Sunday, May 5, 2013

Life at the Intersection blog post for May 4 - Michael Cobbler column

Peace and blessings to you all! Many of us have deep appreciation for the caregivers who reared us in our early years and the ways they guided and shaped our lives then - and now. In this two-part intersections piece, I would like to give thanks to my sainted mother Loreece, who taught me a powerful and precious lesson about the intersection of oppressions well before I knew what that was.

One day I was on my way to Public School 129, an elementary school in Brooklyn, New York, with my books and my favorite lunch of chocolate milk, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and homemade chocolate chip cookies in hand. As I walked up Stuyvesant Ave. and turned onto Quincy St., I was face-to-face with Junebug, a local bully. He stopped me and said, “Punk, what you got in that bag?” I stuttered, “J-J-J-J-Junebug, it’s my lunch.” He ordered, “Give it to me!” I responded, “B-B-B-B-But it’s my favorite lunch.” Junebug knocked me to the ground, snatched the bag from my hand and hollered, “I told you to give it to me, and now look at what you’ve done!” He proudly walked away with his free lunch.

My glasses were in one place, my books were in another, and I was filled with cold anger. I usually participated in class, but I said nothing in school that day. There were no witnesses, so I thought it would be foolish to tell anyone at school what happened to me. When I got home, Mom could tell something was up, because I didn’t say anything about my day at school. She asked, “How was school today?”

“I’m going to kill him!”

“You are going to kill someone? Who might that person be?”

“I’m going to kill Junebug.”

Mom thought for a moment, and then said, “And why are you going to kill Junebug?”

“He stole my lunch from me this morning, and I’m going to kill him!”

Mom thought again and said, “Well, before you kill Junebug, there’s something I want you to do with me.”

Revenge was high on my mind that afternoon, but Mom had a plan, and she made me promise that I would follow it step-by-step without wavering or shortcuts.

The next day, I saw Junebug in the lunchroom. As soon as he saw me, he said, “There goes that four-eyed punk! His friends started laughing at me. I then pulled two bags out of my pockets and said, “Hi, Junebug. Here are some cookies. My mom and I made them just for you.”

“You and your momma made them just for me? Hey, guys, the punk and his momma made some cookies for me! …Are they poisoned?”

“No, they are not poisoned. There are a dozen of them. You can even share them with your friends.”

“Don’t be messin’ with me!” Junebug took the bags and said to one friend, “Hey, Bootsie, eat one of those cookies!”

“I don’t want to die!” exclaimed Bootsie.

“Eat the cookie!!

To be continued next week.

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