it was so much fun pulling it down and seeing the straight lines it created). She had my dad build this huge box (for some reason I think it was painted blue), and I am talking a 4ft wooden cube. It was pushed into the corner and our twin beds were pushed up against the sides creating headboards. We then placed books, a lamp and whatever else on the top of the cube. I loved that room then, but now I am thinking, mama what was that all about…LOL Believe it or not, I saw a similar room a few years ago in a decorating magazine.
For some of us, something transpires around the teen years and we suddenly draw a line in the sand and dare our moms to cross it. At this place in time she can no longer just be the mom we loved since birth, who guided us and protected us and taught us the things we needed to know. No, at this moment she has to fit into an illusion of grandeur that we have created in our minds and if she sways just the slightest she is voted off our island until she is capable of proving herself worthy.
Or maybe it’s just our inability to adjust to change. The craziest things remain in our psyche. For me it was my 12th birthday; my mom use to buy me themed cakes for my birthday of whatever character I loved at the time. I waited anxiously for my mom to come home from work because I knew she would have a Strawberry Shortcake character cake for me. But when she unveiled the cake it was white with yellow roses and pineapple filling. I have defined that as the day I decided my mother wasn’t the perfect person I thought she was because she had to have known that act alone would knock my world from its axis and my life would forever be changed. Okay, so I was a little spoiled back then but the point is, something so irrelevant can cause a huge schism between mothers and daughters.
It isn’t that the act causes us to no longer love her or appreciate her; it’s just that we are forced to accept that she is not superwoman, she can’t fix all that ails us, she isn’t equipped to clean-up our big girl messes…or she just no longer chooses to. She has raised us as a good mother should and molded us into the women we are today. The parts of her that we don’t particularly care for, we rebel against instead of accepting it as human nature; and when things go awry society tells us it has to be something she did or didn’t do when we were a child. So I am here to share with you the 10 things my mother never did for me.
1. She never hung-out all night leaving me with strangers or alone.
2. She never physically or verbally abused me.
3. She never left me alone for days to fend for myself.
4. She never placed me in a situation where we were forced to be homeless.
5. She ensured I never went to bed hungry because there was always food in the house.
6. She never went to the school when I was cutting up and cursed out the teachers and the administrators or threatened them with bodily harm.
7. She never brought strange men around me and told me to call him uncle while all along he was molesting me.
8. She never slept with one of my boyfriends and caused me bodily injury while trying to defend her actions.
9. She never became addicted to drugs and when she couldn’t pay the bills bartered me to cover the tab.
10. and; She never showed malice towards me, or called me awful names like b%^$, tramp, etc, or told me that she hated me and regretted the day I was ever born.
Now some of you are probably wondering where in the world I came up with that list. Well all you have to do is pick-up a newspaper or turn on your local news, to witness firsthand the demise of the mother/daughter relationship. It’s amazing that what we think is major gripes about our mothers can become miniscule in comparison to the real issues some women are having with their moms. Therefore, my challenge to you this Mother’s Day is to reflect over this list and if your mom never did any of those things for you, be grateful, and if she’s still alive, call her and tell her that you love her and recognize that she is the best mom she knew how to be, and regardless of her flaws or missteps, you are a better person because of her. And remember, your mother may not be the mother of your dreams, but you can always be that mother to your daughter…then wait for her to become an adult so she can tell you all the things you needed to be and wasn’t.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms of the world! Have a blessed and joyous day.
Tracy L. Darity is the author of “He Loves Me He Loves Me Not!” and “Love…Like Snow In Florida On A Hot Summer Day.”
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|Posted on May 31, 2009 at 1:10 PM||comments (1)|
Beyonce? Knowles recorded a song on her debut CD Dangerously In Love entitled Daddy. No matter how many times I listen to this song, by the end I am in tears. This song captures every emotion I feel for my own Father. (To listen, visit Tracy ?s Book Club.) Anyone who knows me knows that no other man on this earth could ever replace the man God brought forth to be my dad?which is probably why I have never been married. He has set the bar so high?LOL
My dad is the epitome of fatherhood. He and my mother have been married for almost forty-six years, and although time has taken its toll and my dad has suffered several strokes and is in a constant battle with high blood pressure and diabetes, he still wants to be the head of his household and provide protection and comfort for his family.
