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-by Neo Blaqness

Have you ever gotten up one morning and gone through your day with a craving for something you haven’t had since you were young enough to believe that a pair of new sneakers actually made you run faster? Wow, now that statement in and of itself brings back memories of those first days back to school after summer break, when school actually started up again after Labor Day and you only needed 18 out of 24 credits to graduate; when faded and torn jeans was a “white thang” while us black folk starched and creased the hell out of the deepest blue knock off or stolen off the tractor trailer that the driver parked too close close to the hood, denim jeans we could find.

Oh how I remember those jeans. You didn’t dare show up at the bus stop with wrinkled or faded jeans. If you was really fly, your mama usually bought them a few inches too long knowing you was gonna grow and you folded the bottoms into three or four inch cuffs that rested just over a pair of Timberlands or the cheapest knockoff you could find in case that tractor trailer didn’t park too close to the hood. Yall got it good today because you couldn’t be on food stamps and a check back then and afford that stuff. Imma just be real. If you was sporting the real label on anything, your azz was sizzlin cuz it was hot as a mug. I’m not gonna tell you how much stuff they came through the hood selling door to door that we ended up wearing cuz they might have changed the statute of limitations. Yall know how those Republicans always changing the rules. They make a million dollar move glamorizing the mob but spend 50 million on a prison to lock up a negro over a pair of sneakers.

Oh yeah, and back to the sneakers. Funny thing is the sistahs in the hood had a way of testing to see if you really liked them. First day of school bruthas normally had the prettiest white sneakers and would race each other up until the bus came to find out what brand mad you faster. I kno I kno it was stupid but kids are crazy. Anyway we worked hard to make sure those sneakers stayed clean. If we scuffed them running, we would go home with a cloth and clean them up and beg our mamas to keep white shoe polish on hand. It was that important. The girls knew this. So what they would do is smile and walk right up to the boy they like and get almost face to face, and step right on his sneakers. Everybody knew that if he didn’t go nuts, they must really like each other and that’s what girls did if they needed to be sure or to prove a point in front of another chick. And oh lawd if a chick did that to spite another chick, it was going to be a bus stop throw down.

So how did we get here from me talking about a childhood craving? Well, I ate some Frosted Flakes today. I haven’t eaten them since I was a kid. Like my mama I tend to keep things on hand that I see on sale just in case a kid visits or one of my friends has a crisis or somebody tells me of a family in need. I have to check for dates now and then and these were close to expiring. The last time it was captain crunch and I ate one bowl and sent the rest home with my assistant’s girls who stared at me like “You still eat Captain Crunch?” Every time I satisfy one of these childhood cravings it brings back memories as sure as weed gives you the munchies- not that I would know anything about dat. Lol. -NEO BLAQNESS