What Am I Thankful For In 2015?

What am I thankful for on this Thanksgiving? Where do I start? First of all, I am thankful for being the child of Doreatha (Childs) and Codis Hampton. Two people whom I dearly loved and will miss through eternity. And my heavenly father for placing me in their care and guidance in the first place.

I am thankful for having such wonderful siblings as my sisters, Delores, Carol, and stepsister, the late Johnny Mae. And let me not forget my little brother James Edward. I was the oldest and should have been the most responsible, but forgive me when I strayed to the dark side in my late teenage and young adult age.

That was a period when all five feet four of me thought to be cold blooded, hardcore and tuff was a prescription for survival in this country. The streets of Milwaukee called for guile, cunning, a bad attitude and short fuse. At least that is what I thought at the time. The first words out of my mouth to anyone who disagreed with me on any subject was F_ _ _ you, followed by I will kick your M-F A_ _. It made no difference if the guy was 5’4” 140lbs or 6’4” 250 lbs. My only suggestion to the person was to bring a lunch because it’s going to be an all-day fight to the finish. I won some and lost others. In fact, have you ever seen a group of different size dogs on the street or in a yard? The smallest runt of the pack is always barking the loudest, jumping up and down. The others may not even bark, but that runt is lunging at you as you walk by and seems to want to tear one of your limbs off your body. I was that runt.

I was mad at the world, didn’t care who knew it and was not planning on passing the age of twenty-one. And if that was to come to pass, I was going down swinging at my foe.  Along the way, I found out a simple truth. It didn’t matter who won, my body still felt the pain from being in a fight. ThanksgivingAll praise is to God; I got over and lived through that phase. I also give thanks to a three-year service in the US Army which helped me mature in a manner I never knew existed for a black man in this country.

I’ll tell you some other people who knew what I was  learning the hard way. And that is my mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, uncles, Aunts and adult cousins. If I had listened to them in the first place, well…that phase in my life could have been spent more productive maybe resulting in a master degree in something or the other. I have no regrets. That is what it took for me to get to 2015. Now it’s just another reason for me to be thankful today.

I am grateful for having met my wife, Sandra along the way. For our children, Shawn Lynn, Richie and Brandon, now grown and finding their way in life, I am all so proud of their accomplishments. They are down to earth people who are real and see life as it is not through rose colored glasses. My wife and I tried to raise them in the way we were raised hoping they would be better and avoid some of our mistakes. The fact that they are alive and well is a blessing in itself.

Today, I can say; I have family and friends that I keep in contact with, some daily, weekly, others monthly, and yearly. There are friends and family I haven’t touched bases with in a while who know me well enough to know I still care and think about them. As in life, there have been disagreements with family and friends causing them to fall out of touch for whatever reason. They should know; I’m not a person who holds a grudge or harbor some dislike for them because of some incident between us. Thank God, I can say, I’m not that kind of person today. I have evolved and continue to do so. I am a better person than I was years ago, last year and several months ago, as I continue to work on me every day. I am certainly thankful for that.

Make no mistake about it. I go through what you all go through on a daily basis. We have to deal with rude and obnoxious people in the grocery store or other retail outlets. Making a phone call to a vendor while trying to correct their billing error can be challenging. Is it me, or am I correct in concluding that customer service is lacking at too many of our service industry companies these days?  Sometimes it’s as though the Human Resource Office in these companies have hired a staff of incompetent, uncaring, and impatient individuals to answer their phones and yet call themselves a customer service representative. Most of time, I feel I should send them an invoice for helping them do their job. You feel me? But then, over the years I’ve learned not to let a person or persons put me in a bad mood for the day. I deal with it at that time with that person and move on; it’s that simple. And for that change in my personality, I am thankful to Jesus Christ.

I am oh so thankful for the new people I am meeting in my life. Some of which, I have never personally met or seen, but often communicate by phone as if we’ve known each other for a lifetime. I’ve met most of these new friends and contacts in connection with my church, BTR Show, publication of books or my role as their tax preparer.

