Don’t Stand So Close To Me

crowded_train_crop

“Don’t stand so close to me.”

That was all she ever said to poor Paul on their daily commute. The train was always packed and they got on at the same stop everyday. The office Carol worked in was across the court yard from where Paul worked so their daily meetings were inevitable. Paul, polite calm and mild mannered always apologized when Carol would ask the impossible of him. He didn’t want to crowd her but he had no choice. Neither of them knew the other’s name. That was their relationship; she’d bark and he’d ask for forgiveness. Carol’s marriage wasn’t a happy one; Paul’s life was a quiet one. Her anger and frustration with her life situation she vented on Paul every morning.

“Stop breathing on me!”

Paul held his breath. Three years Paul endured this dysfunctional relationship until one day his life changed. Paul’s family was wealthy but he valued not their prestige and lifestyle. Cast out was young Paul for not accepting his rightful place in high society. He took a simple job and lived a simple life, in his mind there was no need for excess. But now his elders had passed on and poor Paul was due his inheritance. His face was plastered across the local newspapers and television stations. “The Princely Pauper” is what they dubbed Paul. He took it all in stride. Paul never resigned from his job; he kept the same lifestyle and routine, less one thing. He bought himself a car to avoid having to take the train into the city and more importantly to steer clear of Carol. One day in front of his desk there she stood smiling wide with ample cleavage exposed.

“Hello Paul, how are you today?”

The ever courteous Paul answered the formerly cantankerous lady extending his hand to shake hers.

“I am doing well and how are you today? Ahh…”

Carol jumped in introducing herself.

“Carol, Carol Hanson, soon to be Carol Jensen once again. You know Paul I missed seeing you on the train in the morning.”

Paul was nice but he was no fool.

“You miss seeing me on the train?”

“Well of course silly, why don’t you ride anymore? I miss seeing my little train buddy.”

Carol reached out to caress his face; Paul scooted back out of her reach. Her forwardness irritated him somewhat.

“I believe you already know why I no longer ride the train and please ma’am don’t insult me by acting if you don’t. I know how miserable you are in your marriage by hearing you rant on your cell phone. I felt sorry for you. I had thoughts of befriending you, not in a romantic way, in a platonic way. But, you were always so nasty and rude to me no matter how polite I was to you. I understood that you were sharing the pain you felt inside but that was no reason for you to be abusive towards me. I only bought a car so that I wouldn’t have to ride the train and be insulted everyday. I bought a car because of you, not because I am suddenly wealthy. But here you stand now trying to pull the wool over my eyes because you lust for money. All you had to do was be kind to me and I would have given you anything your heart desired all because you were my friend. So please Ms. Carol Hanson, Jenson, whatever please back away from my desk. Don’t stand so close to me.”

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Mayhem Manifested through the Makings of a Manic Methhead

IMG_0135Robert sat in his dingy apartment on the living room floor surrounded by disassembled clock radios and various tools. He’d been awake for three days; the hallucinations and paranoia were becoming more intense. So much so that he was having a difficult time distinguishing reality from fantasy. In his mind he was beginning to believe that he was repairing his space craft so that he could get off this foreign planet and join his crew on the mother ship before returning to their galaxy.

He smoked more and his disillusions became that much more concentrated and extreme. Robert was now hull up in a cave with his craft hidden just yards away in some bushes; he could not allow himself to be discovered or for his plan to be revealed. Robert commandeered an earth weapon six days earlier in an attempt to defend himself against the inhabitants of this odd world. He hunched over his work sweating and picking at a sore he had caused on his left forearm. He dug deeper as his mind raced trying to figure out how to get the combaculator reception accumulator to work. Delusional Robert switched arms as his left began to leak blood from the fresh irritated and infected wound. He panicked seeing his bodily fluids spewing from his arm and assumed he had been hit by the enemy. Surely they were attempting to cease his life function.

Robert took cover and frantically tried to bandage his arm using plastic wrap and electric tape. He checked his earth weapon and laid in wait for his attackers. Just then his stoner friend Timmy and Rusty their dealer walked through the door. Robert stood and fired the 44caliber pistol six times at the intruders then ducked back behind the sofa he was using as cover. After brief screams there was silence. Robert reloaded then stood again to see another of the enemy, he fired three more shots.

