Friday, November 04, 2005

No real theme here

Awhile back, I wrote about how a big grocery store was closing in the area. Last night, I was at the nursing home visiting Three Cool Old Guys and they were talking about all the changes that they'd seen in our area. It was a really long conversation and I got home and crashed.

Elaine called me today to ask if I was getting e-mail about not blogging? I wasn't but she's gotten some. I've been mentioned in some of those and I'll plead my laziness and being tired as well.

Why tired? Honestly, working with The Third Estate Sunday Review is not just fun, it's also draining because I'm not a night owl like they are. They always work real hard to make sure Betty and I get done early because we have church on Sunday mornings.

Besides having fun, I think I learn a lot from working with them. So if any reader here has a problem with my absences, I'd ask if you'd prefer I just do the same sort of entries or stretch?
Just listening to Ava and C.I. debate sentences and jokes for their TV reviews is an education.
Like Kat, I never set out to have a daily blog so if that wasn't clear, let me state that now: Cedric's Big Mix is not supposed to be a daily blog.

In terms of daily blogging, you've got Rebecca, Mike and Wally. In terms of multiple times in a single day, you have C.I. And, if you didn't notice, Seth blogged Wednesday and today.

I go to church on Sunday mornings, Sunday evenings and Wednesday nights. I usually visit the nursing home on Sunday afternoons, Tuesday nights and Thursday nights. Since I work a full time job, there's not a lot of time I have left so this isn't a daily blog.

If I stuck to doing a "mix" like I planned when I started this site, I'd probably be able to blog more often but I really like to have something to say when I write.

Thursday night, there was a lot to say and I listened as Three Cool Old Guys explained how there used to be real jobs in our city and we used to make stuff but now we just sell stuff that's made overseas and "retail clerk" is about all that most people will ever be able to aspire to.

That brought home how awful Wal-Mart's anti-union policies are. If these are the jobs that we'll have in the future for most people, we really need a union presence to make sure that the jobs pay enough to make a living at and to raise a family on.

Wal-Mart is a store I won't shop at. I don't like the blue smocks, I don't like the way most of my friends (African-Americans) report being followed around in the store. That includes my preacher who went in one day in his sweats. If he'd been stopping in after a service, he wouldn't have been followed. But he was wearing sweat pants and he was followed around.

News flash for all retail stores, African-Americans are shoppers too. You may see us and think, "Shoplifter!" but we are shoppers. I'm sure there are a number of shoplifters, as there are in any race, but we are also shoppers. Following us around and starting at us doesn't make us feel welcome in your stores and results in your losing shoppers.

Three Cool Old Guys remember when blacks shopped one place and whites shopped another. In my area now, we're pretty much mixed and there aren't many shops that are in an exclusive white area. So retailers should learn to be more welcoming to everyone.

But what really bothers Three Cool Old Guys is that our country doesn't make anything anymore. They say we've become a nation of shopping malls from sea to shinging sea. It's like we're a tourist attraction with all these shops to buy souveniers in but we've got a Bully Boy who's blackening our image around the world so don't count on anyone being too keen to visit.

The e-mails I have gotten have been about Rosa Parks and people saying thanks for remembering her. Three Cool Old Guys can't believe how little reaction from the "white" web her death caused. They think it's a case of young white kids not realizing how important she was as much as it is outright racism.

I told them about the e-mail I got asking how they were enjoying the net and they say they love it and are learning more each day. They've mastered e-mails and copy and paste, they surf like pros. Best of all, they're grandkids are e-mailing them. That really means a lot to them.

If you've got someone you know, friend or family, in a nursing home, I'm going to repeat that you may plan to call, write or visit and then get busy. But your family member or friend is still in the nursing home. They're not tired from battling traffic and no one's stopped by to invite them to go to a movie most likely. So although you're busy, that's probably not the case for them. If you're not making any efforts, they are going to feel forgotten.

I don't care if it's clipping out Boondocks from the paper and tossing it in an envelope, everything does matter. Something as small as that or a Dear Abby column lets them know that they are at least thought of.

Christmas will be here soon and it's tempting to buy a really nice present to make up for the guilt you have for not visiting. Instead of giving from your wallet, the best gift would be to give some of your time. If you're too far away to visit, sit down and write a letter or pick up the phone and call.

From what I see, mail means a lot. They will hold on to letters and clippings and carry them around with them to show. They may show their friends a letter or a clipping six times. When I walk through the entrance to go visit my three friends, there are always a few ladies who want to show me a photograph they were sent or a letter. Those things matter to them.

Without any kind of contact, it's like they're in Guantanamo Bay. So as the holidays come up, don't just think, "What can I buy?" You should think about making time. A visit would mean the world to them and there's a bit of a competition in the nursing home my friends are in to see who is visited and who isn't. But letters and phone calls matter too.

Don't worry about what to talk about. Things will come up. I got an e-mail from one of the Three this evening and he said they were talking about Kat's review ("A Time To Dance") all day. They haven't heard Stevie Wonder's new album. But they loved Kat's review and love her writing. We've never had a problem finding something to talk about, we've always had a problem having enough time to talk. So if you think there's nothing to talk about, you might want to wonder if that "boredom" you're worried about has to do with you and not with them?