Saturday, February 18, 2012

Ode to the Grady Elders.

 In the good times
and in the bad times
in the happy times
and in the sad times

Having you there
made the difference

Just having you there

~ from The Mississipi Mass Choir 
"Having you there"

Grady Elder

I get to be here
because of you
and I love being here
because of you
and that's the God's-honest truth

yes, ma'am, it is
and no, sir, I ain't just saying that

you hold in your hands
the wisdom of the ages
your knowing eyes
surrounded by tiny skin folds
that, to you, "show your age"
but not to me

I see layers and layers
of been theres
and done thats
of uphill climbs
and intrepid faith
of mountains moved
or torn down altogether

yes, I see it all
and especially
I see love

when you open your mouth to speak
I have learned to close mine
and hear your words
and savor your voice
every part of it
sometimes wobbly like elementary school cursive
or gravelly like tires rolling over old-school asphalt parking lots
or even
perfectly smooth like grandmama's  hand-stirred batter
but always worthwhile
and always worth hearing

because you have taught me that
listening to a person's voice
is the best way to give them one
yes, you have
and yes, it is

even when I'm tired
I still know that
it is a privilege
to care for you
to laugh with you
and cry with you
to learn from you
and just be with you

yes, ma'am, it is
and no, sir, I ain't just saying that

you teach me what the books cannot
the things that matter most
and give me pieces of your dreams and struggles
to take with me
to the places you couldn't go

all I really want to do
is make you proud
so proud that your heart takes wings
and begins to fly
believing that your struggles were not in vain
and that my triumphs
are yours, too
because no, they weren't
and yes, they are

yes, they are

thank you
for sharing with me
your been theres
and your done thats
your uphill climbs
your intrepid faith
for moving those mountains
or tearing them down
long before I got there

you hold in your hands
the wisdom of the ages
and I get to experience it all
wrapped in knowing nods
tight hugs
physical findings
funny sayings
and easy, unfiltered banter
I get to experience it all

and I 'preciate that
and even more
I 'preciate you

Yes, ma'am I do
and no, sir, I ain't just saying that

Happy Saturday.

Now playing on my mental iPod. . . . . 


  1. Do you ever contemplate how it will be when you are an elder? My god, woman! You will touch the sky, having been lifted so high by all of these people you have touched and been touched by.

  2. What terrific photos and words and music to celebrate these lovely people. I think your odes to the Grady Elders are some of my favorites on your blog!

  3. I second what Ms Moon said. All that and your write poetry too? My goodness. And no I am not just sayin that.

  4. My favorites list is gettin' mighty long... Love it!

  5. From the Deck of the Poop,

    This is another example of your talent in the writing arena. I am clearly in the arena of the elders and this message really resonates with me.
    Keep writing...

    Much Love


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