My Jams ’85

Gwin and Camaro


Please note that this blog subscribes to the Tracy-Gwin Doctrine regarding song years.  For more information, contact Lady G 😉

Warning:  “My Jams” posts almost always include adult language and situations.

Girl you need to slow that damn car down–out there driving like Leadfoot!  I can hear the motor racing all the way from Wycliffe.  I know one thing, a hard head make a soft behind.  You better listen to what I tell you now.

I am about to go for another ride but Mama steady fussing about my driving. To tell you the truth, I been tuned her out.

Naw, for real, I’m thinking about this new haircut I’m sporting; my sides are shaved low and slicked down.  Actually, it looks like I got a curly mohawk.  Oh and I got on my cut- off shirt and some really short shorts.  All I need now is my shades.

I can’t wait to get outta here because me and my girls gon’ ride all over Augusta and mess some dudes up!  You can look but you can’t touch!

Shoot, it’s too bad this ain’t no IROC Z28 with T-tops.  But that’s alright it’s still a pretty fly Camaro.

Oh, by the way, did you know that I can drive a stick?  Well I can because that’s the first thing my Daddy taught me how to drive.  He said he wanted me to learn how to drive a 4-speed so that I would never be stuck.  Daddy says I need to be able to drive any car in the yard. So he showed me how to shift gears in his Datsun 260Z.

You know they say that the 240Z and the 260Z are faster than them 280Zs that are out now.  I guess they had to slow ‘em down for some reason.

Get this, Mama can’t drive a stick; and she don’t really care either.  Not me, I don’t wanna be like that. I’ll drive you if you had a stirring wheel 🙂

Anyway, as I’m walking to the car, Mama is right behind me; still fussing.  I open the car door, get inside and crank it up.  Mama frowns and covers her ears because the radio is already blasting from my last cruising episode.  She starts saying something but I can’t hear her so I turn the music down and say, “What did you say Mama?

She said, “I said to turn that damn shit down—I know you heard me!”  

I turn the music down a little as I back out of the driveway with Cash Flow’s ‘Party Freak’ bumping in the background.  As soon as I am out of the driveway and onto the main road, I put it in ‘Drive’ and FLOOR it!  Then I BLAST my favorite part of the song:

“And when she smiles, she MESmeRIZES  meeeeee..and when she moves, I gotta dance..she’s wild, she’s sweet, she’s a sure ‘nuff super freeeeak, the girl is everything to me!”

I better play now because something tells me I’m gonna pay later!

Bye Ms. Eva!!!!!!

And, just like that, Young Lady G was Audi 5000!

🙂 🙂 🙂

What’s up y’all? I guess by now you know that young Lady G wasn’t thinking ‘bout no Eva! What did she know?  She didn’t even know how to drive a stick.

You couldn’t tell your girl nothing!  I had it ALL figured out 😉

But… as the old folks used to sing in church:

It’s gonna rain

It’s gonna rain

You better get ready and bear this in mind

God showed Noah, the rainbow sign

He said it won’t be water but fire next time.

Baby, in the words of my Grandma Annie, “Umph…you got it all to see.”

And she was right!

Anyway, how are you folks doing in 1985?  I hope that all is going well!  Honey, when I was picking these jams I decided to keep it simple because I had to maneuver through all them freaking synthesizers and looped automated handclaps.

To be honest, that shit got on my damn nerves.  I guess my thirty-seventeen year old ears can’t take the same stuff that my sixteen year old ears liked.

Trust me when I tell you that there was a whole lot of noise going on in 1985.  But then there were also some really good jams.  By the way, I did reserve the right to add a couple of teeny bopping favorites of a Young Lady G for nostalgia’s sake.

That said; let us enter upon these jams

My Jams ‘85

Affection by Ta Mara and The Seen

“All I want is to get to know you better…”

Baby she had me at the first line.  This chick had the Minnesota sound backing her up!  Now if you don’t know what that is I ain’t got nothing for you.  You can only get a pass if you are over age 62.

Don’t wait for me by Morris Day

Well look who it is!  Morris has momentarily broken away from The Time.

Ladies, heed his warning, “Don’t wait for me, I’ll just make love to you girl, then set you free….What makes you think that I have the time….”

Madame, if you looking for love, you are barking up the wrong damn tree.

Shadow Love by the Mary Jane Girls

This is one sexy ballad!

Kids, put this jam on for your lover and thank Lady G for the assist!

“Shadow love is alright…”

Baby, Danny LeMelle is killing that saxophone!  You remember him from The Stone City Band!

And whose band is that?

Rick James Bitch O_o

Heartbeat by Dazz Band

YAAASSS!  Oh you knew it was coming!

Honey, your boys had the whole heartbeat affect going like Ms. Gardner did back in the day!

Get your romance on with this one.

Innocent by Alexander O’Neal

Alexander O’Neal, the one who got away from Prince!

No matter, Alex could put it down!

You will remember that he often collaborated with Cherrelle.

I’m leaving by Con Funk Shun

“Ooh baby, I’ve seen enough….I’m leaving you, I’m leaving you for me.”

Alright now!  I’m doing this for me!

Another sexy ass ballad right on up there with “Love’s Train.”

Gigolos get lonely too by Morris Day and The Time (see:  Tracy-Gwin Doctrine)

Here we go with some more whorish philosophy from a ‘gigolo.’

But not so fast, Lady G!  Homeboy sounds like he might wanna settle down on this jam!

Shit, as Eva would say, I wouldn’t trust him no farther than I could throw him!

What a Woman by The O’Jays

Now this is what we been waiting for!  I told y’all that The O’Jays would shuffle all the way through for decades to come!

This was a good one!

Just another lonely night by The O’Jays

And don’t forget about this one too!

Mechanical Emotion by Vanity

Chile, your girl is not under any delusion that Vanity could sing but this jam was hot!  Hell anything that Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis touch will set on fire!  Now I don’t know if they produced it but I bet they are on this somewhere.

While y’all tripping on that, them two brothers are on a luxury golf course about to tee off!

Bible and church!

Baby I’m Sorry by RJ’s Latest Arrival

I told G. I had something for him since he digs RJ’nem!  I think I wore the grooves off this jam.

“Baby, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to hurt you so, oh, no, no!”

Somebody once said “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”

Go ponder that….I’ll wait!

A broken heart can mend by Alexander O’Neal



Yeah That!

I just can’t!

Gentle (Calling your name) by Frederick

Sid and Oscar Productions

Side A

Track 3

“Please be gentle, please be gentle when you’re loving me…”

Funky little beat by Connie

“Funky little beat, that funky beat, rocking in the street to that funky beeeeeaaaat!”

Richmond hop is jumping right about now–meaning in our imaginary 1985–you know they had to stop having hops because children don’t know how to damn act!

