Blackie

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“Blackie” the dog

 

Ok, let me hang on to my integrity by admitting that I never learned the dog’s real name.

That said, he will forever be known to me as “Blackie.”

Anyway, many long years ago, when I was about six or seven, Mama would take me to my bus-stop every morning to catch the bus for school.  Honestly, the stop was very close to where I lived—but it was at the top of a rather steep hill.  Mama thought it would be better if she drove me to the stop in the mornings; that way I could start my school day looking nice, fresh and clean.

She said, “I’ll take you in the mornings so you won’t have to go to school all sweaty– looking like a field hand.”

And with that, a deal was made, Mama would drive me to the bus-stop in the mornings but I would walk back home each afternoon.

Well, the first couple of days, my walk from the bus-stop was rather enjoyable; I liked the independence of it all.  Besides, I didn’t have far to go and it was completely downhill.  This was going to be a breeze! No problems!

The deal between me and Mama worked out fine!

Until it didn’t.

Enter “problems!”

One day, as I was making my usual trek home, I came upon a little black dog who started barking at me from a yard across the street.  Naturally, this startled me since I had never seen him before.  At any rate, although I was startled, I was not afraid because I had been raised in a home with all kinds of dogs. In fact, my Dad rescued and trained hunting dogs. That said, a barking dog was a non-issue to me.

By the way, you can read more about me, daddy and our dogs here.

Anyway, as I was saying, I wasn’t scared, but I was on guard so I did my best to quietly walk past the dog’s ‘dominion.’

When I got home, I didn’t mention this to Mama, because, after all, apart from all the loud barking, the dog had kept his distance.

Until he didn’t.

The next day, after I got off the bus and commenced to walk home, I noticed that same little black dog in his yard barking like he was one of my Doberman Pinschers.  Again, I was startled but not too concerned so I just looked straight ahead–kept my stride and walked past.

Friends, the next thing I knew, that little joker had crossed over to my side of the street and had begun biting at my heels!

And we were off!

Me and the dog–both ‘flying’ down that hill like two bats out of hell!

Y’all I was in a race for my life!  In fact, I was sprinting so fast that I could barely stop myself!

You may recall that I was coming down a steep hill.  A steep hill that, by the way, ran perpendicular to a busy thoroughfare.

Had I kept running, I might have crossed directly into the path of several cars.

Good thing I was able to stop and catch myself!

Needless to say, by the time I stopped, I was totally breathless and scared out of my wits!

When I looked down, I noticed that the little black dog (whom I later named “Blackie”) had already turned around and was making his way back home.

Enter Mama!

After somewhat gaining my composure, I walked the last few yards home.  Mama was standing there as I entered the house through the kitchen.

Having noticed how disheveled and discombobulated I was, she asked, “What’s wrong with you?”

I said, between wheezes, “A dog chased me home!”

Mama asked, “What dog? Where?”

I said, “Up Wycliffe Street.”

Mama said, “Come on let’s go!”

And with that, me, Tack and Mama jumped in the car!

Mama drove up Wycliffe and said, “Show me the house!”

I pointed to “Blackie’s” house.

Mama pulled up into Blackie’s yard, parked and said, “Y’all wait right here!”

Folks, Mama got out of the car, strutted up to the front door and started knocking like she was the Chief of POLICE!

Within a minute or so, a man came to the door and said, “Can I help you ma’am?”

Mama spotted Blackie standing behind the man and said, “Your dog chased my daughter home.  She almost ran into traffic! Now look, she gon’ have to walk down this hill everyday after school so you gon’ have to keep that dog in the house!”

The man said, “Ma’am I’m so sorry about that.  I’ll make sure he stays inside when your little daughter comes by.”

Mama thanked the man, bid him a fond farewell, got back in the car and drove us home.

The next day when I passed “Blackie’s” house I noticed that he was not in the yard barking but he was peering at me through his front window.

I imagined him saying, “You so lucky I ain’t outside!”

LOL!

All jokes aside, Mama was bold!  You have to remember, this all took place in Georgia in the early 1970’s and “Blackie’s” owner was an older White man.  At that time, most places in the South were newly integrated so Mama, who was only about 29,  was gambling with her life when she decided to approach that man about his dog.

