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Mashed Potatoes!

Under any other circumstances, I would unequivocally state that the most disgusting food on the face of the earth would be Kentucky Fried Chicken’s faux bowl of mashed potatoes and the questionable gelatinous brown shit that sits on top of it , and passes for what we call gravy.  But today, the circumstances have changed…

As you all know, I am following the path of my nephew Devyn, who was shot in the head, a victim of a senseless crime that has not yielded one person anything other than grief.  Devyn was shot behind the ear and the bullet traveled in a downward trajectory resulting in the loss of multiple teeth and requiring that his jaws be wired shut.  In the few weeks since this tragedy happened, my nephew has not complained about anything except the one thing that all teenagers complain about, food, and how hungry they are!

Today, Devyn went to the doctor’s office and took a test that they call a “Barium Swallow.”  This test entails testing the patient with a solution containing Barium sulfate.  This solution is ingested by the patient and then tracked by x-rays to track its progress through the esophagus and the stomach.  To make a long story short, Devyn, just got a free pass to put a hurting on a whole lot of restaurants and I intend to take that journey with him… Soft foods only boy!

So, today, after getting the clearance from his doctors, Devyn decided to get some mashed potatoes from K-Fried and I an not taking issue with his culinary choices.  Eat all the mashed potatoes from Kentucky Fried Chicken you want.  I’m not sure that they have any nutritional value, but hopefully, they’ll help you to gain back some of the weight you’ve lost.  Bigger, after all, is a part of your motto…

Bigger – Better – Stronger!

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A Lesson Before Devyn!

First and foremost, I want everyone to know that this tribute to my nephew Devyn is not about anyone or anything other than him.  This whole endeavor is about making him whole and restoring him to the young man that we all knew and loved before his tragic accident!.  For some reason that I cannot explain, whilst in the middle of starting this blog, Devyn and my cousin Leah showed up at the house.  I’ll get back to that a little bit later…

I want to thank my fiancee’ Stephanie Lewin, who put together the Devyn: Bigger, Better, Stronger blog.  Not only did she write it, she did all of the logistical work to get it up and running and set up the donation page.  And for that, I am eternally grateful and appreciative.  However, Stephanie is not a product of FAMU and the way that we do things.  I don’t hold that against her, however, I hope to give her a softer edge…

I am not running a Super Pac here, my only intention is to help offset some of the costs that Karen may incur commuting between Tallahassee and Tampa for Devyn’s bi-monthly trips to Tampa to see his doctors.  President Obama is going to be fine and I hope that the same generosity that you show to his campaign that is in your hearts, you can show to mine.  I am not asking for a thirty second sound bite on the telly but in help getting thirty miles down I-10.

We’ve received a few donations thus far and that is a good thing.  What we must keep in mind is that although we are doing everything in our power to help my sister and her family is this…, there are four younger children whose lives we are not trying to disrupt.  Three of the four are involved in advanced soccer programs and all are being recruited by these programs to participate on the next level.

When Devyn walked through the door, I immediately stopped doing what I was doing on the computer and went to give him a hug.  I am not talking about the quick dap and faux hug that brothers give each other these days but the full blown hug that I gave him the same day that he came home from his first day of  Kindergarten.

For the first time since his shooting, I saw him laughing and smiling as much as the wires in his mouth would let him.  My heart pounded with pride and joy.  We all felt that the young man that left us in triumph, who came back to us in tragedy, has shown us all, that no matter what, that the will to live and succeed will never be trumped by those with lesser values….

Thanks for teaching me something!

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Miracle?

“There are only two ways to live your life.  One is as though nothing is a miracle.  The other is as though everything is a miracle.” – Albert Einstein

I have not always been the evil Atheist that some people make me out to be.  In fact, I was indoctrinated into religion at an early age by my grandmother Thelma Clarke.  Thelma, or T.C. as we like to call her, made it her business to see that her grandchildren were raised as good little Episcopalians.  Every Sunday, my brother, sisters, and I served Christ as acolytes, singing in the children’s choir, and attending Sunday school.

