In Atlanta...Examining My Grandparents / by Shanelle Gabriel

Just when I was ready to pull my hair in NYC, it was time for my trip to Atlanta, GA ! My grandfather came in from Toronto, Canada, I have to perform at the Association for the Promotion of Campus Activities Nationals, and I also have a show at The Urban Grind this week. Then, I'm stopping by Apache on Sunday to check my homegirl, Queen Sheba, out there. It's been great so far.

It's my first time meeting my grandfather on my biological mother's side. Honestly, I'm so used to seeing frail elderly grandfathers, that he shocked me. He was so alert, so talkative, and so down! He cracked jokes, talked about his younger years like it was yesterday, and even had an in depth discussion on sex ("Men need to know how to please their women.") Praise God I wasn't there for that. Lol.

I watched my grandmother, his first wife, interact with him. At the beginning, I heard she was mean towards him, making comments about how old he looked (as if she was a spring chicken) and a few others. Then she eased up, and seemed to get comfortable. Real comfortable...She started taking longer to get ready, making sure her hair was combed out, and a few other details that let the rest of us know she was trying to look her best for "someone." She'd sit and converse with him for most of the day. Imagine, they were divorced over 30 years ago, and she still has a little somethin' somethin' for him. We tend to think that older folks just deteriorate into asexual beings who no longer care about past issues and loves.

I wonder, will I be that type of older person who can still relate to my younger self? Will there be anyone that will always strike a chord with me? And will I remain the passionate person I am forever or will old age add bitterness to my spirit?

Who we are now affects who we will be later. Our values, actions, and responses shape the way we lead the rest of our lives. If we are holding on to something now, we will cling to it for dear life later, whether it's love, anger, regret, joy, sorrow. What are you going to be like when you're in your rocking chair on your front porch?

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