Krush Groove by Krush Groove All-Stars

“Krush groovin’ body movin”

YAAASSSS!  That’s just how it was back then!

Don’t Say No Tonight by Eugene Wilde

Eugene brought love and romance back on the scene!

He gave us some more context to work with!

Go ‘head on Eugene!

Count Me Out by New Edition

“I love my baby but she’s just a tease and when I need her I say please, please, please can I hold you squeeze you ‘cause I need you….You’ll have to count me out this time!”

Yes baby, this is Generation X’s version of “Cowboys to Girls”

We don’t wanna play no more, we wanna kick it!

Now can you believe that these kids say that they were touring worldwide yet coming home to the projects?  Now that’s some bullshit!  I almost cried when I saw that interview. The music business can be as treacherous as hell!

I Want My Girl by Jesse Johnson

“I want my girl….I want back my girl.”

Poor Jesse!  His girl is gone.

But all you Jesses out there, keep playing  your music, record a song, sell it, make a million dollars and I promise you those girls will be back.

But will y’all still want them?


Attack me with your love by Cameo

I blasted this jam while slow rolling all over Highland Park in that Camaro!

“I think you need to know the deal ‘bout just how I really feel…”


Who do you love by Bernard Wright

“Who do you love (Girl I’m in love with you)”

Who else loved this catchy jam?

Apparently Ladies Love Cool James did too!  He sampled it you know!

Paisley Park by Prince

Another one from the Purple ONE!

“Paisley Park is in your heart.”

Prince had all our asses running around in paisley prints!

I like to imagine that he is currently chilling in a place much like Paisley Park!

RIP sweet one.

19 by Paul Hardcastle

Now this song shows that you can create a groove that addresses a very serious topic.

“In World War II the average age of the combat soldier was 26.  In Vietnam he was 19.”

“None of them received a hero’s welcome.”

This song resonated with my generation because most of our fathers were Vietnam vets who came back home–but never really came back home. If you don’t know it or don’t remember it you should either listen to it or peep the lyrics.

If you know a vet, thank him for his or her service and if required offer assistance if you can.

That’s all.

In my house by The Mary Jane Girls

“In my house, my house!”


These sisters owned 1984 and 1985!

I wish they had lasted longer!

I remember ‘performing’ this song with my hairbrush!

Of course Eva told me to go sit my ass down somewhere!

Pop life by Prince

“Tell me, what’s that underneath your hair?  Is there anybody living there?”

We learned a long time ago that there is always a meaning to Prince’s lyrics, but sometimes we couldn’t always figure it out.

That said, this one was pretty cut and dry!

I wonder if I take you home by Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam

Pretty much sums up the vibe of 1985

Feel so real by Steve Arrington

Here is one of those ambiguous gospel kinda Lordt jams!

Peep the lyric:

I’m right here on my knees

To thank you for the air that I breathe

I thank you for the life that you have saved

That’s why I’ve got to say…

Feel so real.

Yes and Amen!

Hangin on a string by Loose Ends

YAAASSS Honey Loose Ends came from the UK to slay!  Do you hear me?




And that, they did!

Alice Full Force

A bunch of buff fine ass dudes that could sing, play and produce!

What the hell else does a girl need?

Take me with you Prince

Just a fun jam!

The word is out by Jermaine Stewart

Honey this pretty ass dude right here also came to slay!

Baby his hair was snatched!  Did you see how his perm laid!  WHAAAA?

Please don’t hate on Jermaine!

Just do NOT do it!

Wild and Crazy love by the Mary Jane Girls

“I want to give my all to you, wild and crazy love!”

Another smash from them girls!

Friends/Five minutes of funk by Whodini (1984)

Deep bass warp 10!

Bump this and see what happens!

Sunshine by Warren Mills

Another UK gem!

Ok, so this one apparently is my jam by myself because I can’t find a soul that remembers it around these parts.  What say you T. Wayne and Chevvy?

I used to listen to it every morning while I was on my way to cheerleading practice.  It just seemed like the perfect song to start my day.

I think I’ll leave a video in comments.


Well, well, well the clock is about to strike 12.  Dick Clark is counting the seconds down!

I love you 1985 may you go in peace!

Y’all know what time it is right?  Time for the after party!  Bring your memories and your jams to the comment section.

For Christopher

With Love,


❤ ❤ ❤


Happy over Here!

Screen Shot 2016-06-28 at 7.17.07 AM

Lady G is downright ecstatic because Queen Bee over at I Sing The Body Electric hit me with a happy tag!  If you are not familiar with Ms. Queen Bee, you might want to step over to her blog.  I think you’ll enjoy this little badass jewel from the UK.

Thanks for the tag my Queenie Bee!

In order to fulfill my ‘Happy tag’ requirements, I am going to list five things that make me happy.  After that, I will share five songs and bloggers that make me happy. Don’t worry bloggers, you don’t have to do anything 😉

And so…

Here goes:

Five things that make me happy:

Sitcoms from the 1960’s and 70’s:

When I was a little tyke, I absolutely loved ‘Geraldine Jones’ from ‘The Flip Wilson Show.’ It’s pretty safe to say that my spicy side comes, in part, from watching Ms. Geraldine.  Now, if you are unfamiliar with the show, the character, ‘Geraldine,’ is really Flip Wilson dressed in drag.  Who knew?

Anyway, Geraldine was flirty, feisty and she pulled no punches. From time to time, she would refer to her boyfriend, ‘Killer.’

Although ‘Killer’ was never seen, he maintained a very ‘real’ presence on the show.  In fact, there was a scene where a character asked, “Who is Killer?” To which Geraldine responded, “The question is not ‘Who is Killer?’  The question is ‘Where is Killer?’

And with that, Geraldine shut it down! Clearly, Killer didn’t play!

Watch Ms. Jones in action (the video is old and of poor quality but you WILL get the ‘picture.’)


Ouch!!!!  You, sir, have been checked!

Some of my other favorite sitcoms include Sanford and Son, Bewitched and The Odd Couple, I also like The New Odd Couple-with Ron Glass and Demond Wilson-albeit from the ’80’s.

I could go on naming more sitcoms but we ain’t got that kind of time 😉

Other things that make me happy include:

Sky gazing 

You can read more about that here

Taking pictures 

Quite a few of the pictures on this blog were taken with my iPhone. It should come as no surprise that I am rarely pictured in family photos because I am always the photographer.

Instruments of time, space, weather, travel

I recently admitted to another blogger, M.J. Moye, that I am a bonafide geek. I also told him that one day I would come out of the closet as such.

That said, YAASSSS!!!  Today is the day!  Here I am, I am out!  Lady G is a geek!  I am that kid that made an aneroid barometer for an elementary school project.  Oh stop! It was easy, all I needed was a glass bottle, a balloon and….hell you can go google the rest!

