Brandon Kyle Goodman never knew his father, but he did know his Uncle Ronnie. Uncle Ronnie was Brandon’s godfather, originally his mom’s college bestie — and essentially, her sibling. Uncle Ronnie owned a hair salon, used words like “fabulous” and “honey” and was “the only person who never questioned my effeminate nature,” Brandon said. But when Brandon became an adult, their relationship changed.
Today, Brandon reads his essay about the enduring bond with Uncle Ronnie. Then: Franki Kidd tells us about a stranger she met outside a bodega in Queens who changed her life.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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and just like with family? These god issues, it's called. Our bond was thicker than blood red by the author, Brandon kyle goodman I was trying to think about the first time I met my godfather, but that would be like us. Can meet remember the first time I met my mother from the time My brain was able to hold memories, uncle ronnie was there. he had been my mother's best friend, since she was in college as a child. I didn't understand epps of what I was witnessing between him and my mother, but now at thirty five deep appreciation for how special their bond was. How healing it was. They weren't just best. Is there were siblings,
My mom, asking ronnie to accept the title of godfather with truly just a formality, to him before we ever meant in. in grain. I had to do a family tree project, my classmates were each handed an illustration of a big tree that had labels for us to fill in at the bottom up. The tree was space for me to write my name and above it or to spaces one for my mother and one for my father my seven year old brain stared. At the paper with confusion, I didn't know father's name I'd, never really thought much about having a dad When I got home all four feet of me cornered my stature
wes, caribbean mother in the kitchen of our queens home and asked. Do I have a father. She looked at me a bit stunned. Of course you do I shot back, then. Where is he your father lives with his family? It was a concept too big. Me to fully understand. Aren't we his family, I asked before my mother could respond. I asked the question that I think every single parent dreads does not love me. My mother, crouched in front of me, your father is a good man. She said I loved him because he was such a good man Everybody loved him and you
You remind me of him. Somehow Hearing I was like him was enough for the moment, but periodically his absence would feel unbearable fathers day, parent teacher conferences and school sporting events always the hardest. As a child of the nineties, I clung to call wins. From family matters, fantasizing about having a man in my house who would impart words of wisdom, dished out compassionate discipline and look at me with ride my yearning had an energy. was very blood, is thicker than water. A note
that my biological father and I would have an inexplicable bonn. He would be a compass that would point my life in the right direction and guide me effortlessly into black manhood, but no matter How hard I pray to god or how many letters I wrote to santa at christmas. My father never appeared uncle. Ronnie always did he had golden brown skin. He was innately kind, but could read you for filth with just A look and like me, he loved to laugh. He showed up at school. Plays. Piano recitals, basketball, games, track, meets even church once or twice add. He was also the one who would drive me to and from those events,
He would scoop me up and take me to museums or the playground or the flea market teaching me how to pick out quality, art and furniture pieces He would take me to boozy restaurants in manhattan so that I'd be exposed to different cuisine. and find dining he take me. Mcdonald's, because he knew ultimately that it was my favorite and if those things didn't have me beaming, he resorted to my most hated tactic becoming an insatiable tickle monster. Stopping only when there were tears of laughter. Streaming down my face. He was also the only person who never question my feminine name: Others would demand that I man up and not be so girly in my demeanor or interests but uncle Ronnie Oda. This alone and was
the only man I knew who use words like fabulous and honey. He never tried to stamp out my innate softness. Instead, he quietly nurtured it. He encouraged it by laughing at my impressions of share, He protected it by giving me my first summer job as a receptionist at the salon. He honoured it by in my signed destinies child poster framed saying that They were to me with the supreme had been to him, shortly after I graduated from college at twenty one, my mother and uncle Ronnie had a big falling out. I won't share the pain the details of their discord, but I can tell you my mother came to me and plainly told me what happened uncle ronnie
the same, and my uncle army in particular expressed being hurt I had never known them to disagree on anything. Let alone have a fight, so used to being in the middle, but bay so my understanding of parental fights from those nineties tv shows the child always picks a sigh My choice was clear: blood is thicker than water. I chose my mother and stopped reaching out to my godfather, a few years later, I was working for a fitness company called flywheel sports. I would often teach set,
I am area and ninety I'm classes, which meant I would have what we instructors referred to as second breakfas, too early for lunch, but still a full meal. As I was walking to the starbucks around the corner, I switch my phone off airplane mode. The first notification to pop up was a voice. Smell message from uncle ronnie. I haven't spoken to him in four years: Brandon, it's your godfather! This is getting ridiculous, now cut the shit and call me as I pull phone from my ear. I could feel my hand shaking he was angry and rightfully so, his falling out was with my mother. Not me I'll call him back. I thought to call him back. I will call him back. I walked into starbucks and continued. My day
