Sunday, April 12, 2009
and she rises, this easter morn
I wanted to get up early enough to catch Jack and family on their way to church. They live directly across the street from me, and I can't say why I'm so fascinated with their comings and goings, but I am. Maybe it's the classic American family in action thing. Mom. Dad. Three kids (as far as I can tell). Two dogs. A crew of cats. A car and a mini-van. Foreign to me not only by upbringing, but as a result of city living, apartment dwelling, all my adult life.
My grandmother used to say, when she'd catch me sleeping in on a summer day, Get up! White folks done been up. I was raised to be concerned with what white folks were up to, because they knew the right way to act. These white folks across the street apparently didn't get the Easter Sunday memo, the one that says be at church before 9 to beat the crowds and shuffle the kids into Sunday school for the Easter lesson. When I went to get something out of my car, Claire, the mom, was outside in her pajamas, fishing through the mini-van. We're going to have our Easter egg hunt inside, she yelled over to me. It's gonna be wet today. You going to church? I yelled back. Yes, she said. At eleven.
Hm. Eleven, I thought. Maybe my grandmother didn't know so much about what white folks get up to after all. (ETA: It's 12:07. I'm still writing this post, and they're back already. If church was this short when I was growing up, I might still be going.)
I was outside because I was preparing to go for my first run since I've lived here. I've fantasized about it for weeks, usually while my mouth has been stuffed with cookies. I knew it would happen on a Sunday, and this one seemed right, so off I went, through the wonderland of Bellaire, Texas.
Bellaire is a well-to-do hamlet inside Houston, a city in a city. It's kind of where white people go when they want to be alone. Today marked the first day I'd ever seen it through anything other than a car window, and, I have to say, it's a really nice place. When you're running, or walking, or skipping too I guess, people wave to you, even the cops. Granted, the only other black person I've seen who lives in this neighborhood I saw on the news. The cops shot him while he was standing unarmed in his own driveway. They didn't shoot me this morning, but I made sure to run with my hands up.
It was a perfect morning for running -- not too warm, cloudy, only a tinge muggy. I took along my camera phone to share some pictures. There are great street names like Lula and Betty and Effie and Cynthia and Valerie. My favorite is Phil. I love that there's a street named Phil, and I love the street itself.
It's a neighborhood in transition, meaning you can see what middle-class meant 50 years ago versus what it means now. Now, houses are three times the size they used to be. Most of the houses look like this.
But I'm drawn to the older ones. This is my favorite. Of course it's on Phil Street. And it has the tree of life in front of it.
Here's some Easter flora for you.
I love this door best. Someone, at some point, was very optimistic.