By the way, at some point, my equally geeky cousin Ron and I are going to Greenwich, England.  If you possess any amount of geekiness you will understand why.

Yeah Ron, you have been outted!

I might do a post about all of this– but not today 😉

Food and Cocktails

Give me some good food, some good drink and some good company and your girl is set!

Five songs that make me Happy (They are in no particular order)

Ok, so let me get this straight, as a huge lover of music of all types, these are five songs that make me happy but there are 10 zillion more that make me just as happy as the five listed below–I’m just sayin.

  1.  ‘Beginnings’ by Chicago
  2.  ‘I Wanna be Where You Are’ by Michael Jackson –Smile T. Wayne 🙂
  3.  ‘Hot Fun in the Summertime’ by Sly and the Family Stone
  4.  ‘I Need your Lovin” by Teena Marie
  5.  ‘Spirits in the Material World’ by The Police

Friends, I cannot sufficiently explain how much music means to me in this post.  Now, if you want more details, start by reading this or that.

Five Bloggers that Make me Happy

There are quite a few bloggers that make me happy but these bloggers are always on my ‘happy’ go to list:

A Joyful Process Blog- T. Wayne: Where I go to get my groove on!

The GeoGee Experience- G.:  Where I go to get my fun on!

STBB/The Time Tunnel- Ronbrownx: Where I go to get my nostalgia on!

Chevvy’s Studio- Chevvy:  Where I go to get my creative writing on!

Heroically Bad Writer -Woebegone but Hopeful:  Where I go to get my UK humor and wit on!

I opted not to do links or ping backs because I don’t want these guys to feel obligated to do anything.  If you like me, you’ll love them!  Go look ’em up!

Alas!  My time is up!

Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section.

Thanks again Queen Bee!


Mona Lisa and Me

Me at 3
Me at 3

“No matter where you go in the room, Mona Lisa will be looking right at you.”

I remember wondering how that could be possible as I listened to my Godfather talk about a picture that was on display in his living room.

Believe me when I tell you that I was NOT convinced that the lady pictured could do that. So, I tested his assertion. I mean I went to every corner of that room to try that thing out and, sure enough, Mona Lisa continued to look at me- no matter where I went.

I should’ve known he was right.

By the way, my Godmother, who looked like a beautiful Black Betty White, loved laughing at my Godfather as he carried on this sort of ‘grown up’ conversation with three year old me.  Best believe that there was nothing that he could ask me or tell me about that I didn’t have a quick response or answer for; well except for the Mona Lisa thing.  And to be honest, when all else failed, I’d just dip into my vivid imagination and make something up!

Making stuff up is a child’s prerogative isn’t it?

Who knew that my Godfather was teaching me to become a creative communicator 😉

At any rate, during visits with my Godparents, I loved watching and listening to my Godfather play jazz tunes ‘by ear.’  From what I understand, he and his sister were raised in a household that placed a high value on education.  In fact, his sister, who was highly intelligent, went on to become a professor at a prestigious American University.  One of the things that I remember most about her was the love that she had for her dear poodle, Zora.

By the way, you are correct if you guessed that her dog was named for Zora Neale Hurston, the Black novelist, folklorist and anthropologist.

Well to me, at that time, “Zora” meant nothing more than small, yappy, white poodle-period.

Anyway, while my Godfather challenged my intellect, my Godmother, who was a nurse, but had the skills and knowledge of today’s Nurse Practitioner or Physician’s Assistant, kept close watch on my physical wellbeing. To be frank, she had been doing so prior to my Earthly debut.  In essence, she handpicked my mother’s OB/Gyn and my Pediatrician; both of whom were top-flight. All in all, she took my parents under her wing the minute they arrived in Augusta. So it was only natural that she and her husband would become my Godparents.

By now you are probably wondering why I have coerced you into accompanying me on a promenade down the streets of my memories. In other words, what is the point of this post?

Well I am glad that you asked!  So here we go!

The purpose of this post is to encourage you to pour into the lives of young children -much like my Godparents did for me. Realize that this does NOT have to cost you anything but a little bit of time.

Here are a couple of suggestions as to how you might do this:

Take a child to the public library and show them the process of finding and checking out a book.  Then, read to them.  You might also take them to free events that introduce them to different cultures.  Look for museum specials so that you can also introduce them to the arts.

Teach a child how to prepare your favorite simple dishes like salads and sandwiches. If they are older, you might show them how to use the stove to prepare a cooked meal.

Allow a child to accompany you to the bank, store or any other place where you take care of business.  While there, explain to them what a checking/ savings account is and allow them to watch you conduct a transaction like making a deposit or cashing a check.  If you are fully automated in the banking realm, show them how online transactions work.  Likewise, take them to a grocery store and show them how to select food items and how to pay for them.

Talk to them about money; specifically, about how it is earned, invested, spent, donated and saved.

Allow a child to watch you as you engage in a favorite pastime or routine activity. Help them to research activities that they may be interested in learning how to do.

To be honest, you can apply all of the suggestions above to any person that would benefit from that knowledge.  Get creative about sharing your skills, abilities and knowledge with others. Remember, you can adjust any of my suggestions in order to make them age appropriate.

Now, before I go, I’d like to have a word with anyone who has been named the Godparent of a child:

Godparents, take your job seriously!  Feel free to use my suggestions.  Please don’t think that you are functioning as a proper Godparent if your only involvement in your Godchild’s life is taking them to get a hamburger and a T-Shirt once a year. And for those of you who simply flaunt the title “Godparent” while adding NO value to the child’s life, I would like to challenge you to step up your game in a major way!

Lady G, is now stepping down from the soapbox!

Honestly, I thank God everyday for my Godparents; especially my Godmother who continued to watch over me through my high school years.  I also thank God for my daughter’s Godparents who have always been so very loving, kind and generous to her and my family.  They remind me so much of my own Godparents.

May God always bless and keep these four souls for all the days of their lives; even until the end of time.

Friends, I also urge you to take time to think about and remember the adults who poured into you when you were a child.  Challenge yourselves to pay it back and forward.

Ron’s Time Tunnel: Granddaddy was a Geeenius




The ‘White Insurance Man,’ walked into my grandparents’ home, removed the cardboard pouch, containing my grandparents’ life insurance policies, from the wall next to the front door. He turned to my grandfather, who was sitting on the sofa—his favorite spot—and addressed him with the same, geriatric salutation, he’d used 260 times before, “GOOD OLE CHARLIE BROWN!” My granddaddy’s name was “Charlie Brown;”  Charlie James Brown, to be precise. The term, “GOOD OLE CHARLIE BROWN!” is one that the ‘White Insurance Man’ had obviously filched from the Sunday Newspaper comic strip entitled, “PEANUTS! Featuring, GOOD OLE CHARLIE BROWN.” My grandfather would respond to his exclamation with a mumbled, “Alright, Alright” (I wonder why old men always repeat things twice?)  Anyway, I could never get a positively accurate read of Granddaddy’s expression, when responding to the ‘White Insurance Man.’ Even though he smiled—which he always did—I believe I could detect a flash of annoyance flit briefly across his, Hershey bar, smooth face. But, with a name like “Charlie Brown,” one has to expect a degree of, good-natured, ribbing, right?