But, as they say, don’t mess with a Mama bear’s cubs!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…Black…Black…

 

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A real life dialogue from 1990 between two young co-workers.  

One Black and One White.

 

Me:  “Hey Teri!  How are your classes coming this quarter?”

Teri:  “Hey Gwin!  They’re coming along OK.”

Me:  “Are you making any new friends?”

Teri:  “Well, yes…but, to be honest,  I’ve noticed that the Black students in my classes aren’t really friendly and they only talk to each other.”

Me:  “Well have you tried starting a conversation with any of ’em?”

Teri:  “Well, no… I mean, I’m not used to being around Black people so I wouldn’t know what to say.”

Me:  “Teri, you’re forgetting something…in case you hadn’t noticed, I’m Black and we talk all the time.”

Teri:  “Gwin, that’s different, you’re Black but you’re not Black Black.

Me:  What?  What do you mean I’m not Black Black?”

Teri:  “See… now you’re trying to make me feel bad, I’m just saying that you’re not like most Black people.”

Me:  “Come on Teri didn’t you just say that you’re not used to being around Black people?  So how do you know how most Black people are?”

Teri:  “Gwin, please don’t get mad.  You’ve been a very good friend to me and the last thing I would want to do is offend you so let’s just drop the subject, I’m sorry.”

Me:  “I accept Teri and I agree; we probably need to move on and start talking about something else.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Jesus Are You Talking About?

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I know this lady who was raised in a very depraved environment.  She, her mother and her siblings were treated as if they were the private property of her ‘father.’

This young lady had been worked, raped and nearly beaten to death.  She was not allowed to go to school so she never learned to read.

Throughout her teen years, her ‘father,’ who had been her main abuser, gave his friends permission to violate her in any number of ways.  As a result, she gave birth to six children; each with a different man. Her father sent several of the children away because he said that it wasn’t his responsibility to feed them.

Sadly, the young lady was never told of their whereabouts. Before long, she and her remaining children suffered the same fate.

This young lady, who had nothing but the clothes on her back and three children in tow, did the best that she could to keep her family alive.  However, she found that she was unable to suppress the urge to imitate her abusers. She frequently beat her children mercilessly.  She sometimes neglected them and oftentimes withheld love and affection.

No doubt, she had begun to recreate a home environment that was not unlike the one that she had been born into.

Unfortunately, the other day, I learned that her 14 year old daughter is pregnant.

Frankly, I am disappointed, but not surprised.

Anyway, recently, I stumbled across a man on TV sporting a T-shirt with the graphic “One nation under God” yelling, “It’s not my responsiblity to ….”

Frankly, my friends, I couldn’t be bothered with listening to the details of his diatribe but I can tell you that I’ve seen just about ten thousand variations of this same hypocrite complaining that it’s not his/her responsiblity to help:

The poor

The hungry

The abused

The uneducated

The elderly

The children

The immigrants

The sick

The injured

The underrepresented

And the freaking list goes on!

I promise you, I wanted to jump through that TV screen and yell the following:

Dude!  I implore you to take that T-shirt off because you are doing God a huge disservice!  Please just stop it!  And another thing, go read that Bible that you, no doubt, have ignored.  Pay particular attention to the words that Jesus said!  As cousin Ron teaches, “Read the red!”  (Remember, in some versions of the bible, red words are used to denote things that Jesus actually said.)

Now, dude, after you’re finished doing that , ask yourself WHAT WOULD JESUS DO?

Here’s a hint, if you get any answer other than help those who are in need then I have to ask, “What Jesus are you talking about?”

End of Rant!

Ok so don’t get me wrong, I get the concept of self sufficiency, but everybody who has ever achieved any amount of success has had some amount of help from somebody!  You better believe Donald Trump’s pappy helped him to attain financial success.

Remember, one can only pull himself up by the bootstraps if he has BOOTS!

America, the world is watching!

So what is we gon’ do y’all?

Lady G is now stepping down from the soap box!

Congratulations Ron!

 

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Ron at Graduation with sons Aaron (L) and Adam (R)

As I mentioned in a previous post, Ron graduated college about a week ago.  Our whole family is so proud of him.

As for me, I am so lucky to have been born into the same family as this highly intelligent, wise, talented and beautiful man.  Yes, we are connected by blood, (My dad and his mom are siblings) but in my mind, it goes much deeper than that.  Frankly, I believe that Ron is one of my closest soul mates.

