Monday, September 8, 2008

Jackie and Gene

I'm sitting in my bedroom a few blocks off Magnolia Street. A block down from me there is a crack house, and this afternoon a little boy was trying to swipe our lawnmowers. (it really wasn't stealing. I'm pretty sure Matt who owns our house put them there as trash, and the little boy wanted the parts.) When he saw me, he shouted, 
"You all throwin' these away?" 
"uhh..I'm not sure man." 
"Well, it looks like ya are." 
"Yeah, I guess you could ask Matt when he gets home, buddy." 
"I can't just take 'em now?"
"Well, I mean... I want you to have 'em." 
"Can I move 'em into your yard so no junkers take 'em"
"Sure man, they can sit here, and I'll have 'em on reserve for ya." 
"k."
"k...see ya dude."
"Yeah..see ya."

So, I'm living in a much different scenario than I was a week ago sitting alone on my front porch overlooking the lake. Now I live with five other guys in the "other" part of town. Downtown. 
Well, I had heard that our neighbors were pretty cool people. I always saw them sitting on their porch drinking beer, and I heard they liked dominos a lot. About an hour ago, I saw two African-american men who looked to be in their late forties sitting on the porch, so I decided to go say hey. 
As they saw me approaching the porch, they grinned and grunted out a, "Hey dere!" They were so welcoming, I immediately knew this was gonna be a good time. 
"Hey, I just moved in next door. My name is Taylor."
"Oh! Hey hey! Just moved in! Mighty fine men o'er in dat house, o'er dere. You're wit sum mighty fine men." 
"Yeah, they're good guys." 
We shot the breeze for about twenty minutes. Gene, the owner of the house is here as result of Katrina, and Jackie is his brother. Larry, the other brother, wasn't around, but he just moved into the area as well. So, for the first time in about 17 years, all the brothers are back together. They found out that I was a musician and had some dreams and blah da blah, and were all about it. Gene is on disability, because he got hurt working at Lowes and Jackie just went through a divorce and plummeted from having everything out in California to living off food stamps and government housing. 
At one point, Jackie was smoking a cigarette he rolled with Bugle tobacco, and drinking a no-name beer when he looked at me and said...
"You know, a man cannot be judged when...when a man is on 'is plateau. When he has everthing, see. A man...a man is judged by how he acts when he 'as nuthin. When it has all been taken 'way. When dat man wake up in da mornin' and decides to make a positive impact on anotha's life, and he has nuthin' that is when a man can be judged as a good man. So, when you become a rockstar or a singer or whatever you want to be, you have to rememba when you had nuthin.' You have to decide how you are gunna treat people now. You see?" 

When I left they said I could come back over and have some chicken wings that were grilling a few feet from where we were talking. So, I think I'm going to head back over to Gene's house and eat some wings with him and Jackie. I think I could learn a lot from those dudes. 



PS... 

As I clicked "Publish Post," my doorbell rang. Since I'm the only one home, I went downstairs to see Jackie sitting on the front porch holding three chicken wings wrapped in tinfoil. I opened the door and said "Thanks man!" 
He responded, "Man, these are hot as ****, you need to hold these from the top!" And we talked about him teaching me how to work on cars, if I teach him how to play music. THAT dude is a rockstar. 

7 comments:

chadbrown said...

I want to hang out with those guys!

jason said...

that's a really great story ... but, in my head, I couldn't help but hear you talking like Robert Downey, Jr on the movie "Tropic Thunder" as you laid out the dialogue.

michaelCODY said...

lol. That is awesome. You should come over and jam sometime, since you're so close now!

mollyann said...

WHO KNEW this is what we were praying for as julie and i were praying for you all summer!

Kenny said...

that's awesome... miss you!

Kenny said...

oh... that was from me (Nicole)... not kenny. just thought i'd clarify since it sounds kinda girly :)

Tim said...

i want to hang out with these guys . . .and you soon.