MNR: The Return of Monday
“Even a genius asks questions.”
Peace and blessings. I hope y’all enjoyed the PALZ trilogy. I forfeited all pride and machismo to open the blinds to the windows of my soul. I never ducked judgement for any of my confessions, shortcomings, blunders, insecurities, or all-out failures. “When it was against all odds, I was at my best. When it was me against the world, I stuck out my chest.” I only ask that one respects my gangsta, motherfucker. I had enough nut sack to tell it, in all its inglorious, unveiled truth. I guess it’s the same line of reasoning Eminem used in his battle versus Falcon/new Captain America at the end of 8 Mile. But enough of all that. The folk said that all that introspective shit was cool but fuck all that. We need that uncut doojey. You know, the raw shit, that shit they keep coming back to cop. They said they want that old Monday. The “don’t bring that fat MF back here again” Monday. The “damn, he rolling another one?” Monday. The “Nigga, I was there when you hit the…” --- never mind. I don’t need federal prosecutor Giuliani or Virginia Commonwealth Attorney Greenbacker on my ass (pause – sike! I’m 42 MF years old – what I look like saying pause). What I’m basically saying is, this is ONE OF THOSE. So, if you haven’t already, twist you one of those Woods, Grabba, Fronto, Raw, some Phillies, Bamboo, or whatever you put your satin in. My old school fans gon love this one.
Whenever we have fully turned the corner on this Covid nightmare (who knows when that will be), I’m going to face one of my few fears and fall through an open mic night at a comedy club somewhere in the city. And I’m gon step my fat ass on stage and spit. I’ve been told by too many people that I should do stand up, but I’ve always contended that my brand of humor is conversational. The thought of standing in front of 100 MF with scripted jokes is daunting. I’m not nervous about the crowd or bombing my set, I’m nervous about whether or not the crowd will understand my particular brand of humor. But we’ll see, cuz I’m really not that nervous. Actually, I’m not nervous at all. I’ve got about four minutes of my set down pact, like already reh ta go. It’s centered around being fat in America and the many different aspects of taking a shit as a fat man in America. I’m telling y’all…
And if you don’t like my set, kick rocks. Then kiss my toe.
I just had a flashback to 2012. That was my last summer in Jeff and my last 116 St. Festival. We lost the crib by the end of the year after damn near a half century in Spanish Harlem. But enough of the sad shit. I’m focusing on the good shit. Remember Summer ’12, when Mr. West was still in his right mind? Remember the album he dropped that summer? Yeah. That Cruel Summer project. That was my nigga Jose and my shit. Cuzzo E. Bradley, the Greatest still had his DJ equipment set up in the crib, but we really just needed the speakers and auxiliary cord. Nigga…we used to blast “Higher” at obscene volumes and quite often. Remember Pastor Ma$e verse? Uptown shit frfr. “We both in here. High then a motherfucker. High then a motherfucker. High then a motherfucker. Yeah…”
That really was my shit. And we used to blast music ALL night plenty weekends. BLAST. Total disrespect. Those were the final days of a great era of my life.
This new Benny the Butcher project “Burden of Proof” is kinda nice. Translation: it’s nice AF. I’ve been a Griselda and BSF fan for a couple of years now. I fux with Westside and Conway heavy, but Benny is def my favorite of the trio, and that’s saying a lot because all three of those niggas are nice with it. I never woulda guessed that the kings of New York would be upstate in Buffalo. But they’re dropping the most consistent material out the empire state. I’m not too Uptown to the point where the homeland jades my objectivity. “War Paint”, “Trade It All”, and “Sly Greene” are my favorites (at the moment). Hit-Boy, fresh off his triumphant collaboration with the #GOAT Nasir, teamed up with the Butcher to create 12 works of art. Support the artists you enjoy. That is all.
That “Trade It All” is my shit. Those two vocal samples Hit works in and out of the beat are craaaaaaaaaaaaaaazy. And Benny got the realest talk out RN.
