Monday, October 3, 2016
Take your seat at the table, my friend
The last 6 weeks or so has been sad for me. I've had too many of my friends pass away. Gone too soon I would say. Some younger than me. I remember when I was younger and I would see my Mom and people older always going to a funeral almost every week and I would say man, you act like professional funeral goers. But now that I have gotten at a particular age, I understand. Sadly but yes I get it now. I'm about to tell you a story of the last funeral I attended of a friend who was vibrant and loved to dance, stepping if you're from the Chi. (Chicago) This friend moved into the house directly behind my house. I was happy to see her and her husband move there, because the previous owners and other neighbors on her block & mine did not like when my family & I bought the house we lived in. ( we were the first African American family to move on this block! Ha, you can read that story later. Oh they defaced my new home before we could move in) ok I'm not going there today! Well my friend Denese bought the house and lo and behold she was married to another friend we knew and grew up in the same neighborhood, same high school Michael Billinger. Micheal had been a standout football player in high school. At Morgan Park High School and after college he coached at our Alma-mater. Anyhow the friendship grew and our kids grew up together! We would celebrate holidays together. We put a fence up around the house because we had a basketball court in the back, but a gate in the back so their kids could play and it was easy for them and us to go back & forth. Well as life moves along we moved they moved, kids grow up, Michael passes away and we loose contact with each other except occasionally running into her and her Mom in the shopping centers. We have a mutual friend that goes to our church who called and told the Mr/Sam that Denese was planning a birthday/retirement celebration and wanted us to come. If anyone knows us, we had been on the road traveling for 15 years or so as our #2 son Donovan played college and professional football. So now he has retired and we have reduced that road gigging tremendously. So we were ecstatic that we would be here to go! We rejoicefully replied to see her celebrate her Sassy, Classy, Jazzy Sixtieth birthday( on the invite) and retirement too! It was going to be a dress to impress White Affair Adults Only party at a fancy place. Dinner served promptly at 8pm on October 8, 2016.
On Saturday September 24, (after attending another sad Memorial service on 10/23 ), my cousin texts me the sad news that Denese had passed away! I was devastated and I didn't want to believe it. We quickly called the mutual friend who hadn't even heard that God awlful news herself! It was true, she had passed away, doing what she loved to do with her second husband step dancing. Oh my God, I didn't get to see her, to catch up, and laugh or dance as she celebrated life. No, she was gone and left behind her Mother, husband, children, grandchildren, family & friends.
The preacher said at her funeral she didn't know but God knew she was planning her own heavenly party as all of us who had rsvp attended on Oct 1, dressed to impress in our White Attire. Standing room only! I got a chance to see the kids, her Mom, brother, extended Billinger family again. As they all told me she was so excited that we would be at her party!!! So rest in heaven Denese Porch, you already have your seat at the table.