Looking for someone just like my dad…

July 16, 2008 bsmith101
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Felt like I wanted a donut…

Why can’t I have a donut if I want one?

It is not like I wanted 4 or maybe 6 of them…or even like I splurge heavily on food or go on things like ice cream binges.  Because I don’t.  I only eat ice cream occasionally.  And that is about as often as I eat a donut.  But sometimes you just want one.

So, every now a then…sometimes I just feel like I want a donut.  Sometimes it could be a piece or chocolate cake…and real good chocolate cakes are hard to find nowadays.  But sometimes I feel like I want one of those old time good tasting pieces of chocolate cake.  Now, that I might have to have a couple of pieces  if  I could find it.

I don’t know…I guess from time to time we all get a taste for something…andwhen we do…  Well,  we just want it.

Well, this evening about 9:30 p.m. my urge was for a donut.

So, I jumped into the car and headed for the local Dunkin Donuts.  But the one near the house was closed…just goes to prove I don’t get a donut urge often…otherwise I would have known that. 

So, since I really wanted this donut and the place nearest to the house was closed…and I was already in the car…and even though gas is $4.16 per gallon…I decided to go for it…and get my donut anyways.

I drove right pass the second donut place believing that it too was going to be close.  And even though I had my glasses on…I totally missed the big bright  and very lit up sign reading “Dunkin Donuts.”

So, I had to make a u-turn.  And as I drove home smacking on my donuts :).    I started thinking  wouldn’t it have been nice to be able to say-

“Baby, I want a donut.”

And someone would get up and go get in the car and get me a donut.

And that is when I started thinking of my mother and father.

At any part of  the day when my mother would come in, shower and lay down on the bed…if  she desired something she rarely called any of us…her 8 children.  Instead she could be heard calling for my father.

She would call him softly…never in a barking or rough tone…and she never called daddy by his real name…instead she called him, Douglas.

Whatever daddy was doing he would stop and go to mommie and see what it was that she wanted.

And sometimes mommie would just say-

“Douglas, bring me a glass of  water.”

Daddy never complained…and always went to do or get whatever my mother would ask him for.

He was a businessman who had a very prosperous barber business that had serviced many generations of men in our town.  His business did so well that we were literally the richest people in our church, probably on our street and perhaps in many of the circles in which we travelled even as teens and young adults.

They were very good together…my parents. 

Daddy was 15 years older than mommie but you would have never had guessed it.

I have never met anybody who had all the capabilities of daddy.  He could have been a tailor if  he had wanted to…or a chef, or a mechanic, or an architech.  Daddy could do everything.  And he could do them all well…even better than well.  He was superbly proficient in everything that he could do…and there was nothing that daddy could not do.

Sundays and Mondays were daddy’s days to cook.  Though my mother would help out on Sundays doing things like baking (cakes, pies, fresh rolls etc.) and making macaroni & cheese, and cooking the greens…things like that.  But daddy prepared all the meats which would entail him cutting up many onions, scallions and all kinds of spices. 

He always seasoned his meats hours before cooking…and if  it was curry goat he would season it the night before.  Daddy would take his hands and mesh the seasoning into the meat.  He would pour in hot water and allow the seasoning along with the curry and the onions to steam into the meat before placing it into the refrigerator to sit overnight.  That is how he always cooked the curry goat.

He also prepared the rice, whether it was rice and beans, or regular rice, mashed potatoes etc.

Both mommie and daddy were fantastic cooks…and they could do everything from scratch.  And didn’t have to refer to one cookbook.

Dinner was always a feast at our house no matter what day it was…but on Sundays even more so…we would 2 or 3 meats to chose from.  And there were always guest whom my mother would bring home from church to share our Sunday dinners with us.

It wasn’t until I lived in Chicago…and was a thousands miles away from home that I came to realize just how special it was to be able to open up your home to other people.  When I was in Chicago, I was away from family and all my friends…and there were many times when I was in need.  This, of course, I never shared with my parents.  No, I couldn’t do that.

I went to Chicago to become this big-time radio personality.  As bad as things sometimes got for me, I managed to even send some money ocassionally…though at one point I was virtually homeless in Chicago. 

Sending money home to my parents was something I had seen my parents do throughout our years of growing up…so, when I became of age it was what I wanted to do too.  So, I sent…I never thought about whether or not my parents needed it.  Because clearly my parents had more than enough…as our family was exceedingly blessed.

But while in Chicago there were some holidays that came around…Christmas and Thanksgiving.  And when you are alone and away from your family for the first time in your life it can be very sad and lonely those 2 holidays.

While in Chicago, I never got a job on a radio station…but I had talked to Tom Joyner, Barry Mayo, BB Banna and several others on a regular basis trying to get in.   But I ended up working at a church instead as a church secretary.  I was in need and after a long period of  looking I finally landed this job.  At first I felt myself above it.  “Me”….a secretary….”me…”

Big time me…a church secreatary? 

No.

But my no soon turned to a yes when I met my would be boss during an interview…which I nearly refeused to go to because “it was just too beneath me.”   Thank God, I did not.

