My First Love By Butch Ford

We met way back in 1976 when I was just eight years old. I didn’t know very much about you at that time. But my grandmother felt it was a great idea for us to meet and get further acquainted with one another. You were as foreign as a far and distant land. Little did anyone know how close we would become in the subsequent years that followed.

I remember being intimidated by your very presence. It was hard to figure you out, initially. It felt like trying to pick up a second language. And as a shy kid…I couldn’t look you in the eye without feeling intimidated. But I was determined to conquer my fear of you and accept every challenge we suddenly faced.

You were extremely fast…so very complex and even intricate…down to the slightest detail. Yet my intrigue was through the roof. I had begun to eat, drink, and dream of you only…non-stop! You had become my obsession. The more time I spent with you, the deeper I fell. You were all I wanted to do.

As time went on, people would see us together, and they knew we were a match made in heaven. You were good to me, and you made me happy. We would go to experience and accomplish many great feats together. I got to meet some incredible life-long friends. And I don’t know what my life would have been like without you.

I don’t see much of you anymore, but the memories are forever embedded in my soul. I still miss your scent, the joy you brought into my world, and the confidence I gained from being with you for so long that can never be replaced. My grandmother must’ve seen something in you. I’m glad she introduced us. BASEBALL…you will always be my first love.

-Butch Ford

“Gone But Not Forgotten” by Butch Ford

Joe Louis Areana

“Gone But Not Forgotten” by Butch Ford

As the world continues to change and as we further adjust to our new way of life, two staples in Detroit sports history have recently been demolished, right up under our noses; Joe Louis Arena and The Palace of Auburn Hills.

Both monuments were the homes to several  NHL Stanley Cup and NBA Finals Championships by the Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Pistons respectively…as well as countless concerts, Monster Truck Shows, The Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey Circus, and NCAA Collegiate Athletic Events.

Some of my fondest memories took place in these venues.  The Controversy and Purple Rain Tours by Prince; New Edition’s Heart Break and Home Again Tours, The Soldier of Love Tour by Sade, and The Triple Threat Tour featuring Bell Biv Devoe, Johnny Gill & Keith Sweat.

Palace

But it was the championship tradition established by our two winning franchises that make these such colossal losses.  We all remember The Bad Boys in the late ’80s.  Who could forget Steve Yzerman and The Russian Five?  And the “Going To Work” Pistons of the ’90s with Big Ben, Rip, Chauncey & Rasheed made us beam with pride.

We’re all gonna miss “The Joe” and “The House That Isiah Built” as they were affectionately known, but the memories will last for generations.  Detroit is a sports town with a rich sports history.  We’re just patiently awaiting the next wave to ride.  Don’t worry.  It’s coming soon.  But this time it will take place in the beautiful Little Caesars Arena.

 

Butch Ford

“We Reminisce Over You” by Butch Ford

thinking back

 

“We Reminisce Over You” by Butch Ford

The title of this entry was inspired by a 90’s hip hop classic from Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth.  The thought behind it are feelings of love, loss, gratitude and pride mixed with a little bit of selfishness and some sadness sprinkled in too.  We’ve all lost loved ones at some point in our lives and admittedly…it hurts.

I remember watching my grandmother beam with pride and joy.  She loved family; her mother, sisters, aunts & uncles, daughters and most assuredly her grandson(s).  Holiday gatherings and family get-togethers meant everything to her.  I would marvel at the outpouring of love displayed at these functions.  It’s difficult to put it into words.  It was just simply incredible.  Boy…I really miss those days.  And then…the unthinkable began to happen.  We started losing our older relatives slowly but surely.

Now we’re the grandparents, the great aunts & uncles, the matriarchs & patriarchs of our families.  But times have changed.  Things are very different now.  The world just ain’t the same anymore.  Don’t get me wrong…we’re all blessed to still be among the living, but it’s sad watching the day to day occurrences in these dark and scary times we live in.  We gotta stay prayed up and watch out for one another.  Hopefully better days are ahead.  As the song says, “A change gon come.”  We need a change…BAD!!!

Thinking back on how my grandmother loved on all of us…that smile, those hugs and the loving, nurturing words of encouragement…makes me wonder if she missed her parents, grandparents, great aunts & uncles as much as I miss her?  If she did, she didn’t show it.  But gauging the void in my heart…how could she not?  Her focus was obviously on everyone else’s happiness.

I still smile when I think of my grandmother’s strength and courage.  The way she held everything together was nothing less than amazing.  Her memory still lives on today.  Mainly because my mother stepped up in her absence and filled those shoes remarkably.  I’m just expressing myself, but I know there are others with similar stories, right?  The message today is simple.  It’s for our loved ones who have gone on to glory…to continue watching over us while we reminisce over you.

