The Smiley Thumb Award



This past weekend, I was nominated for The Smiley Thumb Award which was created by David from the Chape blog.  I received this nomination from T. Wayne of A Joyful Process Blog. If you are a regular reader of “My Jams” then you are already pretty familiar with T. Wayne.  I like to call him my twin–short for Wonder Twins.  Do you remember them? Anyway, I like to say that we are Wonder Twins because we’ve had some pretty amazing music related ‘coincidences.’

At any rate, most of you already know that I blog about music and various other topics.  Well, T. Wayne’s blog has a sharper focus in that he exclusively blogs about music and music related topics.  When it comes to music, he is very well versed about many different genres!

T is from Maryland so I’ve been trying to get him to blog a bit more about go-go!  Yes I did call you out brah!

Anyway, if you are a fan of ‘The Purple One,’ you really need to check out this T. Wayne classic.  I am telling you, my twin ripped it!  He articulated all of the things that most of us were thinking but couldn’t find the words to express.  You DID that T!

Frankly, due to our love of music, T. Wayne and I have become great blogging friends.  Thanks so much my twin for the nomination!

All blogging awards have rules and they are as follows:

  • Include the photo of the Smiley Thumb award. (Did that!)
  • Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their blog. (Did that too!)
  • Tell us what makes you smile.
  • Nominate as many bloggers as you like.
  • Include these rules in your post.


Here we go!

What makes me smile:

My friends and family; especially my babies!  Oh yeah, and my brother Tack kills me! He is one hilarious dude.  He’s the kind of person that makes you go into ‘ugly crying laughter!’  He’s been very busy lately but he promised to make an appearance on the blog in coming months.  You guys are gonna love him!

Making musical connections with others.  I love it when someone says, “Hey do you remember such and such song?”  Oh I live for that! Trust me, I have made some crazy cool connections with fellow bloggers over a good jam!

Young kids! I love the innocence and sweetness of children. Having said that, I like them for a little while then I want somebody to take their little asses on home.  No, I’m just teasing; but not really 😉

Cryptic memories!  You might recall me telling you that my cousin Ron coined that term to identify memories that are so old that only snippets of them remain.  I usually start all of the “My Jams” posts with a cryptic memory.

People who boldly stand in their identity!  Right now I am thinking about how my late friend David used to spin, dance and kick to the song “And the beat goes on” by The Whispers!  Uh huh, he didn’t give a tinker’s damn what you thought about him! Yass baby you better work it Ms. David!

Being around people of all ethnicities, cultures, nationalities, sexual orientations, educational and socioeconomic backgrounds who are having a freaking good time!

It’s like this, if you wanna be down with me, I can certainly be down with you!

And so…

My nominees for this award are chosen below. Now in the words of that great mastermind T. Wayne, they may or may not accept, but here they are anyway:

Ron Brown at The Time Tunnel

The GeoGee Experience

Tony Vega dot Net


Les Food Amants

Thanks again Twin!













Updated 3/30/2016 at 10:47 am

“I am a full grown woman, what in the hell do I look like listening to some Kendrick Lamar?”

Yes friends, that was my exact response to my dear twenty-something year old son who had tried his absolute best to convince me to check out one of his favorite hip hop artists.

Now let me level with you.  Even though I opted NOT to listen to Mr. Lamar at that specific point in time, I did keep the idea under my cap.  Frankly, I felt comfortable doing so because I happen to know that my son is quite discriminating when it comes to music; best believe I raised him to be that way.  As the mother of a young and beautiful black man, I simply refused to allow him to listen to BS lyrics even if they were attached to a funky track—and you know how much I love a funky track 🙂

Side note:  Never underestimate the level of impact that both lyrics AND music can have on the development of a child’s mind.

Anyway, one random Tuesday, I picked up the TV remote and began ‘flipping’ stations.  I landed on a black and white music video that began with screams and spoken verse.  Intrigued, I decided to continue watching and listening.  Believe it or not, after just a few minutes, I was completely transfixed by what I was seeing.  To say that the video included several profound elements would be an understatement.

Now, in the words of my Corsican twin, Gloria, here comes the killin’ part!

Right before the video ‘faded to black’ I sat alert so that I could note the song title and artist. Wouldn’t you know it; the title of the song was “Alright” and the artist was Kendrick Lamar. Warning, if you decide to watch the video, do know that it includes graphic language and images.

I just be damned!  My baby boy was right!

Okay, let’s get this straight! You need not worry about me, as a middle aged woman, riding around town bumping Kendrick Lamar.  But, having said that, I ain’t mad at him because his lyrics are FAR from being superficial.  In fact, they are quite deep.  Bearing this in mind, the refrain, “We gone be alright” planted itself right into my frontal cortex.  In other words, that thang rented some space up in my head.

But, in light of local, national and global current events, my mind transformed that very statement into a question:  “Are we gone be alright?”