Ok, so let me stop you right now before you start yelling incest!

Check out the following description of soul mates:

“…A soul mate is like the echo of oneself in Matter working at the same task to fulfill a blueprint for God.” – Elizabeth Clare Prophet

Friends, I pray that we both will continue working together to do just that.

Anyway, Ron won’t like it if I get too sappy so I’d better quit while I am ahead!  However, I would like to share this text that I sent him on the day of his graduation:

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Thanks for reading this guys and I am so happy that I am able to share my cousin Ron with all of you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday Shoutout: Motivation

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Today’s Sunday shoutout is about MOTIVATION!

Summer is coming!  Time to shape up!  Forget aesthetics, I’m talking about wellness!  OK, we can’t completely forget aesthetics; we’ll just make it secondary to health 🙂

My friends, this dude right here is all about trying to help folks like me and you establish a healthier way of living.  As an American College of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer, I would venture to say that he probably knows what he’s talking about.  The fact that he is also a Biology major at a prestigious American University doesn’t hurt either.

If you want to learn more about establishing and maintaining a healthier lifestyle why don’t you check him out.  You can find him here.

Side note: This young man and I once shared a body about twenty something years ago, I did ALL the work and he just chilled!  LOL! He was my first major assignment in life and by all accounts it looks like I got an A+ !

Mama loves you man!

Did I do a good job son?

😉

 

That’s What I’m Talking About!

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One of the goals of my blog is to share stories, ideas, information and concepts that I hope will edify my readers.  Bearing this in mind, I decided to share a story that I read on CNN.com about a police officer who engaged in a bit of goodwill by shooting hoops with some young men.  Believe it or not, the officer was present because someone had reported these kids for playing a noisy game of “street” basketball.

Say what?
Yeah, you read it right!
Anyway, the unexpected response from the officer, which was captured on this video, went viral.
Now, if you have any knowledge of law enforcement, you already know that this so called “basketball cop” was engaging in a bit of “community policing.”  If you are new to the concept, think of it this way, to get respect, you need to give respect.  Cops who practice this style of policing invest in the community by taking time to get to know the people that they are sworn to serve.
In essence, mutual respect between the officer and the community makes for a safer environment for all!
Listen, I have no misgivings about the dangers that law enforcement officers face.  I say this with confidence because both my father and my brother have worked in this capacity. Trust me when I tell you, it is no fun worrying that something tragic might happen to your loved one while he or she attempts to “protect and serve.”  By the same token, I am also acutely aware of the dangers that many individuals face when they are approached by a hot headed law enforcement officer.
Y’all, all I’m saying is that  law enforcement agencies would do well to drop adversarial approaches and pick up “community policing” techniques.
I think that this video helps to prove that point 🙂

Can’t Tell by Looking!

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Photo by Viktor Hanacek

 

When I was a kid my friends and I loved going to the ‘rich neighborhood’ to look at beautiful houses with large picture windows.  I recall peering through those windows and imagining cheerful wives preparing world class dinners for their handsome husbands.

In my mind, the families who lived there had no troubles or worries; just pounds and pounds of pleasure!

After admiring the houses in the ‘rich neighborhood,’ my friends and I would sometimes take a short-cut through ‘the hood’ to get home.

If you don’t know what ‘the hood’ is, go google ‘hood’ images and rejoin me after you have had time to review the results.

At any rate, ‘the hood’ that I am speaking of was exactly two left turns from the tony neighborhood with the big picture windows.

Uh oh, you seem surprised by the proximity of these two polar opposite realms?  Don’t be! Believe it or not, my friend Gloria swears that you can always find ‘the hood’ by taking two right turns from any wealthy district.

While I have no way of verifying that this is always the case, it was certainly the case in this story.

Anyway, let’s just say that ‘the hood’ was—DIFFERENT.  There I saw frazzled wives asking their dog-tired husbands for a dollar or two. Clearly, this scene was not at all like the one I imagined as I walked through the ‘rich neighborhood.’

Sorry, friends, it had not yet occurred to me that I was comparing real situations to imaginary scenarios. At any rate, in my childish mind, it was clear that in ‘the hood’ there was mostly trouble, big worries and nothing much to be pleased about.

