Monthly Archives: April 2014

~Mama Johnnie

~Mama Johnnie

Last week Mama Johnnie lost her fight with Alzheimer’s s. She really has been gone longer. My Mom got the news late last week that there wasn’t . Sunday she flew to Dallas to see her and help my Aunt with funeral arrangements.

My brother, sister and I have been emailing stories about Mama Johnnie. Why do most of my favorites involve a gun? Words like nice, sweet or cuddly DON’T describe her! But she was efficient. She would press my hair, hot comb in one hand and hooch in the other. If I flinched she’d POP me on the head with the hot comb. She WASN’T play’n.

Oh and all these kids getting a hold of family members guns. I know the gun itself isn’t the issue. When I was little I knew Mama Johnnie had guns. Even if one of them were on the coffee table staring at me in the face wouldn’t touch it. Not because I understood gun danger. I WASN’T that smart of a kid (my name is Allison not Arthur). What I did know is Mama Johnnie would TARE my butt up if I touched that gun. I knew the word idle did not precede her threats.
This is the woman that put her loaded gun under the chin of a complete stranger. Granted the man had rear ended her car and was uninsured. Still who does that?! She gave the phrase “Balls of Steel” new meaning.

Oh but she COULD cook! You just DON’T even know! Her Gumbo, fried Cat fish, Monkey bread, barbeque, and the list goes on and on. No matter where else I’ve had these they CAN’T rival Johnnie Mays (sorry Mom).

She was very pointed where Arthur and I COULD and COULDN’T play out in front of her place. Let us not forget it was South Central LA. The front door was open but the metal screen closed. Now the TV was on, there was NO way her Stories were going to be missed! Still she would step outside on the stoop when she heard voices or a car door. Yelled at whoever it was to come meet her grand kids. I use to think Mama Johnnie was so friendly. When I got older and wiser I realized she wasn’t being friendly. She was putting them on NOTICE! You know we Never had any troubles. The thugs new Mama Johnnie had ZERO reservations using a gun. I always felt safe when I was in her presence.

So my siblings and I are buying some flowers for the services. I asked my mom what is the color scheme to which she replied pink. To which I said PINK?! She was I know RIGHT. Apparently my auntie swears it was Mama Johnnies favorite color.


In my 41 years on earth I’ve NEVER seen Mz. Johnnie Mae Rowe in pink! NO pink furnichture, blamkets, trinkets NOTHING! Nevertheless I calmed myself done and obeyed my elders and bought the pastel pink arrangement. Then LESS than an hour later I called the florist back and changed it. So it’s still in the pink family. It’s just VIBRANT pink, fuchsias, roses, etc. Johnnie was FIESTY she carried a gun!

I figure it’s one of two things. First, pastel pink is truthfully her fav but she just kept it on the down low to keep her street cred. If that’s so then my flowers are gett’n her back for hitt’n me in the head with the HOT hot come! Second if pink is my aunts favorite and NOT Mama Johnnies. If that’s true then I’ve got Mama Johnnie’s back! My flowers will truly represent her in my aunt’s sea of pastel pink.


Thank you Mama Johnnie for teaching me respect, courage and love. I love you and will miss you. Rest in peace until we meet again.


~On A DIME!!

~On A DIME!!

So last Saturday I went to Jazz Alley for a show. The last time I was at Jazz Alley I walked in on my own two feet. A different day a different way. Ok so I’m not NEW to the game. I’ve been rock’ Team Handi for liked 4 years and some change now. When I made the reservation for the party of four I dotted the eyes and crossed the Ts. You know me! YOU KNOW ME!

Allow me to recap the night like I did for their management…
I was told by Jazz Alley staff to go to the 6th avenue entrance but no one was there to let me in. Tanya, one of the friends who was with me had to call Jazz Alley and ask staff to come let us in. When they let us in, that’s ALL they did! NO escort to our seats, NO welcome to The Alley NOTH’N! GREAT security (I say with a smile and wink). We could have been there LIGHT UP joint. You never know whose pack’N heat these days! That’s why the TSA searches me and my HOT ride. Ok so there’s NO clear walkway which resulted in us bumping into people while trying to maneuver the wheelchair through the crowd. I was about to GO OFF! I took a deep breath and smiled. I remembered we were at a black show in a white establishment. We were there to see Lalah Hathaway and Ruben Studdard. So it was sea of blackness. I didn’t want to be the ONE pop’n off. Little did I know this was only beginning of the mess…

When we finally found someone to help us. I gave them my last name and they went to look my reservation up. They returned fast but they did not have the correct “Raney”. Staff insisted that we had seats in another section however; our correct seats were in 53 and 54. Another party also had the last name “Raney” but staff did not take the time to determine that it was not me. They just insisted that my seats were in another section. They could clearly see that I was in a wheelchair so it made no sense for them to think my seats were in an inaccessible area.