Every day many of these people or colleagues give me hope there is a better day coming for our people of color and communities across this nation. We share a common goal for the human race and specifically for the black race. These are people of all colors who demonstrate on a daily basis that they are community driven first rather than only seeking profit for their endeavors. It is these people, along with my upbringing that keeps me going and selfishly giving of my time for my community.

I am so thankful to my Savior for guiding me as I take the actions required to give and contribute in my way to our community.  To say that I’ve evolved into a good husband, father, citizen and black man in 2015 is an understatement in my view. I’ve found peace with myself, my God, my family, friends and everyone else. And for that, I am eternally thankful this Thanksgiving.  Happy Thanksgiving to you all, may you find the same type of contentment in your life.

Peace, make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,

 

Codis Hampton II

Follow Hamp at https://twitter.com/#!/HampTwo   

Subscribe to this blog at http://wp.me/p65rCa-6t

Join us at the live broadcast of our bimonthly BTR Shows at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/hampscornerofamerica

“In my latest book, Remember Moz, Gracie & John Hampton’s First-Born, I wanted to tell the world about a unique individual. Not because he happened to be my father but to explain who he was, where he came from, and how he evolved into the man he became up until his death. In doing so, I wrote of his ancestor’s roots back to and through the Civil War. The inclusion of his birth and upbringing in the heart of Arkansas, or Jim Crow country, add southern reluctance to learn why our country involved itself in a bloodthirsty four-year exercise in the first place? Then you begin to understand why, our parents behaved the way that they did. See if I captured the essence of this paragraph.” Get the book via the Authors Page at http://outskirtspress.com/webPage/isbn/9781478766056

or visit my Amazon.com Authors page at http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B017TYFKBI?ref_=pe_1724030_132998070

 

 

Our Parent Company and sponsor is CHIIA Group, online at https://hcofa.net/

 

 

 

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

Black Hair Care Industry Update 2015, Part II

Think about it. Of all the numerous manufacturing and service industries in this country, which one should be dominated primarily by the consumers they serve? Of course, it’s the Black Hair Care Industry. In Part I of this article, you got the 411 on the Koreans attempt to dominate that industry. And make no mistake about it, only a tiny fraction of the funds Koreans earn from black consumers find its way back to our communities. So let’s put a number on it and say ninety cents of every dollar earned goes to the Koreans coiffures never to return to the hood.

Those black consumers who buy their hair products, wigs and accessories from the neighborhood beauty supply store? On the way, they often pass by empty storefronts, closed schools, and vacated fire stations. Do you ever wonder why we have to shop at suburban malls to find a major department outlet? A store run and mostly staffed by Koreans has no intention of putting any of their profits in your community, nada, zip, none, 0 dollars.

You say our communities are poor and cannot support our grocery stores, sidewalk cafe’s and any entity that provides a quality product for a fair price? Here is a quote from Nielsen’s African-American Consumer Report from 2013.  Despite historically high unemployment rates, Blacks have shown resiliency in their ability to persevere as consumers. Black buying power continues to increase, rising from its current $1 trillion level to a forecasted $1.3 trillion by 2017.” There is no reason the bulk of that buying power should not be circulating in the black community before heading out to other communities.

You want to improve your environment, your hood, the neighborhood in which you live. Spend your money with those who you know will put the money back into your neighborhood. Especially during this holiday period as there is a call to boycott Black Friday and seek out black business to spend your hard earn cash. If not directly with stores in your community, then indirectly, because as black entrepreneurs rise to the top of the economic scale, so shall you, the black consumer. Consumer spending is the lifeblood of any community located within our United States Economic system.

That ladies and gentlemen is a monumental ethnic consumer change in behavior that has been absent in our communities for far too long. One of the fastest ways to effect major change in the treatment of a race of people in this country is to direct our spending toward people, regardless of color that has our best interest at heart. You feel me?

There are smart, innovative, and hungry entrepreneurs who are looking for you, the consumer to try their product or visit their Beauty salon. They want you to see and report to friends and neighbor the usefulness and quality of their goods and services. And the kicker is, they look like you, meaning that ninety cents of your dollars spent will circulate in your community several times. Over time, you will see other business entities return to your neighborhood. Why, because as we’ve reported, there is money and wealth in your community.

