Tag Archives: holidays

The Eulogy I Couldn’t Give My Uncle

December 6, 2017. Today would have been my Uncle Jeffrey’s 55th birthday. Unfortunately, God called him home three months ago and my familial dynamic has been very different.

I knew I was speaking at my uncle’s memorial service; I wasn’t quite sure what I’d say. He was a street guy, so there were many things I wanted to say that would have been inappropriate in a church. So I wrote them all down:

Can I kick it? Well, I’m gone…

Friends, family, and acquaintances: you are waiting for me to finally say one thing and one thing only; so we will all say it together: Chad, you look just like your uncle.

Second only to “I can’t with you,” the phrase “Chad you look just like Jeff” is the most popular phrase I hear regularly. Walking down the street, a lady walked up to me, kissed me on the cheek, and said “Hey Jeff!” I didn’t want to make her feel bad by saying “I’m his nephew.”

It is difficult to speak in Grace United Methodist Church about Jeffrey Mumford without there being some “Murdock Ave” moments in this eulogy. Also, humor is my coping mechanism; I just want to get that out of the way before I get started.

There are times in which my mother cannot stand me because I remind her of my father. On the other hand, my mother and I get along very well because I remind her of her brother.

I am a lot like my uncle. We’re both Sagittarius’s, tall, charming, funny, and have a tapered haircut with curls, a mustache and goatee that don’t connect because Mumford men are babyfaces…and forgetful (word to the beef I had with him when I was six years old when he borrowed my Mickey Mouse watch and I had to ask him incessantly for it back).

All jokes aside, I looked up to my uncle. He was cool; he was respected in the streets, and just had an aura about him. My earliest memories of him are him mixing records and my grandmother’s basement, looping the break in “Yes We Can, Can,” by the Pointer Sisters, over and over. He was the person in my family that was hip hop and I loved that.

We shared an affinity for getting into trouble for marching to the beat of our own drum with a disruptive cadence. On elementary school field trips, I was the kid that needed his own chaperone; and Uncle Jeffrey was the one that would come along (and all the girls thought he was so cute); we’d have a great time, too.

The day before my first baseball game, right over there at Peter’s Field off Liberty Ave, he took me in my grandmother’s back yard, drew home plate on the ground with a crayon, and showing me how to swing when someone is pitching the ball.

My uncle was that uncle; the wild uncle that said and did fairly crazy shit. Nonetheless, that was part of what made him charismatic. Somewhere between nature and nurture, I picked a lot up from him. As a teenager, we would drive around Queens and he taught me valuable lessons my parents couldn’t; that’s what uncles do.

With the latest mixtapes as the soundtrack, we drove around South and Northside Jamaica, and he would tell me about his life while dropping gems. I learned how to roll a blunt from my uncle, what to roll one with (Never use papers or Philly’s. Dutches-NY for Dutch Masters cigars-burn slower); as well as how to properly smoke weed while driving (You keep a slight crack in the driver’s side window. It blows directly out the window like a vent and doesn’t smell up the car)….I didn’t smoke weed at the time; but those words wound up being useful information at another point in my life. My uncle was the first person to let me hold a gun and taught me how to shoot using a beebe gun in my grandmother’s basement (those holes are still in the wall).

During our walks and drives, he would tell me stories about his adult life. He knew how much we were alike and felt as if telling me was a second chance for him to do what he chose not to. “Let me tell you about hoes…” was his way of informing me that women can be a distraction and loyalty to one was more important (“But if you do, strap up,” he’d say). He would tell me to stay away from drugs by giving me his encounters with wise words such as “Withdrawal is a bitch.”

My uncle was a street guy and I picked up some of his nuances. In no way am I a street guy; but I know how to conduct myself in that manner. It’s the underlying edge I have that every once in a while slips out and I say some fairly hood shit…I’ve seen girlfriends of mine who didn’t know that side of me at all scrunch up their face in disbelief and ask “What did you just say?!”

We’re both frustratingly nonchalant and made a joke out of everything. The stoic face was-and is-the setup for a hilarious punchline we’d say out of the corner of our mouths if you were close enough to hear it. As recently as Easter Sunday, we joked around, saying that if we didn’t make fun of you, we’re not really your friend.

