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Monthly Archives: March 2013

Fact Sharing Monday

I always try to be honest in all of my writing.  Even when it hurts. That’s rule number one.  This is one of those times that hurts.  I’m going to attempt to put some levity in it though…if for no other reason than to help me through it.  Forgive me…sometimes I’m a softy.

Here goes.

I’m a direct product of not having a father.  

Well,  I HAD  one,  as I suppose we all do, but mine never really did anything WITH me so I DEFINITELY never called him “Daddy”.  Heck, for that matter, for most of my life, I didn’t think he even LIKED me that much. ( I actually forgave him for everything when he was on his deathbed….but I’ll share that with you some other time.)

I was forced to remember my relationship (or lack thereof) with my father a few weeks ago.  I was talking to a friend , and somehow we got on the subject of fathers.  I decided to share with him an experience that I had in high school, and now,  I guess, I ‘m about to share it with you now….(Ain’t it funny how God has a way of urging  us to talk  when we don’t even want to sometimes?)   Anyway, the conversation began to flow, and the memories began to flood back, and my mind settled on a particularly painful instance that still haunts me, even as a grown man.

Since I said that I’m going to need some levity in this and since I’m a bit of a t.v. junkie, let’s look at it like we would a t.v. show .   That said, this is the part in the show where the screen gets all blurry and there’s that flashback music…..

(doodlle looodle looo……..doodle loodle looo…….doodle loodle loo)

The scene opens in 1986, and I was in the 10th grade.  It’s somewhere in  November, because I remember we were in the last class of the day;  waiting to be released for Thanksgiving break.  I seem to remember the room being mostly full; with a few empty desks around.  There was a student sitting right behind me.  I remember his name, but I’m not going to share it out of fairness to him.  (HOPEFULLY, his 16/17 year old self was a lot meaner and DUMBER  than his 41/42 year old self.  I can’t validate that, though.   I didn’t keep up with him so it’s questionable.)

He  leaned up to me and said, “MR. __________  said that he ain’t your daddy.”

Aaaaannnnddddd FREEZE scene!

This is the part where you hear, Morgan Freeman, the narrator say:   “Now here’s a bit of “bring you up to speed info.”  Early in my life, I would always make excuses for the guy that I got my boyish good looks from.  I would always say that my father was too busy to come to watch me play in a youth rec league basketball game, or that he was doing so much important stuff that he just didn’t have time to do things with/for me.   I also lied and said that I was ok with it, that I understood it.   I kind of almost made him like some kind of low level superhero whose only powers were to stay incredibly busy.  I’m not sure if I did this to save face with the other kids that would inevitably ask about him or if I did it to kind of ease the pain of him not being around.  As a grown man, I’m still not sure.

During my teenage years, the stories about how busy he was stopped being told.  I just didn’t really make a habit of going around telling people who my father was.   I grew to think that that it just wasn’t any of their business.    That said, when  the occasional conversation came up in which I DID  talk about him,  it would usually be about how much I hated him, his family and everything that he cared about.  However, for  some reason, let’s call it stupidity, I had decided to let this kid know who my father was. And with that bit of information in hand, let’s call it spitefulness, he had decided to verify it with him.”

I didn’t know how to react.  I was stunned.  So I did  what any teenager would’ve done in reaction to  that statement.  

Aaaaaannnnnnndddd  ACTION!

I spun around in my seat slowly;  deliberately.  (Imagine the theme music to a Clint Eastwood western playing softly in the background….( WAAA oo  Waaaah oo  waaaaaaaahhhh…WONKWONKWONK … Ok, that was the best I could do.)    I looked him dead in the face…locking my eyes intently on his.  My plan was simple.  I would rain down upon him a withering, verbal barrage of  hate, and malice so strong, so blistering  that it would wipe that smirk off his face.  Boy oh boy did I have some venomous words for THAT cat!  So with the toughest edged voice my 130 pound frame could muster,  I  said ” ……………………whuh?”  (Hey…I liked his westerns, but I was no Clint Eastwood.   What’d you expect?!?!)

He repeated, “Mr.______________ said that he  ain’t your daddy.  I went by his place and asked him.”

I hit him with the only “bomb” that I had left. “Maaaan…….Whatever….”, and turned back around in my seat.

Aaaaannnnddddd FREEZE scene!

Morgan Freeman:  Despite my best efforts,  the tears started to well up.  They weren’t the lil, barely visible, slowly dribble down your cheek tears either.  These were the full on,  heavy ones that you can feel coming and that start to burn when they start to peek over the edge of your bottom eyelid; searching for the most embarrassing path down the cheek.

