The Show: Indria & Andy Gumbo

We never got a chance to see it on the air…the Indria & Andy Show. But I saw it up close and personal on visits to Chicago and Louisiana, every Thanksgiving, from 2013 to 2016 in AL, and even on the phone. Indria and Andy Perrilloux were funny! Indria was the “straight (wo)man” always starting with her name for Andy, “Anderson!” and Andy would grab her parachute and bring the laughs on home.

I met Indria in high school, where I was always her “Zampino” and she was my “Jessomina,” (from the movie LaStrada, with Anthony Quinn). See? That’s the kind of crazy, weird we were, so it was no wonder that Indria attracted Andy, as her husband-in-laughter. He played golf with comedians, like Bernie Mac, and they called him the “Funny Man!” What?!

Andy Perrilloux, 1989

His sisters by love, Nedra, Pat, and I would talk on the phone with Indria, and all of a sudden, she would let out a short scream. Why? Andy would be peeking at her through a window, or sneaking in to tweak her, anything to hear, “Anderson!” And we would laugh, picturing the two of them; Indria calling him Anderson and other choice names, and Andy responding with even more hilarity. Andy had his mating call as well, “Indra…Indra!” Notice, there’s no “i,” in “Indra”; that was his pet name for her. We loved to hear them go back and forth and to have Andy drive us to and from.

Andy was the driver for many a “girl’s trips.” He drove Indria and friends from Chicago to Tupelo for a party, and they recounted his antics; I experienced laughing at Andy, as he chauffered our crew around New Orleans, his stomping grounds. However, it’s our Thanksgiving visits with Indria and Andy I wanna tell y’all about.

The Perrillouxs would arrive in Florence, AL Tuesday or Wednesday before Thanksgiving. After dinner and a night of good sleep, Indria and I would greet the next morning, but without Andy. Why? Andy was off and running after sunrise. We’d be like, “Where have you been?” Andy had been to visit the closest golf course, and to Walmart, where he would meet new friends he could tell us about; he met no strangers. Then, he would hassle us about getting the food ready so he could have a nibble; if we weren’t fast enough, he would grab my son, Miles, and go to my daughter’s house to see what she had. Then, there was the dinner, really, any dinner at my home.

Andy was a former bus driver in Chicago. With Indria encouraging him, he would tell us about his exploits…OK, I’ll tell just one of his stories. He was driving his route and picked up a drunk who decided to get in his face. Andy warned him, “Sir, back away from the driver…” at least several times before he had to literally put this guy in his place. Andy removed him from the bus, sat him on a bench, and put the guy’s hat over him. Andy then returned to his bus and continued his route. We were on the floor laughing after all of his stories. Of course, his regulars would board his bus with all kinds of food and gifts for him. Who could resist Andy?

Anderson Perrilloux

On his early morning jaunt, Andy would bring me a poinsettia for my Thanksgiving treat. The best part of the Indria & Andy show was when they served the gumbo two days after Thanksgiving. They would have us rolling as each family member dove into the pot for more savoring gumbo. We couldn’t get enough…we couldn’t get enough of them, the gumbo they made together.

Andy, Indria, and Bear, 2021

Even though Andy is now in the next realm, he holds our attention/affection, as Indria gives us yet another one of his life stories. For those that love the Perillouxs, including yours truly, the show continues, and I could not write this without smiling.

Caleb, Indria, Andy, and Asher in Grandparent bliss!
Andy Perrilloux
Andy stepping with one of his “sisters,” Pat Kline, at “sister,” Nedra Shelton’s Christmas gathering.

Joy Juice

How can we count the blessings that friendship brings? There is no need to count them; it is our joy to immerse ourselves in the appreciation of our many friendships of the moment. We smile and love easily, understanding the fragility of our time.

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”  Hebrews 10:24-25 

“Hold a true friend with both hands.” African proverb

“It’s all good/love/God” – Victorine

© 2021 Vicki Goldston, All rights reserved.



Please Subscribe and Follow my blog! Name (required) Email (required) Website Message

Please support Spicy…a blog by Victorine through Patreon. 

 Victorine, Bio

Author of  Be S.A.F.E., StillAware, Faithful, Excellent, now available on Kindle Amazon as an e-book.

“…the book title and its content are intended to be a whisper, reminding us that by taking the time to connect with our spiritual self, we can center through anything and that we are forever within the bubble of God’s protection.”

Don’t forget to check out Garden Spices Magazine, Celebrating our differences.  



Post-Houston: N’awlins!

Our intention was to drive through Baton Rouge to eat at a restaurant favorite, Juban‘s. However, they were Covid-closed. So, in Mr. K. fashion, we made our way to the magical city of New Orleans, but for only one day. Our first stop tended to the important matter at hand – breakfast! We GPSed our way to Daisy Mae’s restaurant. ( By the way, a pause for the cause...everywhere we went we were masked up, vaxed up, and socially distanced from folks we did not know). At Daisy Mae’s all the patrons were masked, inside and outside. We saw a good number of Black folks waiting in line to get in, but what was cool was that so many were in the city for college graduations. ‘You mean to tell me all these families were celebrating Black graduates from LSU, Xavier, etc.? I loved it. What?!

