Damn, Chop, Last Night I Dreamed You Died Again!


Dad with my baby brother, Anthony.

I dreamed about my Dad dying again. It was weird. Especially now, at this stage of my own development as a father. It had a slew of rituals surrounding it that I can only attribute to the recent passing of my Father-in-Law, which happened about 2 months ago. My love for my Father-in-Law, Baba, Farokh Faranjpour, is tantamount to the love that I had for my own father. Different, but a strong and powerful love nonetheless. I think that I loved Baba so much, because he was that missing Grandfather that my children had in the absence of my Dad. Yes, Baba was absent because of distance, but he was still alive for a major part of their lives, and someone for them to know and speak to every now and then, even if it was across the ocean and a major continent.  Plus, Baba Farokh was very cool.  Now, Chop, he was cool too. My ace. My Pop. My erudite without even knowing that he was all of those things. He was street wise for sure, but he had book sense, although I know that he felt that he didn’t. But that’s another tale, and something I’m not trying to get into right now. What I do want to deal with is this damned dream.

Now Chop’s death was ages ago. We are talking about something that happened shortly after I got out of the Army way back in 1986. Wow, that was 31 years ago. I was just two months shy of turning 21 years old and obviously traumatized by the loss, but unable to cry or mourn his death until much later in my development as a young man.  I guess that’s what spending 3 years in an elite military unit as a Paratrooper will do to you. Now I was in those units, the 82nd Airborne Division, and 1st Special Forces, but I remind you that I didn’t see a day of combat. There were no wars going on at that time. Grenada was over with by the time I went in, and they didn’t go into Panama to get Manuel Noriega until after I was out.  And of course the first Gulf war in Iraq was just being concocted, and by that time, I was doing my thing, or getting ready too, with Spanish and Flamenco and the world that I was creating for myself. So what you should probably understand is that I was merely trained for combat and only half impacted by what our veterans of war are going through when they get out. That coupled with me being a young pup so hardened and ashamed of showing weakness, left some deep, deep wounds within me, which took a while to heal and even understand the nature of being wounded.

Pop at my Benjamin E. Mays, High School Graduation in 1983 (L-R, Anthony, Mom, Me, Aunt Susan, Dad) We are in front of the Atlanta Civic Center.

I guess that’s why I’m so shocked about dreaming about the old man again after 31 years of being without him. Is there something major getting ready to happen? I have to ask. I mean, is there something that I have I forgotten about him,  some special date, say his birthday, which did happen one May 13, which caused me to dream that he had walked off, hand in hand, with my oldest when she was just about 7 years old. It was a message from my mind, or him I suppose, that I should never forget him, and that I should share who he was with my little ones. This is something that I have done, more with my oldest for sure, but it is definitely something that I have done. So it’s understandable why I’m perplexed that I should dream about him dying once again, and my having to prepare to mourn him again. Maybe I’m dealing with the loss of Baba. Syncing up those two passing’s in some strange way. Either way, it’s stirring up some emotions. It’s got me reaching out to siblings and asking for pictures. It’s got me thinking about my own mortality and what I will leave behind.

Let me know what you think it means. Send me a note. Private Message me. Let’s chat. I’m not really looking for answers, I stopped going down that rabbit hole with a lot of things, and with others, I’m like a Dachshund going full bore, but with this, I’m just interested in hearing other folks ideas and thoughts about the great beyond.

 

Another Thanksgiving Done come and Gone…which means…

When I was a kid, it seemed as if time passed with the urgency of snails moving up a hill. Now, at 52, I’m trying to hold onto every second, every minute, every grain of sand that passes through the waist of the hour-glass that is my life. It’s normal I suppose. That desire to not get old when you’re obviously getting older. That youthful desire to not be young when you are perhaps, dare I say it, way too young. I, as many others on this journey, have learned that the grass ain’t always greener, and in fact sometimes don’t turn out to be grass at all. Nevertheless, the battle must be fought and folks have to experience things for themselves, despite being told, “Hey, maybe you should do this way,” or “If I were you, I would do this, that and the other,” by folks who have gone down that particular road.

Hey, I tell my kids all the time about what they should and shouldn’t be doing, only to realize as the words come out of my mouth that they are falling on deaf ears. I impart whatever perceived gems of wisdom onto them knowing that they have to do the things that they want to do for themselves. Experience it, and lay blame, give thanks, or accept responsibility as they see fit. I mean, hey, I did it my way and had my own experiences by not listening to that older generation of mine, even though the way I grew up is much different from they way that my kids have. I mean, they have never felt that hunger from not having food in the fridge or dreading and loving summer vacation because, going to school meant that you would at least have breakfast and lunch, whereas in the summer, especially if you weren’t in some camp program, you may not eat at all, especially if the Food Stamps ran out.  But, hey this ain’t no Pity Party, I’m just saying that the way I grew up made me feel more equipped to fight off the wolves, become a wolf, despise the wolves, learn from the wolves, etc., etc., at least compared to the way that my kids have grown up. Shit, I still see my kids as little diaper wearing humans crawling around the floor and reaching out their arms for me to pick them up. However, at 21, and 13, I know that they are far from that, and even when they need my help, they never admit it, until it’s too late or I can no longer save them from their mistakes.

