Sunday, June 14, 2015

Colored People Salad: Friendship and how real people talk about race

You know it's summer in our house when that 1st Saturday comes and the macaroni salad is in the fridge waiting for the boys to come and get it. It's a summer Saturday staple. From Memorial Day to Labor can count on it.

As I stood at the island making it this week I found myself thinking back to an incident where my traditional tuna macaroni summer salad told us everything you need to know about how to talk about race. With love and laughter.

We were heading out on our family vacation, a 12 hour road trip from NJ to Disney. Cell phones weren't a big deal then but we were fancy with walkie talkies in each car.

After about 3 hours we decided to hit the rest stop and have some lunch. My best friend, who is white, had packed a beautiful basket of cold cuts and breads. My kids ran to her basket and made sandwiches.

I had a cooler filled with my tuna and macaroni and while we eat healthy most of the time....I had fried up some chicken for the road.

Of course, her family jumped on it and all was well. Full, we got back on the road.

5 minutes down 95 we get the call on the walkie. "Pull over up ahead".
"OK. Sure thing. What's wrong?" we replied.

My bestie's husband says, "Nothing's wrong! I need some more of that CPS!"

Confused, we pull over. After having a bite he had dubbed his fav food now forever "colored people salad. CPS for short.

He explained his family had never put tuna in macaroni salad and that he couldn't believe he had been deprived of this culinary delight his whole life. He was convinced this was a delight only to be had in the black kitchen. I assured him it was widely available.

His humor was often colorful and eyebrow raising but it was from love. No one was offended and oh how we laughed and laughed that day.

He passed away suddenly 2 years ago. We miss him terribly. We ponder on what off color comment he would have in some of life's crazier moments. We remember him often....especially in the summer when we have our CPS. Want some for yourself? Try my recipe below! Love while you never know how long you get. Real talk.

CPS- Better known as:Macaroni and Tuna Summer Salad
1 box elbow pasta
1 small jar sweet relish
1 small onion chopped small
1 green pepper chopped small
4 cans tuna
3 squirts mustard
1 cup mayo
2 spoons celery seed
1 sprinkle sugar

Boil pasta, drain, and rinse with cold water
Mix ingredients with well washed hands.....go 'head and get in there......
Eat. Share. Laugh. Worry about the carbs later. ENJOY!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Parents: There are no winners in the Shame Game

The Shame Game: An Internet Sensation
Starring the one you say you love the best: Your wanna- be thug son….or perhaps your puberty passionate daughter.
The plot is the same whoever plays the game: Child acts up and you show off on video and prove to the world you aren’t having no mess….not in your house. No way. You will give an old man’s hair cut…beat some ass with a cord, berate and announce new found sexuality….all for the internet fans!
The cast: You, the parent, must prove you are the star. Those likes and retweets give you life! The comments are like ratings and the more “go heads, I know that’s right” you get….the better you feel.
The co-stars … know the ones that did the deed….broke a rule…went off course, otherwise known as your child. They must show full remorse, head bowed, crying….oh now we are talking. Crying is proof of full embarrassment.
That rage and despondence and brokenness displayed….will the world ever know if that is remorse for a rule broken or calculation for "the get away" from the craziness the “star” is willing to go to for ratings.
The aftermath: This is the story that never makes the ‘net.  After the likes and the comments….maybe even an interview or 2….the co-star must go on living in whatever life brought them to the initial behavior in the 1st place. Yeah, the behavior that got all of the attention. 
You don’t get 1 million likes on the drop-outs or the runaways. Hell, some man in another state that hit like is now soliciting the young girl through her new named page.  The bullying, it got worse. Now the kids have even more to come at your co –stars with. 
 And finally, the suicides: Those fans with all the comments and cheering of how you went off….they don’t miss work, or sit bedside, or answer the knock on the door from the police when the game is tragically over.
Raising children is hard. They do foolish things. They make us angry.  Instead of shame…shower them with praise, cloak them with love, surround them with support.  Be a star in the PARENTING game. This Shame Game…it’s fun while you’re playing. It can be deadly when it’s done. Real talk.