We hit all the familiar places, starting with parking on Canal Street. We called Indria Perrilloux, the LA aficionado, for how to get where we wanted to go. On the trolley we went, landing at the French Market and French Quarter. We enjoyed the art walk, talking with many of the local artists. Then, we found ourselves in front of the St. Louis Cathedral, and I had to enter. It’s so bizarre; they say once a Catholic, always a Catholic. So even though I am sure I have been excommunicated for years, I went right into Catholic church mode. Holy Water, to Sign of the Cross, to walking the aisle to view the hand-carved Stations of the Cross, admiring the beautiful frescoes, and, up to the massive altar. I genuflected and took a seat on one of the benches to pray. While walking to the exit I bowed my head – still the obedient Catholic girl of my youth. Mr. K. did not engage and said to me, “Come on, Catholic girl.” I smiled, but I love a Cathedral. What?!

We walked out of the Cathedral to see a great magician on Jackson Square. His irreverent antics were so funny and kept our attention for the duration of his show. Afterward, beignets were calling out to us, but not at the famous Cafe’ du Monde. The lines were wrapped around the corner. We found Cafe Beignet, which had a bearable wait. Of course, Mr. K. engaged in conversation with a senior couple behind us, and when they found an empty table, they invited us to join them. Mr. K’s friendliness paid off again.

Lines at Cafe’ du Monde, Cafe Beignet, Magician on Jackson Square, and a friend and I relaxing .

Filled up and tired of walking, we made our way to the trolley and back to our car. (Senior sideline: You should’ve seen us trying to find our parking lot). Finally locating our car, we toured other areas in New Orleans. I had to ride down Magazine Street, my favorite, and Mr. K. found two locations where he used to live. It was interesting driving through the architecture I love and seeing many of the parks and residential areas. Stomachs started talking, so we had to find a restaurant.

I remembered this great little neighborhood restaurant my family loved. Another senior moment – remembering the name. I just knew it was “Uncle Dave’s.” NOT! In New Orleans…NOT! Finally, I remember we stayed in Metairie. I Googled restaurants there and found Chef Ron’s. Does that sound anything like Uncle Dave’s? The thing is, Chef Ron puts his hands in everything and comes out to make sure your food is on point. The etouffee I love, Mr. K. the gumbo, and we shared a salad and bread pudding to die for. (We took some home to Mr. K.’s sister, Glenda Williams. Again, this great neighborhood eatery did not disappoint, and of course, after the grand meal, we were ready to sleep.

We awakened, ready for our ride home to the Shoals. We have a running joke. I call my GPS “Gigi,” and Gigi usually has the most efficient way to get to a destination. Mr. K. will also initiate his Garmin device in his car, which is a bit less efficient.. We trusted Gigi to take us home, but I must’ve found the slow, go through every country town, dark road, crazy street route. Needless to say, Mr. K. was too through with Gigi, and I did the walk of shame. What?!

Y’all, I just want to reiterate that wherever we went, whatever we did, we were Covid-conscious. We took nothing for granted, and if a restaurant was not in compliance, we did not stop there. We both have been victims of this virus, and we do what is necessary to stay safe. That being said, we had a wonderful summer post-vaccinated vacation, and we hope you have the opportunity to renew your passions, whatever they are.

This time at the Museum of Science and Industry, in Chicago, masked!

Joy Juice

We did the post-Covid do! Such an exciting time to be aware of this season of life. Some aches? Yes. Some apprehensions about our times? Yes. Some compassion for the many lives lost during these times? Yes. But do we bask in our blessings and joie de vivre? Yes. We are here to live our soul’s journeys, taking with us all we encounter to expand and grow. (Our minds, not our bodies. What!) Thank you for traveling with me.

“However long the night, the dawn will break.” African Proverb

“Seeing is different than being told.” African Proverb

“Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” James 4:14

“It’s all good/love/God” – Victorine

Featured image: Wikimedia Commons


© 2021 Vicki Goldston, All rights reserved.



Please Subscribe and Follow my blog! Name(required)

Please support Spicy…a blog by Victorine through Patreon. 

 Victorine, Bio

Author of  Be S.A.F.E., StillAware, Faithful, Excellent, now available on Kindle Amazon as an e-book.

“…the book title and its content are intended to be a whisper, reminding us that by taking the time to connect with our spiritual self, we can center through anything and that we are forever within the bubble of God’s protection.”

Don’t forget to check out Garden Spices Magazine, Celebrating our differences.


Out of the Prairie and on to Houston

We forged ahead, from Corsicana to the homes of two greats, Mr. K.’s Aunt Irma Kendrick and Prairie View A & M University. (PVAMU) Let me just say this; when you roll up into an HBCU town, you can feel the heritage. This town bleeds purple and gold, legacy, pride, and is a sanctuary for strength and wisdom. Aunt Irma is a big part of all things wonderful about Prairie View.

Mr. K. in his PVAMU Alumni T-shirt

The clouds rode with us to Prairie View, and when we got there, we hit the local restaurant for food offerings to give Aunt Irma. Mind you, this was not my first time meeting her, and ever since our first meeting, I feel as though I’ve known her forever. Her home is modest and mighty, welcoming all that enter with warmth, family stories remembering her deceased husband, Griff, and giving testimony that excellence is a possibility. Aunt Irma ought to know; she has ushered, sheltered, typed for, and guided many a student to success via PVAMU.

I won’t preempt Mr. K.’s praise for his Aunt Irma. You can read it for yourself in his article, How Aunt Irma Influenced My Life.” However, I do wish to validate that she is everything he says she is. And I say Aunt Irma is an exemplary person that warms my heart whenever I encounter her. Oh…and she welcomes her guests with serious chili and poundcake. What?!!

