Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Landing

You may remember several weeks ago, I wrote a blog about our booth at the Darien Fall Festival. The highlight of our day was seeing the Gulluh Geechee Shouters perform and we were thrilled to get lots of good pics and talk to these people after their performance. Luke was gracious, as usual, and offered his business card as well as a desire to be of service to them with any of their photography needs.

And sure enough, Luke received a call a couple of days ago from Griffin Lotson, a Georgia Gullah Geechee and the manager of their group. There was to be an upcoming event that he knew we would NOT want to miss, and he was SO right! So we gathered the camera equipment and set out to Jekyll Island for this important event that we felt so proud to have been privy to.

On entering the gate on the island, there is a $3.00 charge and as our car reached the gate, Luke handed the attendant the money and asked her, "How do we get to the area where the "Wanderer" dedication ceremony is being held?"

The attendant pointed out which turn to take and to continue around the loop. "You can't miss it!", she answered.

Luke thanked her and then asked, "If we are the press, do we still have to pay the $3.00 gate fee?"

"Oh no, of course not!", she exclaimed. "Here is your money back. You don't need to pay."

As we drove through the gate, Luke looked at me with a smirk and I looked back at him with the same smirk. "Well, we MIGHT be the press if the paper wants to use our pictures, right?", I asked.

"That's RIGHT!", he answered.

As we approached the area, we pulled over to the edge of the road to park and walked the remainder of the way to the dedication site. I might remind you that Luke is 6' 7" and I am 5' 1". Which means his stride is MUCH longer than mine. I have to take three steps to his one. Not to mention I was wearing heels and a good bit of the walking was in beach sand. I felt like I was in a race and was not winning. Even though I was dragging the line, we were lucky enough to get there just in time to spot the Darien Geechee Shouters just before the ceremony. We were able to speak, shake hands, and thank them for inviting us to their performance and to this event.

This memorial dedication ceremony was to observe the 150th anniversary of the landing of "The Wanderer", the last American slave ship and to commemorate the installation of a permanent exhibit dedicated to the enslaved African survivors of that voyage. This was the exact site where on November 28, 1858, "The Wanderer" laid anchor.

Even though owning and selling slaves was still legal in many parts of the country in the days soon before the Civil War, importing them had been illegal for many years. Approximately 409 slaved men, women, and children were brought to shore on Jekyll Island on that morning in 1858. Even the children were shackled. After landing on Jekyll Island, "The Wanderer" was the last slave ship to reach Georgia and the US without repercussions.

The Georgia Gullah Geechees (the Darien Shouters) from MacIntosh County, Georgia, are all 100% ancestry. One of the original shouters learned the shout when she was a child in 1939. Their goal is to preserve and protect the Geechee heritage. They are committed to this through their song and dance with the Geechee language and Geechee folklore. Their goal is to keep the shout as authentic as possible from 1800 to present.

Another very important highlight of this ceremony was a dynamic performance by Jamal Toure', a living historian of Gullah-Geechee culture. Toure' is considered an expert on the history and culture of the African people and has done living history presentations for the Prime Minister of Haiti, the Gambia National Museum Official, and DANNY GLOVER. His performance was mesmerizing and captured each and every person there as he performed the animated story of being a slave on this magnificent ship, "The Wanderer", and being brought here to this island to be branded and sold. The African slaves who survived that dreadful voyage were scattered across Georgia and throughout the South.

It was a wonderful experience for Luke and I that we will not soon forget. Although as soon as the sun went down, the temperature began to drop and the chillness in the air was quite brisk (at least for ME, not Luke), it was an excellent opportunity for us to mingle with the Gullah Geechees, and other dignitaries from the Jekyll Island Authority and Glynn County. The many artifacts from this time period, including a shackle worn by a child, was quite telling to see and touch.

Many, many kudos to all the talented speakers and performers who shared their thoughts and voices with us.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Just So Ya Know

I cannot figure this thing out. What does it mean when your tummy has butterflies and your body feels hot all of a sudden and then a slight wave of nausea hits. Is that a hot flash? Is that my hormones raging? I've already done the Menopause thing. Does that mean I'm stressed? Am I just wanting sex? I may kill Minor before I figure this thing out! Help! I must be dying! It's sort of like being nervous or anticipating a very important event, except there is nothing specifically that I can attribute it to. I DO have a lot going on in my life, and maybe my body is trying to tell me something. WHAT? WHAT?