They found their way out.  I was no Spartan, by any stretch of the imagination.

By then,  other people in the class were looking.  I don’t  think that any of them really heard anything.  They could just feel that something was going on.  I put my head down on my desk.  I vaguely remember the bell ringing and everybody leaving but me.  I remember waiting until the noise in the hallways outside was almost nonexistent before I even bothered to lift my head off the desk.    I missed my bus home that day.  I think I did it on purpose.

I didn’t know it at the time, and didn’t really sit down and determine it until recently but this instance helped to shape a basic philosophy of life for me.  It led me to determine that ultimately, when we are faced with bad experiences, we have two ways that we can react.   We can choose to either allow them to make us a victim, forever hiding from the inevitable difficulties that  are sure to accompany continued breathing,  or we can choose to allow it to drive us to better ourselves.

For me, this  was my decision to one day become the world’s best Daddy.  In the days that followed that incident, I decided that  I would  never let my kids (whenever I had them) know the sting of not having a Daddy.  I decided that no matter what, that my focus would be on making sure that they knew that they had a very special place in my heart and   that they would always be part  the small center of my universe.  I also decided  at that point to try to be a “Daddy figure” to as many kids as needed me to be.   It’s been a wonderful ride and I’ll be the first to admit that  I wouldn’t be the man that I am if I wasn’t blessed with the opportunity to raise my two beautiful daughters.

So, finally, I just want to say to all of the men that may be reading this (yeah….BOTH of you…LOL ) what you do now can and will affect your daughters for years to come.  Make sure that your effect is a s a good one.

Below,  I have attached the covenant that I wrote for my daughters when I first adopted them.  Give it a once over.  If you like it, print it off, sign it and put it in your wallet.  I wrote it for MY daughters, but you can edit as needed.   For ME, the covenant  was always a good reminder of why I was in their lives in the first place.  I would pull it out and read it in situations like when Tee would ask me to take them to  fly their kites and I INSTANTLY translated it to “Daddy, will you run 15 GAZILLION  yards, around and around and around…pulling this thing behind you so we can enjoy seeing it in the air for five minutes   Then will you do the same thing for my sister as I crash mine to the ground?”  Or when Kee would ask me to try to teach her to ride her bike and I translated that to, ” Daddy, run behind me until your lungs are about to BUST, then let go.  I’ll continue on for a few yards , then I’ll crash into EVERY other kid  on a bike in the ENTIRE  neighborhood with as much speed as my lil legs can muster.  Then I’ll let YOU go into their house to apologize to their parents.”  I needed all the motivation I could get.

Aaaaannnnddddd CUT!!

A Daddy’s Covenant to His Daughter

1)      I will strive to be the example of a good man, husband, and father for my daughter; realizing that I am the measurement by which she will use to judge her adult relationships.

2)      In all conversation, in all actions, in all exchanges, I will focus on showing my daughter her true value as a strong princess.

3)      I will always take care to remember that my daughter has limitless potential.

4)      I will work to recognize and live up to my role in her life as a father.

5)      I will work towards developing a strong sense of self worth within my daughter.

6)      I will endeavor to make my time, her time, giving her the attention that she needs and deserves.

7)      I promise not to make my desire to provide for my family financially more important than providing for it spiritually.

8)      I will empower my daughter to have her own mind, and the temperance to wield it wisely.

9)      I will teach my daughter that she is above stereotypes and, as such, is impossible to box in, and is beyond labels.

10)  I will teach my daughter that she is too valuable to settle for less than the best.

11)  I promise that my daughter will, without doubt, KNOW her place in my heart.

12)  I will teach my daughter that the only reason she has to hold her head down is when it’s bowed in prayer…never in shame, never in self doubt.

 

 

My Personal Pledge to You, My Daughter

Signature___________________________________    Date_______________     Time_______________

 
 

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Some of my old stuff #2 (Why I hated Halloween As a Kid)

Another of my old  rants…Really has nothing to do with ANYTHING…Just something that crossed my mind one day.

My top Five Reasons for Hating Halloween as a Kid

5) Those people that you knew were home but that wouldn’t that answer their door 

4) Old  folks that would just dip into their “Sunday school or bible study, old, crusty, hair infused, plastic stuck to it peppermint stash” and drop it in my bag…..

3) EVERYBODY where I’m from was kind of poor, so trick or treating in MY neighborhood was, for the most part, just walking in the dark with masks on.   (Robbery suspects?)  

2) The people that gave me fruit or vegetables….  What was I dressed up as….a VEGAN?!?!?!?? 

