… it reminds me of a simpler time in my life as a youth.   It brings me back with random thoughts of a time long gone.

It takes me back to the days of hanging with my best friend, Richard, when I lived in Houston.  Back then, we’d get on our bikes and ride by the bayou next to our apartment complex and fantasize about being motor cross dirt bikers as we jumped from one dune to the next at the construction site across the street.  Back when we’d walk to and fro from elementary school to our complex about a mile away.  All the jokes we shared, the fights we got into, the adventures we faced together.  The days we’d collect all of our Transformers, G.I. Joe or Masters of the Universe toys together and try to save or destroy the world – one kung-fu grip at a time.   I have random images of the first girl I secretly had a crush on, Deanna, with her purple, corduroy pants and large, Texas-sized, curly hair with attitude to boot.

Walking 5 miles on a Saturday morning to Almeda Mall because my great Aunt sent me $40 on my birthday, so we decided to head down there to catch “Breakin’ 2:  Electric Boogaloo” movie and make a day of it.  Then heading over to the arcade to play the latest and greatest video games, eventually calling my mom collect to come get us because we were too tired to walk home after a day of soda, pizza, hot dogs, candy, movies and the 20th round of Dig Dug and Double Dragon.

One day my mom took me and a friend, Jason, to this fancy hotel and what lay before me could only be described as Dionysus’s and Demeter’s fantasy made flesh.  She dressed me up in what I considered my Sunday’s best and took me to a buffet feast at the French restaurant in the hotel that I will never forget, nor duplicate.  There were tables upon tables of a myriad of assorted foods and treats.  My eyes grew wide and wild as they scanned each table trying to take it all in and trying to strategize which table was going to get ravaged first.  There were tables of nothing but meat, cheeses, breads, fruits, vegetables, drinks and – DESERTS!!!  In fact, one table had nothing but chocolate.  Mousses, milk chocolates, dark chocolates, German, Swiss…. you name it, it was there.  At the end of the day, I gorged myself with at least twice my body weight of food and I seriously don’t remember how I got to the car, yet alone home.  Thanks mom for that memory.

I remember visiting my relatives in NYC for the summer, usually getting picked by my Grandfather.  He had a 22nd story co-op in the Ebbet’s Field Apartment complex and I’d stay with him, his trusty dog companion, Charlie and mysterious cat, DC with the jet black fur and crystal green eyes.  Charlie and I always had fun; even when I pulled a pound of his shed fur from my clothes after giving him a hug.  Of course the day wouldn’t be complete if DC didn’t swipe at my ankles from whatever piece of furniture he was crouched under.  I remember my grandfather giving me haircut one day and me screaming at the top of my lungs at the shock of seeing a round, brown, bald head in the mirror.  He then had to go across the street and buy me a hat in order to get me to leave the co-op.

My youngest uncle would then take me from him and I’d stay with him, his girlfriend (at some point wife) and one (or two) of my baby cousins at his apartment not too far away.  He’d take me to the park or just play with me like any uncle would with his only nephew.  NOOGIES!!! He would crack jokes and I’d revel in a bowl of Spaghetti-O’s or something of similar taste.  It wouldn’t be a week before my Aunt found out that I was at my uncle’s home and would make one of the few trips to Brooklyn from Harlem to “rescue” me from my uncle and take me back to her apartment at the East River Projects.  LOL!  There I’d spend the rest of my summer at the local day camp and nights listening to the Latin or Caribbean music being played from some window or radio on the basketball courts below.  Of course, how can I forget watching the very FIRST airing of MTV that summer and understanding how the game had just changed forever, or watching Pinwheel or You Can’t Do That On Television or Double Dare on Nickelodeon.

I think of the days that made me who I am today.  The moments that mattered, the people who meant the most to me and the times when all that was before me were mine to discover.  I think of the innocence of youth and how that desire to stay young etched a signature on my spirit.  I think of the friends I made and lost, the people I loved and hated, the dreams of stars and the excitement of the many “firsts” that bore fruit.  I think of a more naive and simpler land where leaving your front door open wasn’t a cause for concern.  When being 8 years old out at after dark wasn’t a time to despair, but just the signal that dinner would soon be on the table.  When my mom and I could gather around the TV and watch an event together, like Roots or Shaka Zulu or … anything on one of the major networks at the time, long before Fox and the advent of Cable TV and the acronym UHF still held meaning.

I think of my daughters and how their world is so different than the one I grew in and then I see them fall to the floor laughing in a shared joke – and none of that matters at all, because they are together and that’s what matters most.

Khari ~ G-Man