So, a week ago, Simply Tine and I embarked upon the time-honored tradition of all homeowners: overseeding and fertilizing the yard for the fall. Initially, I was very hesitant to it because I had little frame of reference. The first time I ever worried about seeding and feeding a lawn was in our first home in Georgia. Small yard. Less that 1/4 acre. Scott’s handled it, but we watered it faithfully. Anywho, our front yard is over 7500 sq. ft. and all I kept seeing were dollar signs and frustration. I mean, I grew up on two acres of land, and needless to say, seeding and feeding was OUT of the question. A couple of things enticed me to move forward with this:
– seeing my wife extremely excited and involved in fixing our flower bed
– remembering the work I put in to getting rid of the azaleas
– hearing the detailed investigations my wife did into the overall seeding/feeding process
– hearing the compliments from our neighbors regarding the work we’ve put in
Look, I try not to do things for show, but doggoneit, the bug bit me on this yard! Soooooo…. while she was at work, I meandered around one of my favorite places in the world.
We didn’t check for pH levels in the yard to see if we needed to lime anything. Honestly, I don’t want to mess with that stuff. I remember lime burn from foolishly washing it off instead of brushing it off as best I could. I’ll save that for early spring as not to interfere with the FUN SNOW we’re bound to have this year. ANYWAY… I believe we probably put in about 10 miles of walking after countless trips of cutting and spreading. We put down some extra lawn soil and sod in the areas around the flower bed left exposed from the digging and they’ve taken root! We received a few good rains this past week, so not as much watering needed.
We will see how this goes. Still have some weeding to do around the rest of the house, but with a cooldown next week, it’s prime time for me and Mr. Mattock (pick axe) to get to work. Stay tuned for a little surprise in the next week or two, also!
It is the last week of our two sons’ vacation. They spend their days playing outside, building things from displaced bricks and boards, Minecraft, Pokemon, Just Dance 4, eating chicken fingers and fish sticks, without a care in the world. We enjoy their curious meandering around our new home and are so happy to have made a way for them to enjoy life in our sanctuary. Their lives seem so idyllic, and to some extent, they are. In the back of my mind, however, I cannot help but think about the world that they are somewhat shielded from. I think about the families of Michael Brown and Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri. I think about the entire scenario that has yet to be fully explained. I think about the prevailing mindsets of those within and without the city lines and how once again…. we are dealing with a racial powder keg. So many thoughts…. so many. For the folks that know me, I do not pull punches and I do not mean to cause harm, but I do share a perspective that will make you feel uncomfortable. Disclaimer done. Let’s go.
Blind loyalty to a side of any particular argument lends itself to scrutiny. It is easy to say, “Let’s wait and see what the investigation tells us” when there is a noted history of mistrust by those doing the investigation. The FBI is called to facilitate the investigation. The U.S. Attorney’s office is called to investigate. Dr. Michael Baden is requested by the family to perform an autopsy on top of the St. Louis County AND Federal medical examiners. Let’s take a step back and look at this. We have all of these eyes, ears, and hands in on this particular event for what particular reason? Mistrust. What is more concerning is that the Ferguson Police took a bit of time to disclose the officer involved. I can respect that they want to protect Officer Wilson and his family prior to disclosure, but it should not have taken that long to do so. Fuels mistrust. Furthermore, the public is receiving little information regarding their investigation. I can respect a thorough investigation, but again, if there is existing mistrust in your office, you must perform an extraordinary effort to be transparent with your findings and frequently communicate the same. The delays are further lowering the trust factor. As much as it does not want to be said, the composition of the information holders juxtaposed against those in which they protect and serve plays a large part in this entire scenario. Just as there is a suspicious look when some young Black people are huddled together or congregating, best believe that we are equally as suspicious when you are fumbling over your words at the mic and unsure of your words as an officer of the law. Mistrust.