I visited my parents in the nursing home this past weekend and after I left, I just wanted to go home and crawl under the covers so I could cry all by myself. Mama is doing very well and I hope she will be well enough to go home to her apartment soon, but Daddy is completely bed ridden and will never go home. I'm sad about that. He knew I was there at one point, but he is so pitiful, he cannot even voice his feelings. I looked into his eyes, and I couldn't see him in there anymore. So, yes, that is weighing heavily on my heart. *sigh*

We've also been working steadily on the photography side of our partnership with Luke and that has been both rewarding and a learning experience for all of us. It's all good, though, so I expect that stress to let up soon. With the upcoming show this weekend in Darien, the work is cut out for me from now until Saturday. I wonder how many hours I can stay awake in order to get it all done?

Ryan had an awesome Halloween Birthday party last Friday night and all the work put into it was well worth the good time that he had. It was all chaotic, but oodles of fun for the kiddos! Luke took lots of great pictures of the children and they should be ready soon. One good thing that happened at the party was that I sold $100 worth of Santa's to one of the parents. Yippee!

My MIL came to visit last Thursday and left yesterday (Monday). That was stressful as well, although she means well and truly tried to help all she could while she was here. She is soooo wrapped up in the election coverage on TV and that was all she could talk about. I don't know about you, but I'm damn sick of Obama/McCain news coverage. Let's all just go vote and get it over with.

And then there's my real estate licensing course that I'm taking. Obviously, I haven't had time to do the studying that is required and it looks like I will be asking for an extension. *sigh*

And last, but not least, Luke will be bringing a new girlfriend here to meet us on Friday to eat supper so I'm a little excited about meeting her as well. That's the day before our show in Darien and I've already made sure he understands that I need his help getting everything done and ready to set up at 7AM on Saturday morning. He better not leave me matting and framing his prints while he and his sweetie are laughing and cuddling on my couch. Just so ya know, my "ass kicking" consist of much stronger tactics than a swift kick on someone's behind.

Icing On The Cake

Recently, a very good friend (Luke) suggested that I blog about my life with Minor and the kind of man and husband he is to me. Minor is the sort of guy that most people (all except my best friends) don't notice, but he is the one that makes all the difference in my life.

I have been tremendously lucky in love. My parents loved me as well as my friends and relatives. There have even been a few people that loved me that I didn't love back. I have always been loved and protected by a man, having moved from my parent's home into my husband's home. I've truly been blessed and I don't take it lightly.

I was 21 years old when I first met Minor. He had recently come home from the military, having served in the USAF for 4 years in Viet Nam. Minor was working with his Dad at the family owned hardware store. A girlfriend of mine introduced us at the store one day and I remember seeing him standing there looking at me and smiling. As I looked back at him, I wondered to myself if he was the man I would marry. Could it have been something in the way he looked at me that made me think that? I really don't know why I wondered it, but it just popped into my head at that very moment.

Several days later, we saw each other by chance at a softball game. It was just beginning to rain and since I had an umbrella, Minor sat under my umbrella with me. He walked me to my car afterwards although he didn't give me a kiss. He kept me waiting for that. He asked me out to dinner and a movie on the weekend and I accepted. Things began to get more and more serious as we spent more and more time together. He was wonderful to me.

By the time six months had passed, we had become very very close and spent all of our time outside of work together. Minor was so good to me. He would turn heaven and earth for me and he let it be known. It wasn't all about showering me with gifts of flowers, candy, jewelry, and trips. It was about how he treated me. Love, honor, and respect. Never jealous or mean spirited. No one had EVER treated me so well in my entire life. He never spoke a harsh word to me. He put me above everything else in his life. It was all about me and whatever made me happy. And happiness to me was being loved and cared for by him.

No guess to anyone, I wanted to marry him. I remembered something my Mama had told me once. "If you want someone bad enough, you can have them. It's up to you." That's all I needed to know.

Within a couple of weeks, Minor did indeed, ask me to marry him. He got down on bended knee and proposed "old fashioned" like and then he asked my Daddy if he could marry me. It's just the way he is.