It was during these Sunday School classes that I was first introduced to the concept of miracles.  Dictionary.com defines a miracle as:  an effect or extraordinary event in the physical world that surpasses all known human or natural powers and is ascribed to a supernatural cause.  Supernatural is used usually as an euphemism for God.  Along my own personal journey through this short thing that we call life, I came to be a skeptic of miracles and the supernatural.  For me, logic and reason control my thought processes.  I have to be able to see and touch something in order to believe that it exists.  If you will, I need empirical evidence…

That was until today when Devyn walked across the threshold and I was able to touch him and hug him for the first time since his shooting.  It was in that instant that all of T.C.’s making me go to church came back to haunt me.  I was at once grateful for the turn of events that allowed Devyn to come home.  I am talking about the incompetence of his attackers and grateful for the angle of the bullet that entered his head.  Logic tells me that he is fortunate to be alive because of his will to live and the way that the event unfolded.

What I am having difficulty with is discounting the prayers and well wishes of all of you that have come to support Devyn and my family as we deal with this tragedy.  I can’t very well tell you to take your “God bless you and your family” and that “We are praying for him” and tell you to blow it out of your asses because I don’t know if it was that, in effect,  that saved him.

There is no proof that God exists or does not exist! I suspect that this argument will continue when we have all ceased to exist.  The only thing that I know is that when I saw my nephew today, I was overjoyed and filled with a feeling of love that I didn’t know that resided within me.  Was it just life playing  itself  out?  Or was it just a miracle?

Today, I don’t care what anyone believes.  Be it in a supernatural being or a miracle that brought Devyn home or a total act of randomness of the physical  universe is irrelevant.  I am a happy man!  This is a time for celebration.  Whether his being home is a miracle or just plain fate is a debate for someone who gives a shit.  And right now, I dont…

P.S.  While Devyn is growing stronger physically, we have yet to discover the psychological issues that he will have to deal with.  As always, the family continues to appreciate your love and support.  We will continue to update you with Devyn’s recovery!  Peace and love to all!

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Bring Him Home!

I’ve done a bit of reminiscing today about the fives years that I lived in New York.  Living in New York is at worst, dodging all of the tourists looking up and ogling all of the tall buildings.  At best, if you are into the arts such as I am, it is the American version of Mecca!  I was so fortunate to work for a company named Group Sales Box Office.  The mission of this company was to provide discounted theater tickets to school and civics groups of ten or more people who wanted to come experience the offerings of Broadway!

One of the perks of working that job is that I got to experience everything that Broadway had to offer for free.  Not only did we do Broadway tickets, we handled all of the theme restaurants such as the Hard Rock Cafe…  Who could ask for anything more than free food and drinks and then a show afterwards?  Myself, and a wacky cast of coworkers would do our best to put those restaurants out of business.

Okay, so you’re probably asking yourself where is Nick going with this column.  I am here to bring to your attention to a novel written by Victor Hugo called Les Miserables.  In the business, we just called it Lay Miz.  Anyway, the principle character is Jean Valjean,who rises from a bread thief to become  a very prominent man who is ruthlessly hunted by a French police officer, Inspector Javert bent on bringing Valjean down.

Valjean has adopted Cosette, the daughter of the deceased Fantine.  Cosette falls in love with Marius who is severely injured in the French Revolution.  Upon discovering Marius, Valjean launches into “Bring Him Home!”  Which is the song that made me think again about my nephew Devyn!  Please, bring him home…

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Devyn…. Part Two!

When I first wrote about my nephew Devyn Hardy, who was the victim of a senseless and heinous violent crime, it was intended as a therapeutic measure for me to deal with my disbelief and grief.  Instead, the many friends of the Hardy family have taken my words and have turned them into their words in the hopes of fighting negative stereotypes.  We all know that words have power and through my blog, I have rejected the words of those who would cast us in less than a positive light!

