Well one week ago I posted about having to drive to Cleveland to attend a funeral of my brother’s cousin who was murdered by her boyfriend. Come to find out, this boyfriend was an ex-sugar daddy who happens to be white & 70 years old (yeah you heard me).
The old man shot her because she was leaving him & he just could not take it obviously. She shat her at close range with some sort of gun but it winded up shredding her body into 2 pieces. I hear they literally had to piece her back together. The murderer is locked up on a 100k bond, so I guess his old ass is gone be gone for a while.
Now that I have that out of the way, I can get to the less dramatic.
So my mom & brother were supposed to be at my house at 1130 to roll out for the 2.5 hour drive but in true Negro fashion, they were late & got to the house @ 1215. They come in the house with all these bags and shit like they really going out of time (really my mom).
My brother was pretty quite because he was nervous about meeting his dad for the1st time as conscious being (he last saw him when he was 2 (1978)). My mom was dressed to impress the living & the dead but most importantly, her baby’s daddy.
So we get in the car & head for the gas station, which is when my mom gave me some balled up money (like my grandma used to do). So because I am tacky, I stopped to unfold it & saw it was ONLY 20 bucks. So I looked at her & was like is this all you’re gonna give me. Shit, I have a V6 & we have a 2.5 hour drive. 20 Bucks was not going to get us out of MI.
Minutes later I hit the gas station & fill up & had to drop 38.63 for a full tank & I had an attitude thinking about them damn 20 bucks. I get back in the car & ask if she had more cash cuz what she gave me was not shit. She told me that all she had left was 10 bucks, so I put my hand out for it. She responded by shaking my hand and saying that God will bless me. I responded back by saying is God gonna fill this tank when we run out on the turn pike??? I then pull off to get on the freeway mad as hell.
After I got over the fact that my mom likes to travel broke, I felt better & started up the iPod for some cruising music. The road trip was actually fun we did a lot of joking, which we as a family not done in a while. My brother & I kept asking mom if she was excited to see her baby’s daddy with her sexy new wig & she was like hell yeah! We all laughed at that.
Fast-forward 2 hours & we are in Cleveland @ the church. We missed the funeral because of the late start but it was all good. Mom gets out of the car primps a little bit & makes last minute adjustments to her make up & wig then sachet’d her way to the church to await the family retuning from the cemetery. My brother was silent as a church mouse with nervous anticipation & slowly followed behind mom. I decided to wait in the until the family came back to the church for that famous Negro after funeral meal.
Just as cars start to arrive from the cemetery, my moms walks up to me & says Sir Skip is in the church & that they had been in the church talking to him. Then she has to say he looks good (I’m not sure if she meant he was sexy or looked good to have been in prison for so long). At this point, I packed up my shit & followed her into the church.
Upon arriving the church reception area, I hear my (old) name from several people & I was like what the hell. 2 of my aunts & one of my cousins (really they are steps) walked up to me & hugged me & they told me how much they missed me. I need to mention that I lived amongst this family pretty much from the time I was born until I was 4. I was a little overwhelmed!
So I look over & see Topot talking to his dad & he had the biggest smile on his face ever, it was very heart warming to see him so happy. At this point, I said the time & money that I spent was worth it. Looking at the 2 of them next to each other was so scary because they look just alike, eyes, ears, smile, nose & body frame. I think the only thing Topot got from mom was her hair (his dad has “good hair”).
So while eating I was able to catch up with Sir Skip & it actually felt good talking to him. He talked to me about how I used to follow him around when I was a baby & how he loved talking me around because I was his little “dude”. I was also able to catch up with Aunt Shirley & cousin Suzanne who were so warm & inviting. I mean I really felt like I was amongst real family. Well I guess I was considering my mom was once married to Sir Skip.
After we ate, the party moved to Aunt Shirley’s house & the clock was ticking because I told mom that we were out at the latest 730. 10 minutes later, we are at Aunt Shirley’s & everyone is getting out of the “church clothes” & letting loose. Next thing I know, there was a beer run & almost everyone was smoking & laughter was all around.
So I sat down to talk with Sir Skip a little more & I asked him why he gave Topot the nick name Topot (his real name is Langford and he is a Jr.). He said, well I did not name him Topot, you did. I was like me & he was like yeah you.
He went on to tell me that when he used to watch us when my mom was at work, I would help watch the baby & help put him to sleep by rubbing his back talking to him in my own 2 year old baby talk. And while soothing my baby brother, I called him Topot. Sir Skip said he could never figure out what it meant but he then too start calling Langford jr Topot & the name stuck like glue. I was so shocked with amazement by this & it made me fell so good. Me, responsible for giving my brother one of the funniest nicknames ever!
So after kicking it with Sir Skip, I went into the house & Aunt Shirley pulled me to the side to see how I was doing & to learn abut my family. She was very happy to hear about how I had grown so & she mentioned how good of a little boy I used to be. She talked about how I used to love eating ice cream and always was laughing. When she mentioned all of this, I laughed & told her not had changed in the 29 years since she seen me last.
She went on to tell me a little of the family history & how they came to be & it was like listening to story corps griot. The information she shared with me was so rich, deep & personal & I listened with my full attention eating it all up.
During the conversation she went on to tell me that my great, great, great uncle (step) uncle was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame last year. Maybe you heard of him George Mule Suttles. I was really excited about this piece; someone remotely related to me is a Black History legend (I’m sure there are more).
Over the course of the 2+ hours we spent at Aunt Shirley’s, I felt like another piece of my life puzzle was fit in. And as I reflect back, my mom, brother & I all had totally different experiences and mine meant so much to me.
It’s now 715pm & I tell my mom to put her beer down so that we can get ready to hit the road & it was like dragging a kid from Chucky Cheese. I tell you, it was a long heart warming picture taking filled goodbye.
Driving back home, we all had a smile on our face talking about how good the visit was. The good feelings all stopped once I had to stop for more gas!
Once week later, I’m happy that I was able to provide the means to make this trip happen. Out of a family tragedy came beauty & lost connections close to my beginnings.