Wednesday update

The Blue Suede Brigade, the friendly folks who walk the streets of Downtown helping tourists find their way, is getting a shake-up. Their employer the Downtown Memphis Commission is going to phase out the mostly part-time positions and create 10 to 15 new full-time positions. The Brigade will have security added to its duties, will be given bicycles, and will have Sunday added to their schedule. That’s a big change and I hope it is a successful one.

The Blues Foundation will present a drumming clinic with Danny Banks tomorrow, February 2, at the Blues Hall on Beale Street 2 to 3:30. By the way, with everything going on with my mom and all, I totally forgot to mention yesterday that the International Blues Challenge has begun! Some of the best blues in the world will be right here on Beale Street through Saturday. There’s usually a wrist-ticket that will get you in all the participating clubs for one low price.

Friday night at Loflin Yard, in the barn they will re-visit the tributes they did in 2016 for David Bowie, Prince, and the Talking Heads. Show starts at 10 PM.

Protest meets art Saturday at the Marshall Arts Gallery in The Edge. Women’s March Protest Signs will be on exhibit from 4 to 6 in the afternoon. There will also be a station where you can write postcards to your representatives in Washington.

The Memphis Zoo is hiring for seasonal positions for the spring and summer. Many different types of positions are open. Apply online here.

Ghost River is kicking off a Wednesday Pub Poll in its taproom tonight from 7 to 9. What’s that? Think of a Family Feud-style contest, where you try to guess the most popular answers. Tonight’s winner gets 4 tickets to an upcoming Grizzlies game.

There will be a workshop called i.LOOM.ination at Stock & Belle at 387 S. Main, Saturday, February 11 from 11 to 3. Learn the basics of weaving and create your own custom tapestry in this 4-hour class. No prior experience is necessary. Only 10 spots are open in the class, so if you want to sign up, don’t delay.

The Hollywood Feed on Union is having a pet microchipping event on Sunday, March 5. $20 per pet, cash or card accepted. If your pet gets lost and it ends up at the shelter, they will scan for a microchip and make sure your pet is returned to you.

USA Today has an article on Jerry “The King” Lawler’s BBQ restaurant that recently opened in Cordova. He plans on franchising the business and has had interested from people as far away as Europe.

So, how am I holding up?

It’s been a week and a half since my mother passed away. A lot of people have been asking me this question, so I thought I would share with you all how I am doing.

I keep thinking back to a hymn played at her funeral called “It’s O’er Now.” It really is for both her, and for me. So many times I would hear her say “I’m so unsteady” or “I’m so nervous” and I know she’s now in a place where she won’t have to experience those feelings. During her last week, she was in constant pain for an inoperable hernia, and now that pain is over.

It’s over for me too. And that’s a relief. The hardest thing I will ever have to do in my life is now behind me. I didn’t realize it until last week, but every time the phone rang, I felt a twinge of fear that the person on the other end of the line would tell me my mother had died. I never have to feel that fear again. I’m also happy that my Christmas holidays will be spent in my own bed from now on, no hotel rooms, no retirement communities, no driving in bad weather. I’m sure I will miss her come Christmas but there was a good bit of stress involved every time I went to see her.

I grew up in the Episcopal Church but have not attended for many years. Since about 15 years ago, my ideas of what God and Heaven are have kind of diverged from what is taught in any mainstream religion. But the way this happened makes me wonder… Mama had to leave us, but she passed away early on a Saturday morning, giving me the entire weekend to be in the arms of my friends before I had to drive to Little Rock. Then I had an entire week to wrap up her affairs. I absolutely despise driving in bad weather, but was given a dry, sunny week to do the things I needed to do over there. She left us in January, at a time of the year where arranging her funeral would not tear me away from plans here in Memphis. And then there was the dread of carrying all of her stuff in from my car in the parking garage, having to make several trips… but when I pulled into the garage, the best parking space (of the un-reserved ones) was right there waiting on me. At 11 AM on a weekday. How often does that happen? It all makes me wonder… God knew he had to take her from me, but did he arrange to do it in a way that would cause me to suffer as little as possible? (By the way, I view God as gender-neutral, so feel free to substitute “she” when you read that last sentence if you prefer.)

Strangely enough, this experience has also given me a new appreciation for what I do for a living. I’ve said several times that I am happy Mama’s mind stayed sharp until the end, that she never suffered the mental decline that my grandmother did. My company supports and promotes a card game that is many people’s passion, that keeps the minds of the people who play it sharp into their 90s and even beyond. I am proud that I help support an activity that helps people’s minds stay strong so they are less likely to have to go through what my grandmother did.

Today is my last day off work following Mama’s death. I was going to spend most of the day adulting, closing out her accounts and such. However, I haven’t received her death certificates yet so there isn’t a whole lot I can do at this time. I’ll do the adulting I need to get done for me (paying my rent, paying the parking garage, going out there and putting the permanent license plate on the car) then it will be time to go play. After all, I am taking a vacation day today, might as well enjoy as much of it as I can! Back tomorrow with more news probably.