I didn't call him back a few months later, on november. First, twenty thirteen to be exact. I got a voicemail from my mother, hey bran, I'm calling because uncle ronnie died today. I don't remember the rest of it because an enormous wave of shock ran My veins then deep guilt. To this day, I dont if he knew that he was on his final trip around the sun. But of course I wonder if that's why he called if he was trying to tell me I didn't attend his funeral, which took place in delaware where he had grown up. I felt too much shame The second greater I had been embarrassed,
not having a father. Now I was faced with devastating reality that I did in fact have one and didn't treasure him, and now he was gone a little over eight years later, which also happens to be the length of time I've been in therapy I can see the deniable imprint his life. Made on mine I may not have resembled uncle ronnie physically, my skin darker. It's rounder, my frame, bigger, but There are few words I love more than fabulous and honey few things I love more than art and furniture
few sensations. I miss more than his insatiable, took a monster. We may not have been blood but belonged to him before we ever met. and though I may not deserve it He still manages to be my life's compass, still manages to be my father. I may have lost him, but I'll always be his. After the break in deep bond that be
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I'm frankie kid, and this is my tiny love story. I met him in queens outside full data. I had a plane to catch and was looking some someone to bless with myself way pass Chris. Thank me with a ninety nine cent bottle of vodka. Recently, fifty I felt like a rebel standing outside during with an alias something you're all man. We have about random stuff, then exchange number, He acts to marry me, and I said yes, I wanted
to ohio, and I haven't seen him sense, but we keep in touch crystal says. He loves me and I say it back. I mean it. His wise spirit inspires mine, Frankie, I I love this story. Thank you. Tell me about the day that you bet Chris give him your subway pass. You were in queens in new york, so I started walking around please neighbourhood. and I walked away store about data and then there were five chris at in front of the store so he had on this head and this like it
at the you were outdoors like in nature, and I love major. So it's like that looks very interesting, so I just. what time is it hey? You want this pass and he was, I guess, what's your day high like when he saw me he just like lit up like a christmas tree. Anyone in this sword he comes out will, like you, know those little airplane bottles of vodka, but yeah those tiny bottles, those tiny bottles cheers, unlike cheers, should we drink. I twisted the the cat is like you ready reasons why we, just I get. Did you cheers to anything? I did cheers we started Being an like what I noticed the guy, he asked me where I was from, I told him all higher. Said ohio, for while we started talking about some of the things that only people from all I would now like online it until I saw what he thought about. Reverend he talked about some of the rivers in so
just colonel well me with his knowledge. First of all higher interests, history and talking me like, like a young person, but up you know is appreciated me. He made me feel like well. She saw yeah why he told me I really pretty skin I just thought that he saw me and now in the way I felt this. I am a member, like how he sees me the problem is he's giving me. Thank you thank you and figure out. What point did Chris? I ask you to marry him just right. I like as I was leaving. I was like I'm going back to ohio and he was like. I love you and I was like. I love you back he's like a he's like he's like I love you back any is, I will marry me and I'm like gas. Yes,
yes when you said yes, what did you feel like? You were saying yes to, I I really felt like I would do it as it felt like fifty years old. I did. I felt like you You got it s days a year in tunisia, like your property, everything at least I was and then at thirty four in my forties I was like, oh my god, I'm closing off. I say no to everything I'm becoming this boring person. remember my group, there Thought of them is like theirs: they're, nice and sweet and safe. And how's that gonna becoming that I'm gonna mayo. And in a way that's that's, that's a good thing, but in a way We still know that you have a lot of life to live and it's feel like you just do you not taken as many chances in Chris I mean he represented everything that I dreamed about. Just like a different person. He was different from me. He was thirty years older than me, thirty something and, as you were, walking away, what were you thinking about? What were you
feeling. If I was walking away, I thought I would I do it. I would ask myself like, would you really would you really and I was like yes, I would. I would really do it. I didn't know what it would mean. I didn't know if he was even I thought he was serious, but even if he wasn't just to say I say yes. I say again about them. Mfa like if I could say yes it s this there's those stopping me. How often do you talk to chris on the phone these days? I talk to criticise a couple of times a week. He's always like you're, beautiful, beautiful you beautiful half of the year I believe in my heart I am, but nobody else sees in the royal sees a sea Oh the worry, oh, you got a couple of gray hairs peeking out. They see all this other stuff, and chris sees none of that. He says: you're, beautiful, you're, beautiful you're, beautiful frankie. Thank you. So much
spending. Time with me today. Thank you so much for having me thank you coming up on modern love. We asked you the most unusual place you ve ever been on a date, and this week call took me four. Eight dead bodies on a first date I don't care what anybody I cencian. No one can talk that she's, not wrong more of your stories next modern love is produced by illicit dudley, hans, beautiful Julia matera in Christina Joseph, its edited by Sarah saracens. this episode was mixed by dan Powell, who also created the modern love thing. Music original music in this episode Mary was on digital production by mickiewicz blonde. nl the lovely, an especial thanks,
and a diamond at autumn, the modern love colonies, editing Daniel Johns. Lee is the editor modernist projects. I'm Martin. Thank you very much for listening The.
Transcript generated on 2022-12-11.