I Remember The Old Christmas Seasons

Tis the season when I become nostalgic and remember Christmas time at my parents and an assortment of relatives’ houses. Being raised in Milwaukee, I understood what the late Bing Crosby meant by a White Christmas. We wished for light snow instead of a snowstorm. If that be the case, I would grab my snow shovel and go around the neighborhood knocking on old people doors. They would pay a reasonable price for me shoveling out the walkway to their house. If you knew my father, you would understand where I got the idea. Like Codis the first I would take every opportunity to earn a dollar. Mind you I performed those tasks early in the morning. So I could be back in time to enjoy Christmas Day with my family.
Oh, what Christmas Days those were; it seemed longer back in the day. My stepsister and I had to wait for momma and daddy to get up before opening any presents. They would usually come out of their room around nine o’clock. It was a long agonizing wait because we were up as early as five o’clock. The big day always seemed to fall on a day after our parents spent Christmas eve playing cards, nipping at beer or alcohol and entertaining guest.
In time, Mama Rosalie would begin to cook breakfast. Another long agonizing time as we had to wait until she finished cooking. She would not open her presents until after breakfast. Daddy followed suit which would make me and my stepsister so anxious. Then after waiting so long, we wouldn’t get a lot of the toys we wanted. We mostly received school clothes, things we needed and books. Over the years we got used to it. We didn’t have a chimney, so Santa Clause didn’t stop by our house. My daddy would joke about shooting Santa if he came through our Third-floor window. That’s when we realize there was no Santa. Because daddy would never shoot Santa, would he? We found other ways to amuse ourselves by collecting or earning money to buy ourselves a toy or two.
By early afternoon, the visitors would start to stop by and wish us a Merry Christmas. If an Uncle or someone didn’t come to our house, my father would allow me to ride with him to their home. It must have been a golden rule established in my relatives’ southern hometowns of Arkansas. Go by and visit the sick and shut-in. Always check on your family members. Somehow between Christmas Eve and the big day, we would see all our relatives for a minute or two. At one time, I thought every black person in Milwaukee was related to me in some form or fashion. Daddy seemed to know everybody in the city.
Yes, I do remember Grandma Gracie who had her own little apartment within walking distance of our house. Cousin Buddy, his wife Ruby and their three kids (Louis, Larry and Ruby Jean) who lived on the first floor of our three-story building. From other places in the city, there was Uncles Monroe, Aunts Mittie Lue, Calvin & Marjorie, Peach & Vernese, Abe & Rose, Curtis & Verdia, Clarence & Gertherene. Aunt Lacireen & Uncle RT, Aunt Lena & Uncle Colrolus still lived in Arkansas. Of course, they all had kids, some were the same age as me. While others were older and younger, there were cousins Roy Lee, Johnny Lee and Vernell to name a few. This was to name just a few whereas we all managed to see one another during the holiday season. Our parents would look to that ritual.
It is that foundation from which I was raised I find comfort in being myself. One always found themselves protected from all the outside ills of society. If somehow, we encountered a problem we always knew how to handle it. Or our parents and that assortment of relatives would come to the aide of those who needed it; anytime and anyplace. They were people who worked hard, played hard and worship God on Sundays and other occasions.
I can’t tell you how many times my Grandma Gracie said she was going to pray for me. Especially during my teen years. When I was finally allowed to go around the corner from my house. Or that old warning, “Boy you are getting a little big for your britches, aren’t you?” With that, she meant I was beginning to act outside my age. They never wanted you to grow up so fast.
I think about those people today. I missed the conversations we had about family, history, life and the current state of the black race. Now you may understand why I write books and articles about those people. How I do miss my mother, father, stepmother, mother-in-law, uncles, aunts and a host of other goodwill people of their ages. Around Ninety-Eight Percent of those old Southern Souls have passed on and left a legacy of people like their children and me. I, my siblings and cousins who are left are now the older generation of migrates from Bradley County, Banks, Arkansas and the surrounding area. With pride, we say we are chips off the old blocks.
Don’t get me wrong, I love and enjoy the family my wife and I have brought into this world. I am always happy to see or talk to my sisters, brothers, and countless cousins spread throughout the United States. My wife and I have enjoyed and continue to enjoy the career success we had before retiring from the rat race. But we also know that success is a credit to those old Southern Souls and God. We love and enjoy the new friends and acquaintances we’ve made and can claim today. Yet, there is no denying the value of having come from those Southern Souls of the past. God broke the mold with many of those people. I know that many of you know exactly what I am talking about from members of your own family. May they rest in peace knowing they did a very credible job at life.
thLI6B9S9TPeace, stay vigilant for our American Rights, Blessings and Merry Christmas to you all…from the Hampton Family.
Codis Hampton II
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We are in a continuing effort to publicize my book, Gracie Hall-Hampton, the Arkansas Years 1917-1953. It examines an era of Jim Crow that many in our society may have forgotten occurred against people of color. Meanwhile, we celebrate the publication of my latest and fifth book, Misguided Intentions. Click on the publisher-Authors page at https://outskirtspress.com/MisguidedIntentions
Enjoy the book I wrote honoring my father, entitled Remembering Moz. Get a copy at https://outskirtspress.com/rememberingmoz
Get any of my books by visiting my Amazon.com Authors page at http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B017TYFKBI?ref_=pe_1724030_132998070

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Copyright 2011 Codis Hampton II, all rights reserved. A bi-weekly blog for your enjoyment


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Hamp II

This web site is a compilation of all my works, interest, and musical taste. Its intended to display all my talents, dreams, and aspirations. In short, join the ride or stay tuned. Because… I’d been chasing self-independence which led me to open a retail business. Success with no capital for expansion led to its closure. I wanted a career, not just a job. I needed to be in charge of my own destiny. In 1978, I left my beloved Milwaukee and moved to California where a civil service position awaited. It turned out to be one of the best decisions my wife, and I have ever made. A few years before retiring from the “rat race” in 1996, I discovered my true love, writing. I started by publishing an online newsletter with my own opinionated articles leading off each issue. I graduated by writing my first book, Unchon-ni (2010 publication), a semi-biography tale about my military tour in Korea in the early sixties. November of 2013 brought about the release of my second book, entitled Gracie Hall-Hampton, the Arkansas Years, 1917-1953. It’s a tribute to my grandmother’s life and times while living in the segregated south of the United States. After careful consideration, I began broadcasting Hamp’s Corner of America via Blog Talk Radio in June of 2014. I’ve found the show to be an ideal platform for presenting ideas and comments to a segment of our society that may not see or hear the stories that speak to their interest from other American news outlets. In the politically charged years since the election of Barack Obama in 2008, most people have become accustomed to instant critique and sound bites from various media. More so than Obama’s election, the truth is often bent; twisted, shredded, and repackaged to resemble something that your conscious tells you is a lie. Independent thinking is not a lost art. Just because people with those types of opinions seem to dominate the landscape, they are still a minority, no matter their color or creed. The truth must be treasured and not compromised. Those real experiences supply the foundation upon which we are built and thus enable us to do the right thing based upon facts. That is the creed upon which I’ve based my life in every circumstance. No matter what, somehow one should always do the right thing for all involved. It keeps one grounded. I’ve reached my senior years and have an enormous appetite to see our local communities grow and prosper at the hands of the people in that community. In other words, there is no help like self-help. As of this summer’s 2015 date, I have three books in my production hopper. One (about my father’s life) to be released this fall, a fictional story by the spring of 2016 and a political environment book, schedule for a fall release in 2016. It should be noted that all my books have been and will be independently published by my choice of publishers. I can say at this point in my life, I am at peace with my work, my God, and my existence.

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