Wednesday, April 18, 2012

More compassion, less judgement

My classmate is about to retire from teaching in the public school system.  She asked me to look at her classroom computers.  As I worked on her computers, we chatted about Tuskegee, our jobs and stuff.  She told me that she had taken a young man into her home, the same young man who she brings to church.  This is the second time she has assumed that responsibility, that I know of personally.  She said she was glad the boy was not present at the proceedings to see how quickly his mother surrendered her parental rights.(looking at her watch and asking how much longer is this going to take)..My Classmate also visited a child's home to see why she had an angry outburst in class ...(My classmate teaches English to high school seniors)...the child had a child.(with obvious special needs), by her father...My classmate told me about a young man who comes to her class and sleeps the whole period...sometimes the next period too.  When she questioned him to see if he was getting enough sleep at home, she found out he is the sole support of his family...both  parents laid off and this young man working all night at a hospital in a neighboring city.

My classmate said you never know what kids are going through until you see how they are living.  It made me almost ashamed of my comfortable life, definitely more compassionate and less judgemental.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Trash Tuskegee

Every day (sometimes twice) I pick up trash from my yard. There are always beer cans or bottles. That is expected(?)...but why the food bags from other cities? I find bags from Hardees, Chick Fillet, and Arby's. None of those eateries are in Tuskegee. That means someone drives to another city, buys food in the drive through, eats on the way back from where ever and waits to come home to Tuskegee to throw the trash out of the window. Take a look. The right of way is all wrong. Trash lines the streets as we (I guess it's us) throw our empty bags, cans and bottles out the window and into the streets and yards of our city.

Of course, it all isn't trash. I found someone's canceled Charter bill in my yard, with the name and address on Water St.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

What really happened on January 20, 2009...

A very important thing happened on January 20, 2009. It happened so quietly, it was missed by everybody. It wasn't reported on any of the news channels. Even Fox missed it. So what happened?

Our victim card expired.

Just like white kids buy rap music and put the artist on the charts while we look for a free download, black people weren't the only one's to vote for Barak Obama, if we voted at all.

Our victim card expired.

Now we have to be responsible for ourselves, our children, our neighborhoods and our communities. We have to come to PTA and City Council Meetings. We have to save our money and learn how to invest it. We have to think about generations coming behind us and what legacy we are building.

We have to read the newspaper and know how to tell truth from falsehood, even when it's in print. We have to acknowledge a Higher Power than our appetites. We have to join the community and be counted as fully participating members.

Our victim card expired.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

When we (my brothers and I) were kids, we didn't take many family vacations. When it came time to take a trip, we became the Griswalds. Much planning went into the journey. Weeks in advance, Mom was on the phone, borrowing travel supplies from family and friends. When she wasn't talking, she was cooking. Hard boiled eggs. Baked potatoes. Fried Chicken. When she wasn't cooking, she was washing and cleaning. Ironing clothes. Packing bags. Buying new suitcases.

Dad was the transporation committee. He and my uncle would map out the trip in great detail. My uncle knew which roads were the best and which were under construction. There was no interstate highway system, so the route had to be planned in careful detail. You had to be careful not to get too far from the major highways. Fill up your tank when you get half-full. Check your tire pressure whenever you fill up. Make sure your spare is solid. Once, to go to the New York Worlds Fair, Dad even bought a station wagon, just like the Griswalds.

There were always family and friends to visit along the way, or college buddies Dad wanted to check up on. We always wound up staying the night. I found out grits in Maryland didn't taste like grits in Alabama.

Now I'm a grown man, and I realize the effort our parents put in to making sure we didn't get exposed to the injustice of not being able to sit in a restuarant or not being allowed to use a rest room because of the color of our skin.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Goodbye Coach....

Coach Comegy is leaving Tuskegee. He gave Tuskegee ten years of great football, especially giving Alabama State a good spanking on Turkey Day. He will do well where ever he goes. I hope Tuskegee can find someone as gifted as Coach Comegy. Good Luck, Coach!

Saturday, January 22, 2005

The Tuskegee Wal-Mart

I think it started when well-intentioned leaders decided to boycott downtown, white-owned businesses that would not employ blacks. Several businesses put up plywood screens so black shoppers wouldn't be seen sneaking in to shop. The boycott was successful. Several white businesses did employ blacks. Several others chose to go out of business instead of yielding to pressure. The boycott had other unforeseen effects. It trained Tuskegeeans to shop outside of Tuskegee.

Payday became something to look forward to, for reasons other than getting paid. You saw Tuskegeeans at the Village Mall, the movie theaters and East Alabama Medical Center. A truce was declared between Tuskegeeans, as we greeted each other in Auburn and Montgomery and told each other where the best seafood could be found, what was playing at the movies and who else from Tuskegee we had seen spending money. We parted with new information about what was happening in Montgomery and Auburn.

What was happening in Tuskegee? The same businesses that employed blacks were going out of business. The same people that would hold a check until payday were dying in Tuskegee. Black Businesses were suffering too. Unless you had a business that dealt with personal services , or were a professional in the right profession , you were in pain.

In an attempt to keep the Tuskegee dollar in Tuskegee, a new shopping plaza was built complete with a Wal-Mart. The only problem was every established, home-town business had deadly competition in Ford's Crossing. NOBODY could compete with Wal-Mart. As the last of the home-town businesses folded up, Wal-Mart closed their doors and left.

Now Auburn has created an entire industry on the west side of town, very convenient to the Tuskegee shopper. While driving thru the parking lot in front of the Super Wal-Mart, I started counting the 46 tags....and stopped because there were too many. This is the Tuskegee Wal-Mart. Tuskegeeans work there too. I'm sure Auburn has imposed an occupation tax. I would, if I were an Auburn city official. Auburn has developed an industry, a tax machine to accomodate the Tuskegee shopper and grab the Tuskegee dollar. It is a thing of beauty. Tuskegeeans drive 25 minutes up Interstate 85, drop off their money and go back to Tuskegee. And they don't even have to come into the city of Auburn at all.