1)  Them old school plastic masks that cut me all around my face, neck and ears..…had me looking like I was the recipient of a face transplant all week.  Never mind that it constricted my peripheral vision to that of a race horse with blinders on.

 

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Some of my old stuff # 1 (My thoughts on Mike Tyson)

So I was just searching through old computer files and found some of my old writing. ( I have the world’s absolute WORST filing system and have stuff all over the place…much of which, I’ve forgotten about.)  Before you read it though, I have a bit of a warning for ya.  It pretty much has NOTHING to do with raising daughters.  It’s mostly just my ramblings.  Read on….if you dare!

If Grammy Got Her Teeth Knocked SCHMOOVE On Out and Why I Am DA MAN!

I have to admit, that when Mike Tyson used to knock cats out in like .5 seconds, I, (like ALL the rest of you dudes out there that are brave/honest enough to admit it)  really believed him to be the baddest man on the planet. I mean, that cat could’ve snatched Grammy’s teeth out and proceeded to use them to cut away his unruly bikini hair during the weigh in, smacked my Mama and delivered a mouth splittin’, tooth spittin right hook to Auntie Mildred on the way to the ring, hocked THEN spit in my nachos, dipped his opponents mouthpiece in my drink, took the mic outta the ring announcers hand and announced that I was a virgin until I was 39 and was born with a cleft pallet, a club foot AND pigeon toes (NOT true, by the way…the club foot thing)…and I would’ve let him get away with it.

Now that his boxing career is over, (and I’ve seen him do some interviews) …it’s a different story. Now, I  can’t wait til I catch that guy JAY WALKIN’ or something so I can drop my citizen’s arrest act on him and practice my Rodney King police brutality butt whoopin routine.  About a year ago I SWEAR  I would’ve hopped in the ring to pummel that cat profusely around the face and neck with a rain of withering combos for just leaving dangling participles at the end of his sentences. Maybe even for not knowing all the words to the theme song for the Jeffersons, or the robotic housekeeper’s name on the Jetsons. Heck, I’m even open to suggestions for reasons to ring that cat’s bell now.. I NEED a reason to go Junk Yard Dog on him….My machismo could use a boost.   Anyway…I gotta go polish Grammy’s grille….She gets a lil testy if she can’t get her “shine on”. 

Mike, holla if you want a piece!   Hasta!

 
1 Comment

Posted by on March 15, 2013 in humor, life, Uncategorized

 

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WORST….JOB…EVER!

Okay, so in one of my MANY, MANY ridiculous conversations about my life,  the subject of “worst job ever” came up.  Now, I know I should probably be ashamed of my answer to this question, but for some reason, I take some perverse pride in having, at one time, performed what is arguably the world’s worst (or most stupid) job EVER.   (It’s probably for the same reason that I took such  pride in teaching my daughters that cotton candy came from the dryer…but I’m no psychologist.  Now that I think about it, is their upbringing why my daughters are now majoring in Psycholgy and Social worK?!?!?!?  Hmmmmmm.  )

Regardless of the reason, I decided to share this with you and I can almost GUARANTEE that what I’m about to share with you will be one of the absolute most worst jobs EVER!

In the summer after graduating High School, I worked for a turkey processing plant. (Yep, where turkeys from the farm went to become turkeys that found their way to your Thanksgiving tables.) My job was to test the gravy packets that went into the turkeys for a tight seal. In effect, I spent ALL DAY squeezing gravy packets. And what did I get when I found the ones that were sub par???? I was rewarded with a face, shirt, and lap full of ice cold gravy. THAT wasn’t the worst part though, believe it or not.

In order to keep the gravy at a certain temp, we had to keep it on ice, which we would get from the “ice room”. The ice room was a HUGE room filled with ice (Go figure, huh?) that had an auger running down the middle of the floor. This auger created a “tunnel ” of ice as it would move the ice from the bottom, but sometimes the rest wouldn’t fall down. You wanna know what their absolutely cockamamie  solution was? From time to time, we had to go INTO this ICE FILLED room with a PITCHFORK, walk INTO the tunnel of ice, and JAB at the ice over our heads until it started to fall into the auger again (GENIUSES came up with that solution.) One day, while performing this RIDICULOUSLY dangerous duty, I was hit in the head by a piece of falling ice, and was knocked “loopy”. I went to the doctor and was placed on “light duty”. I went back to work a couple of days later dressed NOT for gravy packet duty, but dressed as one that was fully expecting office duty. What I got was FAR from it.