Well, one thing is for sure, if we continue on this trajectory, it would seem that we certainly are NOT going to be alright.   Even the most cursory glance at the nightly news would cause us to conclude that our society is fully mired in a tangled, matted and mangled mess.

Ya’ll we got problems and we need a serious intervention plan.

So, at this point, you might be asking, “What would our ‘intervention plan’ look like?”  While I am not at all sure, I do think that, in our solution finding, we must consider the following:

“We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.”

                        -Albert Einstein


At any rate, I do tend to agree with Kendrick’s optimistic proclamation that “…if God got us then we gone be alright!” Baby I have to if I am going to maintain my maternal sanity.

But, I don’t think that we are going to get to the state of ‘alright’ by diffusion–remember, osmosis refers to liquids 🙂  It is going to take some doing.

Friends, I’m curious, what do you think needs to happen for us to get to “alright?”
























Mama and the Balloon Man


***This post is dedicated to parents who are working tirelessly to advocate for their children’s well-being.  God bless you!

When I was a kid, the month of October bore two special gifts.  First, it brought much needed respite from Georgia’s 200° ‘hell hot’ summer days.

And, best of all, it brought the fair!

My friends, I can’t begin to tell you how much my baby brother and I loved going to the fair!  While there, we faced down Ferris wheels, haunted houses, bumper cars, and ‘flying pirate’ ships.  One of our favorite rides was the Himalayas!  Baby, that thing flung us around and around, forwards and backwards!  We lived for the music, flashing lights and the carny/DJ yelling “Do you want to go faster?”

Yes my dear hearts, it was ALL good in October at the fair…until it wasn’t!

You see, one time, while we were at the fair, my brother Tack, a fearless and curious kid, walked over to a balloon stand.  My mother, her friend and I were standing nearby chatting.  All of a sudden, we heard a harsh voice bark: “Get your hands off that!”  Well…it seems that my brother, who was about five years old, had touched one of the balloons- much to the chagrin of the ‘balloon man.’  To top it off, the ‘balloon man’ pushed my brother’s hand back!

Clearly he didn’t know whose child he was messing with!

Before I could fully process what was happening, my mother had jumped -20 feet- right into the ‘balloon’ man’s face and yelled “Who the hell do you think you messin’ with, you don’t put your damn hands on my child!”

Yes, it got UGLY!!

Soon after that, a small crowd began to gather; some of whom had already witnessed the events.  In fact, a lady who had been standing near the balloon stand said, “the child barely touched the balloon and that bastard yelled and hit at him.”  Baby, by now, every mother at the fair was gunning for the ‘balloon man.’  Please believe that this poor guy quickly learned about the superhuman powers of a mother who has gone into protective attack mode for her child.

Anyway, my friends, you’ll be happy to know that in the end, everything worked out fine.  As a matter of fact, my brother ended up getting a bigger and better looking balloon from a different stand.

So, there is a point to this story and it is two-fold:

-We all need to be protective of any and every child.

-If you (man, woman or child) have a dream, you should nurture and defend your dream as a mother would her child.  Be sure to quickly recognize the cranky ‘balloon man’ and stop him before he harms your ‘baby.’

What are you fiercely protective of?













True Railroad Stories: The Coal Toss

RR track photo

Greetings Readers!

If you read my ‘about’ page you may remember me mentioning that my father would be making contributions to my blog.

Today, he decided to share a ‘feel good’ story from his time as a conductor on the railroad.  It is important to note that this is a true story; and frankly, it is my favorite.


– Gwin

The Coal Toss

     Many years ago, I was a young railroad conductor who was in charge of a train running between two major cities in the South. At that time, I had a beautiful wife and together we had two healthy children.  I felt very fortunate to be able to provide a comfortable living for myself and my family.
     Anyway, I had been working the same train route for several years so I was very familiar with the surrounding areas.  Oftentimes, I would get to know the people who lived and worked in the smaller towns along the way.  But of all of those places, one place sticks out in my mind for sentimental reasons.  Basically,  it was a tiny ragged shack where a mother and several small children lived.  I remember how the children, whose clothes were always torn and tattered, would run outside and wave to me and my crew whenever we passed by.
     When winter came, I would think about this poor mother with her children.  I thought about how cold they must have been at night.  I also thought about how warm my own children were in my home.  Just as I had completed that last thought, it suddenly occurred to me that there was something that I could do to help.
     The very next day, while gathering supplies for work, I packed an extra bag of coal and tossed it to the family when we passed by.  I knew that the mother could use the extra coal for her potbelly stove to help heat the home and keep her children warm.
     I continued tossing coal to those children for quite some time. I’ll admit that tears welled up in my eyes every time I did it.  I am sure that the railroad wouldn’t have been thrilled to know what I was doing but I felt good about doing it anyway.
     More than 40 years have passed and to this day I often think about that family and I wonder if they remember the conductor who tossed the coal.