Fortunately, I had a printout of my reservation which showed the correct section. When I finally reached my party’s seats in sections 53 and 54, there was a booth on one side and chairs on the other side of the table. Jazz Alley staff told me to just move the chairs on one side. That’s easy enough right. RIGHT? Ok so my wheelchair did not fit under the table. Even if my wheelchair fit, there was no room for me to move around to see the show. Like zero clearance. Oh and there are four people in our party. If my wheelchair takes up two spaces where was our fourth person gonna sit??? NOW I could understand why the staff thought these seats were not our seats. But clearly they are the ones I bought no matter how inaccessible they were.

I couldn’t sit at the tables that I paid for. I had to sit in between two the tables. Fun! NOT! I planned to order dessert while at Jazz Alley. But what was I SUPPOSE to do eat on my lap? Y-E-A-H RIGHT at this Booshie event?! It was difficult enough to enjoy a glass of wine also because of this.

Studdard’s tribute to Luther pulled me through. MAN that boy can sing. So a couple days after the show I emailed The Alley my experience as a disabled person with their establishment.

Unfortunately these sort of experiences happen to the disabled all too often. But what happened next NEVER happens. At lease it’s a first for me. The PR person wrote back immediately. OH and no form letter or cover our butt letter. I’m gonna just cut and paste the high lights…

 Jazz Alley— I practically fell off my office chair when I read your email this morning. Because the owner was not scheduled to be in today, I left him a voicemail message at home as I’ve not read or heard of a situation like this at Jazz Alley in my 15 years with the club. Everything about your experience is horrible and completely unacceptable on our end.
First and most importantly, know that we are DEEPLY SORRY. We’re very glad you emailed us about this situation. By notifying us, you are giving us the chance to apologize and dig into where the wires crossed on our end so this never happens again.

From there she told me the person that took my order DIDN’T note on the reservation I was in a wheelchair. Which about KNOCKED me out my wheelchair! I had like a 10 to 15 minute conversation with the lady. Then the she (PR rep) informed me the gal would be written up for the mistake. Lastly she invited me back and sent me four tickets on the house. I can use these on ANY show I choose. If that ain’t good customer service I don’t know what is. Nordstrom WHO?!

Over the past 18 years, this disease has dictated many different situations for me, not the least of which being confinement to a wheelchair for four years, and counting. As a result, this is not the first bad experience I’ve encountered, nor will it be the last. But Jazz Alley’s quick and thoughtful response validated me as a valuable part of society…my money is just as green as someone on two feet. I’m just say’N. Thank you Jazz Alley

~Time for a re-write!

~Time for a re-write

I just got a call from Nic. She saw on FB a friend/old colleague of ours has cancer. Oh and not the old breast cancer you would suspect a 40ish woman to get. It’s some sort of Lymphoid cancer. It breaks my heart. I still see her dancing down the aisle at her wedding. She said her wedding was a happy event and she was a happy bride. That was two kids and a divorce ago. Yet when I hear her name I will always see her dancing down the aisle at her wedding well over 13 years ago.

Ok so she goes to the doctor on Tuesday. They tell her she has cancer of her Lymphatic system and they want to start Chemo that week. To which she threw up the time-out signal take’n a knee. She was like What WHAAT WHAT. First of all give me a chance to wrap my arms around the fact that I have cancer.

So this is what I got ISSUES with. The way doctors PHOTO BOMB you. They jump all in your frame with a grim diagnosis. Then they calmly talk about treatment like nothing just happened. They did the same thing when they diagnosed me with MS and Albee with type 1 Diabetes. Now that’s some kinda sick protocol. I understand doc’s give these sort of diagnosis every day, maybe multiple times a day. But YO docs like CHECK IT! The people getting the news AIN’T NEVER heard this before! Makes me want to SPAL the professor who wrote the text book on how to give patients negative diagnosis.

When they suspected I had MS I was single, in my white Clinique get up on my way to work. I had no idea I was finna get life changing news. It happened so quick at first my brain couldn’t compute what she said. Next thing I knew the nurse was in my room talk’n fast pushing papers on me. Ok and all the while the doctor is instructing me to not pass go and to immediately go to Swedish hospital. AAAND that’s when I threw the red flag on the field. I was like I need to call my family, work and tell them I won’t be in today. Of course the first two calls to family no one answered. This was barbaric times. No one had cell phones in 96. Fortunately the third call big brother was at his desk and by my side in 40 minutes. Which was impressive because he worked and lived in O-town an hour away.

It always goes back to statistics and our kindergarten picture. We hope and the cancer, MS or any other negative number won’t land on us. Unfortunately we live in an imperfect world. They have to fall somewhere. Bad numbers or Statistics DON’T define us. We ultimately decide who we are. D was diagnosed with stage 4 Lymphatic cancer this week. Yeah there were tears! Who wouldn’t cry? However you know what she said next? “Well I think I should ask Richard Sherman to sign my bald head”. That’s not a statistic or a number. That’s the happy bride dancing down the aisle. Keep dancing Dawnelle. I’m just say’n