Coffee in my left hand, grillin’ memories of Dad in my right…

I’m currently running two grills, cooking potato salad in the kitchen, and waiting for the clock to strike rosé.

Even though Christmas was our favorite holiday, summer time grilling is what makes me think of Daddy the most. Daddy used to do the grilling when I was growing up. He’d put on his ComEd jumpsuit, grab this raggedy old lawn chair and the newspaper, and get busy. Mama would season and prep everything and he’d leave the kitchen with raw meat and come back in with perfection. Around 9 or 10, I started sitting out there with him, just to be out there with him. He worked 2nd shift so I only saw him on weekends: wherever he was on Saturday, that’s where I wanted to be.

Pause. I’m doing the prep, sides, grilling and cocktails: no wonder I’m more exhausted than he ever was. I need all future Bae applicants to be able to do one or the other. Geesh.

Anywho, over the years I learned to grill and it was part of our bond. So much so that after he died and I got my first house, Mama told me to take his grills: “that was you and your father’s thing.” It may not seem like much of an inheritance, but I pray my children have a memory of me as precious as those grills.

On days like this…wait, its rosé o’clock; cheers!…I am immersed in memories of him. The smells, the sun, the pride he took in the outcome, that utility jumpsuit; Lord knows why after his retirement he still wore that old thing, but who am I to sweat the technique? I sit outside in a slightly less dorky outfit, but with the same quest for slab perfection.

Two dear friends lost their fathers this year. Having been down that road, I tried to comfort them that as time moves on, the memories will be less painful and more comforting. The oddest things will make them smile, and out of nowhere they will remember things about him they’d long forgotten. I hope it helped, so like me on days like today, 22 yrs later as the tears fall in my rosé, they too can smile and be grateful for times spent and love shared.

And for the raggedy green and white lawn chair in the basement that I’m certain is the reason the ribs always turn out just right.

Coffee in my left hand, thoughts on the Gayle thing in my right.

So, the whole Gayle King thing.  We’ve seen the original interview.  We’ve seen multiple responses to it; some intelligent, some belligerent, some in between.  We’ve seen her ‘it wasn’t me, I’d be mad too’ response. We’ve seen her Bestie step in with a defense.

Here’s my .22 cents…

Gayle was wrong to ask the question in the first place.  Yes, she’s a journalist of the highest caliber; a news show on a major network gives her that distinction. But with that distinction comes a great responsibility.  At her level, Gayle is able to formulate her own questions without oversite or preview. 

She knew exactly what she was going to ask. There is no world where a seasoned journalist is not ready for multiple answers, with multiple follow up questions. Gayle is beyond seasoned, she’s at the top of the heap.  

What she didn’t take into account is whether or not asking the question was the right thing to do.  She didn’t ask herself, “is this what the people want to know? Is this what they need to know right now?” She put on her ‘gotcha’ hat and went digging.  She, however, was the one to get got. The outpouring was tremendous. And by outpour, I mean the dragging. Baby the dragging was rough, steady and ongoing.  

Added to the dragging were some inappropriate threats and name calling.  

We should have pointed out that Kobe and Gianna were not yet in the ground. We should have pointed out that Lisa was a good friend likely there to speak on her loss and the loss of many. We should have pointed out that there’s a place and time for everything and, on everything I know to be true, this was not the time. But some took it too far. Way too far. 

I don’t buy the “all famous people get their life threatened, it’s par for the course” nonsense.  No one should have their life threatened no matter the mistake. Who are you to threaten anyone? This is not some BET movie where life and death are acted out in a 3hr melodrama. This is that woman’s real life. There is no justification for it. 

Here’s where I might lose you though.  What the threats have done is make her the victim.  It’s as if Shonda Rhimes wrote this whole season 8 Scandal episode where Olivia Pope creates the spin to get Gayle out of this mess. The conversation is no longer on the need for her to apologize, but now how she has been wronged. It’s shifted from Poor Vanessa to poor Gayle. And granted, both of those things can exist; but one was created by tragedy, and the other created by bullies on Twitter.  

The apology that is owed to the audience is now buried under death threats, hair jokes and name calling. I doubt we’ll ever get it now. 

Coffee in my left hand, intelligent discourse in my right. 

Coffee in my Left Hand, Year End Musings in my Right

I, too, join the world in reflecting on all 2019 meant to and for me.

Breaking my ankle may have been the most dramatic thing to happen, but even that had joy and meaning. My friends and family rallied around, over and underneath me during a very difficult time. When I tell you they fed me, visited me, called to check on me, took me to my appointments, helped me travel, had patience with everything it took to get me out the house for even the simplest of tasks; I want you to know I was loved in every way possible. People I didn’t expect came through for me. So in all the ways that count, there were balms in my Gilead.

This year I could afford to travel a bit more (thank ya Lord!), and was able to laugh with and hug my far away friends.

I worked harder this year than years prior, and though tired, I didn’t mind. I appreciated the opportunities and tried to do right with them.

I said yes to things I wanted, said no to things that didn’t serve me, and felt very little guilt about it. Still some guilt, but I’ve come a long way; trust. I also spoke my truth more than usual, and without any prompting from my BFF. I hope she can witness having more “let me tell you what I just said ” conversations, and a whole lot less “is this ok to say” ones with me in 2019.

I knowingly made some frivolous choices because; grown. I’m good with those too.

I achieved some of the things I set out to do, others not so much. In my success was God opening doors and nudging me through. In my shortcomings was God holding me up, nudging me to do better. God and the nudging…whew!

Through everything there is coffee: warm, soothing, understanding elixir of joy, coffee. And you. Thank you for being a part of my year, and I hope to see you more in 2020.

Coffee in my left hand, New Year dreams in my right…