And the only challenge was that she had 10 children. My mom was the youngest of her 10 kids. And sometimes when I would go and spend time with her, it would be difficult to get her time and attention. My cousins would be running around everywhere.
And I remember ah, when I was about eight or nine years old, waking up one morning, going into the living room, and all of my cousins were running around. And my grandmother was sitting across the room staring at me. And at first I thought we were playing a game. And I would look at her and I'd smile, but she was very serious. And after about fifteen or twenty minutes of this, she got up and she came across the room and she took me by the hand and she said, "Come on, Bryan. You and I are gonna have a talk." And I remember this just like it happened yesterday. I never will forget it.
She took me out back and she said, "Bryan, I'm gonna tell you something, but you don't tell anybody what I tell you." I said, "Okay, Mama." She said, "Now you, now you make sure you don't do that." I said, "Sure." Then she sat me down and she looked at me and she said, "I want you to know I've been watching you." And she said, "I think you're special." She said, "I think you can do anything you wanna do." I will never forget it.
And she, then she said, "I just need you to promise me three things, Bryan." I said, "Okay, Mama." She said, "The first thing I want you to promise me is that you'll always love your mom." She said, "That's my baby girl, and you have to promise me now you'll always take care of her." Well I adored my mom, so I said, "Yes, Mama. I'll do that." Then she said, "The second thing I want you to promise me is that you'll always do the right thing even when the right thing is the hard thing." And I thought about it and I said, "Yes, Mama. I'll do that." Then finally she said, "The third thing I want you to promise me is that you'll never drink alcohol." Well I was nine years old, so I said, "Yes, Mama. I'll do that."
Ah, I grew up in the country in the rural South, and I have a brother a year older than me and a sister a year younger. When I was about ah, fourteen or fifteen, one day my brother came home and he had this six-pack of beer -- I don't know where he got it -- and he grabbed me and my sister and we went out in the woods. And we were kind of just out there doing the stuff we crazily did. And he had a sip of this beer and he gave some to my sister and she had some, and they offered it to me. And I said, "No, no, no. No, that's okay. You all go ahead. I'm not gonna have any beer." My brother said, "Come on. We're doing this today; you always do what we do. I had some, your sister had some. Have some beer." I said, "No, I don't feel right about that. Y'all go ahead. Y'all go ahead." And then my brother started staring at me. He said, "What is, what's wrong with you? Have some beer." Then he looked at me real hard and he said, "Oh, I hope you're not still hung up on that conversation Mama had with you." I, I, I, I said, "Well, what are you talking about?" He said, "Oh, Mama tells all the grandkids that they're special." Ah, I, I was devastated.
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