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Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Unpardonable Sin

I think we have all been watching the amazingly rapid and efficient demise of Paula Deen.  And since we view things from our own history we having been watching with different stages of alarm.  As a working person it is hard to see how quickly a career vanishes.  She has worked her whole life but literally backed into her fame.  No need to go into her story, we all know it, and we loved it.  Because she became a success from nothing and everyone loves the Rocky story.

But then she committed the unpardonable sin.  The pattern of the sin is actually one that is in every family.  The one thing you never say, your families unpardonable sin...the one thing that is not to be spoken of.  And because you love your family and respect each and every one of them you just don't talk about certain things.   For instance everyone knows that Great Grandma Mabel didn't have a 8 and half pound "preemie".  But we don't say anything, right?  Cousin George came home from the Army.....early.  No questions asked, and no one talks about it again.  Uncle Shug married a stripper, who took all of his money and moved to Chicago.  It happened, but it is painful to bring it up so we don't.

Our country, our family, allowed an unspeakable thing to occur.  It may have been a long time ago, but it still happened.  In a country founded on freedom we denied that freedom to a great many people.  We allowed them to be treated inhumanly for a very long time.  Only after the most bloodshed our country has ever had in any war, was it finally over.

So now we have blessedly decided as a nation to never say the "N" word.  That word has become verbal pornography.  It conjures up a time in our history that we should be deeply ashamed of.  It is actually a very small consolation, and we don't say it......ever, and when our black brothers and sisters say it,  that is their business.  They own that word, after hundreds of years of subjugation, I think they can do what they want with it.

I grew up in the South, I remember "colored" bathrooms, and "white only" signs.  As a very young I had the most profound experience.  In a black grocery store I reached for a tomato at the same time a black women did.  She drew her hand back quickly in deference to me.  And at that moment I heard a voice in my head say we weren't really different at all because we all liked tomatoes.  I know that is simplistic but I was 6 and that is how you teach 6 year olds, I never forgot it.  Paula Deen grew up in the South and maybe she used the "N" word long before she knew how damaging it was, how belittling it dirty it made people feel.  It was a word designed to make people feel like they were in fact 3/5 of a person.  We get that....we get that now.

The public outcry is a testament to how much we hate that word today, unfortunately Paula Deen handled everything badly after those documents came out.  Her reaction wasn't very polished or clear.  I watched her being interviewed by Matt Lauer, (I personally loathe him, but whatever.)  and I watched him tear her apart.  He has had plenty of his own indiscretions and personal sins revealed to not act like such a prosecutor.  What I wanted was for her to look in the camera and with clear eyes and calm demeanor state - "I was wrong!  That was a different person from a far different world.  I am sorry, I am ashamed that my grandson knows I used that language.  I am sorry that the people who watch me and buy my things now know I used that language.  It hasn't happened since and it doesn't happen now.  And I will spend the rest of my life proving that."   Personally I would have taken Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and Shaquille O'Neal with me, I would have begged their forgiveness....and meant it.  Then I would answer Matt's "gotcha" questions.

I don't wonder about Paula today.  I know that she campaigned for President Obama, she has black people on her show all the time....for heaven's sake her food is "soul food".  Honest to goodness racists don't do that.  And I know she is in shock about what has happened.  To watch your whole life unravel in front of you, to be rejected by every major company you were partnered with that you thought loved you, has to be the worst time of your life.  Unfortunately she will never be the same...and I will miss her.  I watched her not because of her cooking, but because she made me happy.  She loves life!....she loves her kids, her husband, Savannah Georgia and she loves to cook.....but most of all she loves people.  That cannot be faked.

I will miss that laugh.  She has a great laugh.  And one thing I know about personalities like hers, someone who truly loves people it will take a long time for her to get past the rejection to be able to go out and change the perception of her.  But I so hope she does.  I hope she isn't remembered as a racist, but if she doesn't get out there and show people what she is really like that this chapter could be her epitaph.

Forgiveness is a tricky thing, the Savior was very clear that we were to forgive everyone.  And regardless of your higher power that is a great way to live.  I certainly have forgiven her....Oh no!! does that mean I have to forgive Matt Lauer too?

Forgiveness is what our country needs from every direction.  

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Boy do I need some advice....

This is the little town I grew up in.  Kemah Texas.  It was filled with shrimp boats just like this one.  You can't smell the fish and the diesel but I can....I just wish I could take you to a real old fashioned shrimp boil, you would never be the same!!

Dearest friends.....
I have a dilemma, advice please.  I am asking for it, so don't be shy, just be honest.  I have two blogs....this one, "My life from the Bleachers" which has been my clubhouse, my refuge, my port in the storm.  I come here to be honest or mad or grateful, happy or sad.....  I don't have to be a great writer on this blog, I don't feel Marilyn Arnold (my college writing professor who wore horrible shoes and taught me so much.  If only I could have helped her as much with her shoes as she did with my writing) looking over my shoulder.  I write for me.  My other blog is the one I was told I should do by people who know these things.  It is a business blog.  My husband and I started a catering company and I was told to blog about it...they liked My life from the Bleachers and wanted me to advertise the business by blogging.