Aunt Irma with a recipient of her warmth

Thank the Universe we were with Aunt Irma when the ferocious storm struck and raised its voice throughout the night. After two days of Kendrick-kindness, we made our way to our next destination – Houston.

Houston

On to Mr. K.’s cousin’s spectacular Bed & Breakfast, La Maison in Midtown Houston, but not before paying a visit. My friends from Chicago, Ron (Smitty) and Pat Smith, recently relocated to Houston, and we had to holla at them. Our “holla” turned into a celebration of meeting their new house, their daughters, and their families, including beautifully vibrant children. They all lived within walking distance of each other in a lovely subdivision.

We swapped Chicago stories and laughed at Smitty’s antics throughout the day, and as we said our goodbyes, I knew my friends were in good hands with their new home, Houston.

La Maison

This was my second visit to La Maison; my first to simply see the B&B and to take Mr. K.’s cousin and co-owner, Genora Boykins to dinner. I was so impressed with this urban swank and splendor, but with no vacancies, I could not see the full cigar. However, we did see the dining area and caught Happy Hour, where beyond wine, several guests were chowing down on aperitifs. Not to be rude, we joined them. What?!

On this visit, Mr. K. booked one of the guest rooms, and I got to feel the warmth and luxury created by Boykins and co-owner, Sharon Owens. It delivered beauty, from the parlor to the rooms with every amenity desired. Because the B&B is centrally located in Midtown, it is a walk away from restaurants. Of course, we found our Thai, dined sufficiently, and made our way back to the lap of luxury provided by La Maison. Pictures:

La Maison Midtown Houston

After a wonderful breakfast via Chef Matthew Williams, and a morning thanks and goodbye, Mr. K. and I were on our way home to the Shoals, except…we intended to stop at Mr. K.’s favorite restaurant in Baton Rouge, but it was Covid-closed. Sooo…he says “Let’s go to New Orleans!” Who am I to argue? Stay tuned!*

Featured image: David Daniel Turner, CC BY 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Joy Juice

Can Seniors dare to be spontaneous? Even with our appointment-ridden lives, we can dare to let the wind blow us in an unexpected direction. With Spirit as our guide, sometimes it is where miracles can happen.

It’s all good/love/God” – Victorine

© 2021 Vicki Goldston, All rights reserved.



Please Subscribe and Follow my blog! Name(required)

Please support Spicy…a blog by Victorine through Patreon. 

 Victorine, Bio

Author of  Be S.A.F.E., StillAware, Faithful, Excellent, now available on Kindle Amazon as an e-book.

“…the book title and its content are intended to be a whisper, reminding us that by taking the time to connect with our spiritual self, we can center through anything and that we are forever within the bubble of God’s protection.”

Don’t forget to check out Garden Spices Magazine, Celebrating our differences.

https://www.instagram.com/gardenspicesmagazine/%post_id%

Logging in to Savannah, GA

I’d better hurry up! Mr. K and I will be leaving soon for another trip. So, heeere’s Savannah! Screech!! An aside here: Mr. K. is good for “I’ve never been to this town; let’s check it out,” which explains why we stopped in Beaufort, SC. on our way to Savannah. What?!!

Beaufort is a quaint town, with shops and architecture to explore, but we were hungry on a post-COVID, closed-town day. Thank goodness, Bricks on Boundary was open and welcoming, with a casual atmosphere and a generous menu. The food portions were also generous. Mr. K. and I always share our dishes, and we were sufficiently full, ready for a good night’s sleep, and to meet Savannah in the morning.

Savannah, GA is history on steroids, with cobblestone streets, architecture, and a wonderful river walk. We parked in a lot close to the river walk, and we hit the pavement, which turned into the cobblestone streets leading to the river walk shops. I’m not too much for touristy shopping, but after my experience in Charleston, I’m a fan of a historical tour. We walked to the Tourist Center, found the Black historical tour, but we had to walk half a mile to get there, and we were running late. (You already know…What?!!!)

Bricks and Stones

There is so much history in the bricks and stones of Savannah. Our tour guide recounted the history of the famous grey bricks of Savannah. Handmade on the McAlpin Plantation in the early 1800s, and as historical remnants, authentic bricks are very costly. Our tour guide took us to see many of the historical homes and buildings that boast these grey beauties.

Grey Bricks: Photo by Mick Haupt on Unsplash

We were also guided to the historical neighborhoods where Blacks lived and conducted everydayisms. Of course, we also visited the Black section of the Laurel Grove Cemetery. According to Go South, “Four acres of the original cemetery area (the lowest, most ill-drained portion, and the furthest from the city) were set aside for the burial of Savannah’s African-Americans, enslaved and free; the acreage was shortly afterward increased to 15, and then doubled again a few years later (the present-day 90-acre burial ground is roughly the same size as its neighbor).”

Our guide also took us to several galleries exhibiting Black art from the region, as well as to historical churches.

Touring Black Savannah
Galleries and classrooms

After touring Black Savannah, we were on the cobblestone for food and a look at the steamboat. I asked for soft-shell crab, and Mr. K. provided! The Greek restaurant, Olympia Cafe, was serving great food, and the soft-shelled crab was to die for.

We bought candy and walked the harbor until Mr. K. decided to nap. I continued to walk and met some shopping and restaurants along the way. All good, but that Georgia Queen Riverboat was something to behold.

Cliff from Arlington, Virginia, USA, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

With a quick call to my Yogini from the past, Mary Felchlin, we found ourselves meeting her at a whimsical outside court with food and music; we also met Mary’s sister, Marguerite. She introduced us to her product, Marguerite’s Creole Seasoning, some of the best seasoning I’ve tasted. She gifted us with a sample, and I slap it on everything I cook. What?!

