I cannot help it. I talk to every and I mean every person I come near. Gang Members to Senators are the same to me and I have made non strangers of both. I know I learned this during my child hood . I had access to great thinkers, story tellers. dare devils and history shakers, and creative forces. I have always believed everyone has something important to say to me. I feel like really there are no strangers. just some one I haven't talked to yet.
I learn a lot in a minuscule amount of time when I talk to strangers ,then they are not strangers. It is embarrassing to my four sons, irritating to my husband and admired by my friends. My friend Barb has said "you go somewhere you have never been before, you travel back to that town and people remember you and are excited to see you even if it has been 7 years you have met them once and they have seen thousands of people in between . And they remember your fucking name!" I thought that was normal she instructed me it is not the norm.
I speak in run on sentences I write in run on sentences. That is a train wreck for the treatment I have been struggling with in ions of time. I think this came from growing up in a family of nine. On top of that basketball teams, and baseball teams bunked in our house with us when I was young. It was do or die spit it all out or never get heard. I was tested last year for attention deficit disorder at the insistence of my younger sister Beth. Negative however the test revealed when I was asked to draw what I saw I drew objects disconnected that were connected and visa verse. So I am long winded on paper it is what it is .
When you grow up with
Donkeys that wear shoes to play baseball in your front yard one day, (and you
sip on coffee wearing your dad's boxers pinned up with a diaper pin, no shirt,adult cowgirl
boots and my pixie haircut stuck together with Vaseline and ratted to have hair like Dr Zorba on the Ben Casey TV show), at age six. I ask the tiny man and the large women who lived on the red bus with their traveling donkeys "can I charge kids a nickel to pet a jackass, a dime to pet and feed a jackass, and twenty cents to feed pet and sit on a jack ass" The woman carrying her miniature dog between her giant bosom replied "sure make a sign , no writing jackass ,it is donkey can you spell it , and don't you ever where a shirt?' The first answer was yes the second only if I am made to.
Satchel Paige and his kids playing with you in your backyard while you listen to your dad's
one up each other with wild tales another day,
Goose Tatum and Marquis Haynes of the Globetrotters letting off steam in your dad's office. I ask
"did you fellas eat today" how else do you learn if someone is just hungry? I learned they were leaving the Trotters starting their own team on another day
Miss American Teenager in the family car with Olympic Skater Janet Lynn and
future Miss America Judy Ford. Judy threw up from car sickness. My mom gives her her old traveling tip from years on the road " put your head between your knees". Janet Lynn never talked we were two much, the brood of us for her she was shy on another day.
Paula Zahn future CNN correspondent wearing a banner and tiara in your hotel room on another day.
A Chicago Bear walking into your house as surprise and attend your brothers 7th and 8th grade sports award banquet in our tiny town on another day. "Gary Hough want to take my mom on in basketball outback on our court?" He looked at me like I had two heads. He should have taken the cocktail offer instead of the court . I learned in her forties she was in better shape than an NFL player. You never know what you will get but if you don't ask you can't learn a damn thing from anyone.
Hawaii Five O's Cam Fong reaching his arms out to make me feel safe as the secret service escorts me and my younger siblings off of a bus from death threats toward my family in Atlanta. The chartered bus on its way to meet with my dad's friend Hank Arron. "Mr. Fong is it is it my dad did he have another heart attack". "No miss you will be safe with me, I'll take you to your dad he is waiting for all of you by the pool you can't go to your rooms."on another day. That is a story for another day.
Roy Clark calls and asks for your dad at the same time you are seeing
him on the boob tube on Hee Haw and tells me
"your daddy tells me you are chip off the old block" "I ask him if knows he is on TV?" His answer well am but I'm not now..... is your dad there?
'on another day
You and your mom are asked by Johnny Mathis to share his table when you are 14 go for lunch in the hotel
in Indianapolis while on the road and I tell him " I am bigger fan of Satchmo he has pipes.
I don't go for the lovey dovey songs." Johnny said "she is nobodies sucker " to my mama . I decided that is a good thing on another day.
I couldn't fall asleep, The sweetest Cuban exiles men lived with us baseball players . At midnight nightly my dad's Texas Cowgirls basketball team performing basketball tricks
the Cowgirls really were in my kitchen getting a midnight snack. I talked to no one during those nights. I just knew I did not want us to all die. The Cuban Missile Crises was an anxious time for the safety of the men. I crossed my fingers every night laying in bed repeating out loud "please don't let us die,please don't let us die" My fingers are still curved to this day. Across America children in schools were taught duck and cover like a desk would save them! Not my grade school they sent us right out in the open for air raid drills for months. The sirens would blare and we were all rushed out of the school with a time sheet and instructions in our hands. "Note the time your child or children made it home during this drill, turn all lights off and lay quietly on the floor until 4:30. Are you freakin' kidding me ? On another day.
When you are traveling as the suitcase barnstorm family we were and hear Roger Miller singing
Trailer For Rent on the car radio and then he is at our next stop where your dad booked him with the Harmonica Rascals on another day. I asked Roger "did you really ever live in a trailer?" in my
pre- adolescence his talking voice was as mesmerizing as his singing voice I just stared at him and did not hear him talking to me on another day. When Angelo Dundee went from stranger to having a conversation with me I was worse no one ever ever tongue tied me I felt like I was on acid, and had that feeling like when you are a kid and dream that you forgot to wear your clothes and discover you are naked when asked to recite at the front of the class? (okay maybe I am the only one that had that repetitive dream, RIGHT!) The thing is I was an adult not that little pixie haired kid a grown women and Angelo put me in a state of awe backstage at the Rosemont in Chicago at a Michael Carbihal fight. Shit I worked with hundreds of boxers. But Mr. Dundee walking up in his white trainers coat the man who trained ALI. He should always be called MR. Dundee
I have not one memory of what we talked about for an hour on another day.
This is where it began. I wanted to know something about every person every person that came to my dad for something. I would lay on the front stoop of our rented home as a six year old eating the creme cheese and jelly sandwiches my dad paid me with. My job was to greet and ask what they were here to see my dad for, I was a mini gate keeper. Then I would say "Wait here" and run down the basement steps and say Jake the Uncle Sam stilt walker or Virgil Trucks the baseball player or Doc the magician or Pee Wee King the Cowboy accordion playing singer is for you dad. Our front door was as busy as a revolving door. This gave me plenty of time to say have a seat and ask every stranger a question so they were no longer strangers. So if I call you or meet me in person you will not be a stranger anymore, I will have to go find more.