We are not naive here; this has to happen over time. Let’s start this Christmas Buying Season.  If you, the consumer change the direction of your disposable income to those who will help build or feed your community, you will begin to see the result sooner than later. Let’s meet a few entrepreneurial innovators in the Black Hair Care Industry.

Madam CJ Gardner, in her words “having an affinity for promoting cultural awareness” is one such innovator. She also disproves the notion that all ideas should be colossal in nature. The idea should be to see a need and attempt to fill it which is an apt description of her #thehookmeup tool.

Having earned a B.A. from Rutgers and an M.A.S. from Fairleigh Dickinson Universities, she has worked in the juvenile and adult corrections world approaching twenty years. She entered into the cosmetology world because of an overwhelming interest in protecting her natural hair while wearing a ‘sew in hair’ weave. The thought and actual practice of removing the weave was an emotionally taxing and stressful venture for Ms. Gardner. The tools used to go through the weave removal process was no help at all in providing a warm and fuzzy for protecting one’s hair or avoiding cutting a finger. She would ask for herself and eventually answer her question, “What if there was an all-inclusive tool to remedy this problem, along with eliminating the infamous ‘itchy weave pat’?”

We can now report that after talking on the financial and entrepreneurial IMG958358responsibilities that are required, Madam CJ has brought her patented and own Hook Me Up tool to the American market. Predictably the consumer market has welcomed such a innovated tool. So much so that the local TV Fox News affiliate, Channel 29 out of Philadelphia aired the following report during a broadcast of Empire. Click the following link to view the entire report. https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B8nAdnWvJ7qNUmpDSVI0aDh1U28/view  #thehookmeup tool just hit the market around the second week in September. After viewing the noted Channel 29 report, I am sure you will find the necessity of the tool itself for the entire Hair Care Industry. Go to http://www.thehookmeup.org/ for purchase details. You can also find a taped interview I completed with the New Jersey native for my Blog Talk Radio Show broadcast on September 30, 2015. Click on my shows link at the end of this article to find the broadcast.

We find our next innovator right here at home. Here name is Dalila Dynes, aka DD. She is the owner-manager of DD’s Serendipity Salon and Spa located in Oakland, California. You can visit her website at http://www.serendipityhairsalon.com/

She began at the tender age of twenty-three with the intent to service any and all races of clientele. DD has perfected the craft of multi-cultural hair styling over her fifteen years of hair styling. So much so that she’s developed a healthy hair care class for parents of mixed-race children. Or as she also describes it, “Parents not versed in black hair care.” There is also a styling class for the trans-gender community. These are the among a few of the specialties offered at her Salon

You get the feeling that this entrepreneur is attempting to create a mood when speaking with her about her salon and spa. DD feels her customers 299;419;96181cedfaf12d4dd7c7ed9c5b5705744957b991[1]should and do come to her facility to be pampered in the same manner as if they were in one of the major Las Vegas Hotels. Thus, she offers the use of her Jacuzzi Spa and massage service, with a shower, garden patio, and art gallery. Given her background as a natural artist, photographer, and dancer, she has a performance stage.  One might get the correct assumption that DD is offering complete relaxation, a memorable experience that results in a warm and fuzzy feeling one gets when they have rewarded themselves. All of the services offered are at a reasonable and competitive price.

I interviewed her on my HCofA BTR Show which you can access by clicking on the following link, http://www.blogtalkradio.com/hampscornerofamerica/2015/11/18/entrepreneurs-with-a-purpose I bring it up not as a promotional tool for my show. If you want to hear passion and conviction from a professional Hair Stylist-Owner-Manager in the Hair Care Industry, you need to listen to this interview. Dalila “DD” Dynes provides you a detailed description of the relationship and trust issues required between a stylist and their customer. For that matter, any Entrepreneur should take note as she gives an A-plus message on providing great customer service. It was my pleasure to hear that kind of devotion to one’s craft.