Although my home life and situations were different at their age, meaning, when I was 13, I was working and putting food on the table, and by the time I was 21, I had served 3 years in the Army, I still realize that there were a few things I could have done as suggested by my parents, or older family members that would have made things easier.  Ahh, but experiences are so memorable aren’t they, and I be damn if I didn’t have a good and bad time experiencing them. Memories that will always be with me, and some that I have denied so much that they are less than lint floating through the air, only occasionally climbing into the nasal cavity of my mind to cause irritation, depression or stress.

So with Christmas and the New Year, literally right around the corner, I muse about the passing of another year, along side things I’ve learned and still have very little knowledge about, and the ebbing of time that I will never recoup or capture, and my life of course, as I experience things on this big blue marble. along with the rest of you It’s all good mi gente, I’m enjoying the ride and hope that you are too.

Paper Moon Music Delivers

 

For as many years as I’ve been playing guitar, 25 now, it seems that the simplest things can sometimes perplex me. That’s why I’m glad to have other musicians, friends, students and teachers in my circle who can offer things from their perspective, point of view or what have you to help shine a light.

http://www.sandiegoguitarlessons.com/virtual-tour.htm

This week, I went by Paper Moon Music (PMM) , – it’s located here in San Diego, in the Point Loma neighborhood, address is 4051 Voltaire Street, for anyone interested – for Music Theory session with owner Scot Taber and got an excellent understanding of Intervals and their use. Scot and his team are some knowledgeable folks and it’s always good for me to be able to bounce ideas off of someone who can simplify subject matter like Music, especially when everyone loves it, and it’s probably been around as long as humankind could make sound.

Anyway, if you need music lessons for yourself or a mini-you, consider Paper Moon Music: website is www.sandiegoguitarlessons.com

They even teach piano, which I’m considering and I believe voice, which I definitely need!

Another awesome thing that Paper Moon Music does is bring in fabulous musicians for workshops and concerts. I’ve taken workshops with Flamenco guitarist, Jason McGuire, “El Rubio,” Brazilian guitarist Julio Lemos as well as seen him perform through PMM, and seen the Adam del Monte Trio.

Well that’s all for now “Little Chops”! Enjoy your week and remember, peace, love and before you do anything, always ask yourself, “What would Chop do?”

Marking Down the Days and Other Birthday Thoughts

Another year has come and gone, and I feel fine. Better than fine actually. The big 52 was reached without incident, and despite all statistical data for young black boys who grew up the way that I did, I survived. My brother and I joke about living on borrowed time, but no matter, it is our time and reaching my 50’s has not been such a bad journey. I still feel that I know very little about life and the world, but what I do know and have come to realize, is that humankind is still the same base animal that it has always been. Our technology and accomplishments don’t mean anything in the great scheme of things. Why, you ask? Well all it takes is to consider where we are in History, and that’s History just here in the United States and not even around the world. On a daily basis we are faced with, mass inequality and a lack of compassion for others. Our leaders protect fanaticism and pseudo patriots that we once Historically denounced. We condemn other nations and engage in resource grabs for our on betterment, and shroud it under the name of betterment for all of humankind. We protect the strong, belittle the weak and crush, without fail, any opposing thought, especially if it means defending those who have little or nothing to help them sustain a livable life. But I’m ranting, and that’s not the intent of this post. Plus, my writing time doesn’t allow for me to seek out substantiation of these claims, because I’m just expressing an opinion, and like evacuation ports that resemble the opening of a tightly clinched fists, everyone has one. This birthday shouldn’t have been any more special than others, but it definitely was, and I owe that to family and friends. I started the day by playing a little tennis and then returning home to sit in front of the Tele with my guitar in hand, practicing some things I need to work on. Later in the day, I found out that my wife was able to invite some folks to the house for a birthday dinner without my knowing it, and the surprise on my face must have said it all. We drank and talked and discussed things that my friends and I always seem to be discussing. The misguided notion of Race, the status of Flamenco, Tennis, Music, Literature, and all things that make up who I have become. The best thing about it was having my “Baby Girl” there, who is 13 and going on 50, express her self among all of us and the nature of her life. It was a good time. My 21 year old kept quiet, but I could see in her movement and gestures, that she was taking everything in and doing what I sometimes do, keep quiet. One of my friends commented on the nature of the ambiance, and how it summed up what he felt made up who I am. Conversations were had in Farsi, Spanish, and English. We laughed and drank and joked about life and the nature of things. A good time was had by all, but especially me, and during it all, I couldn’t help but find myself marking down the days… considering my own mortality, wondering when I would slip into the ether and leave this world. It wasn’t in a depressing way, and instead I welcomed it. I had a friend of mine pass away this year. A guy I played tennis with, who was by all practical purposes, in far better shape than I, and who seemed to be taking much better care of himself than I do. In addition, my beloved Father-in-Law, passed away, so my considering my own mortality was not something morbid at all, at least not in the typical sense. The pain in the passing of my Tennis partner took on the form of shock, because he was only 54 and well of course, in comparing his mortality to my home, you can see the relevance. The pain in considering the passing of my Father-in-Law is more on a personal level obviously, but it hurts because my wife wasn’t able to be present when he passed and as much as that pain may hurt her, it hurts me as well. Either way, much of that is why I went down that path of thinking own the day of my birth.