The building superintendent, Mr. Sanchez fell to the floor without clutching or screaming. He was dead from the first shot to the head from the large caliber firearm. Robert ducked back down with the gun smoking in his hand; his position had been compromised. He needed to find an escape. Robert stepped over and through the lifeless bodies at his threshold and inched his way down the hallway. As he made his was through the woods towards his vessel he encountered more adversaries in uniforms holding weapons. He fired on sight catching one of the officers in the right arm. The other officer took aim and shot Robert in the chest ending his mission. Robert never made it out of this odd world and onto the mother ship but in his drug induced lunacy he did manage to take three lives and end the career of a decorated police officer. Meth is a hell of a drug!

A Day at The Ball Park

A Day At The Ball Park

While watching my sons little league baseball team warm up I was informed that there had been a shooting days earlier at a park here in the center of good living Ocoee, Florida. Our sleepy southern town doesn’t suffer from a great amount of crime or violence so any discharging of a firearm is big news. The baseball mom who shared the information with me was a bit sketchy on her facts and details so she left me curious as to exactly what happened. The boys all played great that day as we beat the team from the city of Clermont by twelve runs and headed on our way back to Ocoee.

A few days later I was at the West Orange Girls Club watching one of our four daughters play in a travel softball tournament when I received more details about the shooting incident. A parent on the team was also a little league coach and his team played a game the evening of the shooting. It would seem that afternoon at the ball park had a lot more drama than just someone discharging a firearm.

This parent coached with another dad who’s boy was very close to his own lad. The kids were like brothers and the dad was an exceptional coach, when he could keep his head. Sometimes the exceptional transforms into explosive. One of my sons played for this same duo of coaches and with these same two young players two years earlier. It was a great season and the coaches did an awesome job until there was an incident on the diamond.

Coach got into an argument with the other teams coaches over a play where his young son was injured. He felt it was a dirty play; eventually he challenged the other coaches to a fist fight. Coach was tossed from the game and eventually suspended for the rest of the season when he refused to make amends. Unknown to me he and the other coach had history. They were going to fight four years earlier when their older sons were playing against one another. The two tried to throw hands by the railroad tracks after the game but there were too many mediators and peace makers there preventing them from becoming physical with one another.

Now on this day at the ball park coach was at it again. The coach in the opposite dug out was complaining about interference on the base path. The disagreement escalated into an argument, then there were threats thrown. Coach takes threats literally so he informed the other coach that when they game was done they were going to fight. At the conclusion of the game coach huddled his team up and gave them praise for their performance in the win. After the young players did their victory lap and packed up their bats and gloves, coach saw them all off.

As soon as his players had left the ball park, coach sprinted around the outside of the baseball field and stopped behind the center field fence. He took his shirt off and started calling the opposing team’s coach out. He invited the guy to come join him behind the field so that they could find out who was more of a man. Waving his arms and jumping up and down he taunted his rival to no avail. Now that the game was over, his adversary’s angry emotions had cooled. He sat in the bleachers refusing to engage in fisticuffs.

Eventually the teller of this story, dad the assistant coach, went out to coax his friend away from center field. He got Coach to walk over to an adjacent park where their vehicles were parked so that they could put their equipment away. As they discussed the night’s events they could see three teens standing around a car across the parking lot. Suddenly a car pulled up and two boys jumped out. The coaches paid the kids no mind.

Then they heard shots ring out. Instinctually dad, the assistant coach reached for his firearm on his hip. It wasn’t there. Being a law enforcement officer, he always had his gun on him, except when he was coaching. He didn’t want any of the kids bumping into it in the dugout. The car of reckless teens sped off while everyone else took cover. There were no casualties or even injuries because the youths just shot the gun in the air. Fortunately the slugs landed harmlessly in a field a quarter mile away. Within moments, police were on the scene investigating what happened.

Initially the teens were tight lipped about who the assailants were and what the motive may have been. Eventually the authorities would get to the bottom of the crime and who to hold responsible. The situation could have been far more dire. Reportedly the boys at the park were engaged in an altercation with a brother of one of the kids in the car. They just wanted to show the other boys that they meant business and that they better not bother their brother again. This could have been a youthful indiscretion turned deadly.

