Happy Birthday, Ernie McCray: Still Pushing for What’s Good in the World at 79

by on April 18, 2017 · 1 comment

in From the Soul

Ernie McCray 79

Editor: Our columnist Ernie McCray wrote this ode on Monday, April 17th.

Streams of Consciousness the Day Before Turning 79

By Ernie McCray

Tomorrow. April 18th. If I make it I’ll be 79. 79.

Can’t wait to jam as a 79-year-old man. No, indeed. Time flashes at some kind of supersonic speed. Glad I’ve got me a beautiful woman and some mellow weed…

And there’s so much greed with people in need… And they choose to shoot at each other and drop bombs on each other in all kinds of weather, no thoughts of whether a timeout should be called at some point in human history…

Sending teenagers off to war, to make a difference, and they come back home crippled and disfigured and we call them heroes and they go through all kinds of hoops at the VA, trying to get their heads straight, while bombs and missiles and bullets still rip through the air, in a war somewhere… And the saddest part of it all is that those who have been in it and come back swearing against it, full of stories of how hellish it is, don’t stand up against it, thinking, well, it’s the next generation’s turn and that madness goes on and on and on, ever since, human-wise, the beginning of time…

But now I’m 79. What does any of this have to do with me? Oh, well, I ain’t answering that question at this particular time. That can be my choice at 79 I’d like to think in my mind…

The NBA playoffs on again… The Warriors are who I hope will win. Fun to watch those guys play a game I played well at a level of wellness I couldn’t have ever dreamed of in my era…

Sports. What would my life have been like without sports? I loved me some ball, y’all. Any kind of ball. I remember me and my buddies going to the playground with a basketball a football a baseball and a couple of bats and gloves, switching sports on a whim… “Slide, fool!” “Block your man!” “I was wide open, can’t you see?” “So was your mama!” “I don’t play that! Man, you keep on messin’ with me I’m o jump down yo throat, tap dance on your liver, and dare your f—–g bowels to move!” “Yeah, well if you think I done you wrong, then in my chest you belong. And I will knock you out, little bro!” “Aw, man y’all need to cut that out! The game ain’t over”… Reason winning out this time. Next time? Good possibility that someone’s behind is going to be kicked, all part of that boys will be boys bullshit… And you deal with it and learn from it and go with it…

Loved those stages of my 79 years. Growing up. All those anxieties and fears, and wondering what’s wrong with all those folks that look at you wrong like you had robbed them of something, something you’re probably seeking yourself because it’s all a mystery…

Calling us dumb. Are they crazy? As smart as we are? The way we can create a poem on the spot? The way we can keep on keeping on in the situation we’ve got, moving along whether we are loved or not? Where do they get those ideas and why do they have to share them out loud and why does it even matter what they think or what they don’t like… Why does that change anything based on liberty and justice for all and all that goes with that?… Can somebody please answer that for my little black boy peace of mind? At some time?… Or am I going to have to figure this out by myself and with a little help from my friends?…

Japs? What the hell was that all about? Making me and Alan Hasegawa run in opposite directions when we first met at the downtown Y?… Me thinking he might try to kill me even if he had to kill himself in order to do it… He thinking I was some kind of devil with a tail… And we became friends and then one day he was gone and life goes on and on and on whether you join it or not…

And one day you’re in Maui and you see a business that’s closed at the moment:“Hasegawa” something or other. And you wonder if that’s Alan’s family if that’s him and you never find out because there are some beaches with oceans inviting you to dive in… Food inviting you to pig out… Hawaii has you in its spell as it can do so spectacularly well… You’re reminded that you’re doing well and wish everybody could enjoy what you’re enjoying right now: sun and warm ocean breezes, bones and sinews feeling loose and easy…

And, in moments, you remember that Hawaii has quite a story to tell when it comes to the old story of America’s ventures that don’t turn out so well to natives of various places, another of the stories of the different races in our country… So many tales over the centuries, over time…

What tales will unfold down the line, starting tomorrow when I’m 79? I sure don’t know but I will in time and I plan to be in the middle of something, anything that’s good for humankind.

That’s worked out pretty good for me, over time. No need to change at 79.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

avatar rick callejon April 21, 2017 at 8:09 am

Ernie, you’re still a baller.

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