Sadly, after years of conducting this side by side comparison of rich and not so rich, I had come to the misguided conclusion that if you wanted to be happy, ALL you needed was a lot of money and that was all there was to that!

Yeah, like many Americans, I bought into THAT delusion.

Anyhow, as fate would have it, several years later, I ended up attending a high school that had a very diverse socioeconomic population.

If you had surveyed our school’s student parking lot you would have found Jaguars, Mercedes, Buicks, Nissans, Hoopties and everything in between.

Of course, there were also students who came from families who had no car at all.

I used to joke that some of my friend’s parents owned the factory, some managed the factory, some worked at the factory and some couldn’t get hired at the factory!

Laugh if you want to, I am being very serious!

Getting back to the point, as a popular cheerleader, I easily made friends with folks from every economic class and, as a result, I soon learned that many of my ‘rich’ friend’s parents were drunk and fighting and my ‘poor’ friend’s parents were truly enjoying each other’s company (and vice versa).

In short, I learned that you cannot calculate the happiness factor of a family by looking at their bank statement (that’s if they have a bank) or by any other outward measure.

In addition, it finally dawned on me that the ‘cheerful wives’ that I imagined as a child in the rich neighborhood could have been dealing with bankruptcy and physical abuse while the ‘frazzled wives’ that I saw in the hood could have been enjoying relatively happy marital relationships.

So here is the takeaway:  Do not make judgments based on exteriors; people are much too complex for that.

Also, do not attach peace, happiness, joy, anger, sadness and pain to financial status. If you do, you will end up leading a very confused life.

Be aware that these feelings are always in a state of flux- and they will take turns grabbing hold of you from time to time regardless of your socioeconomic, ethnic, or educational background.

Your job is to enjoy the good times and find a healthy way to manage the hard times.

Now, detach thyself from all of that mess and go get thine life!

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Rushing To Do What?

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Not the actual offender, but a close approximation!

Have you ever wondered where the nut that almost hit your car after speeding in and out of interstate lanes is rushing to?  Surely, he or she needs to get someplace in short order-right?  I mean, maybe this person has received an extremely distressing telephone call.  Maybe he or she is a physician on the way to an emergency.  Maybe this person is trying to seek medical attention for himself or a family member.  Or maybe….NOT!

This weekend, I had the opportunity to get an up-close answer to these questions.  Do you wanna read about it? I am sure that you are now on the edge of your seat!  I’ll try not to disappoint— so here we go!

This past Saturday, while driving on a busy thoroughfare, I noticed a huge black tank of an SUV speeding up behind me.  This behemoth was moving so fast that I thought it was going to slam right into me.  Fortunately, the driver didn’t hit me, but he did tailgate me for a while before swerving left into the passing lane.  Needless to say, the motorist at the helm of that intimidating monstrosity continued barreling down the highway- darting in and out of traffic with very little room between cars to spare.  I thought to myself, surely something urgent must have happened.  Little did I know, I was about to witness the end result of all of this hurried insanity.

After traveling another mile or so, I exited the interstate in order to stop by my favorite bookstore to grab a cup of coffee and to look for a new book.  As I was parking, I noticed that the same black SUV that had nearly hit me on the interstate was parked in a nearby parking lot!  How do I know that it was the same truck?  Because this truck had several distinct decals, stickers of stick people, stick dogs, stick cats, memorial notices and ornate monograms plastered on the back window.  If you had seen it, I promise that you would have remembered it too.  Anyway, since I could see the driver’s shadow as he or she sat in the truck, I decided to wait a few minutes to spy.  Before too long, a very slender lady dressed in workout gear emerged from the truck and walked toward the bookstore where I had planned to go.  I ramped up my game of espionage by quietly following her.  After entering the store, I watched closely as she ordered a cup of coffee–savored it, browsed through a few magazines and lingered near a bookshelf.  My dearest friends, I can assure you that there was NOTHING hurried about this woman’s actions.  In fact, she looked quite relaxed.

Which brings me to this question, what was her rush? Why was she trying to mow down every car on the interstate?  I am asking you these questions because I got nothing!