If Dad had his gun he would have drawn down on the boys and a shoot out might have ensued. The ex-military homicide detective was a marksman. The boys could have lost their lives that day or hit someone in the distance when the bullets fell back to earth. The whole incident got Coach to thinking about life, coaching and how he conducted himself. He realized that life was short and you never know when your time is up. There are more serious things going on in the world than a little league baseball game. He decided that in the future he would see the game for what it was, a game. Little boys playing a game should be a joyous thing not surrounded with competitive, hot headed adults. That day, Coach became a better coach and a better man. Juvenile delinquents were arrested and Dad was so glad that he wasn’t forced to use deadly force against minors. Wow, what a day at the ball park.

A Day at The Ball Park

Dreams No Longer Fallow

dreams

No longer are her dreams left fallow; the seed, finally planted during the ideal growing season. This time she will nourish it with the love and enthusiasm it needs to grow. Prolonged procrastination has prevented pleasure through plausible productivity for she possesses power in her pen worthy of praise. Erudition in encouragement, she inspires those who aspire to chase dreams of their own. It is her dream now that will come to fruition as she has taken the first tentative steps towards personal greatness. Providential and privileged are persons under the pour of her profound prose. Probing then piercing, her words penetrate the soul of all within earshot. Woven together, her expressions enclose utterances of tensile strength fortifying unique thought.

Yesterday was the first day and a beginning to the inevitable. The inevitable being her success. When she succeeds, we all achieve because she is one of our chosen.

Her declaration of determination to achieve has assured that her dexterity will never again be devoured by doubt. Diacritical diction, dibbled into the domes of the dimwitted which they will dawn as unseen diadem, she’s destined to deliver. Congratulation and Appreciation I hold for her for she is ultra-deserving of both. Anxiously I am awaiting her accomplishments so that I may celebrate her triumph and it’s reaching for us all. Sincere thought and support breeds more, so that is what I give to you today in return for what you have given me.

Remember, the realization of your dream is the realization of our dream so please remain diligent and committed. You represent our pride and future, so you must do what you are called to do. We need you to

Mourning Marital Mistakes

mourning marital mistakes
Tanya and Walter Pride were young lovers in search of higher learning. Their young love they professed to be eternal so they married. Barely old enough to drink, they were now man and wife. Marriage doesn’t make you instantly more mature; wisdom comes with time and age. Walter was extremely studious leaving him very little time to experience “college life”. There were no keg parties, bon fires, pep rallies or pajama jammy jams for this young man. He was focused on becoming an engineer and great provider for his young family. Walter looked forward to having many children with Tanya his love and for them all to live together happily ever after.

Tanya loved her husband but thought him to be a bit of a bore from time to time. She respected his dedication to his goals but she just wished that he would loosen up a little bit. To her he acted more like a man in his late forties rather than his early twenties. Whenever she asked him to blow a class and go do something fun he rebuffed her. Walter was into doing extra, digging deeper not skipping mandatory classes. The young bride was in need of some excitement not the stable predictability that Walter offered day in and day out.

To scratch her itch she became more social on campus joining study groups and clubs. In one particular study group she met a friend with a bright future. He was a basketball player who had the potential to be drafted into the NBA. James was the team’s star shooting guard and business major like Tanya. James was dating a sophomore by the name of Betty Wright for the past year and a half or so and was very happy in his relationship. He was however very concerned for Betty because she had received some threatening letters on her car and even her door. The police investigated but could find no strong suspects. James vowed to protect the lady he loved and she trusted him to do so.

Friends and study buddies Tanya and James grew closer as the semester went on. They spent most of their time together in public places or groups. James resided with a religious man and his sister who was also heavily involved in the church. They took in the budding young superstar when he struggled finding lodging his second freshman semester. He was charged very little in rent to reside in the large home. They only asked that he attend church with them from time to time and obey the house rules.

Ronald, James’ landlord, was often called “Bishop” by the people in the community. He was very active in the church, organizing different activities and groups. Bishop was known to be a man strong in faith, always willing to help the needy. His sister Carol was a virtuous woman, a deaconess in the same church. It would seem that James could find no better people to surround himself with as he pursued his academic and athletic goals.

One day while studying, a spark flew between Tanya and James. That spark became a flame and then an inferno of passion. It erupted in an explosion of kissing and heavy petting. After two intense minutes, they both caught themselves and stopped. Feelings were discussed and then temptation given into. For the second time Tanya visited James’ home but this time she wasn’t just dropping him off. This time she stayed. Her long visit did not go unnoticed by Bishop. He inquired with James about the nature of the young woman’s visit. James was forthright and truthful. He divulged the nature of Tanya’s visit to Ronald’s dismay. He was none too please to know that James had physical relations with that young lady under his roof.

