Sunday, August 17, 2014

fannie mae johnson 1932 - 2014

On July 22nd my grandmother passed away. It was no surprise because, first of all, she was up in age and her health had been failing for some time. But even when the writing is on the wall it's not an easy thing to except.
    I decided I was going to speak at her funeral. I am not a good extemporaneous speaker, so I wrote a speech/tribute to her. I had several goals when I set out to do this. First, I wanted to be truthful and honest with my feelings about her and with the final analysis of my forty-six years with her. I also wanted to move people through those years in a visual way. I wanted people to be able to visualize me as a boy in the 70's, a teen in the 80's, a young adult in the 90's and 2000 zero's[if that's the correct term for the first decade of a century] and a middle-aged, but still hot and sexy, man in the present. Look, you can call me conceited but I say if you've got it don't deny it - amplify it![LOL] Anyhow, I also wanted to move listeners emotionally with a little sentimentality, a little humor and a little personal nostalgia. Listen to me- a little sentimentality, a little humor... was I writing a speech or seasoning a dish? But on the other hand, maybe crafting a good speech is the equivalent of a chef crafting a gourmet meal. Spices/seasoning can make or break a dish. And just as food is nourishment for the body, words are nourishment for the soul. So, I guess I was right to be concerned about that delicate balance of ''flavors'' just as a chef would be, and I was given just two minutes to convey that balance! It was my ''quickfire challenge'' like they have on Top Chef[one of my favorite reality shows].
    The funeral was held on July 30th. I had written my speech several days prior and I did read it but I just barely got through it before I broke down into tears in front of the other mourners. After the service an aunt of mine from my mother's side of the family[it was my father's mother who passed] came up to me and told me that I had had her in tears as she sat way in the back of the church and listened to my tribute. That let me know I had done what I intended to do, but I will post the speech on this blog next week so you can decide.

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