Someone asked me how I met George. George was attracted to the 12 pack of Milwaukee's Best Ice Beer I was buying everyday. Each morning I would walk down to the Piggly Wiggly to buy my beer and George would be pulled into the fire lane in front.
"Give a brother a beer!" he would say to me.
I would give him a couple and then walk on home to start my drinking session.
Time went by and George soon started to talk to me like he knew me. He even claimed to know my ex-wife. "I am going to call her and let her know how you are doing," he would tell me. I thought he was just some crazy black man with a drinking problem. Well, George has a drinking problem, but he is not crazy. He had me mixed up with someone else. Soon, our friendship grew as I began to hang out with the black men that sat down at the shopping center drinking, gossiping, and panhandling. At the time I was writing about it, my blog was seeing a 1000 readers a day. It has settled comfortably into obscurity these days and I mainly get around 100 readers a day.
This morning Mrs. Jones called me at seven and said breakfast would be ready when George got home in about 30 minutes. I was up and dressed, but I declined. I felt I was wearing out my welcome. George showed up about eight and was wondering if I was having problems with my mental illness.
"It's not like you to not come and eat with us," he said.
"I don't want to be a burden on your mother," I replied in my own overly sensitive way. "She's not getting any younger."
"Shit!" George said exasperated. "Momma loves you. She wants to make her boys feel good - to eat good food that makes them happy. You would be doing her a favor and not only you."
George left after getting Maggie out of his lap. I sat and ate my cold breakfast feeling weird. Maybe George is right. Maybe it is okay to have friends like that - that don't think you are imposing on them. It is a novel thing to me. I haven't had a lot of friends over the years. Well, at least not the types you want to bring home to mother. My dad always said of my mother's family that they were glad to see you and even more glad when you were gone. Maybe I have to break free from the social shackles that have bound me for so long and that are so prevalent in my own family.