Quick bit of wisdom:
You will never get more out of anything you put less than enough into. That’s simple mathematics. In order to be blessed your work has to be worthy of being blessed. I said that to say that you can’t expect to be “extra” blessed if you don’t at the very least put your fair share into the pot. You have to give more to get more. Until you realize this, prosperity will be difficult to maintain. Notice I didn’t use “attain”.
I promise I will never in life be phased by the disrespect of a nigga with four outfits. Frank stand. You miserable, pussy ass troglodyte. I hope you step in shit and stain your mother’s shag carpet with those cooked Nikes you wear on Monday through Thursday.
Imagine trying to navigate through Covid with three school-aged learners who share a bedroom. One is a special needs student, one is a female amidst puberty, and one is early elementary. I just want to drop some perspective for those of us who may be disillusioned because of very surmountable and temporary circumstances. Always remember that there are those amongst you who have it tougher or worse. If that doesn’t resonate than I’ll be the first to let you know that you are a gorilla turd. I say this with heavy conviction because I too was once primate feces. Cowboy and/or cowgirl up. We got this. That’s my time y’all. Time to shake a leg and get up in the wind, sugar.
#MNR: PALZ, Part 3
Welcome to the third and final entry in the PALZ series. I hope you’ve enjoyed it thus far, whether it be the humor, the pen, or the confessions.
One mo’ ‘gin for my bro Scooter in heaven. Thanks for the love and seat at the table bro. I’m gon always speak your name in association with the confidence and moxie that have driven my personal success in this life. Like I said in the last blog, all of my core classes were Honors, and tough AF. My only non-Honors classes were Algebra I (no Honors option), Gym (of course), Literary Arts (obviously if you know me), and Art. That brings me to the next pal of mine.
Art 8 was a true sample of the student body at HCJHS at the time. Black and white boys and girls mixed throughout, maybe two or three Hispanic kids here and there. There I was, smack dab in the middle of it all. I found myself in my assigned seat day one beside a kid who I would come to find had a few key similar interests at the time. His name was Kevin. It’s not that it matters because a person is a person, but Kevin’s white. The seating chart forced our unlikely pairing, but it couldn’t have been more on point. Much like myself, Kevin wasn’t exactly quiet, but he was far from loquacious. At least not around those he was unfamiliar with. But I would find that he had plenty to say when he was in his comfort zone. It just so happens that we both had an affinity for sports, most importantly baseball. We ate, slept, and breathed baseball. I’m a day one Yankees fan, which basically means that in 1991 there was absolutely no allure to the distinction. But little did I know that with The Boss on forced hiatus from the team and sport, Good old Gene “Stick” Michael was quietly and methodically putting together the core (pun intended) of our soon (enough) to be dynasty. Kevin didn’t follow a particular team, but he was an aficionado of one player in particular: MLB career hit leader Peter Edward Rose. Kevin knew everything about Charlie Hustle, and repped him to no end. In addition to being big time sports fanatics, we were also big-time card and memorabilia collectors. Ironically, Kevin was an amazing artist. He would take a sports picture from a card or magazine, freehand sketch it on typing paper in pencil, and color it in with colored pencils. The pictures looked amazing. Like for real, amazing. I know y’all don’t believe me. Y’all like, “T capping”. That’s ok. Cuz I got something for y’all. Just wait till the end. But anyway, Kevin and I were like next of kin. We laughed at our own inside jokes. We debated the sports topics of the day. My bro Crow, a cool ass white kid named Raleigh, and a down ass Black queen whose name has slipped my mind sat beside us at long art tables in the back of the room. We had a good ass time every day and always went to sleep during movies/documentaries. Ms. Moore didn’t give a fidduck. She talked more shit than the kids. But those were good times. We didn’t have a care in the world.