Tanya left James’ home a little distraught and stressed because their encounter left a prophylactic hidden within her body. Many worries raced through her mind, disease, pregnancy, Walter finding out. She decided to look for it more carefully in the privacy of her own bathroom. She and James exchanged calls of concern that night then he made his way to Betty’s place. James needed to be with her to help him pretend things were normal. He hadn’t just been adulterous with a married woman.

The next morning he was up early embracing the newness of the day. Betty drove him to class and James kissed her passionately before they parted. After a day of classes he made his way home to the scene of his moral crime. After being home for less than an hour he was visited by two detectives. They asked him when last he saw or spoke to Tanya. James was deceptive because of the new nature of their relationship. The officers asked him to join them down at the police station so that they could ask him a few more questions. They still hadn’t told him what this was all about but he agreed to go with them nonetheless. He knew that he didn’t commit a crime and if he could clear anything up with a conversation he would. Anything, just as long as Tanya’s husband didn’t find out about them.

When they got him into an interrogation room they shocked him with graphic photos and details of the crime committed. James was shocked! He couldn’t believe it; Tanya was dead and he was a suspect! She had been found in the early hours in a wooded area off of Interstate-4. Her car was recovered on the shoulder of the road a quarter of a mile from the body. She had been stabbed over fifty times and left for dead. It seemed to be a crime of passion and maybe a sex crime. There were no items stolen from the vehicle or her purse. The condom was found and tested forcing James to come clean about being with Tanya.

When pressed he admitted to being intimate with Mrs. Pride that evening before she was murder. But, he had an alibi, Betty. She vouched for his whereabouts and the detectives found her to be very credible. Walter was investigated but he was with his study group that evening returning home around 11:00pm. He had a conversation with a neighbor when he arrived home and the same neighbor informed the police that he never saw Tanya’s car return home that night. The two best suspects both had been cleared and the authorities were getting frustrated. Then new information came in that shifted the case in a totally different direction.

A highway patrol officer reported seeing Tanya’s car the night of her murder on the side of the road. There was another car parked on the side of the road near Mrs. Pride’s car. The officer ran the tags but was called away to the scene of a fatal accident. He remembered as he was driving away the call came back. The vehicle was registered to a Ronald Meeks. When the detective got this news their ears perked up. Ronald was James’ landlord; why would he be in the area of Tanya’s car the night she was murdered?

When questioned Bishop stated that he attended a church service that night and had no idea about why his car was in that area. His sister Carol was also questioned about her brother’s whereabouts. The police inquired about the church service and she stated that she was there but never saw her brother. Bishop was confronted with this information and said that she must be mistaken. As far as his car being in that area, he aloud James to drive his vehicle from time to time.

James was back in the crosshairs of the police until they found Ronald Meeks DNA inside of Tanya’s car. Arrested, prosecuted and put on trial was Ronald Meeks for the murder of Tanya Pride. Prosecutors needed to find a motive for the killing. Love ad jealousy were the culprits. James explained that Bishop asked him strange questions and even propositioned him somewhat. He asked if James had ever let a man perform oral sex on him and how it felt no different. He disguised his come on as a lesson he wanted to teach. Then one day he out right offered James free rent for intimacy. James always let the comments roll off of him. He needed a place to live so he didn’t make a big deal about it.

Investigators dug deeper and learned that Mr. Meeks was the one sending Betty threats as well. There they had their motive. Ronald Meeks was in love with James and he was trying to eliminate any woman who came near him. People of the religious community tried to stand behind the man until all of the details of the case came out. Still they prayed for his soul but they could no longer publicly support a murderer who used their religion as a cloak disguising who he really was and his ill intentions.

Ronald Meeks aka Bishop was sentenced to life in prison with out the possibility of parole. Betty was happy that no harm had come to her of James. She was upset at James for having an affair with a married woman but forgave him. Without much effort James charmed her and their relationship returned to normal. Betty was just happy to have him all to herself.

Walter Pride however was torn. He was devastated by the loss of the woman he loved. Thoughts of how her life was lost haunted him; he wished that he could save her from the pain. Then another side of him was angry. He did all that he could to prepare a beautiful future for them both. He was diligent and committed to his marriage and his wife betrayed him. He wanted to ask her why but he was robbed of that opportunity by Ronald Meeks. So here he was left with his world torn in two, still mourning his wife’s marital mistakes.

