So I'm sitting here and thinking about growing up.  Let me start with Dad.  I don't know about how you feel about yours but I have an awesome Dad!  So often, among Blacks we worship our Mom's as if she were the second coming of the Great Glorious Hallelujah!  For ME, my Mom did some good things but unfortunately the memories of the Bad so far outweigh the memories of the good that it's as if no good exists.  That may be a shame but it is what it is. She was not a drug addict (although in the '70's almost EVERYONE smoked pot!).  She was not an alcoholic (although almost EVERYONE has a drink or 3!). She was simply a very unhappy woman in so many aspects of her life that she made life miserable for her children.

My Dad on the other hand is one of the most incredibly fantastic knowledgeable caring sincere men I know.  He is honorable, honest, & committed to his family.  He was not“Santa Claus” with respect to giving things to us although he gave so damned much! He was not a “genie” with respect to make a wish and he would make it come true but you could ask him ANYTHING.  My Pop's is steady, steadfast, & determined.

My Dad sings... but that's because almost EVERYONE sings! He can't hold a tune with a bucket!  My Dad dances... but that's because almost EVERYONE dances.  He has two left feet and sort of just “shuffles along.”  He rocks and sways with the beat (when he can imagine he finds it.)  He has an adoring, loving, committed, dedicated... did I mention LOVING wife!  I love his wife.  For more then 40 years she has been by his side supporting him and guiding him.  He is today, a product of her quiet influence. His children, her children, and their child are who we are because of them... and that's a good thing!  But this entry is about HIM.

Dad loves to fish.  Some of my earliest memories, after he an my mother separated at age 5, are of his prowess with a fishing rod.  You see, I lived with him (two sisters went Mother).  He worked at brick yard making bricks for a living.  I'd go to school.  Head over to my cousin's, the Brewster's & Richard, Robert, & I would go to school.  Northeast Elementary School.  We would go, then come home.  Dad was ALWAYS home when I got there.  In fact, try as I might, I can only remember one time when Dad was not home when I got there but that was ok 'cause Grandma Miller was!  But back to fishing... This man could go out onto the Great South Bay with a hook and a string and come home with a bucket of flounder, porgies, clams, crabs, whatever!  And cook? DEAR GODS!  My Pop's instilled in me a love of cooking because we wouldn't have just fried fish.  He would fry or bake or grill or whatever! The flavors, realize, this was back in the '60's & '70's, was what today be called “haute cuisine!” Nope. No formal training as a chef.  Just an unmatched palette that defined my style.

Dad loves to drink.  I remember years ago his love of scotch. Johnny Walker Red (and then Black) Then he went on to gin. Seagram's. Oh... after the gin phase there was the beer, then vodka. He never mixed alcohols. When he was into gin nothing else would do! When it was scotch..well you know what I'm saying!  Today his drink of choice is dark rum & Pepsi.  He never was a coke fan... maybe that's where I get my loathing of Coke from!

Dad LOVES entertaining! It seemed that at no time was he happier then when there were 20 or 30 people over the house. This is a 2 bedroom about 850 sq. ft house! Drinks at the bar, food on the stove or even better, on the grill.  Knock-kneed, loud as hell kids running around losing our minds with fun while the adults talked about everything and every one.  Dad was always in the center of whatever discussion(s) was (were) going on! And he was right!  When he wasn't right in the literal sense of being exactly on point then he was right in the metaphorical sense that you “knew”what he was saying and what he meant!  BUT  don't you dare be wrong!  If you were wrong he could point it out in such a way that everyone knew it but you were never embarrassed and you enjoyed it so much you couldn't wait until the next time you came over or he came over to your house.

Family, friends, fun.  I have had the very great privilege in my life meeting some powerful and influential men and women.  From Dr. Dorothy I. Height to Jessie Jackson, Sr.  From Melba Moore to Dr. Keith O. Plowden and more.  Maybe I'm biased... just maybe, but none of them can hold a candle to my Pop's. His quiet determination to just be a man.  A good man.  A family man. A commitment to life, liberty, and a sense of acceptance of each person for that persons' sake and no other!  I have never heard him say a hateful thing about any other person.  He's my Dad.  He's my Pop's.  He's my Hero!


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