That summer, both of us played Babe Ruth baseball. We were on opposing teams. My squad took league the ‘ship (you already fvcking know), and both of us made all-stars. What I remember most from that season other than us losing in the state finals was Kevin being locked in a competition for the league batting title down the stretch with my teammate and cousin Bobby “Boo” Venable. Boo edged Kevin last game of the regular season. Kevin could have actually sat the last game out and bettered his odds to win the title; he was a few points ahead of Boo going in. But he decided to do what any real ball player would do: he pulled a Ted Williams and played the last game. Unfortunately (for him), Boo slight edged him for the crown. I can’t lie, I hated on Kevin OD going into that final game. We talked shit all spring in Art and fought it out on the field through the early part of the summer. Honestly, I just wanted my folk to win, even though Kevin was also my folk. But you know what Sly said: “blood is thicker than mud”. Boo is actually my step pop’s nephew, and we’re cousins through marriage. But you know how shit go. I don’t know if that wee bit of tension on the diamond led to any type of strain in our relationship, but I do know that beginning ninth grade on, I saw less and less of Kevin. As we progressed through high school and I got up with my NFL clique, Kevin eventually became a face in the cloud.
Over the past year since the Lord allowed me to get up out that wretched hospital bed and walk my fat ass up out of Englewood Hospital, I’ve done a lot of introspection. From time to time Kevin has come across my mind, much like my dead homies, key difference being that I was pretty sure Kevin hadn’t met such a cruel fate. After all, Kevin wasn’t a street kid (not saying that all my dead homies were but most were). And if we know one thing, it’s that bad news always spreads like oxygen and water. So, I was pretty sure Kevin was somewhere alive and well. But I still wondered. One night a few months ago, the neurotic in me woke me up out of my slumber around three in the morning to Google search for Kevin Caudle. I was certain he was somewhere in America working as a renowned sports illustrator. But my Google search yielded nada. Ok, time for Plan B. I went to my backup plan and searched Twitter. I dug through all the Kevin Caudles until I found an account with a pic of a man who looked just like my junior high pal, only with a goatee. The man was seated beside the great Danica Patrick with a portrait of her, which she signed for him. It was definitely him. But he hadn’t tweeted in about three years. I took a chance and @ him anyway. Then I waited. And waited. Then it came to a point after a couple months that I began to figure that this was one of the thousands of still active Twitter accounts with absolutely no activity, making it effectively inactive. And then I wondered. Was something wrong with Kevin? Had something crazy happened? I mean, surely no one would just one day abandon Twitter, right? Not Twitter. Who would do a crazy thing like that? Soon after that I just figured it may never be. I had so much to tell my old friend, things I figured he never even knew. I had to let him know the part, the significant part he played in my life. In essence, he was my best friend in eighth grade, the pivotal year of all my school days. I was struggling to keep my head above water socially and emotionally. I didn’t have to act like someone I wasn’t just to be down. I didn’t have to be anyone but myself. That was more than enough. But hey, not every story has a story book ending.
About a month ago, I got an email from none other than my old pal Kevin. He is alive and in good health and spirit. He’s made a home in Chapel Hill, NC with his beautiful wife Ingrid. We spoke for hours the first time we conversed, and we text regular. We plan to meet up soon. Post Covid pending. Life is amazing. Twenty-five years or better, no contact. Now we right back like we never left. God is the greatest.
In the years since the three PALZ I’ve discussed these past few blogs (well over half a lifetime), I’ve met so many extraordinary individuals from all over the planet. Many have left indelible marks on my life. I have been blessed to form lifelong friendships with a few. Here’s the roll call: big ups to my high school team, NFL (you figure the acronym out) --- E, Nick, D-Nice, Vinny (Roger) and B. Grasty, my Hali fam Rahgie, Kenny Hodges, and the big homie Vinny, my bros Robert Williams and Kelvin Watson (my Wilson Memorial day ones), my VUU Huntley Fam --- my ace Rock Lark, my MF heart Louie, Keith Murray (I gave him the moniker), Mel Patterson, Marv, Jab, Dr. Dre Doggs, my sisters Kia, Lisa, and Jon Jon, my lil bros Darrell, Todd, and Corleone, all the big bros and sisters, and plenty of other great individuals (too many to name), my bros Jose, Papa Smurf, P.R. & Charles “Chubby” Chisolm (RIP to both Kings), and all my folk in Jeff Houses, my PNC Mr. Ten from Decatur and bro Sean, my 4th Ward soldiers in Englewood, and Crew UnB, most importantly my CEO, 2NN partner, and lil bro Christian Eaddy. LOVE ALL Y’ALL INFINITELY.