 

Self Love

self-love
“You’re only as beautiful as you let yourself be baby. If you can’t see the beauty in you, then how can anybody else.”

Sand rocked back in her chair then forward towards young Cynthia. She looked over her glasses deep into the girl’s eyes before saying…

“A bad man don’t love nothin’ more than a woman that can’t see the beauty in herself. Can you see the beauty in yourself?”

Cynthia shrugged and tilted her head with a shy smile on her face.

“I don’t know, I guess so?”

Sand shook her head slightly then smiled softly at the young girl. Cynthia became curious as to the woman’s thoughts.

“What. Why are you smiling at me like that?”

Sand responded joyously.

“Jesus sees the beauty in you.”

Then she nodded her head in the affirmative.

“Yes it’s true, HE loves you same as HE loves me. Jesus sees the beauty in you always so you should always see the beauty in yourself. Can you see it?”

Again Cynthia responded meekly.

“I guess so.”

Sand shook her head from side to side before taking a more stern tone with the esteem challenged girl.

“It’s time you wised up girl! It ain’t only you, you got to worry about; you got that baby to worry about too. If you can’t see the beauty in yourself right now maybe you can try seeing the beauty in that little girl. Jesus loves her too. Do you love her enough to keep her and yourself out of harms way?”

She then reached down into the carrier and picked the infant up and kissed her gently on the cheek. Sand’s words seemed to finally awaken something deep within the girl.

“I love my baby and I’m gonna take good care of her.”
“Taking good care of her don’t stop with just feeding, bathing and clothing her. You got to put her in a safe, loving home where she can grow learn and thrive. Expose her to the WORD at a young age and she will be a blessing to you in the years to come.”

Tears slowly streamed down Cynthia’s cheeks.

“But I love him Miss Sand. I love him.”
“Does he love you child? Has he even demonstrated the ability to love himself? If he can’t love his self then how can he love anybody?”

Cynthia began to sob harder and mucous dripped from her nose. Sand handed the girl a handkerchief and continued on. Her point had to be made.

“I’ve got some place for you and this baby to go. You can get out of this wicked place and start anew. Your life is only going to get better if you put Jesus and the welfare of this beautiful child first in your life. No man should ever come before that. The Lord blessed you with that pretty girl. That’s Jesus’ baby, same as your life is his and so is mine. We were put here in this place temporarily for his purpose. This is not our last stop; this is just a drop in the bucket of time. This life is a trial, a test and a trust. He’s trusted you to do good by the life he gave you to govern over in this foreign place. Heaven is our true home. Do you understand?”

Cynthia looked up at Sand now crying openly and answered.

“Yes.”

Sand continued on.

“Do you love Jesus?”
“Yes.”
“Do you trust in him?”
“Yes.”
“Well to love and trust him is to love and trust in you. Don’t ever put your trust or faith in man, only Jesus. When that boy gets out of jail you will be out of town and on to a better life.”

Cynthia’s weeping had slowed some at the mention of her beloved boyfriend.

“This is still his child too. I can’t just disappear with his child.”

Sand patted her on the shoulder before further encouraging her.

“Child if he cares he’ll come here and I’ll make sure that if he wants to send some money or a letter that I will pass it on. I don’t know if it will happen or not but if it does you can be sure that I will do exactly what I say but don’t count on me to seek him out. He got a responsibility to you and this child so he needs to be a man and live up to his responsibilities. Don’t be foolish enough to invest your energy into thinking about how he might feel about the situation because I can assure you that staying here and waiting on him would be a huge mistake. Now is your bag packed?”

Cynthia nodded her head in the affirmative.

“Good, now Chookie ‘round back ‘wit the car runnin’. C’mon and give me some sugar now and be on your way.”

Sand kissed the baby again and then put her back in her carrier. She then placed a Bible in the girl’s hands and kissed her on the forehead. Sand helped the young girl and her infant daughter into the vehicle and they were off to start a new life. Cynthia’s courageous decision led to a loving and productive child hood for her daughter, Carol, filled with laughter and serving. Loving ourselves is a blessing given us freely by our Lord. Sadly we are often too blinded by sin to accept and appreciate our blessings. Carol would later become a journalist exposing the ills of the world, while never making her father’s acquaintance. She was never blessed with the urge to seek him out. It just goes to show, God don’t make no mistakes.

