My Thoughts on “Big Joe”
For the last 25 years, I have had another family. The Ross Family. The 90s was our strongest decade. On any given weekend, we spent Friday and Saturday night together. Through youth groups, school events, double dates. Seven different houses from 290 West to 79 east. 3 neighborhoods, a ranch, a farm, a high-rise condo, and an apartment in the 183 ghetto where we were concerned for our life. We took trips from Las Vegas to Santa Fe to the Caribbean.
I spent a lot of time with Big Joe, Glenda, Joe, Kimberly Jo, Kelly Jo, and Jeffrey Jo and all the pets with Joe derivatives. I feel like I should be an honorary “Joe”.
The one place that I remember the most, no matter the house or the neighborhood, was Saturday morning around the breakfast table. Joe and Glenda cooking homemade pancakes, sausage, bacon, biscuits and gravy, fruit, coffee, and orange juice. Let me just say when it came to eating…The Ross family didn’t mess around.
There was so much life in that house. Laughing, running, talking, teasing, hitting each other, praying together. Each member of the family have such strong personalities and unique character. Entrepreneurial spirit, the life of the party, beauty (honestly, the Ross’ are some of the best looking people I know), hard working, creative.
Each characteristic was represented at the breakfast table with it’s own agenda and potency that left alone would overpower. However, when the atmosphere got too hectic, there was one who could say one sentence and bring peace and balance to the mix. Big Joe would have enough of Jeff or Kelly or whoever and in his own simple way would bring a balance to the force. He was like a conductor at a symphony. He was so good at keeping the rhythm, that the family worked well together. Complimented one another.
We called him Big Joe because he was the dad. He was senior. However, His name went beyond his paternal position or even his stature. To me, Joe’s ‘bigness’ referred more to his ambiance. He had a presence that set a mood or tone that all those around were a part of.
He didn’t talk much. But when he did, every one listened. In fact, Brandon, our other good friend, at one point, recorded all of Big Joe’s sayings on a tape recorder and we all had a copy. We would take it home and listen to Big Joe talk. It was so interesting and funny. What he lacked in talking, he made up for in snoring. One time Joe, Glenda, Kelly, Jeff and I were sleeping in hotel room in Florida. The snoring was so intense that Jeff and I went into bathroom to sleep. Jeff in the tub. Me around the base of the toilet. There are some other things that happened in that hotel room that night that the family has asked me not to share. Just kidding….but it is true.
The wisest man in the history of the world wrote Eccesiasties. I think Joe had chapter 5 nailed.
1 As you enter the house of God, keep your ears open and your mouth shut. It is evil to make mindless offerings to God. 2 Don’t make rash promises, and don’t be hasty in bringing matters before God. After all, God is in heaven, and you are here on earth. So let your words be few.
3 Too much activity gives you restless dreams; too many words make you a fool. 4 When you make a promise to God, don’t delay in following through, for God takes no pleasure in fools. Keep all the promises you make to him.5 It is better to say nothing than to make a promise and not keep it.
6 Don’t let your mouth make you sin. And don’t defend yourself by telling the Temple messenger that the promise you made was a mistake. That would make God angry, and he might wipe out everything you have achieved. 7 Talk is cheap, like daydreams and other useless activities. Fear God instead.