To my true day ones, my blood family: Thompson, Warren, Bradley, and Marable. To my best friend on this planet --- my queen Brandi. Y’all my
Well, that’s the end of our PALZ series. We certainly hope you’ve enjoyed it. Catch us next Monday for another installment of MNR. I’m out like Shout.
#MNR: PALZ, Part 2
Butt ass naked truth: this blog is going to delve deep into the mind of a benevolent neurotic. I don’t mind at all if you laugh at my pain; humor is humor, personalized, and isn’t subject to another’s interpretation. All I ask is that you respect the fact that I (as always) kept it a 1000 and was willing to open my walk-in closet and embrace my skeletons. Alright? Bet. Buckle up. Twist you one of those left hands Fred G. Sanford used to talk about. This is one of those.
Ok y’all. Part one threw a well-deserved alley to my true day one and pal Nick Thomas from Strong Isle. But for part two we’re going to take a trip down I-95, jump off in Richmond for the Powhite Parkway, then take 360 East to South Boston, VA. It’s 1991. I’m an eighth-grade student at Halifax County Junior High School. Yup. I’m so old that middle schools were still junior high schools. Anyways, I was definitely a fish out of water. I went from an elementary school with just under 200 students (mostly kids I’d known since I moved to VA a few years earlier) to a junior high school with well over a thousand students. Yeah, I knew a lotta kids from playing rec basketball and football (champs seventh grade year) and from staying with my mom and step pops on weekends “in town”, but NONE of the kids I knew were in class with me. I was in all Honors classes. That didn’t bother me because I’ve always strived for excellence. And I’ve always been pushed from Shareon, so I didn’t really have a choice. But junior high studies are a big step up from elementary work. A big step. In retrospect, I had an eighth grade Earth Science teacher by the name of Walter Knapp. That man was as tough as a Jeff Houses roach or Edenwald Houses rat, tougher than all the instructors I’ve ever had outside Shareon, my maternal grandmother Mary Warren, my sixth grade Patricia Younger, and two of my university professors (all except Mr. Knapp and my Political Theory teacher Eric King are deceased). So yeah, class was tedious and hectic. Sure, I started on the o-line for the football team, but I didn’t even sit with the brothers in the back of the bus on away trips. My social skills were on like a 3.5/10. I wasn’t comfortable talking to girls at the time, not girls I was interested in. I could converse with girls I had class with or who were cool in general, but I was a selective mute around the pretty girls I was unfamiliar with. My self-esteem and self-confidence were extremely low because of all my early childhood trauma. Now that’s one thing. But it wasn’t as bad as the other two things (in my eyes) that intertwined to ensure my underwhelming junior high era. Outside of my true shy guy personality, I had no squad and no type swagger. The first is self-explanatory. The second is a bit more layered. We all know what self-confidence does for an individual. We also know that with a teenager a lot of swagger comes with your style of dress. Shareon was one of those old school mothers that never embraced the spoil your children philosophy. She was raised to be oblivious to designer tags, so developing that philosophy was easy for her. That’s her. That shit wasn’t easy for me. I’m from the first generation of name brand worship. My Nikes didn’t have Air on the back. They were just plain Nikes. I hadn’t had a pair of Jordans since my nana Thompson sent me the Jordan II (two) in a sympathy care package years back. None of my clothes came out of anywhere past a JC Penny. Throw all that into one ball of uncertainty that also included NEVER going to any weekend functions outside of church on Sunday or an occasional church youth group event/trip on Saturday and that was me. Tyrone, plain and kinda tall, just a bit chubby. And lest we forget the gap in my teeth, something a certain cute girl ridiculed me about through tenth grade. C’est la vie. Before y’all judge me and call me an ungrateful ass child, you’re absolutely right. I was. But I’m proud to say that that tough upbringing transformed me from an ungrateful child to an appreciative and hard-working adult.
