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Archive for May, 2011

Caregiving is never Easy…

As we are at the end of May, and in the middle of moments when we have celebrated Mother’s Day and in a few weeks will honor our Father’s, I came across an article that reminded me of the challenges our family faced a few years ago when our parent’s needed care. Take a read and let me know your thoughts

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“Drunk As a Skunk”

Much to the chagrin of my now deceased parents, I have been one to ask the “why” questions….all of my life. I’d like to think that has assisted me more than hindered me; but the jury is still out on that.

And so today, as I sat and listened to a magnificent presentation by David Glover at the AgeSong Emeryville residence, he made a statement that caused me to do just that thing; why, do we say that? The cliché that he stated was, in talking about things we all did as newly minted 21 year-old adults is to get “drunk as a skunk.”

Of the 40 people in attendance, it is quite likely that no one but yours truly took umbrage with that comment and began to wonder how those furry, funky rodents must feel about being associated with the over-indulgence of alcohol beverage. I got home and took a look through Google and Wikipedia, and have yet to find a photo, article or reference to that skunk that got drunk, and thus became responsible for that cliché.

Now before you think that I have lost all of my senses, and am putting too much on this skunk concern, my bigger thought is about how often we say things that we have no real understanding of. I mean, has anyone said they saw the skunk getting drunk? Saw him pulled over by the CHP and given a breathalyzer test? Even been referred to rehab to “kick the habit?” No, none of us has had that experience. Yet, we use that cliché as though we speak from a position of authority. Like we were the designated driver for his bachelor party.

My lesson for this post is that we should really become more mindful, in a new way, with the use of platitudes and clichés, and not just ramble on without considering the origins of that statement. In the meantime, just remember that Diamonds are forever; Tastes great, less filling; When it rains it pours; Where’s the beef; and when in doubt, Just Do It.”

Peace.

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Hair today, gone tomorrow…

It is spring and thus time for the NBA playoffs, where it is always interesting to see the types of advertisements that dominate the between play segments of each game. Your standard beer commercials occupy a majority of the commercials, with car and truck ads often a close second in number. However, it is the “other” brands of products that marketers have determined we men are in need of that causes me to go hmmm.

The one lately that has me shaking my head is the one from Hair Club for men. You have seen at least one of these, I know. A very sad looking guy is sitting in the office of this follicle physician (?), looking miserable and forlorn. They hold a mirror to the back of his head and show him the bald spot…like the man has not already seen it before today.

The narrator shares with us how this new “hair” will look and feel like your own natural hair. You can even go swimming, with no embarrassing moments when you ascend form the water.

My biggest laugh came when the African-American man was combing his new “do”, and holding the back of his head/hair with his other hand. You know he was trying his best to make sure that his piece of hair was not going to be dislodged by that brushing. His little smile only made matters that much more humorous. Probably thinking that thankfully the check for this gig is already in the bank. I can recall only seeing two men of A/A heritage with a hairpiece…and neither of those resembled anything like their real hair.

So, as I have seen my once curly black hair both recede and turn to silver in color, I wonder how one determines to take the plunge and seek admission to the Hair Club. Will someone tap me on the shoulder and give me the coordinates to a secret meeting? Will I be required to take an oath and learn a password or handshake? This could all be so much fun. And expensive too, I would presume.

Or maybe I won’t do anything and just enjoy the transition from having a perfectly shaped super-size Afro in my younger days to a card-carrying AARP senior with a Silver-mane…and be graceful, and grateful, through it all. Now if I can just get my salon barber to charge me by the hair she has trimmed, and not by the minute I will be able to purchase that hand held mirror…

Peace.

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A Mother’s Day message…

As we in the United States get more information regarding the operation that killed Osama bi Laden in Pakistan on Sunday of this week, my mind and thoughts drift to my mother. She has been deceased for almost 15 years…but a day does not go by without my giving her thanks for the loving sacrifice given to my siblings and me.

Not just the normal motherly love and support did she give, it is that she believed one day there were going to be more people of my pigmentation, and that our acceptance would be easier. She would have been so happy to see Barack Obama winning the presidency of our country, and this week even more proud of the class and dignity shown in announcing the killing of Osama bin laden.

The approaching Mother’s Day is always a bittersweet time for those of us whose mother’s are but a memory and a picture that we fondly look upon. I take a moment today to salute her and her resolve in facing the members of her own family and others who thought her crazy to love a Black man and have his baby boy, me, in 1955. That was not such a popular decision in the Midwest at that time.

It is my prayer that we Americans will stand with our President and support him and his wisdom in bringing our once proud country back from the brink of disaster. I believe that the God I serve knew what was needed to resuscitate this country. Maybe now the bankers and Congress will work together to rebuild for the good of the citizens of the United States and bring our troops home.

Mom, you would be smiling and bragging today. I will press forward for you; in all of my conversations live and digitally.

PEACE….for real

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It seems the older I become the more I reminisce about things from my “good old days.” One of the things that I recall is the image of girls skipping along the sidewalks of our neighborhoods and on schoolyards. It is as pure an activity as any that embodies the innocence of childhood playfulness and frivolity. Just as one is unable to smile and be angry simultaneously, I believe it is just as impossible to skip along and be mad at your friends.

When is the last time you saw children skipping along? How did we as a society lose that piece of our childhood innocence? What has replaced it?

As the father of a now eight-year old daughter, I wish for her to have the childhood that I remember where the neighborhood was a place that was safe and fun. Where we could play simple games with our fellow residents, and even those from other blocks, when our biggest concern was to insure we got into the house before the streetlights came on.

Rather than criticize the state of affairs facing our children today, I am seeking to make their time as children better and safer. It will take a number of us, especially the men, to create a “safety zone” for our children. What will you do to give them the same chances to create happy moments in their development as grown-all-too-soon people?

It might take a few dollars to buy a few jump ropes, baseballs and gloves, and a football. They will gravitate to that which makes them laugh and have fun. Outdoors. In the sunlight. With each other. And if you add some Kool-Aid to the equation, your home will be the place to be this summer. It is my belief that your block will be the one that will be fondly remembered by these kids a generation from now.

And the activity of skipping by our daughters will be preserved once more.

Peace.

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