The Ground of My Heart is back. So here we go—
It’s hard to get my parents to tell a matching story. One parent will usually claim to know how it really happened, which is of course, nothing like the other described. The one thing I can get them both to agree upon is where they met. Two undergraduates stumbled upon one another at Tulane University long, long ago and eventually wound up with a daughter who will probably never know what they did on their first date or honeymoon or how they dressed my nursery because they just can’t agree on the facts. When I whine about this, my Father laughs and reminds me that he’s divorced and he isn’t obligated to agree with my Mother.
Rather than let their love for their alma mater unite them, both moved on to love new universities – my Father is devoted to Tuskegee, named for and located in the town where he lives, and my Mother is proud of Alabama State, the university where she works and heads the radio station. And wouldn’t you know it, these schools are football rivals pitted against one another each and every Thanksgiving in what is known as the Turkey Day Classic.
Every fall I’m subjected to listening to my parents talk about their team’s coach, or how many scholarship athletes they stole from the other team. Both look forward to the other crying over a loss, and both warn me to get ready to console the other after their team loses. And by console what they really mean is ‘Tell your Mother/Father that I’ll never let this go, at least not for the next year.’
I don’t have a favorite parent, but I log more time with my Father than I do with the women who gave me life. I chalk that up to my Father’s love of text messaging. The minute he understood that pressing the buttons on the phone could spell sentences – press the ‘2’ button once for an ‘a’ and twice for a ‘b’! -, he took off like a bolt of lightning. Text messages started appearing left and right, and at odd hours. He prefers to text. He lives to text.
“CALL me l8tr,” the first of many said. So I did. He would have nothing to report, just excited that I understood that his ‘8’ stood for an ‘a’. I didn’t bother explaining how to switch from upper to lowercase since he seemed to organically push the ALT key.
“R u cming 2 the N East?” said another, sent just before he headed to Boston to see my sister. His juvenile text messages were funny at first, but as “I Luv U” became more and more frequent I began feeling like I was in a relationship with a thirteen year old boy. Which is not cool.
This year I missed yet another Thanksgiving in Alabama, but I checked in every other day as it approached. My Mother, who still prefers the phone, talked about the Turkey Day Classic preparations her radio station was making, and about the new stadium her school was planning to christen for the game. She told me how much it cost, and how pretty it was. All of the students were excited to have it finally open on campus she said. Not only were they playing Tuskegee, they were playing them in their new stadium and the stakes – in a small, unimportant, unranked division of football – could not be higher.
When the day finally came, I spoke to my Father just before the game started. He was practically yelling into the phone about what he’d cooked and how he just knew his team would win. He said he’d call me later, but he never did.
I sent him a text that night asking who won the game. His reply:
“TEEE UUUUU! 27 to 25. Ala State on SUWEside watch. Check on ur mom.”
And so it goes. Until next year anyhow. I hope your Thanksgiving was just as amusing, and far more peaceful.
Oh. And we missed another important day during my hiatus. The Ground of My Heart turned 1 year old in October! – Happy Birthday Blog! Should we sing the traditional version or the version all Black people know and love by Stevie Wonder? Decisions, decisions…
It has been such an immense pleasure to be a work in progress with a heart set on sharing and teaching God’s Word and what it does to my life through stories, and an honor to have a dedicated audience, and a joy to touch base with every person who contacts me.
I can’t wait to see what a whole new year brings.