Of all the jobs I have ever had that job has meant the most to me,  and I know today that it was right where God intended for me to be.  For the lessons that it taught me and the greatest example of  mentoring and leadership anyone could have possibly have gotten…I got there.

The church was 6th Grace United Presbyterian Church, 35th and Cottage Grove, on Chicago’s South Side…right down the street from the White Sox stadium.  The Pastor was the late Dr. A. L. Reynolds, Jr…who from the moment I met him, I began to marvel at him.  I have never met anybody like Dr. A. L. Reynolds, Jr…not even to this day.  And at the moment I met him I knew he was special…but I had never realized that I had stepped into the presence of greatness until years later.  What a man.

Why am I telling you this story…I have no idea.  I will have to go back and read some of  what I just wrote to see where I’m suppose to be going with  this….give me a minute….

I sometimes get lost.

Oh, yes…oh, yes….

While at home with our parents, I used to wonder why we couldn’t spend our Sundays and holidays with just us…just our family.   Why did we always have to have people over our house, eating our food and taking up our time?

I was selfish…terribly so.

It wasn’t until I was a thousand miles away from home that I came to realize just what a blessing my parents…my mother and father were to other people. 

My parents didn’t invite people into our home who had a lot of things, or who were rich or popular…they invited people who didn’t have family, some were even in nursing homes…whom we would go and pick up to bring to church then take them to our house for dinner and back to church, and  then later back to their nursing home at the end of the day. 

They, my parents…they brought sunshine into people’s lifes and they never asked for anything in return.  They enjoyed doing it.

In Chicago, I spent 2 holidays in the home of the Rippleton’s.  Mr. and Mrs. Rippleton were the parents of the late singer Minnie Rippleton…and they had been members of 6th Grace.  They were extremely nice people and full of alot of fun.  Mr. Rippleton was a real comedian.  Mrs. Rippleton sometimes talked to me about Minnie and the cancer, and how difficult it had been for Minnie…and their family watching her go through that.

My very first day on that job…I got a call early in the morning from someone asking to speak to Dr. Reynolds.

The woman said, “Hello, this is Minnie Rippleton.  Is Dr. Reynolds in?”

I almost dropped the phone…that 6 octive voice, Grammy Winner…Minnie Rippleton was on the other line talking to me.  And here I had come to Chicago to get into radio…and couldn’t get in.   And here was Minnie Rippleton on the other end of my office line…the very first call on my first day on the job.

CLICK to LISTEN Loving You – Minnie Ripperton They don’t make music like this anymore…nor like her family, the Rippertons, whom I shall always love and have the greatest and  highest regard for… for their love and hospitality to me… as well as the whole 6th Grace family.

Minnie died that evening but she had called and conversed with Dr. Reynolds, her spiritual advisor and Pastor.  She had called in the first thing that Monday morning.

It was also at 6th Grace that I met Harold Washington…but that is another story for another time. 

And perhaps I will get around to telling about when I met James Baldwin…what a day that was.  I never met anyone like him…he was quite gracious.  But that too is another story that perhaps I will get around to sharing with you at some other time.

Let me go back to telling you about my father.

Daddy could make the best ice tea, Kool-aide and lemonade.  He also made homemade ice cream,  in  a variety of  tropical favors, which we all gladly churned on Sundays.

Daddy was so good at everything including his business that in the morning men would be outside our door waiting on him to give him a ride to work…so that they could be the first one in his barber chair.

Daddy caught the bus to work usually.  His barber shop was in the downtown area of our town.  He always got up on time and would arrive at his shop every morning that it was due to open, Monday-Saturday, at 7:30 a.m. where a few of  his customers were sure to be there waiting on him.  And because he was so popular…this was, of course, the reason why some of them would come to the house to give him a ride. 

Daddy loved it.   He loved his customers…and always respected their time.

The one thing daddy never did…he didn’t eat sandwiches. 

Mommie always prepared daddy a hot lunch which she would drive down to him some time during noon.  But most of the time daddy would bring the food home mostly untouched because he would never get a chance to eat it.  He was always busy taking care of customers right up until the time he closed his shop for the night.

And when he came home mommie always had him something good to eat…and it was always fresh and hot.  He didn’t eat what we ate.  Where mommie might make us spaghetti some nights, or homemade chicken pot pie, or meatloaf on others etc…which of course all kids love…but daddy would get stuff like smoothered steak with green peppers and onions over mashed potatos, and some sort of vegetable. 

Another thing about daddy…he was a saver.  He was also one of those people who as soon as a bill came in he would pay it.  He never waited on due dates to pay anything.  He managed money very well…and had the bank accounts to prove it.   And though he only had a 7th grade education which render his reading skills weak…he could sure count money.  He stayed on top of  his money and his bills. 

Though my mother worked as well…her money was her money.  Daddy provided for our family.  He paid for all  our  household expenditures, mortgages, grocery bills etc.  And anything to do with us…he paid for it.