With all my shortcomings, I still managed to navigate through my daily school life without any significant turbulence outside of fighting for my life to receive a C or B- in Knapp’s class. I stayed clear of the bullies and thugged out niggas. Understand this: junior high meant ninth grade, meaning high school aged kids went to school with us too. The homie Brion Scott (we became cool later in life, that’s a good guy) was like 17 when I was in eighth grade. Nigga had a full beard and was mean as hell. Still is. I was scared to fucking death back then. And best believe, he wasn’t the only tough guy roaming the halls and locker room. There were so many fights in that school that administration had to adopt all types of new policies. Shit got so out of hand they started suspending all fight spectators (whom teachers/admin could “identify”) for three days. Three days suspension on your “permanent” record just for standing there and watching free entertainment. Bastards. But shit, there really were AT LEAST 40-50 kids encircled around every fight. In all fairness, it WAS type hard for teachers or admin to get through the crowd to break shit up. But fuck all that. It was even harder trying to see the fight behind like a million MF. To add true perspective, it was so crazy that you could tell if there was a fight in proximity to your classroom (even with the door closed and instruction taking place) because the floor literally began to shake like a damn San Andreas tremor. And I definitely heard whispers about who was bringing their strap to school with them every day, at least two or three cats.
Everything else was regular, except when it came to lunch. Lunch was the ultimate test of worth in junior high. The table you sat at meant everything. All the lame kids literally sat the same long ass table every day. I told y’all earlier I wasn’t a member of any crew, squad, clique, nada. I was one of the lame kids, eating my lil slice of pizza, fries, and honey bun, drinking my lil chocolate milk in isolation amidst others. I never spoke lame language, so I didn’t really speak much at the table. But I was definitely one of the lame kids. A nobody. That was until the day the homie Scooter invited me to sit at his table. Scooter was a kid I knew in passing from Westside, a part of the county where there is a considerable amount of us-skinned folk in proximity. Scooter was one half of the number one candy selling crew in HCJHS, along with the homie fat Reggie from South Boston. They made a killing selling Air Heads, Jolly Ranchers (the old school ones that were shaped like Air Heads), and candy bars. They had an actual staff of candy pushers on payroll that they paid every Friday. Scooter cleared well over fifty cash a week just running the operation. And Scooter could fight his ass off. He had hands that were grown man sized at age 13, 14, and knew how to use them. He was respected in every circle, even by his enemies. And his affiliation with Reggie meant he had love from some of the would-be ops from the other side. Much like all kids who have “it”, Scooter ran with kids much older than him. One Saturday night while riding in a car on the way to a movie theater in a larger town about a half an hour away, Scooter, who was riding in the back of a hatch back as the sixth and youngest passenger, was ejected from the vehicle when the car hit a bump on a country road. Somehow, gravity, inertia, or some physical science and physics type shit I don’t know anything about caused him to end up under the back tires. He died immediately. Word spread around the school that Monday morning like a Cali wildfire. I was devastated. Sam “Scooter” Mitchell was only fourteen years old.
The most fucked up part about it all, outside of losing Scooter, wasn’t the thought of losing my seat at the table. That remained, literally and figuratively. It was the fact that I couldn’t outwardly mourn for the homie. I wasn’t one of his day ones. We didn’t go to primary school and get into mischief around the neighborhood together. His day one homies woulda ridiculed me to no end if I woulda mourned frfr. Y’all know how we get anytime one of us dies. Errbody gotta be the best friend, closest cousin, the favorite child, the number one mistress/slide-off. And on the flipside, anyone who “over mourns” outside the immediately family/circle is fake or just trying to draw attention. Forget about discussing it at the dinner table. And I didn’t know WTF a grief counselor was until after 9.11.2001. I was (to anyone who even noticed) just some kid who sat at Scooter’s lunch table. But Scooter did more for me than most people in life could ever do. He gave me a seat at the table. He invited me, a nobody, into his world. He let me know I belonged. That did more for my self-esteem than anything else in this life has, believe it or not. All types of people came through that table during any given lunch period, including the pretty girls. I had a couple of conversations with a few. It did a lot for my little self-confidence. Some may ask if it hurts to not be able to let Scooter know how much he meant to my life, but he knows. I tell him all the time. I’ve been speaking to a few of my dead homies for a while now. The conversations are mostly one-sided, but they’re therapeutic. I gotta let them know the part they continue to play in this greatness that exists today. They are my motivation. Take it from a brother who was something from nothing. That’s all my time y’all. Thanks for taking a moment to hear (read) what I had to say. Many blessings.