After reminescing and catching up with Mary, (see below), they told us everything we missed in Savannah. We assured them we would be visiting again. We were on our way to a quick stay outside of Savannah and a visit with my friend, Lou Ellen, her daughter, Stephanie, and family, whom I had not seen in over 30 years.

Lou Ellen, whom I affectionately called “Butchie,” had prepared lobster rolls. She also served her famous meatballs, which were passed down by Pasquale, her Italian stepfather. Mr. K. and Lou’s husband, Douglas, swapped stories, and we had a fabulous visit.

At the end of the day, as the Savannah river keeps on rolling, the people I visit are the thing. The people, as well as the history and sites will roll us back to Savannah.

Mary and Paul Wolf, the subject of current events. What?!
Marguerite Cuquet and her organic seasoning. Good on everything!!
Stephanie and Lou Ellen after over30 years!

Joy Juice

History is so important, which is another reason to travel. We learn how we came to be this country and the world. ‘Thing is, it’s so important to hear the truth, and historical tours are breaking ground for learning and digging for more treasures of our past. Shovel ready? Texas is next.

I’ts all good/love/God – Victorine

“We desire to bequeath two things to our children. The first one is roots; the other one is wings.” — Sudanese proverb

“If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.” Psalm 139:9-10 ESV

© 2021 Vicki Goldston, All rights reserved.


 

Please Subscribe and Follow my blog!

Please support Spicy…a blog by Victorine through Patreon. 

 Victorine, Bio

Author of  Be S.A.F.E., StillAware, Faithful, Excellent, now available on Kindle Amazon as an e-book.

“…the book title and its content are intended to be a whisper, reminding us that by taking the time to connect with our spiritual self, we can center through anything and that we are forever within the bubble of God’s protection.”

Don’t forget to check out Garden Spices Magazine, Celebrating our differences.  

Low Country…Hilton Head and Chez’ Statham

The splendor of Low Country preceded Mr. K and me with lush greenery and dotted shops along the way. We were making our way to the land of luxury, with upscale homes, resorts, and outlining beachesHilton Head. Driving in, we GPSed our way to cousins-in-law, Gloria and Carl Statham. Thank God!

Gloria had been trying to get me to visit them since her cousin, Bob, made his transition. Fourteen years later we drove through a tunnel of trees, manned the twists and turns to the Statham’s home. The physical appearance of a house has little to do with all the beauty we experienced. However, this spacious house was intentional and had every room and appointment you could ask for. My “Thank God” is defined by the welcome Mr. K. and I received. After me Oohing and Ahhing over the house, we were greeted with a smorgasbord of delights. In spite of our plans to stay with them for only a day, we were invited and taken up to our suite to stay with them. our entire stay. What?!

I don’t know why I didn’t keep shooting the video up to their house. What?!

Let’s get this out of the way: Gloria cooks like her mama, Aunt Nick, who had lick-the-plate meals. So, every meal was delicious. After breakfast, (the woman had lox!), we planned our day. Of course, Mr. K. wanted to show me his old haunts; I wanted to walk the beach, and Gloria and Carl had clear calendars for showing us what they love about living in the Low Country. We did it all.

Hilton Head is loaded with venues for outdoor activities, bike and hiking trails, jet skiing, parasailing. This vacation spot also boasts art and music spaces, and taking note of historical Hilton Head, it has a multitude of former plantations, now, swank resorts (Hmmm); Mr. K. has vacationed in plenty of them, all impressive. (As impressive as they look, unless you are staying on the grounds for the day, do not pay to see them…ask me how I know). The beach was all I wanted; so Mr. K. pulled into the Marriott, and we walked through to the beach, which enabled a lovely beach walk. We made our way back to our house to Gloria’s and readied to go to the town market.

It was so nice to walk the weekly market and to meet all kinds of vendors, even kids selling items for fundraising. We settled on some delicious-looking bread, (.I wonder why…). We bought a couple of loaves, and while the guys found a bar for drinks, Gloria and I went looking at the various shops on the outskirts of the market area. We joined the guys for drinks and made our way back to the house.

Gloria and Carl live on a golf course, so they loaded us into a couple of carts, and off we went to see the country club, its amenities, and the greens. All were gorgeous, but Carl’s landscaping was the “Wow” for me. We also enjoyed their Low Country Boil, which was tumbled onto a patio table where we stuffed ourselves. Key Lime pie followed. (I only at two three fork-fulls). What?!

The next day, we packed our bags for goodbyes, but not before experiencing a spiritual talk in the Sunroom with Carl and a great breakfast, this time, with Gloria’s loaded grits. (Mr. K. had the nerve to try putting butter on them. Those grits were cooked with butter!) Their Sunroom lends itself to serenity, and that’s exactly what we felt leaving our visit with cousins, Gloria and Carl, serenity...our Hilton Head visit.

Living room, dining room, some of the many sculptures, They have many original pieces,including the ones over our guest suite in the vibrantly yellow room
Our Gloria and Carl’s house, family room, sun porch, view from the sun porch, patio overlooking the golf course, Carl’s “hobby,” landscaping.

Carl and Gloria at the market, in the kitchen (Yay), a goodby selfie, and Mr. K and I, leaving our home resort.
Gloria and Carl

Joy Juice

It took this long for me to be able to experience the love connection of Carl and Gloria without feeling the pain of losing Bob. Grieving a loved one can do that, put a hold on connections that you feel may be painful.

