Temecula, CA – As some of you out there know, I turned 70 years old a week ago. Hardly anyone I meet and greet believes that fact, and that includes me when I stare back at the mirror. From my stories, I think you can tell I take no credit for that anomaly. No matter though, when a couple of months ago I received a call from my Colorado Justice cousin who worked the Detroit bankruptcy.
Happily he asked if I wouldn't mind my cousins throwing a party in my honor up in LA at a place of their choosing. Slightly stunned, I muttered, “Sure.”
|The Four Amigos, all only-child cousins|
This call happened only a few days into my trip of discovery back in Iowa when I was there for Woody's 60th birthday at the end of March. That trip would start a new precedent of not being in my now So Cali hometown for a celebration since moving there, a time-span of 20 years. I didn't see the pattern then since that was the first time it happened.
Spending my birthday in LA this last weekend was the second. It being a jubilee shemitah year and my 70th all things contributed to produce the most magical trip ever to LA. After the jump, the story behind the group of people who came by jet, by train, and by car to honor yours truly, as only a family can.
|Group shot taken at The Proud Bird, with LAX in background.|
Starting in the back row, left corner, is my cuz Wiley, the only son of my mother's oldest brother, Wiley, himself named for the grand patriarch of the family, Wiley Daniel, who was also known by his scene name of Cap'n Dan, as his last name was Daniel. This locally [Louisville, KY] renowned figure is mentioned in two books [ISBN 0-8131-1674-0, by name, page 115, The Rest of The Dream, and ISBN 978-1-935497-36-3, by photo, page 141, ninth counting from the right end of the second row. My father is sixth from that end same row, Two Centuries of Black Louisville]. My own picture can be seen on page 181 as the last kid protestor in line at Fountain Ferry in the time when it was 'whites only'. This rarity of 3 male generations in one historical publication was predicted to me by my grandfather before I was out of high school, a magical occurrence I made known to my cousins honoring me, as I honored the couple who for most of us, started it all. He was our family's lighthouse. He and his wife were both magical but not in a witchy way.
My personal esoteric research has led me to believe that Cap'n Dan descended from the tribe of Levi, the only Jewish tribe not to dance around the golden calf while Moses was up talking to a bush. Eldest son Wiley was called Uncle Dub but not for any modern reasons. Having been given Cap'n Dan's wife's maiden name as a middle name, 'Dub' came from running together ' Little W. B.' becoming a junior since Cap'n Dan took the same middle name also, via his wife's suggestion for the Brown Hotel job app. Wiley Daniel, aka Cap'n Dan, had no middle name at birth or when he and Mary Belle got married.
Standing to Wiley's left are three sisters, Lanny, Rochelle, and Malva, three of the four children by my mother's other brother, Reginald, [Wiley Jr's younger brother] and his second wife. The tall young man bending down in front of Wiley is Justin, Lanny's 25 year old Las Vegas dancing troupe son. Malva, the oldest, has her PhD and recently retired from Amtrak. The last time seeing any of them, two of the girls were just starting college. Their father, 'Uncle Chunk' nicknamed that because he resembled the Micheline Tire baby [he was chunky] became a doctor later in life after serving as an officer in the second World War.
Next to the 'girls' is Kenny, whose mother was my mother's first cousin, making Kenny officially a second cousin. But as he said during our remarks part, he never felt like a second cousin. In my grandfather's house everyone was equal, except Granny was the boss. However, everybody else was equal. Kenny is in the middle of labor talks with the union since he is a General Motors VP. After my party at about ten am the next morning, Kenny was on a flight to Beijing, China. While in town though, I rode in style; 'shotgun' in a red Escalade SUV. I didn't have to ask what year it was. And really, I don't say these things to brag about my family, only to show how proud I am of them all. I told them our ancestors felt the same way watching this gathering and than said an invocation.
The blond woman standing just in front of Kenny is Wiley's wife, Ida, who recently retired and does volunteer work. Last by not least on the corner, is my UCSB professor cousin Danny, the only son and first Reginald [Jr.] from Uncle Chunk's first marriage to Aunt Billy. The second Reginald [Jr.], Uncle Chunk's other son and brother to the three sisters didn't make it. I had prepared something for him though.
In fact, I had something prepared for them all. Early in June I ordered a set of books [Memoirs] to be delivered to the hotel where I was staying. Ordering 11, I had only nine by the time of my party, having sold two in as many days on the hotel block where I was staying in DTLA. Later I would realize the number of church victims was the same number.
Told my cousin was waiting outside, I walked out of the hotel, stopped and looked at the row of cars parked along the front and said to myself, 'which car would my cousin be in?' I then walked over to the red SUV and put my head in the window. Later we would stop at Popeye's since the delicious croissant I had for breakfast was history and the party didn't start for about 3 more hours.
Back at his executive suite I explained that I too had a message to deliver which I hoped everyone would be receptive to. I then showed him my outfit. The jacket got a nod, the shirt an OK, but pulling out the green plaid shorts got me a 'Dis nigga' smile, and suddenly we were kids again.
When I got out of the shower, Danny, who had frown in from Santa Barbara [45 min/plane; 2-3 hours/ train] was out front in the living room. Danny has 3 books out. When some word-pimp dropped an 'O' bomb, which was followed by an 'Oh, don't get me started', well the night began. I then brought out a copy of Memoirs to show them both the two 'extras' each book contained. One marked Chapter 7, the start onto the path less traveled and began with a Beatles music reference, something picked up by Danny.
The second 'extra' bookmarked Chapter 20. When I note in a story that Memoirs is magical [in the signs it affords], I don't mean to say anything I wrote is magical. In Memoirs, Chapters 1-19 are the ones I wrote, my memoirs. Chapter 20 came to me in two epiphanies. That's the magic part. The signs recorded are now in the twenties and number 25 was strategically placed at the start of Chapter 20, the chapter that deals with the now, and what's to come. See Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, The Secret of the Shemitah.
When the night was over, my cousins had learned something new about our uncommon common ancestors, and something about tomorrow. One cousin, after buying a single copy, goggled a main talking point and came back to buy 5 more copies, cornering the market. I may be the only public acknowledged wizard character, but i'm just a diamond of a different cut in the sibling offspring and generations of Wiley and Mary Belle.
We cousins have moved past being 'The Young & The Brest-less', through 'The Days of Our Lays' advancing to maturity for 'Guiding The Light'. The original Wiley Daniel was a lighthouse for the whole startup Daniel clan. As the oldest reigning member I hope to keep the fam and all the offshoots from dashing on the coming rocks. These are the days of Noah.
It felt good to catch up with family that I haven't seen since before my mother died. I managed to catch up a little with everybody, but it was the feeling of being in their company that was the best. It was a feeling that I hadn't experienced in a long time, too long a time.
The next planned party is for Wiley's 70th, in a year and two months.
Also present but not pictured were Wiley's in-laws, Ida's brother Clifford [now Cliff], his wife and party planner for this, Vanessa, and their son, also 25, Matthew. One final note:
|Amazon; CDBaby, and everywhere else for audiobooks|
A cannabis joint of the lowest grade, smoked in the first five minutes of a stroke will stop 95% of after-stroke damage. Cannabis protects the brain. Peace out. See you all next 70th birthday event. Ttfn.