I was given a chair and was placed unceremoniously into position where the trucks filled with turkeys came in. Now to help you understand the next part, I have to give you a bit of insight into the process of the plant. The trucks would pull into the facility and at this point a team of people would pull the turkeys from their cages on the trucks and place them by their feet into some type of stirrup like getup that was attached to a mechanism that would carry them through the plant. From there, they would visit each station and go through the whole process.

The FIRST part about what made this so bad is that I was sitting RIGHT NEXT to the people that were pulling the turkeys from the truck. The turkeys were not happy. They would be flapping wildly as they were pulled off; flinging feathers, dirt and even worse, turkey feces all over my office ready clothes and face. (I told you it was bad.) And I don’t know if you realize it, ( or maybe I was exceptionally PUNKISH) but turkeys can actually be kinda big and intimidating!  They’re big, and ugly and would be flapping around like crazy.  They’d be scratching and clawing and pecking…..geez.

And even THAT wasn’t all of what made this job so horrible. You want to know what I was put there to actually do? Sometimes, after going through the whole plant, the turkeys’ FEET would be left in the stirrups. My job? My job was to sit there, next to a trash can and pull the left over turkey feet from the stirrups and throw them in a trash can.  (Insert PETA threats here.)

Imagine a 17/18 year old kid, fresh out of high school, covered from head to toe with turkey feathers, dirt and feces, plucking turkey feet out of stirrups and throwing them into a can and you have just gotten a glimpse of hell.

I mean…how do you even PUT that on a resume?!?! What’s the job title? “Turkey Feet Remover”??? I got a better one for ya. How about: “Worst……Job…….Ever!”

I joined the Air Force shortly thereafter.

 
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Posted by on March 13, 2013 in jobs, Uncategorized, work

 

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Easy Like Sunday Morning?!?!?!?

This post really has nothing to do with raising daughters.  I was just cleaning out my mental closets, and I remembered this stuff.  I thought it was funny and decided to share.    Enjoy!

Growing up, Sundays were ALWAYS church days at my house, (and it seemed like Monday thru Saturday didn’t seem to be off limits either) and living right next to a church meant that there weren’t a lot of reasons why we could miss it. Let’s see…there was projectile vomiting, fevers of over 102 and DEATH of a close family member. Yup…that pretty much sums up the excuses. Outside of those excuses, we’d be sitting right in the pews of Saint John Missionary Baptist Church come Sunday mornings. To make matters worse, sometimes, we had to pull DOUBLE DUTY…..…morning worship in the a.m. and “singing program” in the afternoon.  That’s what happens when your mother is on the Usher’s board.

Anyway, throughout the house, there was a lot of preparation that went into getting ready for church on Sunday morning. Personally, however, my preparation  was actually pretty easy. My routine went something like this:

1) Bathe – but only when I thought I couldn’t get away with not doing it. (I WAS a little boy, after all.)

2) Brush my teeth (see note in bold from step one)

3) Put on my clothes

4) Comb my hair.

Now step four was REALLY important for a couple of reasons. First and foremost was  because if I didn’t do it, a) it was more obvious from a distance than step one and b) as long as I kept my mouth SHUT, it was WAAAAY more obvious than step two.   MOST importantly, was that the risk of getting caught was that Mama would comb it for me. Now, I don’t know if any of your Mamas combed your heads, but when MY Mama combed MINE, I swear that she was possessed by some Nazi prison guard or something. She was MERCILESS. She would grab the comb with the SMALLEST teeth, and then she would proceed to do what I call a “deep combing”. You know the ones, when she would cup your forehead in her palm, hold the comb at the base of the back of your neck, thrust the comb all the way to the root, and draaaaaaaaag, it all the way through to the front.   My kicking and screaming didn’t help a bit because Mama had NO respect for the BBs that took residence in the neighborhood at the base of my neck, nor their neighbors that moved to the suburbs all across my scalp.

(Forgive me if the ink here is a lil smudged…I couldn’t catch the tear before it hit the page.)

No matter how bad my experiences were though, my little sister’s  routine was WAY more intricate and was a far, far, FAR more harrowing experience than mine. That chica  had it bad. At least my routine didn’t involve hot friggin’ iron! I can honestly say that I remember waking up on most Sunday mornings to the sound of sizzling hair grease, the smell of burning hair, and every so often, the smell of burning ear tips, necklines, and scalps as they wafted through the air…..ahhhhh…Sunday mornings…good times, good times.

Tis all…Just wanted to share that with ya.  See ya next time

 
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Posted by on March 8, 2013 in children, fatherhood, parenting

 

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