Thank God that rejuvenation can reawaken the spirit. (Of course, I give Mr. K. some credit here too). Every old friend and family member we visited on our trip welcomed Mr. K. with open arms, which means they continue to lift me up, and I am grateful.

“It’s all good/love/God” – Victorine

© 2021 Vicki Goldston, All rights reserved.



Please Subscribe and Follow my blog!

Please support Spicy…a blog by Victorine through Patreon. 

 Victorine, Bio

Author of  Be S.A.F.E., StillAware, Faithful, Excellent, now available on Kindle Amazon as an e-book.

“…the book title and its content are intended to be a whisper, reminding us that by taking the time to connect with our spiritual self, we can center through anything and that we are forever within the bubble of God’s protection.”

Don’t forget to check out Garden Spices Magazine, Celebrating our differences.  

Travelin’ On…Oyotunji

Photo: King, HRM. Oba Adegbolu Adefunmi II

On our way to Hilton Head, SC, Mr. K. and I searched for it and found it – Oyotunji, the African Yoruba Nation, in Sheldon, SC. I could not wait to meet the Yoruba village that was said to be Africa in America, and indeed we found a self-sustaining village/community that practices and lives the Yoruba and Dahomey spirituality and culture. We took the tour and what impressed me was the sovereign spirit. The village is self-sustaining, and Oyotunji is its own nation, independent of the United States of America. What?!

This nation/village was started in 1970 by King (Oba) Ofuntola Oseijeman Adelabu Adefunmi I; it is intentional, with families and individuals that come to be initiated socially and spiritually into the Yoruba culture. The children are home-schooled and we were told their scores rank higher than children schooled traditionally. We were introduced to the many sculptures representing the Yoruba deities and orishas, and we met the current King, HRM. Oba Adegbolu Adefunmi II. Since my website had been hijacked, I asked him which diety influenced communication. (Y’all notice? I didn’t ask for revenge).

King HRM. Oba Adegbolu Adefunmi II instructs me on paying homage to a deity to protect my websites.

Our tour guide was previously a Social Worker. This is her story:

We only caught a glimpse of the rich representation of Yoruba life, and unfortunately, we missed their Festival by only a few days. There, we would’ve experienced a celebration of life as they know it, but there’s always a future visit.

Flyer for the 2021 Festival at Oyotunji African Kingdom
Altars, statues, and drawings of orishas
The king and I, Osun, and Osun’s altar

Read more about OYOTUNJI YORUBA AFRICAN KINGDOM


Joy Juice

What a joy to have a partner-in-adventure who would forge the back roads to a village where we can see and feel the Ancestor/African past-present. Wherever we go, we find a different kind of joy, unlike our own; we expand our understanding. That’s what traveling does, gets us out of the way of ourselves, See you in Hilton Head!

“It’s all good/love/God” – Victorine

© 2021 Vicki Goldston, All rights reserved.


Please Subscribe and Follow my blog!



Email(required) Website Message

Please support Spicy…a blog by Victorine through Patreon. 

Please support Spicy…a blog by Victorine through Patreon. 

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 Victorine, Bio

Author of  Be S.A.F.E., StillAware, Faithful, Excellent, now available on Kindle Amazon as an e-book.

“…the book title and its content are intended to be a whisper, reminding us that by taking the time to connect with our spiritual self, we can center through anything and that we are forever within the bubble of God’s protection.”

Don’t forget to check out Garden Spices Magazine, Celebrating our differences.

The Beauty of Jeanette: My Memories

 


I was around 8 years old when I first noticed her.  It was at a Birthday party, and my thoughts exclaimed, “Nedra’s mother looks like a movie star!” I had claimed Nedra as my best friend, so I got to see quite a bit of this “star,” Mrs. Fairley.

I was around nineteen, still living in Chicago.  My memory fails me, but I think I met with Nedra at her job downtown and Mrs. Fairley stopped by. I was discussing my audition for Hair, when this guy overheard us and remarked, “She should be auditioning for Hair!” Was he referring to Nedra, whose fro’ was so huge, it had a life of its own, or me, who had a headband that deserved serious hippy status? No! This guy was looking at Mrs. Fairley!

The thing is, her glamor never got in the way of honoring the beauty of her daughters. Like herself, Mrs. Fairley dressed her two girls impeccably, and although she was Baptist, she looked to the Catholic schools to educate them. As a result, I witnessed her beauty at every dance recital and school event; she was there, everywhere her girls needed her. When requested, she chaperoned our club parties, and when the dance school traveled to the Bahamas, Mrs. Fairley boarded the plane with her girls, not missing a beat. 

A good” village” mom, Mrs. Fairley took me with her as a Birthday surprise to Nedra at Southern Illinois University. (Thank goodness, when we knocked on the door, we weren’t surprised !). Don’t think Mrs. Fairley didn’t throw a mama hint on the way home. “Don’t you want to go to college too?” But, of course, at that time, her suggestion fell upon deaf ears.

I suffered an assault in Chicago that same year, and I welcomed Mrs. Fairley’s compassionate calls and her visit. Nedra was away at school, but I knew Mrs. Fairley wasn’t stepping in for Nedra; she was a village mom.

I finally went away to school and called to tell my Chicago sisters I was marrying a man I knew for only three months. Of course, everyone thought I was crazy, except Mrs. Fairley. She had my back.

