Yesterday was a rainy Memorial Day in Dallas, Texas. As I watched a TV marathon of “Drunk History” on Comedy Central, several events happened:
1. My sister-in-law posted a beautiful pic of my brother holding their oldest daughter, Kenedi, honoring him and showing that he is missed (Thank you for doing that, Michelle).
2. I spoke to my sister as she and her family celebrates 14 years of marriage
3. My mom is with all of her siblings in Austin/San Antonio and I called to check on her…
After these things, I realized we are moving on with life; not saying we have forgotten about the two eldest men in our family, we actually live for them. There are literally different stages of morning, and we as a family, though you both are thought of and missed daily, are attempting to have productive lives.
I reflected on how I need to give both my dad and brother an update on how we are doing here on Earth. A lot has happened since 2007; emotions, events…. life has transformed how we (really I) interact with others, how I view myself, and my decisions that affects my future. Below are my letters to both TLH Sr. and TLH Jr.
I know we didn’t get to interact much as we are 15 years apart, and it seemed like we couldn’t really form a close relationship, but I genuinely miss you. It’s apparent you received a lot of our gifts: You were intellectually smarter than us, had more physical attributes, yet was still a humble, personable person. The more I see people who know you, the more I admire who you were to family and friends.
Your daughters, Kenedi and Trinit, are beautiful, smart young ladies. Michelle is doing a great job making sure they are loved and know about you. I really appreciate her for that.
I’ve really received clarity on your “entrepreneurial” spirit the last several years. I remember growing up hearing everything you were trying to sell; whether it was Prepaid Legal, Kirby vacuum Cleaners, ACN, Telephones… you name it, you sold it, lol. I also remember seeing the frustration of dad as you pitched yet another great idea to get rich. Initially, I didn’t like this; which lead me to avoid sales in my professional life; a mindset that’s been holding me back. I also had an immature view of dad’s rationale; how you were using his contacts to “make money”. As I grow older, I realize that wasn’t the source of dad’s frustration; dad saw how smart you were, sees how you can sell anything that you can put your hands on, and how persistent you are in a debate/conversation when you believe in something. The dissonance occurred because of lack of knowledge transfer between you two (which is rampant across Black America-and is another blog entry) and his vision for you to pick up his businesses to make successful (which he understood was the true way of accumulating wealth, but situations prevented him from having that for you, which caused him to be more frustrated).
What I’m saying Tommy is that I misunderstood you; I didn’t take time to get to know you and I regret that. If I can turn back the hands of time I’d be more receptive to our conversations and try to relate to you so we can both benefit from our strengths… I love you bro.
Yo Yo Homie… I missed saying that to you; Nat and I are continuing the salutations (and mom is still frustrated that we don’t speak English to each other) but it’s not the same as you created/perfected the saying. You are missed, both within our family and in the business community.
On the family front, Natalie and Irby are celebrating 14 years of marriage and your twin, Trey Hunter, is becoming more like you every day. They also have another boy, Thomas Logan Hunter, who they named and have the same initials to honor both you and Tommy. He’s a great musician who definitely likes to “eat cheese” with everyone he interacts with. No, I’m not married yet, nor am I close, lol, but I’m not worried, in due time. I’ve received my MBA and had a big graduation party- the time when you would probably approve of one since this academic achievement puts me at the same level with the rest of my siblings, lol (just kidding). In all honesty, graduate school helped me grow as a man.
Mom says I’m starting to do/say some of the same things you did and fears it’s because I’m trying to emulate you. That’s not it at all; I’m actually starting to understand what you went through as an entrepreneur (the good and the bad), at the Black Chamber, and with the city in general. You taught me to care about other people, but you also said be successful first; I didn’t realize trying to achieve both can be SO hard; you reactions/decisions you made were a direct result of your training in business, your care for an oppressed community, the “cards” you were dealt with, and your vision for a better tomorrow. As I take that journey, your decisions start to make sense to me and I see how you became frustrated, as society was not on the same page as you in terms of logical approaches to help ALL have the ability to succeed in business/life. I really need your guidance now…
In closing, I love you both… and miss you dearly. When you both died, I was in a very selfish stage in my life and regretted not being at the right place at the right time. As I live, however, I’m starting to realize past experiences and emotions (both positive and negative) can enhance your decision making for tomorrow. I’m no longer living in regret, but want to use my energy to make my world (and those who are in it) a better place.
Until we meet again,
Matthew Louis Houston (The caboose)
This post really touched me in a lot of ways. I really want to thank you for sharing this really personal and touching moment. I lost my grandmother four years ago and my grandfather almost three years ago, and they were the heart and soul of my family. I was fortunate enough that they helped my mom raise me and my twin sibling. I constantly think about and ponder what I miss about them, what I didn’t understand when they were here that I do now, and what I wish I could tell them and share with them that is currently going on in my life. I couldn’t mention how many times I would hear a gospel song my grandmother would have loved or either scriptures that my grandfather (who was a pastor) went over countless times. I am fortunate that I got to read this because this has blessed me to want to share my thoughts and feelings with them in letter form such as you did. Thanks again for sharing this.