our stepdad became james brown right before our eyes in the living room. it would normally be after returning home from sportsman inn, the bar next to the creek. we had a 19 inch zenith television then. i think it was zenith. i was 7. his act would end up becoming a ritual in our lives. he would first jump into a high horse stance. he’d start shaking his left leg a few times, as if shaking off fleas, then he’d boogie woogie his right. he was flat foot if that matters for this story. what would he look like in the blue and silver low cut outfit mr. brown wore? unfortunately the image wasn’t so classy. he wore only jeans and no shirt, and we had to witness his bare flat feet. he’d shake his body like crazy and yell wo! i feeeel good!, followed by james brown! i used to wonder if i’d grow up to perform james brown in front of my kids. as of now, i don’t have kids and i don’t dance james brown.
Note: Our stepdad Joe passed away on October 23, 2012 at 65, after a ten year struggle with early onset Alzheimer’s. Joe served in the Vietnam War as a helicopter gunner, where he witnessed the deaths close friends and many other fatalities. His brothers called him the life of a party, and growing up with him, we experienced how he loved music, dancing, singing, and yelling. I enjoy writing short pieces that capture moments in our lives with Joe, and though we knew he suffered trauma from Vietnam and later struggled with Alzheimer’s, he lived with passion and a strong sense of duty for family.
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