Jrnl Entry No. 2.2.2000

Well, I went to Mississippi to Uncle Leonard’s funeral. I’ve heard a lot about Uncle Leonard. He was a soft-spoken man who kept to himself; no kids, no wife. They suspect that he had a woman in his life, but no one will ever really know. When they were cleaning out his house after he died, they found panties and shit lying around. So that tells us that he had a woman over or he crossed dressed sometimes and walked around the house (that’s a joke). I think they lost their mother at a very early age. Maybe he put on women clothes and pretended to be her raising his brothers and sisters who had all passed away with the exception of him and his baby sister Dorris. Now Dorris is the only one left of the historical family that we had.

Uncle Leonard was born in 1905. He was 95 years old. I was going to drive to Mississippi this summer to meet Uncle Leonard. He probably wouldn’t have known who I was or maybe he would have since I’ve heard he knows my mom well and spoke to her every time he seen her. I only knew three of their brothers and sisters. I knew my great grandmother Aretha. I knew my Great Uncle Eddie. And I know my Great Aunt Dorris. Uncle Eddie knew me, and Great Grandma Aretha knew me. I make it a point to hug and kiss Aunt Dorris every time I see her, and to tell her who I am, and ask her does she remember me. She said something to my Grandmother this time that surprised me. She said “he’s the one that graduated.” And yes that is me. I graduated from Kent State University in 1996. I don’t know how she remembers that, but it made me feel good that she knew something of me.

I’ll probably go to Mississippi for my vacation in the summer. I love my peoples down there. Something unusual happened on our drive there this time though. When we reached Memphis, Tennessee, there was snow and ice all over the place; every couple of miles we seen cars off the road. My cousin Jeff was driving my car. I wasn’t liking the way he was driving. He would put on breaks every time he’d come behind a car or truck that was traveling slower than he. He was driving too slow. I drive in the fast lane. I was thinking to myself every time he put on breaks, “why doesn’t he just move over the pass the vehicles?”

When were 100 miles away from our destination, we had to go super slow because the road was covered with heavy ice. You had to drive your car in the tracks that were in the street or the ice would take control of your car and throw you off the road. Well Jeff says he was trying to get into the other lane when the ice took control of the car and threw us off the road because he slammed on the breaks like an inexperienced driver. Never slam on the breaks when you are losing control. Slamming on the breaks only renders you more controless in the situation. He should have taken his foot off the gas and let the car slow down, and just steer the car the way he wanted to steer it.

The car wasn’t damaged though, but we were stuck on a down slope. About twenty minutes later a trucker came by and offered to take Jeff to a pay phone. He got in the truck and I started walking up the street to find someone’s house I could use the phone. I went to this one house that was near by, but dogs were outside barking so I didn’t go up to the door and knock. I figured someone would wake up and see me, but no one did. I started walking further up the road. I was figuring that Jeff had been kidnapped, so I was just gonna walk until I reached a phone. I see this truck coming down the road. I was gonna signal any car or truck coming because Jeff may have been in one of them. I signals and the man stops. He has a celluar phone, and I explain to him that my car had slid off the road and that I needed to call a relative to come and pick me and the rest of my family up. He made the call, and I told my uncle that we needed him to come and get us. About ten minutes later, a tow truck with Jeff in it pulls up. The tow truck pulls the car out and we get on our way. I called back to my aunts house and told her that we had been rescued. She told us to be on the look out for my uncles. As we were driving along, we were looking for them and we seen them eventually, and we were on our way to the house in Moorhead, Mississippi. We got there and hugged everybody and everyone stayed up talking for the rest of the morning. After about an hour of setting up, I went to sleep. When I woke up, it was time to start getting ready for the funeral.

The funeral was a disaster; a disaster partly because of the unexpected weather conditions, and a disaster because of the rush of things. See when Uncle Leonard died, he just fell on the floor or was on the bed, and he was by the heater. Now anyone with any common sense knows that heat and dead bodies don’t mix. He had been laying there in the heat for like three days. One day his baby sister, my Aunt Dorris went to go and check on him. They say she’d knock on the door, and he would either holla that he was aiiight, or he would open the door and she would visit with him for a little while. I guess the times he didn’t open the door were when he had a woman there or when he was dressed in drag (that’ a joke). No one knew what Uncle Leonard did. He was a man satisfied with solitude, and didn’t want it any other way. I wish I could live that way: in a small town and no one knows your business, whether you are fucking or not, nothing about you.