Growing into middle age, I began to call Mrs. Fairley “Jeanette.” (She looked too young to be “Mrs. Fairley”). Because I no longer lived in Chicago, I wasn’t in her company much, but Jeanette was always a part of my visits home, and she was with me in Alabama at my kitchen table helping to make favors for my daughter’s wedding.

Both my mom and daughter swear that “Jeanette (was) funny!” During the car ride from Chicago to Alabama, Jeanette’s stories had my mother rolling with laughter. During my daughter’s encounters with her Godmother, Nedra, my daughter must have experienced Jeanette and got to hear some of her stories; I heard them during our phone visits.

I also heard her stories during a trip to Barbados, where I began to call her “Queen.” I remember being proud to be in her company. Queen Jeanette nurtured those she loved, her family by blood and by love. And when the time came for her to be nurtured, as she well deserved, her daughters and her Chicago family gave her love.  Those of us that lived elsewhere, sent our love from afar.

Her health now an issue, Queen’s heart still managed to look out for her girls. Fully masked, she boarded a plane to Kansas to see her youngest daughter, Denice, and her family, and meet and mingle with her new great-grandson, Tatum. Tatum met her heart, and her sense of humor (she danced). 

As pictures reveal, my Mrs. Fairley/Jeanette’/ Queen was still beautiful.  Her beauty was demonstrated inside/out.  I remember.

Jeanette

From a wide range of beauty, Clockwise from Top, Jeanette’s sister, Bernice, Jeanette, her mom, “Granny Camille,” and her grandmother!!!


Mrs. Fairley and her girls, Denice (L) and Nedra (R)
“Jeanette” with Nedra and Denice
“The Queen” with her girls, leaving Barbados. Pat, Daughter, Nedra, Sonya, (who worked at our condo), Jan, Linda, and I’m in the yellow.
Jeanette mingling with Tatum


Joy Juice
 
I am so blessed to be able to honor those I love in this way. 
My honor comes from having had them love me.
 

“It’s all good/love/God” – Victorine


© 2021 Vicki Goldston, All rights reserved.


 

Please Subscribe and Follow my blog!

 

Please support Spicy…a blog by Victorine through Patreon. 

 Victorine, Bio

Author of  Be S.A.F.E., StillAware, Faithful, Excellent, now available on Kindle Amazon as an e-book.

“…the book title and its content are intended to be a whisper, reminding us that by taking the time to connect with our spiritual self, we can center through anything and that we are forever within the bubble of God’s protection.”

Don’t forget to check out Garden Spices Magazine, Celebrating our differences.  

 

 
 
 
 
 
 

Just a Reprieve…

Guess what?  Doing a travel blog is no joke.  I still got at least 4 more places to share with y’all.  This is just a breather for some Black (Little) Girl Magic sweetness. There are four little girls that have crossed my Facebook page with so much cuteness till I thought I would share their images.  Two momma and two grandmamas said I could, so meet…


Ruby Joie (French spelling) Byrd, 5 years old. She loves fashion, Barbies, nature, collecting rocks, leaves, sticks. She said when she was 4 that she wanted to be a fashion designer and model!!  She has been to Paris about 4 times and loves it!
Joie

LIVING HER BEST LIFE (wearing a tee shirt for sun protection…already burned)!!
Ruby Joie
Grandma says, “She has a very sensitive side too…loving!  By the way, she poses her way…Jennifer wasted money on a photoshoot once!!!
A little bit about Leia Rice, (from her mom).  She is very outspoken and outgoing. She loves to dance and sing, she enjoys watching the Princess & the Frog and any Disney movies that double as musicals (almost all of them lol but she can be picky too). She loves school and learning, she has been read at least one book per night since birth and now she refuses to go to bed until we’ve read something.
Leia Mitchell
She likes teaching things to others and is very protective of her baby brother, Jules. She is very hilarious, there is literally never a dull moment with her. She’s creative, she loves to draw, and has even made up a song/rap about her favorite hairstyle (I got a ponytail). 🤣
Leia
She says she wants to be a doctor when she grows up. She is my little feminist and activist in the making. She attended her first women’s march with me when she was about 1 year old & she’s already learning the importance of standing up for herself and others (like Jules) ❤️
 
Poster girl for Juneteenth, Leia loves to dance too.

Alayah Nichole Bailey is three (3) and loves clothes, baby dolls, cheerleading, and swimming.
 
 

 
She wants to be a doctor when she grows up and “treats” her family for injuries or ailments. Residence: Tuscumbia, AL Parents: Jonathan and Kimberly Bailey Photographer Credit for Cow and Unicorn Pics: Amberly Lynn Photography in Muscle Shoals, AL

Caleigh recently turned 10, and her mother says she has been blessed and has been a blessing to the lives of others.
 
…This message was about Caleigh posted on her mom’s Facebook page :
❤This young lady is truly an angel. I know I met you two when I worked at Dollar General in Killen. I was going through a very depressing, near-suicidal time. When I tell you God needed me to meet this child… Her attitude and smiles and the love for people that she exudes… She gave me hope, and I’m here today to tell it.❤
 
From Caleigh’s mom, “I had a picture of Caleigh on FB and she sent me the post on my page in the comments with Caleigh’s picture.  This lady didn’t even know us!  She told me how Caleigh Saved Her Life!!🤩
 
 

Featured Photo by Alex Nemo Hanse on Unsplash
 
Joy Juice
See all the above!

“It’s all good/love/God” – Victorine

© 2021 Vicki Goldston, All rights reserved.

Please Subscribe and Follow my blog!

