Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The Party (part 2)

Click for Part 1

I ducked down in the backseat as my father and Polo made their way to the car. Ricky lit up a Kool, and away we went. When we hit the front of our apartment complex, I finally mustered the nerve to stop hiding. Peering out the backseat window, I recognized the sights of my hometown of Spring Valley, New York. To my left was Dr. Gorelick’s office; to the right was Pepe’s Pizza, my favorite place to get a slice. A few minutes passed and we were on The Hill, the rough neighborhood where I spent afternoons with my babysitter, Ms Liza. Ms Liza was a hefty, loving woman who kept children in her home while their parents worked. I loved spending the afternoons with her, but hated the lima beans she seemed to incorporate into every meal. We passed the Post Office and Memorial Park, which in a few short years went from a children’s safe haven to a crack infested den of iniquity. Two minutes and three cigarettes later, we arrived at the rec center.

Ricky positioned me on his shoulders as Polo began unloading the equipment. My added weight didn’t alter my father’s gait, which was evocative of Antonio Vargas in a 70’s blaxploitation flick. You know, a pimp lean with smooth strides designed to attract attention. A four year old chick magnet didn’t hurt either. The ladies loved Pretty Ricky and he loved them back. A particularly busty woman in a tight polyester top was the first to greet us.

“Heeeeey, Ricky!!!” she exclaimed and kissed him on the cheek. “Is this your boy? He is soooo cute!”

The next thing I knew, we were surrounded by a bevy of foxy mamas, none of which were my real mama. Ricky reveled in the attention, while I slithered off his shoulders down to the gymnasium floor. He looked at me with a mischievous grin and stated matter of factly, “Don’t you go telling your mama, about this, ya dig?”

I nodded and ran off to play with a partially deflated basketball. Ricky eventually extricated himself from his harem and set up shop behind the makeshift DJ booth, which consisted of two turntables on a rickety wooden table, 3 crates of vinyl records and a microphone. I was still trying to dribble an unbounceable brown ball, when I heard Ricky’s voice bellow from the speakers.


In an instant, the sparse crowd responded by sauntering to the dance floor, which was located at center of the basketball court. The overhead lights were replaced by alternating red and blue lights and Bootsy Collin’s tambour filled the room. I heard “Right On!” and “Outta Sight!” as the hipsters slapped hands and chose their broads to dance with. The strong smell of cannabis, which I would discover later in life, emanated from the bleachers. A little confused, I trekked from the end of the gym on a mission to find Ricky, bumping into various partygoers along the way. When I finally reached the DJ table, my father and Polo were discussing the playlist.

“Daddy, can I pick the next record?” Even at a young age, two things about me were evident. I loved music and I loved the attention. I went to the crate and chose “Got to be Real” by Cheryl Lynn. I handed the disc to Ricky, who obliged my request, by seamlessly blending that jam into Donna Summer’s “Bad Girls” followed by “Le Freak” by CHIC. After picking a few songs, Ricky decided to announce my presence to the crowd.

“Soul Brothas and Soul Sistas! I would like to introduce my main man, R.J. the D.J.” (R. and J. are my real initials.) His smile revealed a father’s pride as he hoisted me to my preferred perch on his shoulders. “Say something to the crowd, little man” he continued and handed me the mike.

“HI!!!!!!” I yelled so loud that it caused feedback. I moved the mike away from my mouth at my father’s direction and spoke some more.

“My name is RJ the DJ and I’m here to tear the roof of this sucka!”

The crowd roared at my George Clinton reference and my 4 year old swagger. All eyes were on me as I passed the mic back to Ricky. He asked what we were gonna play next.

“Michael Jackson!!!” I yelled. Polo handed the record to Ricky who placed the needle on the record with one arm while holding me with the other. The party goers resumed their flirtations and gyrations, engulfed in the rhythmic bass lines provided by Quincy Jones. I basked in the adulation of both the crowd and my father, who was the coolest man in the world that night.