Butch

Reflections of the Dining Room Table at My Grandparent’s House by Chellyz View

dining table

Reflections of the Dining Room Table at My Grandparent’s House by Chellyz View

I was scrolling through the gallery in my cellphone and the picture featured above held my attention.  A table.  Not just an ordinary table, but a decorated table that reminded me of one of my maternal grandmother’s tablecloths.  Some childhood memories are clear like looking through a freshly wiped window cleaned with window cleaner.  I accurately see the reflection of dinner time at my grandparent’s home.

My grandparents resided in a small modest home with a round dinner table. Dinner at my grandparent’s house was a ritual.  The main course of the day was done by 4:00 p.m.  My grandmother enjoyed working for a brief time, but life circumstances summoned her to become at stay home mom.  I admired my grandma for watching over me while my mom worked.  I am displeased with myself because I didn’t pay attention to her nor my paternal grandmother’s recipes made from scratch.  I felt cooking wasn’t my calling.  Therefore, cereal and grilled cheese sandwiches became my specialty as I grew older, but that’s another story.

Yes, the dinner table at my grandparent’s house was sacred.  Hands washed.   Fresh produce.  Homemade Ingredients.  Life was at a slower pace back in the day.  At least that is how I envision grandma’s kitchen.  I can recall the aroma of greens, black eyed peas, the snapping of peas or green beans, and sweet potato pies (no strings found).  Watching flour and yeast being rolled by hand with a wooden rolling pin then left to rise a few times before being baked in the oven left me amazed.  The scent of roast beef or a whole chicken that appeared to be roasted without the rotisserie machine contraption lingered in the air.  This was a time before anyone thought or knew the definition or lifestyle of veganism or gluten free.

The most important part of the dinner routine was setting the table.  My grandpa would become irritated at times because I would start singing at the table.  I didn’t sing on key, but I always had a song.  I don’t know if this was a habit because the food was so good or I just felt like hearing him telling me to stop all that sangin’.  I knew we were to sit down at the table together.  No eating in the room.  No preparing separate meals.  Whatever was cooked you ate or you starved. Currently, I don’t know if that would be considered unfair treatment to children or not.  Paper plates, and plastic ware was not allowed at the dinner table.  Cups made of foam, oh no!  My grandma said she felt like she was about to choke when she drank out of a foam cup.  When she did finally break down and accepted paper or plastic goods at her dinner table, you were only to purchase Chinet or some other brand that resembled resilience.

Today, I feel guilty as a mother.  Don’t get me wrong, my children don’t starve.  However, they didn’t experience the same dinner time rituals I did as a child.   I am thankful their dad has mad skills in the kitchen.  So, they always get excited when dad prepares the meals.  We don’t always consume our dinner at the same time due to work schedules or extracurricular activities.  I am known for stocking up on paper and plastic goods because it’s an “easy” way of life in my home, but I know it isn’t good for the environment.  There are times when we have carry-out meals a little too often or the frozen section in the market conveniently saves time instead of having everything freshly prepared.  Electronics such as tablets and phones are supposed to be banned at the table when we have an opportunity to dine together.  The children ask, “Why?”  I respond, “Cause my grandpa said no singing at the table.”  Also, I tell them it’s important because it gives us a chance to talk about life.

A few years ago, before I realized the impact dementia was having on my grandmother we got into an argument.  It was about the details of the dining room table.  I wasn’t folding the dinner napkins correctly.  Grandma exploded and I left the room muttering, “I ain’t having another holiday dinner over here.”  I think she felt it would be one of her last holidays preparing a home cooked meal at the sacred dinner table.  A sadness overwhelmed me because I knew grandma was changing and this portion of our lives wouldn’t be the same.  Now, she enjoys the meals my mom and aunt prepare for her. She always sit by the window in her comfy chair.  Her dinner table consists of a small foldable wooden dinner tray.  Of course, she asks what time it is throughout the day, because she never wants to eat dinner after 5:00 p.m.

As families we need to find time to gather more at the table.  Even if time doesn’t allow for it to occur every day, we should commit to making the time at least three to four times a week.  It might not even be dinner, but maybe you could enjoy preparing an evening snack or dessert together.  Have at least one “good tablecloth” and a set of nice dinnerware you can find on sale.  Maybe even splurge on the fancy paper ware but remember to recycle.  LOL, I even invite singing to the dinner table as long it is a song, we can all sing and is appropriate.  Yes, our schedules can be rigorous at times.  Yes, we often find ourselves overworked and trying to manage the bills.  However, try to find a few moments to create some reflective and comforting memories at the dinner table .