And finally, my friend Sam Ennon at www.BOBSA.org, continues to bring Nat Dubeit. He has collaborated with Alex and Natascha Dube. They are the South African couple who invented and manufactured the Afro & Twist comb. If you have not heard, Natascha originally used a tennis racket to get the twist style she used for her hair. Note her picture here. Needless to say, a racket would not fit into a ladies normal size purse. Being the innovators she and her husband are, they came up with a smaller comb to meet her styling requirements that also appeals to the black community. It was a simple fix for entrepreneurs who have a need and find the products or item absent on the current market.

As initially stated, they hooked up with BOBSA’s Sam Ennon who was instrumental in the packaging of and promotion of the Afro & Twist Comb, Cleaning Spray, Moisturizer Conditioner, No Flake Styling Gel, Locking & Twisting cream plus a useful small sponge used in the application to round out the hair twist styling process. The utilization of these items promises to provide the end user with a clean, moisturize and nice minty scent for any preferred twist style. One can step out on a date or attend an evening affair looking fresh and as though your sporting a professionally prepared hairdo. For your information, the products are distributed by Afro & Twist Comb |CA dixassoc@earthlink.net |209-888-4800, CA sam@bobsa.org | 650-863-3491 | IL 708-769-2154 | GA 404-752-9183.

As previously stated in numerous articles, my aim is to get you acquainted with Entrepreneurs that have a purpose. Our entire purpose is to enlighten our community and turn them on to the goods and services that are not only beneficial to you the black community. The people I write about or have on my BTR Show are always quality driven and community conscious which is just what is needed to lift up our neighborhoods standard of living.  That is my promise to you, hoping that you find the individuals and organizations mentioned here meet that standard.

Peace, make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,

 

Codis Hampton II

Follow Hamp at https://twitter.com/#!/HampTwo   

Subscribe to this blog at http://wp.me/p65rCa-69

Join us at the live broadcast of our bimonthly BTR Shows at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/hampscornerofamerica

“In my latest book, Remember Moz, Gracie & John Hampton’s First-Born, I wanted to tell the world about a unique individual. Not because he happened to be my father but to explain who he was, where he came from, and how he evolved into the man he became up until his death. In doing so, I wrote of his ancestor’s roots back to and through the Civil War. The inclusion of his birth and upbringing in the heart of Arkansas, or Jim Crow country, add southern reluctance to learn why our country involved itself in a bloodthirsty four-year exercise in the first place? Then you begin to understand why, our parents behaved the way that they did. See if I captured the essence of this paragraph.” Get the book via the Authors Page at http://outskirtspress.com/webPage/isbn/9781478766056

or visit my Amazon.com Authors page at http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B017TYFKBI?ref_=pe_1724030_132998070

 

 

Our Parent Company and sponsor is CHIIA Group, online at https://hcofa.net/

 

The Political Landscape for August… or This, That, and the Other.

Who’s not running for president may be the better question?

Why such a long title, because there is a large number of Republicans running for their party’s nomination for president. When John Kasich of Ohio jumped in, followed by the Virginia guy,  I believe this concluded the complete list of those individuals who the press thought might run. Wait until the debate starts, you talk about a seventeen ring circus. The one thing they all can agree on is that President Obama is the Anti-Christ. It’s fun listening to their rhetoric and squabbles. Jeb Bush has already stated his words were taken out of context two, three, four times? I’m sorry, I’ve lost count. Yeah, it’s funny all right until you start remembering the 2008 presidential campaign with John McCain and Sarah Palin race against the Chicago Community Organizer and his VP nominee. Remember the Republican gun-toting darling who could see Russian from her back yard or was it the front. One of her famous lines was “you can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig.” One may start to get chills running up your spine when you think what kind of country would this be had those two gems won. That’s when you realize that the crowd of 2015 is not so funny. They all have the same MO, dangerous rhetoric and idiotic plans for this country. No sense in listing them here, you heard the same things from that party since 2008.