Grandfather’s name didn’t make me think of the comic strip though; I thought about a song that my dad would sing to us from time-to-time; a song which I thought, incorrectly of course, was about my granddaddy. The song was called ‘CHARLIE BROWN,’ by the Coasters. Some of the lyrics follow:

“Fe-fe, fi-fi, fo-fo, fum

I smell smoke in the auditorium!

Charlie Brown, Charlie Brown

He’s a clown, that Charlie Brown

He’s gonna get caught

Just you wait and see

(Why’s everybody always pickin’ on me?)”

Well now, let’s analyze these lyrics for a moment and surmise the reason why, in retrospect, this song could NOT have been about MY dear old, CHARLIE BROWN. First of all, MY Charlie Brown could not have set a fire in the auditorium because the one-room schoolhouse he attended, until the sixth grade, had no auditorium. But now, that last line, “Why’s everybody always pickin’ on me?” could apply, in a limited sense. My Uncle Harry (the Jokester) used granddaddy’s name—good naturedly, of course—as the name of the foil, in a lot of his “tales,” to which my grandfather would quietly respond, “Harry lying” (a Geeenius response!). Let’s look at another verse:

“That’s him on his knees

I know that’s him

Yeah, from 7 come 11

Down in the boys’ gym”

Well, once again, the “One Room Schoolhouse,” had no gym; Gym was OUTSIDE! But! He was a praying man, and I mean a PRAYING man, a praying GEEENIUS! So he spent a lot of time on his knees. So that line COULD apply.

Let’s try another one:

“Who’s always writing on the wall?

Who’s always goofing in the hall?

Who’s always throwing spit balls?

Guess who (who, me) yeah, you

Who walks in the classroom, cool and slow?

Who calls the English teacher, Daddy-O?

Charlie Brown, Charlie Brown”

This one is tricky, the “blackboard,”in the “One Room Schoolhouse” was actually a section of the front wall, painted black, so technically, EVERYONE wrote on the wall, but the schoolhouse had no hall. I particularly liked this line; “Who walks in the classroom, cool and slow. Who calls the English teacher, “Daddy-O”? Once, as a child, my cousin Elvira, when describing granddaddy to someone who’d never seen him said, “he big, and he fat. He stick out in front, and he stick out behind, and when he walk, he walk like this (deftly imitating Granddaddy’s waddling gait). By the way, Elvira grew up to be a teacher and her mother, Aunt Will Eva (Granddaddy’s sister), became the principal of the “One Room Schoolhouse,”at a later point in TIME. Also, if he’d EVER called a teacher anything other than; Mr. This or Mrs. That; or Sir or Ma’am, he would have been the first man to “time travel” (a GEEENIUS level accomplishment), because he would have gotten knocked into next week!

Saturday Morning cartoons, however, introduced me to a more fitting image of MY Charlie Brown. Once, while watching an episode of the ‘Road Runner,’ the Road Runner’s nemesis was in a shack marked, “EXPLOSIVES,”at what appeared to be a construction site, pouring nitroglycerin into fake carrots. As he carefully poured the explosive liquid, he fiendishly cackled his name and credentials to himself, “Wile E. Coyote, Super-Genius,” he snickered. “I like the way that rolls out! Wile E. Coyote, SUPER-GEEENIUS.” While he’s having this little meeting of the “Self-Admiration Society” (SAS), he fails to notice that, SOMEONE, has moved his shack onto the railroad tracks adjacent to the site. Also unknown to him, there is a train coming. The train’s whistle blows, punctuating his last appraisal of himself. He turns, and looks out of the little portal of the shack. To his “SHOCK and AWE” a train is bearing down upon him. He closes the portal’s green shade and stares, fatalistically, into the “camera.” The train hits the shack and…well you know what happens when a moving train meets shack full of nitro! Need I say more?

Granddaddy is NOT WILE E. though! Although Wile E. proclaims himself a “GEEENIUS,” prior to the unfortunate outcome of his plan to rig fake carrots with nitro, the REAL GEEENIUS was the guest star, who was responsible for the shack being moved to the tracks, none other than BUGS BUNNY! That guy, is the guy who was like unto REAL Charlie Brown, GEEENIUS!


Come back next week and I’ll tell you why MY Charlie Brown, was a GEEENIUS!


My Jams ’84


Me and San 84
Me (L) and San in Chemistry Lab

My Jams posts always contain a whole lot of Black U.S. Southern Vernacular, coarse language, sexual references and adult situations.  Oh, and they are always long as hell so if you don’t feel like reading you might wanna press on!  But you’ll miss some fun if you do!  Read at your own risk! 

Today, I get my chance to show what I can do! Can you believe it?  I’m a varsity cheerleader at the biggest school in the city and we are about to perform for the first pep rally of the school year.  By the way, this is also my very first performance on the varsity squad.  No more cheering from the sidelines like I had to do when I was junior varsity.

Right now, I am standing in line beside the bleachers waiting for the band to cue us to run to the center of the gym and cheer to our school fight song.

While I wait for the cue, I can’t help noticing how funny acting people can be.  Some folks don’t speak to me anymore.  But I also got folks walking up and speaking to me that NEVER spoke to me before; now, all of a sudden, they want to be my friend.

Honestly, I really want to say to the ones who stopped speaking, “You ain’t gotta speak cause you mad!”  And to the ones that never spoke to me before—but are speaking to me now, I want to say, “Don’t speak to me now if you didn’t have time to speak to me before.”

But I don’t say any of that, I just politely smile and keep moving.

Anyway, I feel so nervous and excited! I can’t wait for my chance to finally move from the sidelines to center stage.  Oh yeah, we’re gonna perform “Turn it on”–which the crowd loves! We’re also gonna hit them with a new one today.  You see, we’re gonna do a cheer with a collapsing mount called “Dynamite.”

You just wait until they see that!

Sorry for switching subjects but I wonder if my Grandma is watching me from Heaven?  I really hope so because she once made a cheerleading outfit for me when I was a little girl.  She was probably thinking that I’d be a good cheerleader since I always had such a big mouth!  You probably remember that she died in March just one year after my Uncle Willie passed.

Hmmm….I wonder what she would think if she could see me now?  I just miss her so much!

Uh oh! The band’s brass section just started playing the opening notes to the fight song!

That’s my cue!

I’ll see y’all later—-I gotta GO!

This one is for you Grandma!  I love you!