Please support Spicy…a blog by Victorine through Patreon. 
 Victorine, Bio Author of  Be S.A.F.E., StillAware, Faithful, Excellent, now available on Kindle Amazon as an e-book. “…the book title and its content are intended to be a whisper, reminding us that by taking the time to connect with our spiritual self, we can center through anything and that we are forever within the bubble of God’s protection.” Don’t forget to check out Garden Spices Magazine, Celebrating our differences.    
 
 
 
 
 
 

A Time: How Aunt Irma Influenced My Life

When my uncle, Griff Kendrick, a Korean War veteran and accounting graduate of Lincoln University in Missouri, decided to marry a skinny little co-ed he met at Lincoln instead of one of the ‘sisters’ from my hometown area, we just could not understand it! But, over the years, we found her a giant who has nourished and encouraged our entire family toward being the best that we can be, individually and otherwise. Aunt Irma’s father, a Methodist minister, and her mother raised their kids to be charitable givers in every way.

My uncle worked as an accountant, and Aunt Irma worked in the registrar’s office at Prarie View A&M College, now, University(PVAMU) in Texas. When I decided to attend Prairie View, I lived with them and their daughters Karen and Genora. It was like getting to live with the Huxables of the Cosby Show! I found Aunt Irma to be the least judgmental person in my life. She and my uncle helped people without any expectation of repayment. Typing theme papers and thesis’s for PVAMU students (most of whom she barely knew) into the night was a common occurrence, and she never…let me repeat that… never, requested payment from the students. Her actions led through example.

My uncle did the income taxes of many Prairie View families, and while he was at it, he’d say something like, “That idea that you mentioned about building a service station is something we really need!” The fact was that he had previously planted the service station idea in the mind of the person. Both were excellent at helping others excel above what they had accomplished on their own, without their impact. My one-on-one conversations with Aunt Irma were the equivalent of receiving ongoing sage advice on all quality of life things. Her ability to have a positive take on some of the most negative people that I’d ever met was amazing.

Growing up, I believed in absolute honesty, so when I saw my aunt tell her baby girl that James Brown was saying “get spunky” as you want to be, instead of “get funky.” I did not understand that little ears may not be ready for some things. It took raising my own kids to understand her actions fully.

As we talked over current events, Irma Kendrick’s take on every issue was thought out from almost a spiritual point of view with absolutely no harsh judgments or accusations. She tried to put herself in other’s shoes before deciding on a position. My uncle Griff gave similar consideration but was a bit more judgmental. When Aunt Irma learned that we had decided to let our daughter attend a majority university, she and Uncle Griff drove from Prairie View to Greenville, SC, so she could evaluate whether Kobi was ready for such an undertaking. Fortunately, she passed with flying colors (smile!) Kobi went on to excel at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and Harvard Law School.

Each year at Christmas, Aunt Irma sent the entire family a detailed update on what had transpired with members of the family. While I greatly appreciated the annual message, it did not dawn on me until my mid-thirties that we needed to reciprocate. So I began to write notes of appreciation and updates on what was going on with my part of the family. This practice, started by my aunt, enabled me to become a half-decent writer. Plus, writing and poetry are strong points with my kids and grands. For example, my daughter, Kobi, had a poem published in a national magazine when she was six years old, and her daughter, Emory, is the current best writer and the best poet in the eleventh grade in America!

The lessons learned from the fact that the “skinny little co-ed” chose to join our family have stood the test of TIME!

Thanks for listening!


Image: Irma Kendrick with a family friend, attending her grandson’s graduation from the University of Rochester School of Medicine. Aunt Irma attends celebrations for all family achievements.

William Leroy Kennedy

William Leroy Kennedy

Beyond his career as an engineer, diversity and training manager, and financial advisor, he asserts, “Getting to teach others about how to become more financially astute has been one of the most rewarding parts of my career.”

While doing all of the above, Mr. Kennedy managed to help raise his daughter and son, six years apart, to become outstanding students with a true sense of community. They graduated from UNC Chapel Hill/Harvard Law School and Stanford/Harvard Business School, respectively.

Many hours were spent working with church, civil rights, and community organizations in an effort to help produce progress. Motivating youth to be all that they can be is a constant goal of Mr. Kennedy.

He is very high on using khanacademy.org as an educational tool that can help all, regardless of age or learning disability, succeed in life. “Every adult and child should visit the site” is his motto.

On to Charleston

…and we’re driving to North Charleston. We got lost for a minute GPSed our way to our North Charleston Marriott Hotel, which was minimalist swank. I was like, “OK, Mr. K!” We were pretty tired from driving. (I haven’t touched the steering wheel yet). Whew! We rested that night and were ready to meet the day for Charleston sites. The restaurant we wanted for breakfast was closed, so we ate at the one next to it. Marie’s Diner is a neighborhood restaurant, that was meh, but we were pleased to meet the Police Chief of North Charleston, and he was Black. Of course, Mr. K. had to talk with him about his “ministry,” Khan Academy. “Think about how many kids he can reach!”

We hit the road to Charleston and upon arriving, we drove around to see the historical splendor of the architecture there. Then we hunted down the Charleston Visitor Center for planning. The moment my feet hit the pavement of this town filled with history, I could feel the powerful energy of this city where the ravages of slavery started. So, of course, we asked for a Black Tour. We had a wait for the tour, so the guide suggested we walk to tour The Rhett-Aiken Mansion and its slave quarters.