Guess what happened?  Nothing....the blog I started for the business seems blah and uninspired.  I don't like to go there. But now I don't write on this blog because I feel guilty that I should be writing for our catering business.  Because, well, we need the business.  Being on Facebook and the few blogs I have written about our parties or weddings have been beneficial.  People see my husband's work with food and flowers and we have been hired for several jobs because of it.

So now I am torn...I don't have time for 2 blogs.  Actually, I don't have the talent for 2 what would a professional social media specialist advise me to do?

I just read the blog of one of my favorite bloggers crashtestdummydiaries (go there!!)  l enjoy her blog because she gives me a chance to read about her real life, warts and all.  She is honest in her writing.  If you clean your life up too much it is sort of like a body with no bacteria at all. You will end up with some kind of nasty infection, because we need a little bacteria.  Opposition in all things right?  We must know the sorrow to appreciate the joy.  I rarely learn anything when there isn't problem solving involved.  Solve a problem!  I do know one thing, you can't solve a problem    if     you     don't    admit    you    have     one!  One of the greatest things about the family I grew up with is how we treat our crazy people.  All families have crazy people, but we weren't ashamed of them...we brought them right out on the porch for all to see.  My Uncle Homer was a benign alcoholic and he was definitely right out on our porch.  Remember this was the age before Oprah, we didn't know how to have an intervention, or tough love or any of that.  We just loved him and accepted his limited contribution to our lives.  Life is better now that Oprah has shown us how to fix everything, or is it?  Uncle Homer died with his favorite nephew, my dad,  right next to him.  I won't minimize the tragedy of a misspent life, but I won't minimize the importance of unconditional love either.

My other favorite blog is called "Entertaining Women" (go there!!)  One of my hobbies is tablescapes, and she is amazing.  She is a real Martha Stewart.  I go there for inspiration, and peace.  I don't know much about her, except her name is Cherry, she loves the Lord, her family, and shares her talents with all of us.  She inspires me to do a better job of making the tables for our business beautiful. She reminds me of a part of my life I really enjoy.  And when I worry that I am not contributing to the business I look at her blog and realize making things beautiful is a big part of the business of catering.
When I was little I lived on the Galveston Bay.  I would go every day to watch the water and peek in the windows of the Corinthian Yacht Club.  I loved seeing all the tables set, linens beautifully white, crystal and silver shinning.  I still think of it whenever I set  a table.

I have learned a lot over the last 4 years.  The truest being,  treat everyone as though they are having the worst day of their life and you will be right 50% of the time."

Sobering isn't it?  It is also our opportunity to share each others burdens.  Life is not Facebook where everything is wonderful, all bathing suits fit perfectly, all babies are beautiful and all weddings are perfect.  Not everyone is going on a vacation this summer.  Not everyone's child is a joy, not every doctor's appointment ends with just one suggestion that we lose weight.  Sometimes life turns on a dime.  One phone call or one trip to the store could change our life. That is when we find out how tall we really are, when we are in over our heads.  And we need each other.

I have discovered we want status quo, we want to control everything.  We don't want anything to get in the way of our checklist journey through life.  Make the bed, walk the dog, get in the car, go to the dry cleaners, go to work,  pay the bills, blah, blah, you have time to help someone?  It is the way to feel as though you make a difference.  To just take the time to listen to someone and maybe help with a broken heart.

It is funny how we compare ourselves, our disheveled selves, to everyone else's best day!
I would love to be remembered for my best day but I will probably be remembered as the woman who screamed the loudest and most obnoxiously at football games.  I cringe about that now, definitely not my best days.  Which is why my prayer will always be " Lord, keep your arm around my shoulder and your hand over my mouth".

So now you tell me, my problem solvers, what do I do?  Do I write 2 blogs?  

I guess I could........

I want to write about my husband who will not give up, I want people to know he started this business with the utmost faith that God would see him through.  I want people to know that my ecclesiastical authority has no doubt we will succeed.  And right now when morale in our country is so low, we need the courage to take a chance.  And we can get that courage from each other.   We need to believe we can succeed with the talents God has given us.  We need not be afraid to accept help, but we also need to give help.  Where much is given, much is required.  The Lord has given me the most remarkable friends in the world.  I am loved and helped every day.  And when I get really low they remind me to realize how powerful I can be.  And we all are powerful when we walk with whatever higher power we have in our lives.  Mine is Jesus Christ..... and whatever higher power you adhere to,  use it.  We just have to believe.

Do you see what I do?  I go off on tangents that Professor Arnold would hate.  Can't be good for my business.  I will make people run into the dark Nevada night.

So what do you think about my blog dilemma?  Leave a message anywhere....on this blog, on Facebook for all to see, or message me...on my email,      I want to help expand the business, I want people to see the amazing things my husband creates, and I want to write about other stuff too.!!