Rest in Peace.

“On on ARC! We are right for the fight you see!  Hold that ball and hit that line.  Every Musketeer will shine…”

🙂 🙂 🙂

You go ‘head on Lil Lady G!  You had a vision and you made it happen!  Chile, can’t nobody stop you if you’re prepared and you’re willing to dream!

Oh but you know I gotta go back and address some shit before I get to these jams.

First off, it is never cute to treat people according to their ‘status.’  Check this out, if you don’t f*ck with somebody when they’re down—don’t EVEN try to start f*cking with them when they come up!  People can see through that!  Just dammit stop it! And yes, I meant to say it just like that! Just dammit stop it!

Which brings me to my second, and most curious point.  Don’t hate!

Ok, let me supplement this by informing you that Lady G subscribes to rapper Trick Daddy’s philosophy on haters.  And what is that pray tell?  Well in an interview, someone once asked Trick Daddy to define a hater.  Allow me to paraphrase Mr. Daddy’s response:

Look at it like this, if I drive up to the club in the baddest ride and I walk in dressed to the nines with two bad chicks on each arm and you don’t say nothing–You are a hater! I mean, how could you NOT notice that?

YAAASSSSS!  By that definition, there are PLENTY of haters out there!

Oh no….Please don’t do that!

Ain’t nobody saying that you need to fawn all over a person, but if given the chance, give some kind of positive acknowledgement when you see somebody on the come up. Stop being a gotdamn crab!

Now that we got that out of the way!

How you doin’ in the year 1984?  Chile, my friend Roger from the UK, reminded me to read 1984 -the book.  Baby, George Orwell was trying to sprinkle you cats with a little knowledge.  Ya girl has been an Orwell fan since she read Animal Farm.

Bump what you heard, Lady G is quite well read!

Ok are you ready to get into these jams?

Let’s go!

My Jams ‘84

Careless Whisper by Wham

Ok so y’all need to stop talking so damn much!  Just kidding.  Honey George’nem brought us this gem from the UK!  Mama used to love “Everything she wants.”

“I’m never gonna dance again, guilty feet have got no rhythm.”

Cheating is bad but payback is a real bitch!

When Doves Cry by Prince

Yessir, Prince decided to switch that thang up a little bit and sing in his lower register.  That joker had a helluva range-you hear me?

“Dig if you will the picture of you and I engaged in a kiss…”

Oh hell yeah!

The Glamorous Life by Sheila E

Yaasss baby them Latina Chicas know how to get off!  Honey that Queen Diva tore them drums up then she kicked the damn cymbals—-Now what!!!

“She wants to lead the glamorous life…without love it ain’t much!”

A sista came to slay!

Sugar Walls by Sheena Easton

Baby Prince done turned that white girl out!  She used to talk about her baby taking the morning train.  Now she talking about sugar walls!  But what does that mean?

“Come spend the night inside my sugar walls”

OK, I see!

Farewell My Summer Love by Michael Jackson–Re-released

Y’all somebody went back and dug up one of Mike’s old jams and either re-released or released it for the first time.

I loved it because that year I had a little summer love with a dude down in ‘Bama.

Ask cousins Liz and Jennifer; they know who it was!

If Only You Knew by Patti LaBelle

Now, this is how a ballad is supposed to be sung.  Honey, Queen Diva Patti set this shit right here on FIRE!

“I said you don’t know how much I need you…”



You Me and He by Mtume

Aw shit, here we go with another one of them damn triangulations!

Folks need to stop that nonsense. Lady G don’t know nothing about that kinda stuff 😉

What is we gon’ do?

“I don’t wanna let you go, no, no, no, no!”

I wanna know what love is by Foreigner

Ok so when I saw the video for this one I was CONVINCED!

I loved this jam!  But who doesn’t?

Tears by The Force MD’s

What?  Ain’t these some rappers?  Don’t rapper supposed to rap?

Whaaaa?  They can sing!

I just be damned!

“Tears, tears, another heart knows my pain.”

TC?  Yessir!

Mr. Groove by One Way

Chile this one makes me think about my cousins Bruce and Rasul (Squirt) walking around Dale Road with a boom box!  Them two jokers were NOT to be fucked with.  Bruce wore a chain–bitch I don’t mean gold chain–I mean a real chain!  Mess with him if you want to.

Squirt came from Chicago and his daddy, Bobby, was so bad he could walk in any gang territory and get much respeckkkk!  Even the gangstas didn’t f*ck with Uncle Bobby!

Now what does that tell you?

Shackles by RJ’s Latest Arrival

“Shackles on my feet”


Off and on Love by Champaign

Baby, I guanran-damn-tee you forgot this jam!  If you didn’t you NEED to holler at me in comments.  I love the scatting at the end–kinda made me think about Scotti and Walter’nem from the Whispers.

Love need and want you by Patti LaBelle

Aw shit now!!!!!

That Queen Diva DID that with this jam!

“And I just want you to know….how I feeeeel…how I feeeeel…oh I…”

My son and I have a running joke about that line related to Big Boi’s sample of it a few years back.

“I love and need and want you baby!” Repeat ad infinitum!

Hard Times by Run DMC

Baby, that beat was banging!

“Hard times spreadin’ just like the flu, watch out homeboy, don’t let it get you….”

Y’all don’t know nothin’ ‘bout that!

Hey DJ by The World’s Famous Supreme Team

“Hey DJ just play that song, keep me dancin’ all night..”

Baby, all the DJ’s was digging on this jam.  Back then, if you were new and you really wanted to get your stuff played, all you needed to do was mention the DJ.

Hell it still works these days, ask that pretty little island girl Ree Ree.

Note:  Lady G cannot be bothered to google the proper spelling of her actual name—Again, I’ll let you do that.

Sex Shooter by Apollonia 6

Oh hell yeah! This was the jam.  But, oh hell naw, she couldn’t sing!

“Sex shooter, shooting love in your direction.”

These chicks were eye candy for the fellas!  Prince wasn’t no dummy.

Honey when Vanity left, Prince went right out and got him another one just like her!

Lessons learned:

Don’t get shit twisted, you can always be replaced!

Don’t f*ck with The Purple One. Period! And the Dot.

C.O.D (I’ll deliver) by Mtume

“I deliver, C.O.D.”


Please don’t ever try to question the credentials of James Mtume!  He is the truth!  You can believe that!

“Just call my name, in a hurry, it’s not the same without you…”

I simply CANNOT!

Take a chance by Nuance

Picture it, Sicily….No I’m just bullshitting you 🙂

Picture it, 1984, A high school football game in the South with two bands, Laney and Josey, competing to see who gon’ blow who out to this jam! Competition is hot!

But Laney won that one!