His body started to decompose after three days in the heat. He didn’t have an open casket. Since his casket was a closed one, I didn’t see what was the rush to get his body in the ground. I mean the smell wasn’t gonna leak through a cast iron casket. We could have held his funeral next month since he was locked in a casket. But his funeral was rushed. No one was there except for family and a couple of church members or deacons, the five person choir, and the pastor. No one sent him flowers. The flowers that were there were bought by the family to make it look nice. I discovered this after the funeral was over, and the cards from the flowers were on the kitchen table. They weren’t signed by anyone. And I guess rightfully so because the man didn’t talk to anyone from what I hear. He had no friends, and even if he did have friends, how many do you know at age ninety five who are still hopping around? And if they are hopping around, how many do you know who will hop around on a cold winery snowy day in Mississippi?

His death was just untimely I guess. But regardless of the friends he may or may not have had that didn’t show up, the family represented well. All of Uncle Eddie’s kids who are still alive came down, and they brought some of their kidz with them who I didn’t expect to see like Author Jr. and Shaquelia. But there is just one more fucked up  part to the funeral that kind of pissed me off, but I didn’t let it bother me. We never organized where we would all meet to get to the funeral together. See the funeral home was in Indianola, Mississippi, and my Aunt Betha’s house was in Moorhead, Mississippi. Aunt Betha’s house is the main family meeting house in Mississippi. And see all of the hotels were in Indianola, Mississippi. It really doesn’t make sense to drive ten minutes up to Moorhead, and then turn right back around and drive to Indianola again. But if you don’t know where the funeral home or the church is, that is what everyone should have did but they didn’t. So the plan was to meet at the funeral home and then go to the church one big happy family. Problem was that we were running late, and the pastor and everyone was already at the church. So when we got to Indianola, the limos skipped going to the funeral home and went straight to the church. So half the family was in the limos and the other half was searching for the church and the funeral home. When the limos arrived at the church, they rushed everybody in, not bothering to wait for the other family members to get there and they started the funeral. By time the other family members got there, the funeral was 3/4th over. When it was over, it was to the grave yard.

The grave yard scene turned out to be a disaster also. The grave yard was flooded for one, and it was muddy for two, and cold and covered with snow for three. So everyone is getting out of the limos and their cars. Aunt Betha takes Aunt Dorris up to sit in the chair so that she could sit and watch the casket be placed on the pedestal. And usually we would watch them lower the casket into the ground but it was too cold for that shit.

O.K. so, Aunt Betha and Aunt Dorris are sitting down. My Aunt Janet is standing behind them. All of a sudden my Aunt Janet wapps my Aunt Betha across the face an says, “you bitch, you let my Uncle Leonard die down here. You didn’t give a damn about him.” I’m over to the far left of Janet, so I runs and I tackle her and we fall in the mudd. I have her by her coat collar and I am yelling at her, ”what and the hell is wrong with you, are you crazy?” Then the men of the family break us up. SIKE!

That would have been some shit though huh? But on to the real story: My Aunt Lena starts yelling and crying talking about my grandmother should have been in that first seat with my Aunt Dorris because she was the oldest of her brother and sisters. My grandmother was still in the limo, and Lena thought that they had just left her back there and forgot about her, when the truth was that Grandma didn’t want to get out of the car because it was too cold and her legs were bothering her. They were going to carry her across the ditches of water to sit down but she didn’t want to get out of the car. After that episode, next I hear my Aunt Janet cursing at my Aunt Betha, and for what reason I don’t know. Janet starts saying some junk about “we only got one left (talkin’ about Aunt Dorris), and that she needs to be in Ohio with us so that we can take care of her.”

