Sunday, April 12, 2009

and she rises, this easter morn

This is why you shouldn't wait nearly a year to go running.

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.

Home again.


Anonymous said...

You cracked me up, "running with your hands up". Good lord, you must be exhausted. I like the house that you like best, too. So much more character and homey. I, personally, like my purple door but red is good too. Cute cat. . .

Virtuous said...

LOL @ need to be concerned at what white folks were doing - church less than 1 hour..whew! would love that!

Glad you got back into running (I need to be right next to you!!)

Happy Resurrection Sunday!!

DeltaPurl said...

concerned with white folk....too funny

Christie said...

hahahahahaha! Hey...what are they up to?!!?!?

jacqueline said...

omg I so hear you. if church only went for an hour - i could face it way more often. being orthodox we are right into 2 hours services, plus lots of smells and bells. i have a theory that if you go to church and it's not painful...well it just isn't right! ;-)

you are putting me to shame...i really need to get out running again.

j.kaori said...

I'm so glad to see you are back! I've missed your witty dispatches from Texas! Good to hear you survived the run and the dead lizard in your house!

Sugardale said...

Man, I really want to climb that tree of life!

It was nice to read something of yours again, and let out a few chuckles too.

I don't understand your dislike of lizards. I had quite a few as pets growing up, so if I am ever in the area, and that green eyed cat of yours brings you a little treat, I'll come to your rescue.

AllyB said...

Bwa-ha-ha-ha! Thanks for a great laugh this first morning of my stay-cation. I agree the little house with the tree of life is the best. Don't know how folks can live in those giant, sterile places. You've made me give some thought to getting out for a if I can just do more than think about it, hehehe

woolanthropy said...

Oh what a beautiful morning. I am glad the police only waved at you!

Good for you getting out there and kicking up your heels. I am surprised Mira didn't chase you down the street.

Ellen Bloom said...

Interesting neighborhood. I love seeing local pix! Congrats on taking a run or walk!!!

Stacy said...

I have to say, I kind of love your favorite house too. I love older homes... much more character.

Anonymous said...

Glad to see you back again!

Anonymous said...

Glad to see you back again!

Sahara said...

Tears are running down my cheeks, I'm laughing so hard!! Middle class 50 years ago?! You're the best!

I think there's a large book that our mothers and grand's got, back in the day, with all the lines they were supposed to say to us, besides that one. Ancestors knows my mom too, wanted me to be concerned with what the white folks were doing. You think that book ever went out of print?

I still sleep late, though. I didn't listen to neither my mom OR the white folks. LOL said...

forget all the dope observations about class, white folkery, and running with your hands up - a classic line - all I want is that damn kitty!