Self Love

 

Addicted to Chaos!

chaos3

“Get ya’ll bad asses in this house and shut up all that damn noise in there! I’m sorry Miss Mary, I appreciate you bringin’ the boys home for me. They’re always into somethin’, wit they bad asses. I don’t know why these kids is so damn bad or where they get it from. I need ta whip they ass more.”

Tamara took a drag off her Newport and blew the smoke in the air out over Miss Mary’s head. She stepped out onto the porch next to the woman and took a seat in one of the plastic chairs.

“Please Miss Mary take a seat.”
“Thank you, but I can’t stay long; I got some neck bones in a pot on low. It’s about time to add my beans. I usually make my butter beans with a left over ham bone and scraps or some ham hock but I decided to make ‘em with neck bones this time. I ain’t done that in years.”
“You sure can cook Miss Mary.”
“Well thank you sugar. I’ll bring you down a bowl when it’s done.”

Tamara threw her cigarette butt to the red concrete porch and stomped it out. Then she sighed hard and looked to her older wiser neighbor and asked a simple question.

“How you do it Miss Mary?”
“What you mean child?”
“How you always stay calm and got three kids, two in college and one about to go to school on a football scholarship. Your husband died when your kids was young and you ain’t got no more money than everybody else around here but you stay doing good. You live good your kids do good and you always got what you need.”

Miss Mary smiled then chuckled at the young girl’s statement before responding flattered.

“Well the first thing is Jesus; trust and believe in Jesus. He’ll give you peace and help you to make wise decisions. Invest your time and energy into what’s important, your children. Show the babies love all the time ‘cause sometimes it’s tough.”

Tamara took a second to grasp exactly what Miss Mary was trying to tell her.

“Well Miss Mary it’s hard to love these bad kids I got, they take after their daddies. No matter how much I holla, scream or beat, they still gonna be bad. Just like their daddies.”

Miss Mary took a moment to choose her words carefully before replying to Tamara.

“Well if it were me the first thing I would do is stop telling them that their bad, ‘cause eventually they start to believe it. Then they start being bad. I would make sure that they had plenty of positive activities to get involved in. Things they love to do, sports, clubs, drama, karate or something. Then instead of beatin’ on ‘em you can take away their special thing until they can behave themselves. Love them; tell them how much you love them everyday and encourage them to do good in their activities. Were their daddies good or bad?”

Tamara frowned up her brow as she tried to think about each of her baby daddies’ and their personalities.

“All four of them ain’t… nothing. They all bad Miss Mary, all of ‘em.”
“Well baby if all of them are no good then don’t keep tellin’ your children that they are just like them. Don’t continue the drama in their lives. If you used to fight and argue with the fathers and the children saw it then you are teaching them the wrong love lessons. When you yell and fuss at them all the time it teaches them bad love lessons. We should want our children to learn that we show the most love and respect to family. We need to protect not hurt the people closest to us. When I say hurt I mean physically, emotionally, spiritually or mentally. Baby you gotta stop being addicted to chaos; it’s not good for you or your babies.”

Tamara smiled then giggled.

“Addicted to chaos? Miss Mary you sure got some way of talkin’ but I hear you. I do like a lot of drama; maybe it’s time to stop all that. I’m gonna start being sweeter to my kids and maybe I’ll go to church with you sometime if you’ll take me.”

Miss Mary rose from her chair with a grunt and a stretch.

“Whenever you want to go to church honey; just let me know. I’ll be here bright and early in the morning to pick you up. Well you just think about it baby, I gotta go tend to my beans. I’ll be back with a bowl when they’re done.”
“Alright Miss Mary I’ll see you when you come back and thank you again.”

Miss Mary winked and smiled at Tamara. Tamara winked and smiled back in an attempt to start being more like Miss Mary as she watched her turn and walk down the road. Tamara turned and walked inside her house to prepare dinner for her boys. She decided that night she would ask her four sons what they wanted instead of just making whatever was the easiest. She summoned them.

“Boys, what ya’ll want for dinner tonight.”

They all ran to her feet from different places in the house with different requests for dinner. Tamara stepped back from them and silently looked down into their little faces. She realized how different and special they all were. She brought joy to their little hearts when she announced that she would make each of their meals and they would all eat them together. A group hug was had then they all told her of how they loved her and how she was the best mama in the whole world. Tamara had taken the first steps towards breaking her addiction to chaos.