Well that’s about it for my Birthday thoughts and musings. It was pleasant and more than I could have wished for. I spent time with friends and family. Had great conversation, food and drink, and went to bed happy and content, not afraid of not making it to another day, because up until now, I truly have lived and have remembrances from others as proof of that.

 

Pork Chop…,They Grow Up So Fast, Pop!

Twenty one years old! I can’t believe it. My first-born! Mi Orisha Enana! My Yemaya, Mother of the Oceans, and savior of my heart and soul is twenty-one years old today. She came into the world with only a little angst, born in the wee hours of morning, with rain coming down and my wife being brave despite the fear that must have enveloped her, because it enveloped me! Would she be healthy, would she be okay. Mi Orisha Enana, a phrase I swiped from a Jose Marti poem about his son. I was big into Cuba and Marti back then, and writing. I used to write in a journal for her that was all Spanish. I used to speak Spanish to her. All of that fell by the wayside, but not my love for that darling little creature who was so tiny and with a head full of hair, and had the most adoring look that I had ever seen. I was even afraid to hold her for fear that I would drop her. The nurses, far from being helpful, were antagonistic and shoved her at me, with admonitions that almost made me lash out, but I did not, and restrained myself and took that little one into my arms and held her and kissed her little forehead and cheeks.

I wished that my father would have been alive to see her. I wished a great many things were possible regarding my father, but realized that if he were alive, then maybe My Yemaya, Mi Orisha Enana would not be able to be in existence. When I was twenty-one, my father was taken away from me, beaten up during a drug deal turned robbery, and then left to die by asphyxiation. He wasn’t meant to die, but he did. Complications with his asthma being the culprit in the end, so in theory, one could say it was an accident, his own lack of will to go on, a strange kind of suicide brought on by the complications of being tied up. None of that matters to me now, at least in this moment, and my only concern is that My Yemaya, Mi Orisha Enana, knows who Pork Chop was. Oh yeah, I told her about him on our little jaunts around town to go and play tennis or get ice cream or drop offs at school. I told her the good and the bad, and of course how much I loved him, and how little I truly knew about him, and of course, how it hurt me tremendously to not have known him, or gotten to know him when I was a man. I had to tell her about him. He implored it through a dream. It was one May 13th when I awoke clutching my chest and crying, because I had dreamed of him and My Yemaya, Mi Orisha Enana.

I was on the tennis court, battling with someone, as I am apt to do. My Yemaya, Mi Orisha Enana, was sitting outside the gate, watching me. She couldn’t have been more than 8 or 9 years old, and she was smiling and I smiled back at her. We both knew I had my opponent on the ropes and it was time to put an end to the madness. I looked over at her one last time before serving, and who was there by her side? Pork Chop, Austin J. Hubert Sr. I smiled even harder, and pumped up my chest, because in all the years that I have played tennis, my dad never got a chance to come and see me play, especially when I played in high school and invited him to a match, but he couldn’t make it. I served, and did my thing, and just as I was moving to the net to shake my opponents hand, I saw Chop walking away with Yemaya. He held her by the hand and she looked up at him and smiled just as she looked at me. She knew her grandfather and was eager to walk off with him. The problem for me was this. In the dream, I knew that he was long gone from this world, and seeing him walk away with my first born filled my heart with fear, and I awoke clutching my chest and crying, short of breath and fearful. I went in and checked in on my little one, and she was sound asleep, and peaceful. By the time I had my morning coffee and began writing down the dream, I realized that it was Chop’s birthday. He wasn’t taking My Yemaya, Mi Orisha Enana, away from me, he was ensuring that I did not forget him and that I shared who he was with her.

I regret not having him here now and that I did not get to know him as I grew more and more into manhood, but I also understand that he had to leave. He had to go away so that I could become who I am, in all of my complications. Spanish-speaking, Flamenco playing, Farsi trying to speak, Portuguese learning, two times a father, one time a husband, convoluted self etc., etc.,

Happy Birthday, My Yemaya, Mi Orisha Enana, from me and Pork Chop!

More about Yemaya: http://www.aboutsanteria.com/yemayaacute.html

Guitar/Flamenco/Latin/Jazz/Tennis/All Things Under the Sun

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