Daddy was clearly the husband that the Bible calls men to be…a provider.   And our household wanted for nothing. 

As children we spend our Christmas’ in Florida…and by the time we would return home over the holiday it was as if  Toys R Us had made a special trip just to our house. 

As we grew up we started spending our summers in Florida instead.

My parents spared nothing.

And as we  became of age they bought us all cars.

When they wanted a new car…they bought it.  And they bought nothing that we all could not fit in. 

When we went on trips…we all went. 

When they decided to go to Jamaica…it was a family affair…which was the way my parents treated everything. 

My mother loved to shop and that is what she did with her money.  But she not only loved shopping for herself…but for us as well…as well as for daddy.   At eighteen she was still buying all of my clothes.  And everything she bought was top shelf.

And that is how daddy bought too.  He did not buy cheap…and he tailored all his own clothes.  He had the measuring tape, the pins and the white chalk to make the marks…the whole works.   Daddy took  everything  serious.  He was  very  percise and took such care in whatever he did.  And he could sew by hand…as well as anyone could with a sewing machine.

In the basement he had all his tools; saws, drills, snakes for the plumbing system (which comes in handy when you have kids), levers…everything.  Because daddy could build and make things, and was always working around the house. 

Including gardening…daddy did that too…as well as service our cars and bicycles.

Mommie loved daddy’s tomatoes, green peppers and cabbage, strings beans, greens  etc… 

Yes, along with everything else daddy also had a green thumb too.

I don’t know who taught daddy…but they taught him well.

Though daddy might not have been able to read well…that, however, never stopped him from picking up a book and trying to sound his way through a few words…or from starting his business.  And when I think on it…the thought of me helping him to learn to read never even came into my mind.  I do not know why.

Mommie had been the first black nurse in the little town she grew up in down in a small town in Florida.  When she retired she had been a nurse supervisor at a state institution. 

Their schedules rotated around their children.  We were their pride and joy. 

They treated us to everything…everything good.  They were not drinkers, smokers, cursers or things like that…nor did they allow cards or card playing in their house.  Though we could play Ol’ Maid, checkers and stuff like that.  And I do not know  how  Daddy could do it…but  he was a master even at checkers. 

Who could beat him?

Before you knew it he had the board loaded with  kings…and just blowing you away with his moves taking everything you had on the board.  What a mind.

We were never allowed into people’s houses, nor could any of our friends come into our house.  As my parents said that they had had 8…and that 8 was enough.

We were not allowed to stay over people’s houses.  And they did not believe in paying us any allowances for helping out around the house.  Which sometimes included getting on our knees and scrubbing the floors, or wiping down all (and I do all) the woodwork  in the house etc…etc…   Oh, how I hated those Saturday mornings when we would be  waken up to find buckets in the kitchen with rags in them…waiting on us.

From our parent’s house have sprang graduates from Moorehouse, Florida A & M, Princeton, University of Alabama, University of  Kentucky, Brandeis University, etc…etc…and they are still coming.  We’ve got a few more who will graduating in a couple of years and some whom we have began to set up for Spellman and Harvard…you’ve got to plant these seeds early.

My parents were believers in education.  My mother was always taking classes.  I can’t tell  you  how many times she took typing… she kept flunking it.  But she kept on taking it anyways.  She also took bookkeeping and a few other classes…including voice lessons.

Mommie definitely could not sing…but that didn’t stop her. I have to admit that the voice lessons did do a little good though.

Whenever mommie would go to school for a conference regarding me…she would come home with the report to my father.  Whenever I tried to explain to my father about the teacher and how she didn’t like me…my father would always stop me short…and never hear whatever it was I was trying to tell him. 

He would glare at me saying-

“The teacher got her’s you’ve got to get yours.”

I hated hearing those words…but today I understand them well.  And daddy was right.  I’ve even come to recite them a few times myself. 

Daddy was full of witticisms also.  He was some kind of  special…and I don’t know how he and mommie met. But one thing for sure they sure loved each other.

Yes, daddy was very special and if ever I were looking for someone…I doubt that I would ever ever find anyone quite like daddy. 

Well, if  you feel like a donut…I hope you have someone who can go get you one.  Or go with you…or take you to get one.

I hope I didn’t rample on and on…and that you got some sense out of this blog.

Enjoy your day…and I’m working on my rib business.  I have spent so much money that I have actually run out of money.  I have the whole set-up  but I don’t have the money to buy the goods.  So, maybe we will up and running by next weekend…this weekend looks a bit bleek.   But it is all part of the process.  Sometimes you have just got to learn how to go with the flow. 

You know I really learned that from my friend in New York whom we are expecting to pass.

In her words…”Whatever God allows.”      ….God bless…  ©2008

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Entry Filed under: Chicago,Dealing with loss,death,Family Values,Finding the right person for you,Gay Pride,Giving unto others,lost of love ones,Marriage,Media,misch.,Nikki Giovanni,Parenting,same-sex marriages,sex,sex change,Sexual Revolution,Stong Women,wisdom

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