Monday, September 28, 2009

Being Haywood Ellis

Today for no particular reason I am especially grateful for my big brother Haywood who helped our mother raise 12 children alone, being the third oldest. There are two sisters older than him. Haywood was the big brother who introduced us to new things constantly, exotic fruits and vegetables, even chocolate-covered ants and cockroaches wrapped in sparkly clear tinted plastic silver and blue. They were good for protein. I looked endlessly. I even touched but never partook. He was the big brother who let me tag along with him to the track when he was a free agent trying out for professional football teams and track meets.

Haywood was the big brother who was meticulous about what we ate and how much we ate. He was always so disciplined and fit. He was the brother who drove a convertible Mustang when we were growing up and took us places when needed or just for a ride. He became the brother who insisted that above all else that we do what was moral and ethical. Sometimes his reasoning seemed a bit much, but he was right.

Haywood is the big brother who to this day calls and loves on me just about every day of the week. We laugh continuously. Most times when he calls the conversation is prefaced with something funny, even if it ends with how we are going to solve the world's problems. We Ellises think big. I love him dearly even when, especially when, he challenges me to be better still.

14 comments:

Pamela said...

Hello Jude,

I truly enjoyed your blog this evening. I lost my big brother June 2007 and I miss him dearly. He was intelligent and an artist. He lost his battle with alcohol just as he was starting to get noticed for his art. He lost his sight two weeks before he passed. I honestly don't believe the alcohol killed him but rather the no longer being able to see to draw. My biggest regret is I spent too many days and conversations preaching at him instead of just loving him and appreciating his wonderful talent. I have one more brother and I have learned my lesson.

God Bless,
Pam

Corrie Howe said...

Sounds wonderful. You are blessed indeed.

Judith Ellis said...

Dear Pam,

I am really sorry to hear about the lost of your brother, I have lost three loved ones, two brothers and my mom from 2005-2007, a loved one each year. I feel your lost and embrace you tonight.

We give our loved ones what we think is needed and do the best we can at any given time. We are ALL imperfect beings and imperfect in love. But love endures in spite of imperfections. My brothers who passed of various heart ailments knew without doubt that I loved them dearly, even when I was brutally honest. Love has a way of showing itself even through our imperfections. I believe your brother felt this love.

Haywood is the oldest brother and as I am the youngest in the family I technically have four remaining older brothers. The really cool thing is that they have never treated me as the youngest. This probably has more to do with my forever insistence on not being coddled. I have had this mindset for as long as I can remember. But, of course, how they see me, I have no control over. :-)

Peace and love,

Judith

Judith Ellis said...

Yes, we are blessed. But it's not that we did not have struggles; it's just that our mother was determined to focus on the blessing. We were all healthy of body and strong of mind. This was really fun--still is. :-) The in-laws had a steep learning curb but they adjusted. Pictured here is my wonderful sister-in-law, Betty. She's from Kenya.

Pamela said...

Thank you for your kind words. I appreciate it.

Judith Ellis said...

It is my pleasure to say anything at all that's helpful. You have written wise and wonderful words on this blog that I have appreciated. We are helpers one to another.

DB said...

Go Haywood !!

Judith Ellis said...

Yeah!

Dave Wheeler said...

Auntie "J",

I spent 11 years as a Survival Trainer...insects are a marvelous thing when you need some fats and protein. Go ahead...give 'em a shot! In my current job as a Corporate Training Manager I have two distinctions. First, I'm the only Trainer who has ever fallen a sleep in a class they were teaching. Second, I'm the only trainer who has ever consumed a few bugs for the enjoyment or discomfort of their students...

Terrific post from a terrific person with a terrific family whose story is an inspirational "lesson" that can be learned and benefit others!

Judith Ellis said...

Dave - I rolled laughing at your comment and was a bit grossed out too. No thank you, dear sir. :-) So, you fell asleep while teaching your own class? Now, that's too funny! Thanks also for the encouraging words and vote of confidence. They matter.

Dave Wheeler said...

Auntie J,

I was teaching a tech support class role playing a call and and I asked a question and heard nothing but silence. I said "I'll hold"...and sat down waiting for an answer. And nodded off. I hear giggling and had about five camera phones pointed at me...think I have a copy of the clip somewhere.

I got the best job in the building!

Judith Ellis said...

You will post the clip, will you? :-)

wmmbb said...

Your brother sounds like a good man. Could it be possible such people exist.

Off topic here, I was watching Professor Corel West on Democracy Now, and learning among other things about his disagreement with "Brother" Larry Summers. I respect for Princeton as a university has certainly being enhanced, and I suppose it is reminder that institutions and the values they represent do matter in our societies.

Judith Ellis said...

Yes, wmmbb, such people do exist. In fact, I surround myself with such. I LOVE Cornel West. I had the opportunity to spend a quite a few days with him and his mind is extraordinary. I'll have to find that Democracy Now interview. I'd love to hear it. I love the fact that he disagrees with "Brother" Larry Summers. :-) I most certainly do too. He wrecked Harvard's endowment through projections and bad investments and he is currently advising President Obama. Sigh!

I could not agree with you more about the institutions of higher learning and get quite weary when people began to berate them. I have found that only those who have not respect higher learning and have not themselves gone to college or any study beyond high school do such. It does nothing for society. I am also not foolish enough to think that everyone will go to college. But it is such an increasing educated global society that those without higher learning will find themselves more wanton than others. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule.

By the way, Haywood is a wonderful person. He is compassionate, intelligent, well-informed of national and international issues and is a gifted biblical scholar. He's also quite the innovator, having designed quite a few inventions. Haywood is very much like our paternal great grandfather.