We stepped down from the lobby to tour the building in the back of the mansion, the slave quarters. Painful? Yes. Feeling the depth of the experience of our Ancestors, Mr. K. and I acknowledged the resiliency of Black people.

Aiken-Rhett Mansion, image by Wikimedia Commons
Slave Quarters

Just touring the grandeur of the “big house,” as compared to the sad slave quarters, told us we would not seek any more of the Antebellum mansion experience. We were ready for our Black tour.

Charleston’s #1 Gullah Geechee, Black History, & Porgy & Bess

combination City Tour

This is how the tour pamphlet reads, and the tour was all that and more. Al Miller is a quintessential tour guide that taught us everything we needed to know about Charleston’s Black culture. He explored Gullah history and, at intervals, spoke their language, even teaching us a few idioms. We got off the bus to pay homage to the big mama, Angel Tree of John Island in Charleston, and Al told us how the legend reads that she carries the ghosts of slaves with her and that sometimes they appear.   What?!

We were treated to hear the history of the opera, Porgy & Bess, created in Charleston by Gershwin. He told us about Gershwin’s affinity for jazz, and how jazz influenced the opera. Miller is a member of an ensemble that performs Porgy & Bess and he plays several characters, one being Sportin’ Life, the villainous minx.. Miller stopped, stood, and in a booming baritone, sang “It Ain’t Necessarily So.” We were thrilled!! He also took us to church.

Miller is a cousin to 4 of the 9 Emmanuel AME Church members killed by Dylan Roof. He drove to the church and showed us where Roof entered. Then he shared the history of his family’s historic church and he recounted the strength of the woman cousin that expressed forgiveness for the murderous actions. Miller also admitted he could not be as generous with his forgiveness. Again, painful.

Miller gave us a glimpse into the church services he was used to. He clapped a rhythm and had us mimic him. Then, he started to clap in a syncopated way, as we kept the steady beat, and he sang again this time gospel. What a guide!

Of course, there was so much more he gave us, including tips and sad tidings about many of the restaurants. Some of the Black restaurants did not survive Covid. As he closed his tour, he pitched his book, Tourists Can Say the Darndest Things!  . Mr. K. gifted me the book, and I received an autograph and an agreement that he would appear in my blog and magazine. I have only started to read his book, and I am already laughing/crying as I learn even more about the history of this fascinating city. Thank you, Al Miller, for introducing us to where and how Black America entered this country and in spite of challenges, thrived.

Phillips Simmons sculpture and sound exhibit ,
Samuel “Goat” Smalls, the reall Porgy
Al Miller, Tour Guide, Marker signifying that Charleston is the home of the anthem, “We Shall Overcome,” Emmanuel AME Church, The Tree, and the grave of the real Porgy

Miller schools us on “The Color of Money”

Meeting Place

Remember this?

 

After finishing the tour, we were really hungry and decided to try the place suggested by our tour guide, Hyman’s Seafood, on Meeting Street. We were met with a tray of hush puppies, a hello snack to waiting customers. (I didn’t succumb!) To watch with no wait, we chose sidewalk dining and our wonderful server took our order. In Mr. K’s style, he began to chat with a family waiting in line in front of our table. He invited the elder mother to sit at our table, rather than stand in line. (That’s Mr. K.!) While the family entered the restaurant, our low-country boil came with hush puppies, (This time, I succumbed).

While dining we made friends with Phil and Tiffany Oliveira a delightful young couple dining next to us (via Mr. K. again). We were having so much fun that our waitress summoned the owner of Hyman’s, Eli Hyman. He shared his family’s history with the restaurant, and we swapped quips about raising family. It was clear that service was at the core of the success of this establishment. We went back to our hotel feeling full of great history, fine food, and friendship.

Notes of positivity are given to customers and this sign is plastered to the front of the window.
Thanks, Tiffany Oliveira
Our server and Tiffany and Phil Oliveira, young folks making us smile.

The next morning we made it to the restaurant next to the Meh one, The Junction Kitchen; and we chose vegetarian splendor for breakfast. We headed towards Charleston and decided to walk downtown Charleston before heading out to Hilton Head. We did not know if the famous Charleston Market was open. So we opted to get on the road to Hilton Head.

I don’t feel a bit bothered by pages unturned in Charleston. I know I will open this book again to the history, the sights, and the cuisine of this spirited city. Next, Hilton Head!

Joy Juice

Not to be discounted, Charleston carries the energy of a sordid history, past and recent.  While feelings emerged, so did the appreciation of the beauty of the city and the blessing of being with a partner who appreciates all that I do.  (The girls I travel with do too!). We met fine folks; it’s always part of a travel package. We attract them, and so will you.   I encourage us all to travel.  I don’t care if it’s to the town next door.  It’s where our perspective broadens, where our spirit grows. 

Beloved I pray that you may prosper in all things… – 3 John 1:2

No matter how full the river, it still wants to grow. ~ Congolese Proverb

 “If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.” Lao Tzu

“It’s all good/love/God” – Victorine

© 2021 Vicki Goldston, All rights reserved.



Please Subscribe and Follow my blog!

Please support Spicy…a blog by Victorine through Patreon. 

 Victorine, Bio

Author of  Be S.A.F.E., StillAware, Faithful, Excellent, now available on Kindle Amazon as an e-book.

“…the book title and its content are intended to be a whisper, reminding us that by taking the time to connect with our spiritual self, we can center through anything and that we are forever within the bubble of God’s protection.”

Don’t forget to check out Garden Spices Magazine, Celebrating our differences.