Hip hop was our covalent bond. We listened to A Tribe Called Quest a lot (my second beef in life with him was at 16, when I had to repeatedly ask “Can I have my anthology CD back?!). He knew Kid Hood from the “Scenario Remix.” Hood told my uncle he got on the record and was killed the next day. He told me how he’d played ball with Tribe at St. Albans Park, Phife sucked, and my uncle busted his ass. So I guess the last thing I have to say is I hope he makes it his business to catch up to Kid Hood and tear Phife up in that rematch.

But now for what we’ve all been waiting for: I was driving the other day, with my cap not fully on my head and cocked to the back, and my glasses on as I rapped along to whatever I was listening to. I was finally able to admit to myself “Damn, I look like my uncle.”

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Tweet Through It: A Parent’s Thoughts During Their Child’s Christmas Show Pt. 2

 

25 years ago, I was that kid in kindergarten who loved to perform. I was Michael Jackson 2.0 in my head (I wore a silver, glittered hat that got thrown all over our apartment as I spun in the mirror and recited the words to my hit song “Ridiculous Girl.”). Elementary school shows were my time to shine and I had to let the whole world know what they needed to get the first glimpse of. One couldn’t tell me that every show I was in wasn’t entertaining.

Now on the other side of that coin, sitting through these shows is horrendous. They’re actually adorable; but there are many other things I would rather do than sit through that. However, it is endearing to see my child evolve from infant to rehearsing for weeks to sing songs of yuletide merriment.

With that said, here is this year’s Christmas tweets. With Cyd the Kid being in elementary school, I have to retire the crier count. Enjoy!

I decided not to sign Cydney out of school. There was a long line of parents, it was 2:30, and school gets out at 3. By the time I would have made it to the front of the line, the bell would have went off and she would be leaving anyway.

If you enjoyed this, here are the links to last year’s shows: Cydney’s Christmas concert, Courtney’s Christmas concert, Cydney’s Spring concert, Courtney’s spring concert.

The Unexpected and Inadvertent Extension of Christmas

It’s a Friday morning.  I have more than a shitload of work to do and I don’t feel like doing any of it.  I woke up Monday morning all kinds of excited because that meant that after a week of children being home, finally I can get back to work.

By all means, Monday was epic.  I woke up at 4 am, hit the snooze button twice, went to the gym, got home and got shit DONE!  It was amazing.  On my mind was my most amazing Christmas break of all time, which happened by default because I came down with chickenpox literally at the stroke of 12 in 1993 (“Happy New Year!  Chad, you have chickenpox” my mom said).  That week I spent two days with my mom and the other three with my pops and it was lit!  My dad let me do whatever the fuck I wanted to…It was a fleeting thought that was pleasant to relive for thirty seconds.

Tuesday morning, I woke up at 4 am again.  Hit the gym, did dead lifts at 315, barbell shrugs at 385 lbs, and had the feeling that today was going to be a repeat of Monday’s productivity.  I happily wake up the kids for school just to find out my nephew was sick and had vomited all over the floor.  My mother had to leave for school, so I was prepared to take Cydney and my nephew to school.  My nephew said that he was felling better and would be able to do school.  Five minutes later, I realized that wasn’t happening.

I was able to be productive during the first part of the day because he was asleep.  I wrote my heartfelt daydream about Timile’s thirtieth birthday, finished mixing for Cydney’s podcast, and spent most of the afternoon just kicking it with my nephew because I knew the company was needed.  Feeling the effects of lifting rediculously heavy, I took a brief nap before Cydney came home because I just know that the ball of energy she requires I didn’t have.

Wednesday morning, I wake up a little later.  I get my nephew to school and I then take Cydney.  I proceed to get busy by doing  some writing, responding to some emails, submitting a pitch or two, and a short phone conference in as well.  Around 1 pm, I head to the gym because I didn’t go this morning.  It’s leg day.  This was my first leg day since March because my legs were do big all of my jeans looked like jeggings.  I was kind of excited about this.  I load up the plates on the leg press, looking forward in seeing if I still had what it takes to press twenty-four plates that weighed 45lbs each (plus the machine is around 1,200 lbs).  I do one quick warm up set with twelve plates and my phone rings.  It’s my mother saying that Cydney’s school called her because Cydney had gotten sick in school.  So much for that.

Wednesday afternoon and evening, I changed sheets three times because Cydney had vomited on them.  I had to stop the car twice while at stop lights because she had thrown up en route to the house.  It was rough.  But my baby wasn’t doing well, so it didn’t bother me and I was in dad-mode for real.  She sat with me and watched both Rocky III and IV with some “intermissions” in between.  Clearly she didn’t go to school on Thursday.  While Cydney was feeling better yesterday, no work got done because it was her day to have me to herself by rocking out and doing whatever she wanted.