Growing up, not once did I ever imagine I would come home and my dad wouldn?t be there. I never worried about being hungry or homeless, or not having clothes on my back. I can not remember what age I was when I realized that not all children had fathers like my dad; not all children had dads in their home; and not all children had dads who loved and provided for them the way our dad loved and provided for us. The notion that a man could bring a child into this world and just walk away was unthinkable to me. But as I grew older and made new friends I saw firsthand that this was a reality for many. As an adult, I will not deal with a man who does not play an active (physical and emotional) role in the lives of his children, whether it?s one or ten. To me that is a serious and major character flaw. I will go so far as to say I truly believe it should be a federal offense for a man (or woman) to walk away from his responsibilities as a father. I mean think about it, it is a crime to abandon an animal but people walk away from their kids everyday?but I digress.
As we approach Father?s Day, June 21st, many will share memories of their fathers, some who have left us and some who are still here. I like to keep my memories of my dad close to heart. I like to remember the way he would wake us up fore day in the morning to get up and get ready for school. I like to remember how he would take my sisters and I to the 7-11 convenience store that use to be located on fifth avenue north and buy us whatever candy we wanted. I was partial to Mary Jane?s (peanut butter logs) and Boston Baked Beans, and my sister Cynthia loved Chico Sticks and Lemonheads. Then there were the Slurpees. I still buy them to this day.
My dad didn?t just spoil us rotten with candy treats. He also was available to take us to doctor appointments and when I was cutting up in school he would show up to get me out of trouble. I think because our parents provided so well for us we did not misbehave too often. But when we did, they would sit us down and give us a good talking too. Now, this doesn?t mean my dad would not put a belt to our behinds but I only remember having that unfortunate experience once. My sister and her best-friend back in the day will never let me live this experience down. My dad had allowed us to tag along with him to the W.T Grant store. For you newbie?s, that was the Wal-Mart or yesteryear. My dad made it very clear that we could not get anything but I was determined to prove him wrong.
We arrived at the store and I immediately headed to the toy aisle. There I found my favorite, a book of paper dolls. I placed the booklet in the basket and my dad took it out, reminding me that I could not get anything. When he wasn?t looking I placed them back in the basket. This went on throughout the store. When we reached the check-out line and the cashier picked up those paper dolls my dad was through. He paid for the booklet and we headed for the car. On the way home I took the booklet out the bag and began removing the dolls and the clothing. We reached our house and my dad, sister, and her friend exited, leaving me with my dolls. I finally made my way out of the car and into the house; and waiting behind the front door was my dad, with belt in hand. He tore my little behind up that day and I will never ever forget that whipping?.remember, my sister and a friend (now cousin-in-law) won?t let me....LOL
Well aside from that near traumatic experience, life went on in the Darity household. My dad continued to be a great provider, father, and husband, family vacations to Florida Theme Parks, and to see family in Tallahassee rolled on. But as with most, children turn into teenagers, and teenagers turn into young adults and young adults become parents. Through all the growth spurts, trials, tribulations, and triumphs, the one constant has been the love of my dad. He taught me how to mow the laugh, fix the pipes, hang a light, and so much more. And before his illnesses took a toll he helped me with my daughter who has Autism. Putting her on and taking her off the bus. Watching her while I worked or hung-out with friends. I am so grateful for my dad not for just being my dad but for being a wonderful grandfather to my children and showing them the same love, understanding, and commitment that he showed his own kids.