After this little mini-drama ended, I decided to make a concerted effort to question myself whenever I start to rush.  I vow to ask myself questions like:  Why are you rushing?  Are you late for something?  Even if you are late, what is the worst that can happen?  By doing this, I hope to avoid creating a sense of urgency where there is none.  Sadly, it appears that the lady in the bookstore was rushing to relax; which seems sort of contradictory.  Don’t you think?

What are you rushing to do?

 

 

High Drama! Yassss!

Let me share a secret with you.  I absolutely LOVE anybody who has a flair for high drama, theatrics, style, and fabulousness!  I learned this about myself when I was quite young.  I distinctly remember the first time I saw Vincent Price, a horror film legend, rub his hands together and engage in a wonderfully evil guffaw.  Boy I was hooked!  That was it!  This was my kind of dude!

From that day forward, I became an instant fan of divas, gents and lovers of drama and the theatrical.  Don’t believe me?  Check out my list of favorites:

Vincent Price

Gary Cooper

Sylvester…Yes bitches a mononym! (if you don’t know what that means look it up!)

Eartha Kitt

Josephine Premise

Maurice Evans

Agnes Moorehead…

There is no particular order for this list and it is by no means exhaustive.  Frankly, I have too many favorites to name here.  By the way, if you are younger than 35 or have no idea who these people are I would suggest that you get to googling.  For those of you who really want to shift into high gear, you MUST watch Sylvester transform from a dashing young man into a full on Queen in his “Mighty Real” video (Did I mention that I love the Queens?).  Go ahead!  I’ll wait here until you come back.

Now that we are all on the same page, let me bring your attention to the fact that all of these folks have gone on to Glory (nod to my southern roots).  Sadly, it is with a heavy heart that I must add David Bowie to this list.  By now you have probably heard that Mr. Bowie passed away either sometime last night or early this morning.  Those of us who loved him will certainly know why I included him on this list (’nuff said).

Let me move on before I lose my composure.  I have to admit that I used to worry that my love of all things dapper and classy would die off with my generation.  Alas, there is hope!  If you have time, check out Janelle Monae and Jidenna!  It appears that the ‘kids’ are catching on!  In light of that, I am hopeful that I will be able to add some new names to my list…some live ones!

Do you like high drama? If so, who is on your list?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why I Like Millennials

Let me go ahead and get this straight up front, I am not trying to pander to Millennials.  In fact, they probably don’t need or want to read anything more about their generation. But, I do think that baby boomers and folks from generation x should at least take a quick gander at this post.

So let’s define the population.  Millennials are generally identified as people who were born between 1980 and the early aughts (“aught”…What a lovely old term for zero). Now that we’ve established the specifics, please note that everything that I am about to say is solely based on my own observations. Believe me, there is not one iota of science to be found here.

We all know that Millennials were the first generation to come of age during a time when they could readily access information of any shape, form or fashion.  Since their early teens they have been able to quickly find out the best way to do anything from baking a turkey to installing a bathtub.  This fact alone makes them quite unique-to say the least.  At any rate, not only do they have access to vast amounts of information, but I have found that they use this information wisely by ‘running the numbers’ as it were.  I can’t tell you how many times I have watched a Millennial press what appears to be two virtual buttons on their iPhone and immediately tell you what to do, where to go do it  and why you should or shouldn’t do it in the first place.  Granted, I’m not too shabby with an iPhone and other forms of technology but Millennials take it to that next level.

Pause….In the distant ethers of the internet I can sense someone arguing that all of this exposure to information is counterproductive, distracting, stress inducing…blah, blah, blah!  My response:  While that may be the case, it is not the focus of this post right here (nod to Katt Williams).

Moving on! I would submit that Millennials, by virtue of their access to information, often look at historical mistakes-big or small, learn from them and make more sensible choices.  On any given day, they can be found researching negative outcomes associated with, for example, overspending on a micro level and over consumption on a macro level (or vice versa ). To be honest, I envy this Millennial quality!

Technology aside, I find Millennials, as a whole, to be a witty, funny and thoughtful population.  In my mind, they seem to have taken on some of the more positive traits of prior generations and incorporated them into their own (Feel free to debate which traits Millennials might have taken from which generation on your own).  Just realize that in many cases Millennials are taking on the role of the sensible adults in the room 🙂 Prior generations would do well to get to know them.

 

 

Damn I wish I had a smartphone with Wi-Fi  connected to the inter-webs back in 1987!  What do you think?