Saturday, August 13, 2011

Race? Culture? LOVE!

Well, the wedding was simply lovely.
But there were no hats.
I am singularly disappointed.
And realize that even when I think I know something for certain, I could, in fact, be wrong.
This is devastating.

Oh well. I'll get over it.

So I took pictures but I think it is just RUDE to post pictures here without asking some sort of permission (and possibly highly illegal) and so I shall not. My favorite is one of the groom's face right after the kiss. He was happy. Oh my, he was happy.
My favorite part of the ceremony was when the pastor was giving the couple that sort of pep-talk counsel that pastors do sometimes. You know- how sometimes it's hard to keep on loving that other person, things get tough, etc. And then he told the groom, "And she won't always look like she looks today."
I roared.
So did a lot of people.
The bride was gorgeous. She wore white with a beautiful teal sash and the flower girl and ring bearer were to-die-for cute.
It was just a damn fine wedding.

The reception was held in the church hall and that was mighty fine too. We first nibbled at fruits and vegetables which were displayed in a glorious presentation and whoever grew those tomatoes- well, I'd like to kiss his or her face.
And then after the bride and groom were presented as well as all the attendants, plates were served at big long tables. There was the best potato salad I've eaten since I was a child and mac and cheese and green beans and chicken wings and ham. And a roll.
I ate all of mine.
I could not help it.
Okay. I did not eat the entire roll. All around me, people were not finishing their dinners but I hogged mine down.
We left before the cake was cut and I will always regret that. A local woman had made it and I know it was good. But Lily had gotten up at 4:30 a.m. to be at work and she missed her boy and the other woman we were with has to get up at 2:30 a.m. because she stocks and has to be at the store before dawn.

And then we came back here and I made the mistake of taking off my finery and that was that. I couldn't bring myself to dress back up and go to town. I just couldn't do it. I was full and comfy and I still am and I know I'll regret that too, but sometimes you just can't do it.
I believe that it may be that I am not capable of more than one social outing per day.

One of the best parts of the whole day for me is that the woman who got a ride with Lily is someone whom I've only ever known from Publix but she is someone that I have always felt I could be friends with. And we got to talk some today and she saw my house and she was highly amused when she found out that I curse and it was just good.
She asked me at the reception if I felt weird, being one of the only white people in a group of black people. Look- this is the deep, rural south here, folks. She said that it's usually the other way around- that being black, she is often the only black person in a sea of white folks.
"No," I told her. "I do not."
And I don't.
There are several reasons for this and the first I listed was that I have lived in black communities before and I have always gone to black clubs to hear music and also, that no matter what color the people are in a given group situation, I never truly feel as if I am surrounded by "my people." I have no idea who "my people" are.
I also told her that at my age, I just don't care. I am who I am and I don't expect anyone else to really care.
What I didn't say, but thought, is that every time I've ever been in a situation where I was one of the few white faces, no one has ever been anything but gracious to me. I have spent many hours pondering this, and feeling quite certain that if the opposite had occurred- that if I had been a black person in a place where there were mostly white folks, I am not sure that everyone would be so gracious. And of course that leads to all sorts of questions- are people being nice to me because that is the culture? Don't piss off the white person? I do not know.

Now music is a common denominator and being in a juke joint is a different matter. I have been told that I can dance like a black woman (okay, that was a while back) and when the music is playing and the blues are unfolding and the people are dancing and drinking, no one sees color. Or if they do, it just does not matter.

Oh hell. I don't even know what I'm saying here.

I guess I'm saying that I'm happy that this woman could ask me this. And I'm also saying that I felt perfectly comfortable today. I would probably have felt FAR more out of place at a Catholic wedding where most of the people were white. I would not know the rhythms and rituals there. But today I saw grandmothers with children clinging to them and I saw people who obviously cared deeply about the bride and groom and when the mother of the bride came down the aisle, a tear came to my eye and love is love and people are people and fuck this shit about skin color. Okay, there ARE cultural differences here in the south. Anyone who denies that is just plain wrong. But for me, the difference is less in an AME church than it would be in a Catholic church or a Synagogue. Let's not even discuss a Muslim church. I grew up in the south, I live in the south, and this is all part of my culture too.

That's the way it is.

Although I sure did get that hat-thing wrong.

Well, let me end by saying that I sure do wish the bride and groom all the happiness in the world. They are moving to Daytona and I am going to miss Lanita. Who will tell me I am spoiling Owen? Who will I force to hug me when I am feeling down? Who will open a lane just for me?
But. She has a new life and I cannot selfishly wish to keep her here.

Ah me. Life tumbles on. Things change. Times change.

And good potato salad is good potato salad and for that, I am grateful.

And I got to be better friends today with a woman I've always thought I'd like to know.

A good day.

Happy Full Moon.

Love...Ms. Moon

P.S. Perhaps it is odd and weird for me to even discuss race. I am sorry if it disturbs anyone that I did but I did and I probably will and I do because no matter what changes occur, we very often find ourselves in this country living mostly segregated lives. I wish that were not true, but it's the way things are. Now Mr. Moon really wants me to come and Wii bowl with him and because I love him, I will and that's all I have to say about that. The full moon will shine on us all and mostly, I hope that Lanita and her man are happy tonight and that's my wish. That and that race didn't mean shit.
And gratefulness that I am comfortable in my skin and grateful that others appear to be comfortable with that, too.