As I stated in the first Devyn blog, The Tampa Tribune and the police department had characterized Devyn’s shooting as a drug deal gone bad.  I am happy to report unequivocally that there will be no charges filed against Devyn.  To be blunt, my nephew was the victim of those who wanted to rob him of his possessions and nothing more.  Many folks have encouraged me to forward my post to the media to clear the air, however, I think that a kick to the nuts of those who defamed my nephew are more appropriate.  Please believe me, I am winding up my leg….

I talked to Karen this evening and I am happy to report that Devyn is in good spirits and even does a little dance with his shoulders whenever he receives visitors.  He was so overwhelmed yesterday with the number of people who came to see him that Karen had to limit the number of people who could visit.  Is that a remarkable young man or what?

Devyn has amazed his doctors with the speed of his recovery and his outlook on his future.  His jaw is wired shut and he can’t talk and it will be that way for the next six weeks.  However, he is communicating with hand signals and gestures using his body.  Damn, I love this kid!  He is the victim, yet, he is setting the example!  If I had one tenth of the strength this kid has, I’d be a better man!

We are looking to bring him home sometime next week to finish the healing and rehabilitative process.  He will still need to undergo at least two more reconstructive surgeries and I will continue to blog about his progress.  He will need a hypoallergenic environment to recuperate in and I will touch on that later.

Once again, thank you all for the love and support that you have given my family.  We appreciate and love you all!  Devyn posted to Facebook yesterday and I will leave you with what he said:  Thank you everyone for the love..yalls prayers and strength are keepin me going.

Did I say how much I love this kid?

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When The Dark Clouds Gather Over The Horizon…!

Recently, in my tribute to my nephew Devyn Hardy, I commented on how I did not have much faith in the human species as a whole.  Let me state how unequivocally I was wrong about the human race and in particularly The Baby Rattler Nation.  While I will always view humans skeptically, I will never again doubt the bonds we forged as Baby Rattlers.  I couldn’t have made it without the support of some of our core families.  I take that back….. even if you were an only child, you are a part of that core.

There are certain things that we hold to be self-evident, such as the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  Although these things came to us later rather than sooner, must these three unyielding principles require a child to constantly look over his/her shoulder in the fear that some ne’er-do-well is going to inflict some type of harm on them simply because they have benefited a little better under the system that we live under?  It shouldn’t have to be this way….

I can ramble on and on but I don’t want to bore you, lest myself.  I am truly fighting the monster that I despise I might become.  I just want a very simple thing out of life and that is for us to all get along.  I will gladly give you everything that I have if it will prevent you from trying to blow my brains out.  Maybe, it is beyond my purview to understand this… I might never know.  With this being said evildoers and dregs of society, you must remember one thing…..

If you want to do dirt against us is a road that you don’t want to travel down because if you do, you only need to remember these words:

When the dark clouds gather on the horizon,
When thunder and lightning pierce the skies,
When fate is but a glare in the eye of a fallen Rattler,
and hope….a lost friend,
When the sinew of the chest grows weary from those hard charging linebackers,
And the muscles in the legs grow tired from those hard charging running backs,
You must always remember….the Rattlers will
STRIKE!!!
STRIKE!!!
AND STRIKE AGAIN!!!

We will get you in the end. We come from a legacy starting with Matthew Esteras, Harry Holt, Doris Jefferson, Doris Medlock, Ruth Williams, Johnnie Williams, Raymond Baker, and even Mrs. Hill, the evil math teacher…. Don’t tread upon us!   My nephew, Devyn Hardy made it through New Beginnings so he is apart of the FAMU Family!  You tried us once, you’d be ill advised to do it a second time.  Because when you screw with one of us, you screw with us all.  My entire family and I, stand together with you and for you. Never again can we allow this to happen to one of our families… Just saying!

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