So I guess to some extent, I had another extended vacation.  It wasn’t the kind that I wanted or wished for; but I guess to some extent it was needed.  I enjoyed myself as well.  There’s something about when the kids are under the weather that the soft and nurturing side kicks in and you just want to be there for them followed by letting them have fun along the way.  I knew how much it meant to me, so I was more than happy to do it for them.

 

Making Memories For Cydney: A Single Dad’s Christmas Story

Making Memories For Cydney: A Single Dad’s Christmas Story

Hello everyone!  I guess I’m kinda a professional now.  I will be contributing some posts to MommyNoire as well.  While I’ve shared with Facebook and Twitter, I have not yet posted a link for the readers who have made this possible.  Thanks to you all!  Read, and enjoy!

Christmas Music

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The Christmas album I made with my cousin two years ago that never came out…My twitter name may make a little more sense now-it was my stage name when I was a rapper.

I hate Christmas music.  Maybe I don’t hate it, but I am not a super fan of it.  I know that sounds borderline heinous but that’s just me.  As a kid, I loved it.  It built anticipation for the holiday coming up and meant toys upon toys upon toys on deck.  My mom used to play the Jackson 5’s Christmas album and Take 6’s ‘He is Christmas’ for a good four weeks (Kinda funny how both groups have a numerical name).  Those are the two albums that have songs on it that I can stand (and ‘You Ain’t Getting Shit for Christmas’).  I think it’s just my rebellious nature.  As I’m writing this, I was just put on hold and a country rendition of “Have a Holly Jolly Christmas” came on and i cringed a little bit.  A few years ago my cousin and I made one of the most anti-Christmas albums ever-Santa got beat up for kissing my wife underneath the mistletoe and all.

I’m slowly trying to get out of this.  I have to do it for the kids.  I have to do my part in letting her love the music the way her mother did.  Timile lived for Christmas music.  From the day after Thanksgiving until December 26th, that was all she listened to.  To make matters worse, she loved to listen to the Lite FM station so it was all country music and during the Delilah show it was all sappy love Christmas songs.  It was soft rock which I already didn’t like and Christmas music together which is double-evil to me.  I hated it but bared through it because it gave her so much joy as she’d sing along to these songs.  When she was pregnant we listened to it 24/7.  We were having a rough time in New York between her starting not to feel well and some other family-related issues that were making the holidays very unpleasant; so the Christmas music was all that she had.  Noto mention I’d be an asshole for telling the pregnant mother of my child “Ummm, I don’t feel like listening to this right now.”  That would have been a death sentence from someone who once hit me in the face repeatedly while I was driving on Queens Boulevard of all places (Note: Queens Boulevard is eight lanes and is called the most dangerous street in the country).

The holidays are already a melancholy time of year for me.  On Tuesday it will be two years since Timile passed away so of course she’s on my mind a lot right about now.  I think I don’t like to listen to holiday music at all anymore because of how much they sucked in 2010 and 2011.  Maybe it reminds me of all of the struggle and how there was more hurt than happiness during that season.  2010 sucked, but we still had each other and we were still expecting what we found out would be our little girl right before Christmas.  We got lucky and Cydney was facing the camera, so we sent everyone Christmas cards of her face en utero.  

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We spent a good portion of December in Virginia.  Timile’s best friend was getting married, it snowed there, and it was more or less our baby-moon.  It was the only time I’d ever been to Hampton, Virginia that wasn’t about some bullshit and was drama free.  Now that I think about that trip, all I can hear in my head is Christmas music as the backdrop to the mental pictures in my head.

2011 was hard because of losing Timile.  At a time I would have needed to grieve, I was beginning a battle of custody with my daughter and I didn’t have her with me to give me that smile I’d miss from her mother and such.  Nonetheless, it’s 2013 and Cydney is all kinds of looking forward to the holiday.  Maybe we’ll jam to some today.

The Weekend In Pictures: 5,000 Views Edition

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The Ornament I was looking for all last year of Timile and I, Thanksgiving '09
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My nephew giving me another tattoo
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His final work (days later it still won't come off!)
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Swag
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My nephew Courtney and Cydney at church
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Christmas performance at church
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Cydney and my mom after church
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Post church swag
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Cydney is always trying to feed me
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Cheeeeeeese!
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Posted
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Thank You everyone...