Don’t worry Josey, you will live to fight, and win, another day 😉

Weekend Girl by S.O.S Band

I can imagine my girl Chevvy telling some begging dude back in 1984, “I’m a weekend girl, and I don’t have time on the weekdays!”


You better tell him girl!

We need some money by Chuck Brown

Chuck was on that real, real, real….Reaganomics and that trickle down theory was some bullshit–money was tight as hell in 1984!

But the party went on!

Come on T. and G. Let’s get up on this go-go!

“Master card, Visa, American Express, I ain’t got nothing ‘gainst no credit cards but the cash is the best!”

Yessir, Mr. Brown was the originator!  You better ask somebody from the DMV! I told y’all before that Lady G got mad love for my folks in the D.C., Maryland, VA area!

Chic cheer by Chic (1984 remix)

Yeah you know this one!  Nile on that guitar with Bernard echoing him on bass!


No Parking On The Dance Floor by Midnight Star-1983-but I had to say something in 1984

Baby Midnight Star made Lady G sweat all her damn perm out dancing!

Boy when I got off the dance floor my eyeliner and mascara had done run all down my face.

A bitch was looking like a gotdamn fool!

But that’s okay!  I had a good ass time!

“Moving violations are easy to fix just tell the DJ to fix it in the mix!”

You Turn Me On by Rick James

Yaaasss!  Rick doing what he does best on this jam!’

Runaway Love by Linda Clifford (Correction- released in 1978 but we gonna jam it in ’84 ’cause that’s when it came to me)

Ladies, when you’ve had enough and it is time for that joker to go, put this jam on and tell his ass to kick rocks!

Honey, the music here is tight but please do not skip out on Queen Diva Linda’s monologue about that low down ass joker right there!

But before she goes into that, I love to hear her sing:

So stop messin’ with my heart

If you don’t mean it

And stop messin’ with my love

If you don’t care

Don’t come in here

Talking bout love

And you know

You’re using me baby

Cause I ain’t got no

Heartaches to spare

Alright now!!!!!

Secret fantasy by Tom Browne Ft. Siedah Garrett

In this one Siedah, at the beginning of the song,  seems to be saying  “Talk to me quick!” but I got no idea if that’s right.

Either way, that was my dear Oscar’s favorite part.

Ok, so let me explain the whole Oscar thing.  You see, my cousin Jen-Jen and I used to make homemade tapes together.  For some reason we started referring to all of our tapes as “Sid and Oscar Productions.

[Legal machinations will not allow me to reveal which one of us was Sid and which one of us was Oscar. Please don’t try referring back to my previous sentences because y’all already know I love to refer to myself in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd person–YAAASSSS!]

Back to business…

First of all, Siedah was the business.  She wrote or co-wrote MJ’s “Man in the Mirror.”  So you know she made some serious coinage.  But, aside from that, she could blow!  She was often asked to sing back-up/session for more well known acts.

I’m not sure why she never went much further than that–maybe she opted not to.  One thing is for sure, it damn shole wasn’t because  of her voice or her looks.  That Queen Diva was gorgeous and, as I said, she could sing!  I just can’t call it!

As for this jam, baby it’s a killer!  Honey, if you were to put this one on at a dance in 1984-85, the fellas would be trying to ask you to slow dance.  Chile the ladies would quickly respond, “Naw, this is fast enough for us to dance separately.”


I advise you to go check it out if you don’t remember it.

When I hear music by Debbie Deb

This jam right here and “Take a chance” can always take me right back to the 1980’s


Hanging downtown by Cameo

Chile Larry Blackmon got back on my good side with this monster.  Here, he is giving me chill, he is giving me vibe, he is giving me ever-y-thing I need on this jam.

“I’ll be hanging downtown, kind of waiting, maybe I’ll try meditating….Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah…”

Chile that joker even gave me some brass action.

Peep the sax!  Oh yes!

Larry, you alright with me!

Make me a Believer by Luther  Vandross

Nope, I simply CANNOT


You just can’t f*ck with this shit right here!

Feel the need by Anita Baker

Now y’all know I wasn’t gonna leave 1984 without giving you some nasty bass!

Well here it is…from Queen Diva Anita and Lady G to YOU!

Out on a limb by Teena Marie

Sid and Oscar Productions

Side A

Track 1


Dear Lover by Teena Marie

Sid and Oscar Productions

Side A

Track 2


Y’all already know how I feel about Lady T !!!


Here I usually list songs that Mama liked but I guess by now you know that Ms Girl had done jumped ship and started going back in time listening to her old jams! That said,  I’ll just list some more ‘84 jams along with hip hop party jams.

More ‘84 Jams 

Like a Virgin by Madonna

I feel for you by Chaka Khan

Somebody’s watching me by Rockwell:  Yaaassss MJ is rocking that chorus!

Out of touch by Hall & Oates

Breaking /No stopping us Ollie and Jerry:  Yaaasss Ozone! Turbo!

Method of Modern Love by Hall & Oates

Solid by Ashford and Simpson

Miss me blind by Culture Club

Somebody else’s guy by Jocelyn Brown

Centipede by Rebbie Jackson

Change of heart by Change

She’s Strange by Cameo

Encore by Cheryl Lynn

Feel so real by Patrice Rushen

Jam On It by Newcleus

Lovelite by O’Bryan

Body Talk by The Deele

Show me by Glenn Jones

Baby don’t break your baby’s heart by Kashif

Perfect combination by Stacy Lattisaw and Johnny Gill

Plane Love by Jeffrey Osborne

Joy Stick by Dazz Band

It’s a miracle by Culture Club

More more more by Atlantic Starr

Fo fi Fo Pieces of a Dream

Love me in a special way by DeBarge

Swoop I’m Yours The Dazz Band

No One’s Gonna Love You SOS Band

Pretty Mess by Vanity

Lollipop Love by Bryan Loren

30 Days by Run DMC

What people do for money Divine sounds

Tenderoni by Leon Haywood

Prime time by Mtume

Just my luck by The Deele

Fragile by Cherrelle

I wanted your love by Luther Vandross

Intimate Connection by Kleeer

Don’t stop by One way

Hip Hop Party Jams

Computer age push the button by Newcleus:  YAAAASSS, this one is for Rodricka “The Freak!” Class of 1988

Fix-It in the mix by Pretty Tony

Egypt, Egypt by Egyptian Love

Well, it’s a wrap! I love you 1984, but it’s time to leave you in the midst of years gone by!

Y’all join me for the afterparty in comments!  It goes on for days!  It can’t stop, cause it won’t stop!  Let’s share memories of ’84!  Don’t forget to tell me your likes and dislikes from my list.  Were there any surprises on my list?  Tell me about the ones that I didn’t list. Remember my list is not in any order nor is it exhaustive 🙂

Let’s get it!