I wish with all my heart and soul that each of you reading this blog grew-up with a dad who was as great as mine, but I know that will not be the case. So I pray that somewhere along the way you were fortunate enough to be exposed to someone who thought it not an inconvenience to share a part of himself to make you feel loved. It could be a grandparent, an uncle, a brother, or even your husband. If not, then recognize that you have a Father in Heaven who is always there for you.
Daddy, we love you so much, not just Father?s Day but everyday. When I look back over my life I would change many things but not one of them involves you. You are the very best.
Tracy L. Darity is the author of He Loves me He Loves Me Not!
You can contact Tracy at [email protected]
For more information on Tracy and her work please connect with her at:
Tracy ?s Book Club (www.tracyldarity.ning.com
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|Posted on May 10, 2009 at 11:45 PM||comments (0)|
Happy Mother?s Day to all the wonderful mothers out there including my own mom, Mrs. Leila ?Mama Lee? Darity.
|Posted on February 8, 2009 at 12:02 AM||comments (0)|
As the great V-day approaches anxiety is growing for both men and women. Women are wondering if their men will profess his love with roses, jewelry, candy, and dinner. While men are praying the day will just come and go. When you consider the blurred history surrounding the true meaning of Valentine?s Day it is hard to understand why people place so much emphasis on this occasion.
How many of us remember being in grade school and having to bring goodies for everyone in the class so no one was left out? And if you wanted to do something special for a friend you had to exchange personal goodies, in addition to making sure you had a Valentine for everyone on the list that the teacher provided to each student. Although I understood the concept, I never understood why I had to give a Valentine to those girls who didn?t like me and always called me names, or the boy who pulled my hair or was constantly trying to look under my dress while on the playground. And what about the kids who could not afford to buy for everyone, but still received goodies from those who could.
As I grew older I realized the psychological effect it could have, if you were the person that never received a Valentine. I believe I was in High School when I first noticed it. By the time we reached high school teachers no longer provided list of student names. Gone were the bags of candy and cute little cards. Now we had the various service groups selling carnations and roses and little love grams to your special one. If you were one of the unpopular kids, next to Homecoming and Prom, Valentine?s Day had to be the worst day of the school year. So this desire to be recognized, to be treated special, to mean something to someone can probably be traced back to the early teen years.
For most of my adult life, I have always enjoyed holidays. I was the coworker who always decorated her workspace, always gave cards to everyone at Christmas; kept a bowl of goodies for whatever special occasion was going on. And on Valentines Day like in grade school, I would pass out my candy and cute little cards to everyone. In my personal life, I would give cards to my family members and close friends, and whomever I was dating could always count on a special treat. If I had someone special in my life on this day, for the most part, I could expect a dozen roses to appear at my desk some time during the day. I never requested them never required them and if the truth be told, I would prefer that they took that money and purchased me several rose bushes for my garden. I love keepsakes, not things that fade and die and never give back.
When I see women watching the door hoping the next delivery is for her, or waiting for the receptionist to call and say she has something waiting at the front desk, I feel sorry for them. Not because the flowers never come but because they don?t seem to recognize the importance of the other 364 days of the year when their mate is there supporting, encouraging, inspiring, and most of all, showing them that they are loved. These women probably haven?t picked up the phone to call their significant other, their mother, their best-friend, or their child to say, ?I Love You,? yet they expect on this day that the world should stop and their mate should shower them with gifts.
This Valentine Day, I would like to challenge each of you to put your feelings aside and do something kind for someone else. I bet if you think about it there is someone in your family or circle of friends or even a co-worker who does not have a significant other to share this day with and may be overwhelmed and depressed because society has placed so much emphasis on having someone special on this day. So why not do like we used to in grade school, send them a cute little card and a bag of candy hearts with the cute little remarks, or treat them to lunch or dinner. I guarantee you the joy you bring to that person will far outweigh the satisfaction of being the female in the office who received the prettiest bouquet; or the disappointment of being one of the women who didn?t get anything. Just try it, I dare you. No, I double dare you. By the way, will you be my Valentine?yes or no?
Happy Valentine?s Day!