Sunday, January 3, 2016

Happy Birthday Son

He came roaring into the world on January 3rd. Terrible time for a birthday. He was supposed to arrive on December 15. No baby. Well, we thought he will come before Christmas. Nooo....So we decided he would be the first New Year's baby and we'd get all those presents like gift certificates to McDonald's and Sears. Didn't happen. Finally on a snowy evening when the driving was scary he decided to make his entrance on January 3.

The first thing my wife said as she roused up, bleary-eyed was: "Let me see his ears."Most of the Lovette clan have big ears like Obama. " I thought so," she said and went back to sleep.

Red-headed and always squirmy--he made his mark. Still does. Every church I see red had a Matthew story or two. He loved the church in Georgetown because it was small and everybody knew everybody. So they made over both our red-heads. He went to Montessori school taught by this wonderful nun, Margie. Our car pool was like the United Nations. There was a Korean boy, a black boy, a girl from a foreign country and Matthew. One week he came home ands said, "Mama I wish you had hair like Ricky's
mother." His Mama said, "I know- she has this huge Afro." "Matthew said, "Yeah--I know I felt it all the way home. If you had one it would be cool." He roared through the church with his Superman cape.

Moving to Clemson he loved the church because it had, he said, "nailed-down seats." One Christmas Eve during our Candlelight Communion Service he set his bulletin on fire from his candle. Early on he discovered art and Brenda Bowers taught him year after year. If there is a second Mama Brenda is it. Early on she recognized he had real talent. He won all sorts off awards and went to Governor''s School in South Carolina.  He was one of the national finalists in the Presidential Art Awards.

His art teacher and Governor's School recognized his artistic ability and recommended that he spend his last year of High School at the North Carolina School for the Arts. While there he won a scholarship to the Art Institute in Chicago. And so one August day we packed a van and drove him all the way to Chicago. It was scary--driving off and leave your 17 year old son in Chicago of all places. He flourished there and it was a great experience. And when  he graduated sitting beside us was Brenda Bowers, crying here eyes out like the rest of the parents. 

He worked in a restaurant for a while. Spent a semester working for Habitat for Humanity as a Photographer in Americus, Georgia. He took loads of pictures for the Jimmy Carters and told his Mama, "You know how your eyes look. Rosiland Carter has the same bags under her eyes you do."

He went back to Chicago to be close to Mark somebody. Were wondered about this relationship. But Mark and Matthew have been together now for 26 years and were married a year ago by his father -preacher in their living room. This is a great relationship.

Since then he and Mark had a Bed and Breakfast for five years--became consultants for that group and then decided to take photographs of Bed and Breakfasts. Not many Bed and Breakfast photographers around. Since that time they have worked in over 100 inns.

The adolescent years of growing up were particularly hard for Matthew. Yet because of a great art teacher, some recognition that made him feel good about himself--and parents that cheered him on he has had a wonderful 48 years.

He is still a wild and crazy guy. And we love both of our red-heads fiercely. And today--I remember that cold icy evening when he came into the world. Late...but ready to go. So I wish him well for all the days that come after today.

As I think of him I remember Langston Hughes' poem, "Mother to Son".

"Well, son, I'll tell you:
Life for me ain't been no crystal stair. 
It's had tacks in it, 
And splinters, 
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor--Bare. 
But all the time 
I'se been a-climbin' on,
And reachin' landin's,
And turnin' corners, 
And sometimes going' in the dark
Where they ain't been no light.
So boy, don't you turn back. 
Don't set down on the steps
'Cause you finds it's kinder hard.
Don't you fall now--
For I'se still groin' honey, 
I'se still. climbing'
And life for me ain't been no crystal stair."

--Roger Lovette /


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