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Shannon Briggs: MaMa’s Day & I Miss Mine

By Shannon “The Cannon” Briggs

It’s mothers day Sunday morning and I awoke to my two year old doing his usual every morning “go crazy”. As of lately I have not been bumping (playing loud) any hip hop music around my two sons due to lyrics that can be raunchy as a mutha BLEEP. Although I was raised hearing every curse word known to man in my mothers apartment growing up, I’m trying to show a little class in hopes that I can raise a much more sophisticated Briggs with more brains than me. My boys especially my ten year old just don’t need to hear the sexual explicits of other men and women. My neck my back my bleep and my bleep crack. It’s crazy.

So as soon as they left for the pool I began to bang Ghostface killa’s “Yolanda’s house” off of his last album Big Doe Rehab. “It’s crazy!” I love saying that. “IT’S CRAZY!” Those to words have become my favorite way of describing things in which either blow me away because something is totally absurd and wack or things that blow me away due to the fact that I’m moved or inspired in a good way. The song Yolanda’s house inspired me to type this and reminded me of growing up in the hood. SHEEESH.

Earlier before the fam went on there swimming expedition Alana, Erica, Leonard Byam aka L Dog and myself sparked a conversation in the crib (home in which someone lives) about growing up in Brooklyn in the late 70’s and early 80’s. I’m 36 years old cot-dammit ! I better hurry up and win my third heavyweight championship.

Anyway….. At first I was hype and we where all chiming in and racing to see who could come up with the illest throw back memory on what was official and what was wack. Food stamps, welfare cheese, 4 wings and rice, 25 cent juices, Ding Dongs, 25 cents bag of chips, remembering when the soda yellow mellow came out, pop rocks, whatchamacallit candy bars, Kabangers, penny candy, jelly’s (the plastic shoes girls wore and bitch ass nicca’s ), NYC transportation was 35 cents. Chasing the ice cream truck. Getting sprinkles on your ice cream was an extra treat. We really took it back for a minute.

After a while I became severely depressed having lost my mom back in 1996 and this being a day for celebration for mothers and all that. A feeling came over me and thoughts of how hard it must have been back then for my mom trying to raise me in Brownsville Brooklyn as a single parent when Jimmy Carter was president who after Ford then Ronald Regan and then George Bush Senior had the hood in the smash. Both parties can eat shit on the real but Regan and Bush Senior. COTDAMN. Obama please help!

One memory in particular is the one of me waking and running to the local neighborhood supermarket Royal Farms early summer mornings to pack grocery bags. Unlike today whereas when you go to a supermarket and the person who packs your bag is an employee of the store in my neighborhood it was a first show up first work first to get a “spot” at a register as a bag packer. Looking back in retrospect that shit was quite embarrassing being that the local neighborhood honey’s where not trying to holler at the cats like myself who where packing bags for what can easily be described as ” a lil bit of change.” Boy was that some embarrassing shit when I carried grocery bags to a girl named Marlene’s house who I had a crush on and she bust out laughing at me. Anyway. It was times where you would sometime have to fight for a “spot” or if you had a “spot” and took the daring trip to walk a customer home to carry there bags in hopes of that BIG tip, that rarely happened…. when you came back to the store you where pretty much dead on that spot. I remember once walking a woman home across Atlantic Avenue which was a NO-NO due to Herkimer street boys and there dreams and aspirations of kicking another whole in my ass.

Being the retard I can sometimes be, I dared to make that extra tip money and took the risk. Fortunately enough I slipped through enemy lines without being detected or maybe it was the fact that the johnny pump (fire hydrant) was open. Or maybe it was the other kid that they where beating for reasons beyond my knowledge. The good news is I made it pass his annihilation going and coming back to the supermarket. The bad news was the lady gave me 25 ass cents for carrying 4 heavy ass bags down five New York long ass blocks. To make matters worse when I got back to my “spot” at the register, in which I did my best to make clear I would be returning to, the beautiful sexy older Puerto Rican woman who’s register I was packing for totally got amnesia and had let another kid have my “spot”. I beef’d with homie loudly about what had transpired but he wasn’t having it and the lady did not defend me. In fact she told her boss she never saw me. I got the boot. Sheeesh.

I was furious. I could have gotten a beat down from hell from the Herkimer street boys! It had been a slow terrible day money wise, I had made one quarter for damn near walking a lady to Canada and It was hot as shit! It was 1982 and the local neighborhood pool was closed. I was pissed. I can remember the convo with the lady like it was last night.

Shannon: “Mrs can you please hold my spot for me, I’m going to help this lady with her bags.”

Lady: ” No problem baby” With her heavy sexy Puerto Rican accent. Sheeesh.

Shannon: “Thank you mam” I learned how to “JEFF” ( Pull out the tap dance shoes ) early.

Off I went. On return dude had my spot. We argued over it but he was my main man Eric Kirland. I ended up bee hunting by myself that day. I did well bee hunting that day. I caught like 5 queen bee’s that day and even some lightning bugs. What ever happened to lightning bugs? GLOBAL WARMING? Nah Republicans. They destroy everything. Anyway soon after Calvin Rhodes showed up took my bee’s and roofed (threw it on a building) my jar. Bastard.

It was part of a CRAZY growing up…. I miss my mama.





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