#MNR: PALZ, Part 1
“…my enemies your enemies, cuz you ain’t never had a friend like me.”
When I sat at the table in 2011 to write the majority of 100 Blocks Stories, there were several things I wanted to accomplish in addition to ensuring the authenticity of the project. I lived it. If I didn’t do it by my lonely, I “seent” it. I said as much to say that my goods are 100% pure. But in addition to the authenticity of Eastside Harlem and its fictitious yet realistic players, I wanted to dispel a few myths and reaffirm some of the foundation. As pertaining to the foundation, I’m talking about African American culture and certain motifs that I went out of my way to establish throughout 100BS, namely friendship and loyalty. I wanted to show that, even though snakes are prevalent in the hood, there are still genuine and indelible bonds forged through shared struggle, both internal and external. Again, I drew the inspiration from my own life, from myself and great people I’m proud to call my friends.
The past month or so has been extraordinary, even amidst pandemic alongside political and social unrest. I don’t slight either, but I’m like the homie Joey Bada$$. I’m heavily God’ed. So dem ting no worry meh. My exuberance is attached to the fact that I’ve been able to reconnect with some of my closest friends in life from New York as well as in Halifax County, VA. It’s kind of surreal to me. I’d lost contact with some of them for over two decades. And if you don’t know me, please note that I’m in perpetual thought. My mind is always in thought and analysis. I guess it comes with being an only child. Throw in a nice dose of neurosis and my physical CPU never shuts down. Ever. I don’t dream, I build. I’ve lost so much in my lifetime. I know death is certain, but I’ve seen more than enough. This makes genuine friendship ever the more precious in my eyes. It also makes regaining contact with lost friends a paramount task. Luckily, there is thing called the internet. And on this internet, there’s this thing called social media. Shall we proceed?...
Before I moved to VA in 1988, I spent my first ten years between Uptown NYC (Bronx/Eastside/the Heights) and Bridgehampton, Strong Island (my mom’s hometown). My actual household was in the city, but problems at home, discourtesy of my pops, forced my mother to send me out to the Island from time to time. The craziest years were Kindergarten and Third Grade because those were the two years that I went to school in Bridgehampton. I often joke that I was the first ever 1st grade dropout. Shit got so bad that my mom sent me out to my grandparents in Bridgehampton for like a month and a half dead amidst the school year. I spent every day riding around in the truck with papi on his side hustles or at my great grandparents’ house. No books, nada. I missed so much time that the day I got back to school my classmates deadass acted as if I came back from the dead. They surrounded me, hugged on me, etc. My life was so crazy at that time that I just laughed it off to them like it was regular shit---because it was. Anyway---Bridgehampton is a very small town, way out in Suffolk County on eastern Long Island. People hear the tag Hamptons and automatically assume that because of its affluence that every resident is paid. That’s not the case. You do your own research. But I will reveal that my grandparents were hardworking, everyday folk who were blessed with a piece of land. But back to the school. As I mentioned, Bridgehampton is a small town. So is the school. And when I mention the school as singular, it’s because there is only one school. Bridgehampton is one of the 30 smallest schools in the state of New York (with a STORIED basketball program), with 189 students in TOTAL during the 2018-2019 academic school year. I could be mistaken, but I think my (would have been) graduating class of 1996 had eight students. In contrast, I was one of about 350 of the c/o 1996 at HCHS.