Now my Aunt Dorris is just like Uncle Leonard, there is no takin’ care of her. She keeps to herself, likes to stay home. She’s old but walks up a flight of stairs like she was a young woman. She won’t tell no one her age. Word is that she is a virgin because the guy she was in love with was taken from her by the woman whom her brother Eddie married, Aunt Jackie Jane. Aunt Dorris does need some watching over, but very minimal; just enough to make sure she is not freezing to death or walkin’ in the dead of winter with no coat on. She’ll be cold, but swear that she is alright. Other than that, she takes care of herself. And she doesn’t need to be in Ohio because she has lived in Mississippi all of her life, and it is where she feels most comfortable. So the grave sight with all that drama was over. We returned to the house and chilled.

It was my grandmother, my cousin Renee and my cousin Jeff, my cousin Emily, my cousin Jeremiah, and me. I changed my clothes and just relaxed. No one had brought any food to the house so we went and got some churches chicken for ourselves: Jeff, Renee, Jeremiah and I. My grandmother and my Aunt Betha, and my Uncle Luther had to go and take care of some last funeral business and what not. The rest of the night went smoothly.

My cousin Marcus came over around ten O’clock to get me and Jeff. We went to the local bar where there were no hoes what so ever, and then went to Greenville, Mississippi to the casino. I lost twenty dollars playing on the crap table after about an hour and a half of winning some and losing some. We got home at about five AM and went to sleep. Saturday Jeff and I went hangin’ out with Jeremiah. We rode around what part of Moorhead there was to ride around in and then we went to Indianola and rode around. We went to see our cousin Jesse. He’s Marcus’s son. After about an hour and a half of riding around Indianola, we went to the mall in Greenville. Jeff was looking for something to buy for his sons, but he found nothing.

Jeff, my mom and I were to leave for Ohio when we returned from the mall. We got to the house and I was ready to go. Jeremiah and Jeff started leaving out the door and told me to come with them. Jeremiah had gotten a call that Marcus was trying to run over his mistress. We went to the local bar, and Jeremiah got out and talked to some of his people’s. Marcus wasn’t down there so we left. Marcus was at home. We were going to pick up Renee, Jeremiah’s mother. When we got her and were on our way back to the main house, Uncle Luther and Aunt Betha were headed over to Marcus’s house. They say he called and told them to all come over there in a hurry.

When we got there, Marcus started cursing Aunt Betha out about how she never loved him, and never accepted his first son Rick who looks just like him, and a bunch of other old shit that would only come out when a person was high or drunk. I was standing outside because I didn’t want to hear that shit he was talking. They were trying to get him to stay home but he wanted to leave. At this point everyone is outside and I had no choice but to listen to what Marcus was saying. When I heard what he was saying, I tried to get his attention to try and talk to him so that I could tell him that he needed to let that shit go and move on with his life. He was talking so much about Aunt Betha that Jeremiah was starting to get madd. Marcus saw how Jeremiah was looking at him and he started talking shit to Jeremiah about his guns, and Marcus started saying that he had a gun also, and started reaching for his waist. He didn’t have nothing but some wire pliers.

Yeah, that was some drama. Then Uncle Cleothis came over and Marcus was threatening to knock him in the head.  Marcus was loud and animated. He was high on crack is what he was. He does crack, I guess, but he is not all the way out there. He still has a wife, which she was on vacation gone somewhere at the time that all this drama was taking place. She probably has another man and is about to leave Marcus any minute now. He doesn’t work or anything, just lives. He even has a mistress as I mentioned before. Crack Kills!

I remember when Marcus used to stay in Ohio. He was so cool to me; had the finest women with the biggest asses and hips like Theresa’s mother and the one dark skinned lady; who after her and Marcus were through, she came to our house in a Porshe. I wonder why he even went back to Mississippi in the first place? It seems that place has destroyed him and Jerry .

I love all my family, the Williams and all. It is good to be around them whenever I am around them. There is a lot of history in that family that comes to me little by little as I live my life. Maybe my other cousin’s don’t know about all that history and how we are all connected right from Moorhead, Mississippi. Even though there is some bullshit between family members and what not, and we’ve had our alcoholics, and crack headz, and still have some, the family is a beautiful thing.

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