It's been 32 years and we are even more in love today than we were back then. We have surely been through some tough years with inlaws and outlaws, with teenagers and career changes. Some years have been leaner than others. But through each and every problem, we faced it head on together and we still do. We've made some wrong decisions and we've made some right ones, but we did it together and never blamed the other if things didn't work the way we had planned it.

Minor has remained steadfast and continues to treat me even better today than he did years ago. He is a gentleman in every sense of the word. He loves and respects me far beyond my expectations. His health has not been good for the last 15 years, although he would not ever complain or allow anyone to feel sympathy for him. He is a good husband and father and I am so lucky to have him. I'll never take it for granted. Each new day with him is a blessing to me.

If someone were to ask me what it takes to have a long loving marriage, I would say, "Love, honor, respect, commitment, and honesty. Throw in really good sex, and it's icing on the cake."

I believe that we can have many soul mates. I also believe they can be in the form of a friend or a lover. Minor is my soul mate and I am his. We will find each other on the other side and that's comforting to me.

Hold Still . . . This is Gonna Hurt!

Luke is having his ear hairs plucked. It hurts a little. Notice the grimace on his face.

"Ouch! I think that one was attached to my brain stem."

"Hold still . . . this one is gonna hurt!"

I think he fainted.

You're Not Old Until You Lose Your Nuts

Luke and Martin showed up this afternoon around 5:30 and Minor drove up at the same time. I was still fixing the Green Bean Shit that Luke had requested for his birthday meal and Kate fixed the Mississippi Mud Cake he wanted for dessert. John and Brad showed up around 6:00 and we all gathered in the living room for Luke to open his presents.

Ryan was so excited because he was giving Luke a "My Little Pony" as a joke and also an expanding girlfriend that grows when you put her in water. Even Ryan knows Luke is biased towards the tall chicks.

See, Luke plays around with Ryan and makes him think he is going to buy him a "My Little Pony" and Ryan is constantly trying to convince Luke that "My Little Pony" is for girls only and he doesn't want a "My Little Pony" because he is a boy. So Ryan was tickled to play a joke on Mr. Luke for a change. Mr. Luke confided in me that every time he comes over, he is going to bring the "My Little Pony" with him and is determined that he will have Ryan believing that boys play with "My Little Ponies".

Since Luke HATES thongs, Kate couldn't resist giving him a sexy pink and black dotted thong. I'm sure he would like to wear it, but I think it may be too small.

As Psuedo Mom, I've been getting really tired of Luke wearing wrinkled shirts and looking like a ragamuffin in casual clothes. So Minor and I decided to order him some Polo shirts in his size.

Luke in Blue

Luke in yellow

Luke in black

I won't tell you what size they are, but let's just say it was BIG! He held one shirt in front of Ryan and it looked like a full length nightgown. When Ryan spread his little arms out, his hands barely came to the sleeves on each side.

Luke and Ryan in green

Luke's a BIG boy. I'm glad I'm his Psuedo Mom and not his Birth Mom. That had to be a labor of love.

The other day, Luke decided to call John's tire and auto shop, and the owner answered the phone, "St. Simons Tire and Auto, this is Jimmy. How may I help you?"

Luke responded, "Someone told me that if I called this number and asked for John, that I could get my rear end lubed."

Jimmy answered, "This is an automotive center."

"Well, is there even anyone named John there?", Luke asked, then cracked up laughing.

So then Jimmy had some fun at John's expense. He told John, "There's some guy on the phone who wants you to lube his rear end."

John looked up and answered, "Oh, I know who that is. It's Luke."

So Luke got a can of industrial strength lube from John for his birthday.

Luke also received lots of birthday cards that were so funny and cute and touching as well. It's good to remember that you're not old unless you can't remember where your nuts are. And I'm guessing Luke has not misplaced his nuts yet.

More birthday pics below.

Luke, making a wish and blowing out all 34 candles.

Turn off the smoke alarm!

Ryan, Minor, Martin (LLGF does not mean Life Long Gay Fellow), and Brad

Kate, Ryan, and John

Celebrating our successful business ventures with cigars.
Luke said, "Just puff on it, Miss Carla."

And I didn't even vomit!