Addicted to Chaos!
Photo: Addicted to Chaos! “Get ya’ll bad asses in this house and shut up all that damn noise in there! I’m sorry Miss Mary, I appreciate you bringin’ the boys home for me. They’re always into somethin’, wit they bad asses. I don’t know why these kids is so damn bad or where they get it from. I need ta whip they ass more.” Tamara took a drag off her Newport and blew the smoke in the air out over Miss Mary’s head. She stepped out onto the porch next to the woman and took a seat in one of the plastic chairs. “Please Miss Mary take a seat.” “Thank you, but I can’t stay long; I got some neck bones in a pot on low. It’s about time to add my beans. I usually make my butter beans with a left over ham bone and scraps or some ham hock but I decided to make ‘em with neck bones this time. I ain’t done that in years.” “You sure can cook Miss Mary.” “Well thank you sugar. I’ll bring you down a bowl when it’s done.” Tamara threw her cigarette butt to the red concrete porch and stomped it out. Then she sighed hard and looked to her older wiser neighbor and asked a simple question. “How you do it Miss Mary?” “What you mean child?” “How you always stay calm and got three kids, two in college and one about to go to school on a football scholarship. Your husband died when your kids was young and you ain’t got no more money than everybody else around here but you stay doing good. You live good your kids do good and you always got what you need.” Miss Mary smiled then chuckled at the young girl’s statement before responding flattered. “Well the first thing is Jesus; trust and believe in Jesus. He’ll give you peace and help you to make wise decisions. Invest your time and energy into what’s important, your children. Show the babies love all the time ‘cause sometimes it’s tough.” Tamara took a second to grasp exactly what Miss Mary was trying to tell her. “Well Miss Mary it’s hard to love these bad kids I got, they take after their daddies. No matter how much I holla, scream or beat, they still gonna be bad. Just like their daddies.” Miss Mary took a moment to choose her words carefully before replying to Tamara. “Well if it were me the first thing I would do is stop telling them that their bad, ‘cause eventually they start to believe it. Then they start being bad. I would make sure that they had plenty of positive activities to get involved in. Things they love to do, sports, clubs, drama, karate or something. Then instead of beatin’ on ‘em you can take away their special thing until they can behave themselves. Love them; tell them how much you love them everyday and encourage them to do good in their activities. Were their daddies good or bad?” Tamara frowned up her brow as she tried to think about each of her baby daddies’ and their personalities. “All four of them ain’t… nothing. They all bad Miss Mary, all of ‘em.” “Well baby if all of them are no good then don’t keep tellin’ your children that they are just like them. Don’t continue the drama in their lives. If you used to fight and argue with the fathers and the children saw it then you are teaching them the wrong love lessons. When you yell and fuss at them all the time it teaches them bad love lessons. We should want our children to learn that we show the most love and respect to family. We need to protect not hurt the people closest to us. When I say hurt I mean physically, emotionally, spiritually or mentally. Baby you gotta stop being addicted to chaos; it’s not good for you or your babies.” Tamara smiled then giggled. “Addicted to chaos? Miss Mary you sure got some way of talkin’ but I hear you. I do like a lot of drama; maybe it’s time to stop all that. I’m gonna start being sweeter to my kids and maybe I’ll go to church with you sometime if you’ll take me.” Miss Mary rose from her chair with a grunt and a stretch. “Whenever you want to go to church honey; just let me know. I’ll be here bright and early in the morning to pick you up. Well you just think about it baby, I gotta go tend to my beans. I’ll be back with a bowl when they’re done.” “Alright Miss Mary I’ll see you when you come back and thank you again.” Miss Mary winked and smiled at Tamara. Tamara winked and smiled back in an attempt to start being more like Miss Mary as she watched her turn and walk down the road. Tamara turned and walked inside her house to prepare dinner for her boys. She decided that night she would ask her four sons what they wanted instead of just making whatever was the easiest. She summoned them. “Boys, what ya’ll want for dinner tonight.” They all ran to her feet from different places in the house with different requests for dinner. Tamara stepped back from them and silently looked down into their little faces. She realized how different and special they all were. She brought joy to their little hearts when she announced that she would make each of their meals and they would all eat them together. A group hug was had then they all told her of how they loved her and how she was the best mama in the whole world. Tamara had taken the first steps towards breaking her addiction to chaos. Addicted to Chaos!