NOT Rocket Science


Trust me, you can relax because, as the title indicates, I am NOT about to discuss the trajectory of a spaceship.  Nor will I be writing an epistle on the various applications of Einstein’s equations.

Did I just sense a collective sigh of relief?

However, I am going to share three experiences that I believe perfectly illustrate some glaring deficiencies in the knowledge base of some of our young people.

Now, before I start, let me clarify that this post is not meant to place all blame on teachers and in the interest of self -disclosure, let me admit that each of my paternal aunts were educators.

Back to my point.

I honestly think that weaknesses in our children’s educational backgrounds are due to several negative social, political and economic factors that have converged to formulate a clusterf*ck of sorts.

Uhh, enough with the pontification! Read these experiences so you’ll understand what I mean:

Experience 1

Several months ago, my friend, who taught Advanced Spanish at a local high school, was testing her students on the subject of ‘Time.’  During the test, she moved the hands on a clock to indicate various times of day. She then asked the students to write, in Spanish, the time that was displayed. Seventeen of the twenty students failed the test.

But not for the reason that you are thinking.

The fact of the matter is that seventeen students failed the test because they had no idea how to tell time on a non-digital clock. The Principal made my friend re-administer the test using images from a digital clock.  Needless to say, the pass rate greatly improved.

Unfortunately, the Principal NEVER even acknowledged the fact that the students could only tell time on a digital clock.

Now my question to you is twofold:  What time is it and does anybody really know what time it is?

You’ll have to forgive me for throwing in two musical references but it’s what I do 🙂

Experience 2

I went to Arby’s on yesterday to grab some dinner for me and my daughter.  The total cost of our food was $11.31.  I did not want to use my debit or credit cards so I handed the cashier five ones and a five dollar bill.  After that, I handed her four quarters.  Finally, I handed her an additional quarter, one nickel and a penny.  Y’all that’s $11.31 all day long!

Clearly, I was trying to get rid of some change.

Anyway, after the cashier disappeared from the drive-thru window, I heard what sounded like a whole lot of change being feverishly moved around.  Honestly, it sounded like a rat had gotten into the cash drawer.

Before long, and to my surprise, the young cashier returned to the window and handed me several coins-along with a receipt.  I immediately said, “Oh you don’t owe me any money, I gave you the exact amount, the total was $11.31 –correct?”

She said, “No m’am it was $11.40.”  She then handed me my food.

Well, I smiled politely and drove off–still feeling a bit confused.  I mean if the total due was $11.40 then she certainly didn’t owe me any change, in fact, I owed her.

Ok, now I’m befuddled as hell!  So when I got home, I checked the receipt.  Guess what? the total was, indeed, $11.31 but the amount tendered was entered as  $11.40 so the change shown was $0.09.

Our dear cashier thought that a quarter, a nickel and a penny was $0.40.

Y’all it ain’t no cash register or computer in the world that could have helped this poor baby.  Honestly, I felt so sorry for her.

Experience 3

In the words of my wise cousin Ron, there is no need to split a hair that doesn’t need to be split.

Now watch me split this one anyway 😉

OK, so recently I went to the deli at Publix  to get 3 pounds of smoked turkey.  The young man working the counter was quite nice; we had a lovely little chat while he sliced my turkey.  Just as he was finishing up, he said, “Ma’am, this is gon’ be too much meat to put in one bag so Imma need to split it up.”

I said, “OK, that’ll be perfect.”

The young man then proceeded to divide the meat into 3 portions; placing each portion into 3 separate bags.  He then went on to say, “Ok here go your first half, here go your second half and here go your third half.”

Y’all, somehow that just didn’t sound right to me.  LOL!

Alright, I realize that many of you probably laughed at a couple of these ‘experiences.’  But, seriously, if you are a parent, grandparent or if you have a direct vested interest in a child’s education, you might want to pay closer attention to what is going on at the schoolhouse.

Remember, the students of today will be the doctors, nurses, lawyers, teachers, police officers, paramedics, engineers, air traffic control/pilots, truck drivers and politicians of tomorrow.

Don’t you want them to be well prepared?









Dreams Made Manifest

Glo and Terry McMillan
Gloria with author Terry McMillan at a book signing in Seattle

They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.  -Edgar Allan Poe

Dream, dream, dream!  Never underestimate the power of your dreams! Dreams can take you to places that are elusive to your rational mind.

How do I know?  Because I have made many dreams come true. In my mind, there is no way for you to attain an ideal life without first traveling through your dreams and imagination.  Please trust and believe that God gifted you with these abilities for a reason.

As you might have guessed, I like to surround myself with folks who are, in this way, like-minded.

With that said, I give you one of my oldest and dearest friends Gloria.  Gloria is a dreamer!  Sometimes she dreams alone and sometimes we dream together, and, as a result, she recently acquired her dream job in her dream city and she is now living her dream life.

Notice how I keep repeating the word ‘dream’?  It’s intentional 🙂

Friends, do understand that preparation is of the utmost importance.  But remember, once you are sufficiently prepared, you must allow yourself to indulge your imagination.  If you do this, you will experience a lovely life that unfolds with ease and grace.

And now, I leave you with the following quote:

People who lean on logic and philosophy and rational exposition end by starving the best part of the mind.  -William Butler Yeats


My friends, let us commence!






Looking at Daddy

Multipics of Dad


And those who are wise—the people of God—shall shine as brightly as the sun’s brilliance, and those who turn many to righteousness will glitter like stars forever.

-Daniel 12:3

Somewhere, packed away in a storage box, there is a picture of me, as an infant, ‘sitting’ in a chair.

Now, if you were to examine the picture closely, you would notice that my eyes are intently focused to the right. I remember being told that, despite the photographer’s best efforts to get my attention, I would NOT look toward the camera.  In fact, my eyes remained locked-right- in a hard gaze.

According to my mother, people would often look at that picture and ask, “What was she looking at?” To which my mother would proudly respond, “She was looking at her Daddy.”

Believe it or not, all these years later, I’m still looking at my Daddy.

By the way, I can tell you from experience, that some folks have assumed that I’ve been looking at my father because he is such a handsome man.  Well, frankly, that has never been the reason for my focus.  Actually, I can assure you that it goes much deeper than that.

The fact of the matter is I am not looking at my father’s physical features as much as I am looking at his actions.

That said, I watched him get up early every morning to go to work in order to take care of our family.  He and my mother decided that she would stay home and care for my brother and I while he worked.  In my  Daddy, I see a man who is invested in the wellbeing of his children.

I observed him as he rescued and cared for stray dogs, cats and other injured and neglected animals. In my Daddy,  I see a man who has a reverence for all sentient beings.

I saw him mentor and give financial support (when possible) to family and friends. In my Daddy,  I see a man who understands and believes that we’re all in this together.

I notice him as he nurtures and shows love to his grandchildren.  In my Daddy, I see a man who loves being a Grandfather.