I love Bridgehampton to this day. After beginning in Southampton, my mother, auntie, and both of my uncles attended Bridgehampton School from mid to late elementary-12, except for the year my mother was a foreign exchange student in Brazil (she was so amazing; she saw Pelé live---arena live). Both my years at Bridgehampton were special because both years basically had the same kids in each class. There was Marcus, JP, and Nick, amongst others, and a cutie named Brandy (oh, the irony). All those brothers were cool (JP did a Spit from Beat Street inspired tag on a picture of a car I drew for Art and made me cry in Kindergarten but it’s all good). I always wondered what was up with those guys over the years. My big cousin Adrienne was born and raised out there, so she knew the scoop on all of them. JP and Marcus had some tough times over the years like most of us, but every story I heard about Nick was on the up and up. It only seemed right to me because Nick was probably the coolest kid in the class overall. He got along with all eight (or so) of us and always kept a smile. It was hard for me to wear a genuine smile a lot of those days, so it was an inspiration to see it from someone else. End of the day, we all came from humble beginnings for one reason or the other. But I always remembered him for his smile and cool demeanor. Fast forward to summer ’98. My uncle and I decided to take a trip to the Island for July 4. There’s always a parade that mirrors Englewood in that all us come out. You see folk you haven’t seen in a long time. I happened to see Nick as soon as we got there. I immediately knew who he was, but I was almost hesitant to approach out of uncertainty as to if he remembered me. I’ve been so many places y’all. Bounced around a lot. Tyrone had us under pressure. The way I see it, people tend to forget about folk like me over time. And we all know for a fact that colored folk will act like they don’t know a MF in a Madden accelerated clock minute. I was a bit iffy on whether to approach Nick. But I did. He remembered me from back when. We caught up on the eleven years we hadn’t been in contact. It was love. Unfortunately, we fell out of contact. You know how it goes from time to time. But it was 1998. I damn sure didn’t own a cell phone back then. And I didn’t yet have a dorm room number to exchange. So, it was what it was. I was just happy to see an old pal in good health and spirit.
It just so happens that I fell into one big ass Bridgehampton rabbit hole about a month back. I saw a random pic on a YouTube unsolved murder blog and immediately knew that the gymnasium I was looking at in the pic was none than the world famous “Hive”, a 37x55 foot pressure cooker that sent most opponents back “up the Island” with a hot and fresh L. From 1931 until this year, the Hive was the home to the Bridgehampton Killer Bees, winners of 9 New York state championships (second only to Money Earnin’ Mount Vernon’s 11), 25 Class D crowns, and 33 league titles. It’s the court my uncles Archie and Alan played on. It’s the court MLB Hall of Fame outfielder Carl Yastrzemski led the smallest school to win a Suffolk County championship on (yeah, Yaz played ball too). Y’all know I love perspective. For my Englewood folk, that’s like winning the Jamboree in a county with three times the population of Bergen County with a school a fifth the size of old Dwight Morrow. It’s the court my old pal Nick led his team to 3 state ‘ships on, the first as a freshman. Yup. Starting point gawd on the state ‘ship winners. He did that. So, I kept digging. The article I read mentioned that Nick Thomas is now the head coach of Center Moriches High School Red Devils, a bigger school up the island. He’s been doing that for the past nine years. That led me from Google to LinkedIn. I’m not new to LinkedIn, but I only recently began to really stay current on it in effort to expand my enterprise. I figured a person of such stature would have a LinkedIn profile. I was correct. It’s crazy though because he has so many connections that I couldn’t just invite myself to a request to be a part of his network. I wasn’t down about it; I was just genuinely happy to see my brother exceling. I think I was able to leave a message. I also put a random post on my page congratulating him on his success. No @. Just love. And of course, he linked up with a brother. We now have each other’s contacts and are in communication. That means a lot to a rolling stone like me.
I’m a keep it a bean with y’all. I had no idea whatsoever that this blog would be this long. This shall be part one of a three-part series titled PALZ. Part two will be on your doorstep a week from now. Same Bat time, same Bat channel. It’s my time y’all.