One day when I was about 4yrs old I came home from my usual weekend visit with my father and leaped out his car to super dashed up the front porch steps. Today was my birthday and I could hardly wait on what gifts might be in store for me.  I barely waved goodbye to my father who was too busy blasting “Mary Jane” from the speakers of his ivory white Rivera while driving off and rolling up a joint in his lap at the same time. My mother, as usual, was working late but I just knew my grandmother would have something for me, hopefully, Optimus Prime so that he could lead my good guy toys to victory over Megatron and his evil crew of broken Thundercat figures. Once I was inside the house I magically flew up to the top of the steps and aggressively pushed the bedroom door open so hard that it startled my grandmother, who was standing in front of the iron board with a pair of my school pants. “Boy, what’s wrong with you? Yo ass almost broke the damn door!!!,” she said. I dropped my weekend bag to the floor and went into full search mode around the room desperately looking for a Toys-R-Us bag anywhere. “Where is it Gram? Where’s my gift?!!” I said, catching my breath. My grandmother’s one left eyebrow raised, now creasing my pants with one hand while the other hand was on her hip and said “Boy, what gift? And for what for?” Now, from underneath the bed, I yelled out “My birthday gift Gram, where is it?!!” My grandma, now folding the pants began to shake her head and said, “Boy, today ain’t yo birthday, you was born on December 11th”  I now was standing, all 4ft of me in front of the closet, covered in clothes that were pulled off the hangers by me. “December 11th, when is that?” I said. She then, pulled the iron cord from the wall, grabbed a Salem Menthol 100 from her ear and lit it with a lighter that was tucked inside her bra, smiled at me said, “A long ass time from July baby, that’s for sure…”

 

It took a few more years and a couple hundred more tries for me to get the date right with each time my grandmother always being present with a smile and words that said: “You was born on December 11th baby.” The phrase grew into a deeper meaning throughout my teenage years well into young adulthood. Whenever I was confused and sought her limitless wisdom or dealt with troubled times that was in need of her patient ear, she would always end every moment with a hug and say quietly: “You was born on December 11th baby.” She was the earliest supporter of my rebellious nature and first admirer of my abstract ways, so each year around the sun there’s always a reminder that her greatest gift was for me to understand my value because “You was born on December 11th baby,” was her greatest joy.

J Hall

@jhallradio

 

 

 

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