I must admit that I have mixed feelings around Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson being assigned to help manage things. Yes, he is a hometown product and probably knows the lay of the proverbial land, but it almost felt like his presence was more of a conciliatory effort to have a Black person “managing his own.” Could someone else who didn’t look like us have done just as well? With the tensions as they are, probably not. It just does not feel right to resort to such affinities in order to gain order. Then again, the next resort would be bringing in the National Guard, declaring curfews, and tightroping martial law. Oh wait…. that did happen. Oh, and just as a belated FYI, Capt. Johnson is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated. The picture circling around the Internet with him throwing up a handsign is not a gang sign, rather a fraternity sign shared among their Brethren. Yes, there were (and still are) people dead set to pin something negative to a Black person when it is quite the opposite and innocuous to boot.
Interesting segue. Blaming and discrediting the victim. The information gatekeepers have the advantage of presenting information in such a way that benefits their side. WHY else would a tape be released of an individual that supposedly fit the description of Mr. Brown shoplifting goods from a local convenience store… just to be condemned by the gatekeepers? Juuuuuust enough of a slip to give public perception enough blood in the water. Do not tell me that was an honest mistake. Damage control out there says that the officer was unaware at the time he and Mr. Brown crossed paths. Damage already done. What of this marijuana trace in his system? Does the information lend itself to scrutiny regarding Mr. Brown’s mental and physical state at the time of the encounter? Sure does, but let’s allow that to be decided by a jury. Six shots with two of them in the head. No call for an ambulance. Nothing. Should that also be decided by a jury? Sure does, but it also requires the assailant to be arraigned. Clock is ticking.
Many of you have read a blog entry titled “A White Mother’s Privilege.” Very honest dialogue around race relations, privilege, and its effects from a Caucasian perspective. That expression, by far, touched my sensitivities to perceptions and realities. Not everyone is willing to admit to white privilege for it requires them to see the other side of the table. The first half of my life was spent under an illusion that Caucasian folks were naturally empathetic to the plights of Black folks. I mean, hey…. no one ever felt the need to call me a nigger to my face. No one deliberately set upon to make my life a living hell just because I was Black. Everyone lived and let live… or so I thought. THEN CAME THE 2008 ELECTION. Oh boy. All of a sudden, the world totally shifted on its axis. I started seeing and hearing every excuse under the sun why President Obama was unfit for the position. Some may be justified in retrospect, but what will never be justified to me is that he is Black. His winning the elections twice brought out some deep-seeded opinions that, in my opinion, had always been there, even when I was in grade school. They were simply fed some real nasty fertilizer by the community in which they lived in. Facebook helped end plenty of supposed friendships and acquaintances, especially with respect to political leanings. The foundation of perceptions and realities was shaken to their core and now, we all had the “pleasure” of seeing racist caricatures, the birther search for his lack of citizenship, the evil Muslim propaganda because his middle name coincidentally was the same of a known terrorist. Oh, but let’s not forget some of the great sound bytes left by Missouri’s own Lt. Governor Peter Kinder regarding Anglo-American justice in Ferguson. It was his privilege and God-given right to make sure that we all knew where justice must be found. I retort:
Ignorance abounds, yet Black America is supposed to lend a deaf ear or kindly sweep it under the rug? No, you cannot say to me, “Oh, he just spoke out of pocket. It always happens and let’s move on.” THAT is where the problem lies. You don’t own the broom…. and for what it’s worth… you never wanted the broom, rather for everyone else to be left to clean up after you. If that’s not privilege spoken clearly, I will gladly help to find a transcript for you to read it.
An earlier conversation lent itself to some of my Caucasian friends feeling ashamed over the actions of other White folks. Let me make this clear: no one person should EVER feel that it is necessary to carry the burden of an entire racial or ethnic makeup. Please understand that I will NEVER purposefully carry the ignorance of another Black person as mine. If there is any part of being human that must occur is the individual accountability for our actions, not to conveniently shift those responsibilities elsewhere. Note that I said being human…. not Anglo, not African, not Asian, not Spanish.
I leave this post with an invitation just as I did earlier today. Feel free to come to the table. There is a smorgasbord of great food and conversation to be had. Some of it will definitely be hard to swallow, but it’s good for you! No poisonous vegetables. No strange delicacies. Bring an open mind to the table. Now, I don’t take kindly to RSVPs that turn into no-shows. My sons are well behaved and respectful. They may even ask you to play a little. Will you come?