As the party started to wind down, sleep overtook me and I fell asleep on the bleachers, using Ricky’s brown leather coat as a blanket. The next thing I remember was being carried up the stairs to our 2 bedroom apartment. I awoke the next morning on the couch, still dressed in the previous night’s party gear. I found out years later that my parents had a huge fight over the party. I mean a Hagler –Hearns type fight. As for me, I used this experience as a spring board to a life long love of music. I even made 8 track mixtapes for my grandparents. And although I don’t DJ anymore, I still look back at that autumn night in 1979 with fond memories.


It was written...


Blogger cupcake27 said...

you tell your stories with such descriptive text that I am able to visualize a movie ohmigosh!!! in my head!!!! Baby Bubba!!! This is the next spike lee joint!

Wed Apr 12, 08:25:00 AM  
Blogger The Stiltwalker said...

awesome recollection of times past.

Wed Apr 12, 08:41:00 AM  
Blogger nikki said...

BEAUTIFUL! i was right there, dude!

what a great memory to have of your father. you were blessed.

Wed Apr 12, 09:13:00 AM  
Blogger ChezNiki said...

This is so sweet! A fellow Boston Blogger, Pops, is raising his son and he enjoys a lot of music with us (concerts, cookouts, etc). I wonder how LilMan will tell his story thirty years from now.

Wed Apr 12, 11:41:00 AM  
Blogger Mocha_Grl said...

Whew. You remember it like it happened yesterday! You took us right along for the ride... My name is RJ the DJ and I’m here to tear the roof of this sucka!... LOL

Wed Apr 12, 11:55:00 AM  
Blogger NegroPino™ said...

I admire u I can't recall too many memories especially good ones from my childhood...but you grew up in SPring Valley My friend lived in Spring Valley maybe u know him

Wed Apr 12, 12:55:00 PM  
Blogger Honey-Libra said...

Now that is something to tell the kids about....

Wed Apr 12, 03:39:00 PM  
Blogger SistaGirl said...

This was a real pleasure to read, I was smiling the whole way through it's great that you have such a strong memory of your father.

Thanks for sharing

Wed Apr 12, 04:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a lovely story. I wish I had one story to share about my "father."

Thanks for sharing with us, Cas.

Wed Apr 12, 04:26:00 PM  
Blogger ScarlettRae said...

Well worth the wait, T. A great story and you had me there with you the entire time. I wish my dad had been that cool.


Wed Apr 12, 08:45:00 PM  
Blogger Miz JJ said...

That is a great story. “Don’t you go telling your mama, about this, ya dig?” Had me laughing in my cube.

Thu Apr 13, 12:21:00 PM  
Blogger P said...

Aww, Little T.

I could just kiss on the little baby all day. . .

Oh, yeah, you grown, now. Forget it. :P


Thu Apr 13, 05:13:00 PM  
Blogger T. Cas said...

@ cupcake - wait for the screenplay. It's from my fathers point of view instead of mine

@ stiltwalker - thanks

@ nikki - this was one of the few good memories of my father. I choose to remember the positive.

@ chezniki - when I have my seed, I'm gonna bring him up that way.

@ ms new booty - I moved when i was 12, but whats his name?

@ mocha - to tell the truth, I remember most of it, but I had to look up some of the music.

@ honey-libra - my kids wont ever know my father, so I gotta keep the memory alive.

@ sista girl - glad you liked it. I'm gonna post some more stories later.

@ cocoa girl - This is one of the few positive stories I have.

@ Scarlett - just trying to be like you. I peeped your writing blog.

@ miz jj - yeah, he treated me more like a running partner than a son. It was cool at that time.

@ P - LOL - you'ze a trip, P.

Thu Apr 13, 11:52:00 PM  
Blogger BBB_0202020 said...

Thanks for the rest of this story it was good. I try to block out parts of my childhood... oh well thats another post

Thu Apr 13, 11:56:00 PM  
Blogger NegroPino™ said...

Eric or Grady ANderson

Fri Apr 14, 02:25:00 PM  
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