I witnessed him as he tirelessly cared for my mother until the night she decided to go back HOME.  In my Daddy, I see a man who was devoted to his wife.

Now, before I proceed, let me say that my Daddy is by no means perfect.  There were many times that he missed the mark.  But haven’t we all?

I once read a quote that said, “Strive for excellence, not perfection.”  And so it is with my Daddy.

In any case, instead of continuing to tell you about my Daddy, I’ve opted to give you an opportunity to look at him for yourself:

Me and Dad
Me and Daddy at my High School Homecoming (L).  Me, Dad and my son when I got my Masters Degree (R)



Daddy (Granddaddy) offering assistance to Superman
Daddy shaving his Daddy (My Granddaddy)
Daddy and Mama when they were both about the same age.

Happy Father’s Day to my Daddy and all of the fathers out there!

PS:  We love you Daddy!



A Father’s Gift

My Father

I’ve worked my current job for thirteen years. Before that I served twenty years in the United States Air Force. Aside from those occupations, I’ve had one ‘job’ that is more important than any other; the ‘job’ of father. Although it has not really been a “job” in the traditional sense; it does pay benefits in return for one’s hard work and dedication. Marlene Dietrich said, “A king, realizing his incompetence, can either delegate or abdicate his duties. A father can do neither.” Nor would I have done either, if given those choices.

No one is a perfect father, except our Heavenly Father. Every man starts the job as a novice and NEVER achieves Master Craftsman status. But we owe it to our children to try.

My father tried, as have I.

Proverbs 4:1-5, gives some advice to sons of fathers; having been both, I can attest to the validity of these words: “1.) Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction; pay attention and gain understanding. 2.) I give you sound learning, so do not forsake my teaching. 3.) For I too was a son to my father, still tender, and cherished by my mother. 4.) Then he taught me, and he said to me, ‘Take hold of my words with all your heart; keep my commands, and you will live. 5.) Get wisdom, get understanding, do not forget my words or turn away from them.”’


In keeping with today’s topic, I’d also like to share a poem that I wrote about my own father.  I hope you enjoy it!


Where Is My Father?

Sometimes I see his hands,

where a briar scratch may seep,

red against his dark brown skin.

Sometimes I hear him speak; his voice deep.

Saying something, I’ve heard him say, time and again.

Sometimes I can smell old spice or Brut by Faberge’

Sometimes I see his children; staring at him fascinated

by some seemingly impossible thing he has done that day.

Sometimes I see his arms; strong muscles animated.

Sometimes I see his eyes; the same today as yesterday.

IN THE MIRROR! I see; those eyes belong to me.

I look at my hands with that same skin.

I smell the cologne that a child gifted with glee.

And when I speak I hear his voice in mine.

Those children are my children, anachronistically.

Then I thank God for having had him.

And I thank him for the legacy he left me and them.


Happy Father’s Day !

Ron’s Time Tunnel: Congo’s Cargo



Creek could sing but Congo…I’m not too sure about. I mentioned, in my previous story, “the choir,” which featured; my dad, Creek, Tat, Dump, Buster, Reatha, and Congo, but what I failed to mention is that, I would often attend their choir rehearsals. These rehearsals usually took place at Aunt Babe’s—she had a piano in her living room. I was a youngster then and can remember standing among those guys thinking how tall they all seemed to be to me. I mention my size, in contrast to the “big guys” because, one of my memories is of looking up at Congo, during a couple of those rehearsals and noting that, although his Adam’s Apple bounced energetically up and down the front of his slender neck, I could detect no sound coming from his mouth. I don’t know if he sang; tenor, baritone, or bass; or for that matter, if he sang at all, but one thing I do know is this, he had one hell of a “vibrato”.

Congo was my daddy’s first cousin on his daddy’s side. His name, of course, was not really “Congo,” that particular appellation was his sobriquet. Before writing this story, I had often wondered, from where this particular moniker had arisen, but after asking the question openly on social media, my brother had a partial answer to this mystery. He stated that the name came from a “curious type of socks that he often wore.” Of course, this information from my brother, raised more questions, in particular; what type of socks are “Congo socks?”

After a bit of research, I developed a theory as to the origin of Congo’s nickname. It seems that, during the early part of the 20th century, the French arrived in the African nation of Congo and established colonies there. With them they brought the French notion of “elegance.” The young men of the Bakongo ethnic group were impressed by the sartorial flair of the French and grew enamored enough of their style to copy it. The French, recognizing the desires of the impressionable young African men of the colony, took advantage of some of them by paying those who worked for them with second hand clothing. The clothing, worn by the French became highly desirable, whether second hand or new. Inspired by these “payments,” some of these young African men would spend all of their earnings for French-styled, three-piece suits, fedoras, canes and SILK SOCKS! Old Congo must have worn socks similar to the one’s the boys of Congo were wearing, hence the name, CONGO! Well anyway, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

These young African men formed a society called “La Sape.” The word SAPE is an acronym for “Société des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Élegantes” (The Society of Ambiance-Makers and Elegant People). The Republic of Congo became the country of SAPEURS—“dandies who don sharp get-ups despite the poverty, oppression, and conflict often surrounding them” (Wikipedia). The organization used dressing well as an act of defiance against difficult times. They lived in stark contrast to their oppressively impoverished environment. They were, as their name implies, “Ambiance Makers.” Our Congo, certainly was that! Whenever he arrived on the scene, he created his own, ambiance.

The motto of this group of men was, “’to defy circumstance and live with a ‘joie de vivre.’” In English, the French phrase, “Joie de vivre” translates as, “exuberant enjoyment of life.” Other synonyms for this phrase are: “joyfulness, cheerfulness, lightheartedness, happiness, joy, and high spirits.” Congo embodied all of these traits. These attributes, along with the little half-pint of gin in his back pocket, were, “CONGO’S CARGO.”

Congo was also an expert mechanic—a trade he learned in the Army—and a car aficionado. Once, the neighbors across the street from Uncle Croff’s and Aunt Annie Bell’s home had a visitor, who had arrived in a new, 1977, Lincoln Mark V, he knew immediately what type of car it was, even from across the street. Excitedly he exclaimed, “That’s a Mark FIVE! You can BLEEVE that!” Anytime Con made a definitive statement, he would punctuate it with his trademark exclamation, “YOU CAN BLEEVE THAT!


“Then I saw the Congo, creeping through the black;

Cutting through the forest with a golden track.

The gray sky opened like a new-rent veil

And showed the Apostles with their coats of mail.

In bright white steel they were seated round

And their fire-eyes watched where the Congo wound.

And the twelve Apostles, from their thrones on high

Thrilled all the forest with their heavenly cry…”

Here comes Congo in a new Mark V!

(Excerpted from Vachel Lindsay’s poem, with a twist from me)