  1. If there's anyone at all who can discuss race and leave us the better for having done so, it's you, Ms. Moon. Thank you.

    It sounds like a blast. And I could sure use some of that potato salad right now to go along with the dinner I'm cooking.

  2. Nah, I'm damn glad you discuss race. It's not discussing it (or, okay, being a crazy racist or something) that's worse, I think. It's real and it's still here and it sure as hell isn't going away if we don't talk about it, and despite what our culture thinks, it isn't just the problem of those who 'have' a race (as our local grocery store seems to think, putting all non-white foods in the sole 'ethnic' aisle. Sheesh, morons.)

    And your Saturday sure sounds like a lot of fun. I love a good wedding, hats or no.

  3. Elizabeth- You inspire me with your honesty. Every day.

    Sara- Thank-you. I agree- not talking about it is not helping.

  4. I'm glad you discuss race, Ms Moon, and if we all don't talk about it how else will we find out that it doesn't really matter, we can all be who we are and love one another and find common ground. As for your people, well, your people are right here. I'm your people. You're my people

    And maybe that is part of the magic of this place, it is the souls that connect, the rest is just window dressing.

    i'm glad you had such a soulful day (all meanings intended).


  5. Love and Life. All that matters. YOU taught me that.

  6. I'm with Omgrrrl. Love and Life. All the rest is just conversation.

  7. I love that you are just so transparent. The truth is that there IS color and race and culture and comfort zones within them all. I think that the more we acknowledge each other and our unique features, the more comfortable we'll all be in spaces outside our own. To me, that's all you did when you mentioned race. So what's the big deal?

    Now. What's this about you shakin' it like a sister??? Ha ha. No surprise. . . .because you, Sister Moon, have more soul than a whooooole lot of black folks related to me! I'm just sayin'! ;)

  8. I'm so used to being the only white person wherever I live or go that it seems perfectly normal to me, and when some of my New Orleans friends' mothers and husbands start talking about the white devil I have to say, "Wait, you mean me?" "Nah, girl, you ain't really white." But I am. I just push the boundaries of that definition by going wherever I am invited and feel comfortable.

    One of the things I'm enjoying here in Liberia and being out of New Orleans is how race doesn't define EVERYTHING here. Which is pretty funny to say about a country whose Constitution says citizenship and its privileges (land ownership, occupational licenses, etc.) is reserved for those "of negro descent." But it's true - in many places in the US, race is hyperemphasized and used as a substitute for understanding deeper issues of class, gender, religion, culture, etc. etc. and I'm enjoying a break from that. But I'll be back!

    So glad you had such a lovely time and the food sounds fabulous!

  9. Oh, great pictures and ponderings!

    I LOVE potato salad. Loved it since I was a kid. My kids won't eat it :(

  10. Oh dearest Mary Moon, I had so hoped to see you at the Mockingbird last night, and I even dressed up for the occasion. The music was absolutely divine, and lovely Lis sang so sweetly (as always)! And I got to see the beautiful May May, who really is just beyond precious. You, my dear, have birthed some luminous beings! I don't blame you for staying home - I would've done the same damn thing if I was stuffed with wedding reception food - but I just missed seeing you and getting a good Mary Moon squeeze.

  11. No hats at a southern wedding in summer... how odd indeed. Not to mention the cultural affinity for hats in our area. Wow.

  12. skin color is just the way you come out of your momma. people and attitudes are what cause it to create divisions and differences amongst people.

    my kids in my class drew pictures of me all the time. they made me black.

    i will miss that sweetness about them- they are all moving on, going into 6th grade now, and i won't be their teacher, i'll be moving on somewhere else too.


  13. Angella- I thought about that- how the people HERE are my people. We find each other through our voices only, our yearning, written voices and something in our hearts says, "Yes, my person," and there you go. Thank-you.

    Omgrrrl- You are way too kind. You already knew that when I met you.

    Andrew- In a perfect world, that is how it would be.

    gradydoctor- I have been told that I dance AND cook like a sister. These compliments mean more to me than you will ever know. Uh-huh. Besides- who is to say that I am not, even with my blue eyes, my beige skin? There are mysteries and secrets in this deep south. There are stories which will never be known.

    NOLA- And what is "race"? Scientifically, it does not exist. Culture surely does, though.

    Jo- There is nothing finer than a very good potato salad.

    Kati- I already have huge regrets for not going. I am glad you did. Isn't May gorgeous? Isn't she something? God, I love my kids. And I love you, too. I am so sorry I missed that hug.

    Ms. Fleur- I must have missed the memo on the hat thing. I was completely shocked!

    Mrs. A- I love that! They colored you black! Ah. Think of the love you gave them, think of the influence you have had!

  14. Sadly enough, racial stuff is still around. But I feel it less when I am with the island folks who are accepting. I think that many whites are more racial than the blacks. I deplore any kind of racial bias.

  15. I loved this post and all the comments........I loathe bigotry of ay kind and am grateful that the race thing has changed and improved during my long lifetime. Not fixed 100% but better and we cannot say that about many other things...if any.

    Lately I often find myself looking at white skin and thinking that it looks unhealthy and looking at tan, brown and black skin and thinking it looks beautiful.

  16. You can discuss whatever you damn well want, it's your blog. Nothing you say could EVER offend me.


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