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Berdine's Corner

Live In the Moment For a Moment

by Kenney X. Dennard

berdine dennard
Berdine Dillard Dennard

Life Lessons from a Matriarch

David Lee Dillard and Berdine Dillard Dennard holding a picture of their mother Ethel Mae Dillard.

If you're like me, you live each day preparing for tomorrow. We all do it in some form. Some of us budget our money all year so we can travel on our vacation when we get some time off. Those with children may work two or more jobs to keep food on the table and clothes on our kids' backs. We find ourselves working so much sometimes we don’t know one day from the other. Many others are excitedly anticipating special days. Be it a wedding, anniversary, secret rendezvous, birthdays, Christmas, summer break, back to school time, election time, vacation time or the day that lump sum of money will hit our account. It's somewhat natural. Many live for tomorrow.

Many others live in the past. You may have been 50 pounds lighter ten years ago and you may be pre-occupied with getting back to that. Some don't want to go around friends and family until they get remotely close to that weight. Many are caught up in the memories of how much fun they had 10 or 15 years ago in college or high school or when they lived in another state. Many of us spend a lot of time on the computer with things like Facebook trying to rekindle the memories with old friends. Many miss that old job, the money that was made, the car, the lifestyle, the self esteem that came along with it. Many times we don't want to come around friends and/or family until we get that magic back.

On November 25, 2004, my grandmother, Ethel Mae Dillard passed. On October 27, 2008, my mother, Berdine Dennard passed. Then on July 16, 2009, my favorite Uncle, David Lee Dillard passed. I was close to all three and within five years they all left this Earth.

I recently thought about the little things that I miss about all three of them. I miss my grandma's Sweet Potatoe Pie and Collard Greens. I miss taking her shopping or "to town," as she would say, and stopping by KFC for a bucket of chicken on the way home. I miss Sundays after church when the whole family would gather at her house to talk and laugh. I miss her rocking in that old rocking chair on the front porch giving us her perspective on life and anything else we pondered.

I could spend days on what I miss about my mother. I miss the playful arguments my family had during the NBA playoffs. My mama despised the Celtics and KG, "The Big Ticket." She loved Labron James and Kobe Bryant, while my sister, dad and I were the exact opposite. I miss being able to pop up anytime and she would go in the refrigerator and cook up something because I was there. Nothing canned or processed, but real food, spur of the moment. I miss being her personal chauffer. If it was Sunday and I had spent the night it was a given that I would be driving her to church. She would get dressed and head down the stairs yelling, "Kenney come on!" Then she would head down to the garage and hop in the passenger side of the car and wait for me to come down. Sometimes I had not even planned on going. I would be in the bed and she would be in the garage tooting the horn. I would drag up and throw on a shirt and tie and jump in the car while she blessed me out for always being late. I would be irritated but I miss that.

I miss so much about Uncle Lee. I miss his singing. He had the prettiest voice. Uncle Lee would burst out and start singing in a heartbeat. How I miss that voice. I'm not sure if anyone even has it on tape. I miss his advice. I miss our religious conversations. If I ever didn't understand anything Biblical he could break it down to me in the simplest form. Uncle Lee had an arrogant, and what many would call "sadity" way about him with many things. Sometimes it got on our nerves. Other times we couldn't wait to see how he was going to react to certain things. We laughed at him about it at times, he laughed at it with us sometimes. Sometimes it irritated us, some times we irritated him, but in the end, we loved him because of it. He was a unique, stylish, classy man.

All three gone within five years.

Life is so short. Many of the things I mentioned I didn't think twice about ten years ago. But now I would do anything to witness them again.

I recently went to my dad's house to visit. What I thought would be a 30-minute visit turned into 3 hours. About mid way through my visit I thought about my Grandma, Mama and Uncle Lee. My dad was doing the usual dad stuff that I usually pay no mind. Offering to feed me, giving me food to take back home, playing old jazz records that he's been playing my whole life but acting as if it's the first time I heard it. Then there's his new favorite; pulling up videos to share on Youtube. After a while I couldn't do anything but soak it in and grin; live in the moment.

There are many out there just like me so busy living in the past or for the future that you don't take time to appreciate the present. Tomorrow's not promised. I challenge you to take a day and spend it with a loved one that you don't normally spend it with. Appreciate the little things you so often take for granted. Just for a moment, live in the moment.


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