My guess is they think they see Hillary Clinton’s blood in the water. The latest, more troubling news about classified information mixed in with private emails. They can almost taste the negative advertising dollars backers will be willing to contribute to their campaigns. I would agree, it has not been as good as kickoff as she envisioned the last few months, according to the polls. But never fear, barring an out and out monumental failure, she will be the Democratic Nominee. Then folks you can hold on to your hats. In fact, you may want to turn them upside down where you may be able to catch some of the millions of dollars that are going to be spent on the 2016 presidential election. As for the Republicans and their supporters, they are not through trying to buy this country. And the Democrats? Once again that is going to be interesting. How will they defend themselves, and Barack Obama record? And we the public where we vote or not (and you should), we are going to curse the day that the Supreme Court opened up the PAC money spigots. Just as we did during the last Presidential Election in 2012. We got tired of those commercials, robocalls, newscast, and a mailbox full of political ads.

This is so tragic, unreal and solvable.

How many more people have to die before police departments around the country realize the game has changed? What looked like a Hunting Season on people of color is no longer an untrained or psychotic law enforcer’s playground. Perpetrators should be charged, tried and sentenced just like the criminals they are.

There should be a timeline placed on the days a local PD (Police Dept.) has to report the early findings of these type deaths to the Attorney General’s office. All witnesses names, the tapes, and footage should be included in the package. In other words there need to be strict guidelines for forwarding info on these type cases.

We also need to be proactive about the role and conduct of Police Officers on the street. First the Federal Government should develop a Recurring Training Course for all Police Personnel, including county and state troopers, etc. I know you can’t eradicate racism during a few hours or fourteen days to a four-week course. However, you can develop a course that teaches policeman how to do their job on a day to day basis in almost any kind of situation. A stress test and psychological exam should also be a part of that course curriculum. Finally, it should be mandatory to any Police Department in the US of A who want assistance from the Federal Government. That would be access to any federal funds, armory, or technical assistance. Some wouldn’t sign up, but that same kind of information, as noted previously, could be demanded by the Attorney General on a case by case basis.

With that assistant federal inducement, you would be surprised at how many Local PD’s would sign up. No, I am not advocating outfitting a small Army similar to the armory Ferguson, MO and others have. Certain kind of armor should be reserved for the Natural Guard.

My uneducated guess is that 95.5% of all policemen want to finish their shift and return home to love ones. It’s just a job and a career and if they can help people while doing their job, they are better policemen and people for it. They are not all racist or burnt out from street duty. “To Protect and Serve” should be a national motto where all American citizens know that they are talking about them too.

No Child left behind Overhaul?

Let’s see, wasn’t that a G Dubya (Geo. Bush) program patterned after some module in Texas? Did you really expect it to work? Remember we had educators from across the country along with other experts in the field warning us that it was not going to work. Some went as far as calling it a sham and reuse. Most just felt it was a disservice to our youth. The only result would be the have local educational boards set up curriculums that would be geared toward passing the standardize high school test. And that is exactly what happened.

How do they plan on correcting or overhauling it? Is it more smoke and mirrors? The Senate version of the bill leaves it up to the States to select which schools are failing and what if anything should be done about it. Civil Rights groups fear a return to the local districts ignoring the needs of schools that are predominantly attended by children of color.   Five Democratic senators offered an amendment that would have corrected this flaw. The amendment failed to pass. The GOP House bill is even worse. I think we all can agree that this time we better get it right. American children of all colors are falling behind the international norm every day.

NBA Players doing the right thing

Much respect to the Players Awards Show on BET. It was so nice for its Producers/Directors to point out NBA Players who head or are associated with specific charity foundations give back to their community. If you noticed during the season and playoffs, short videos were shown pointing out various players doing just that. One should immediately realize they don’t really have to do that.

Michael Jordan, one of the greatest basketball players of all time stayed away from political issues as it was the plague. Being involved with his people concerns of poverty, lack of education, etc. was considered political issues during that time. In fact today, they are still used as code words by many white businessmen. Not sure where it came from but somebody in Mike’s camp felt it would jeopardize his marketability. They were overly cautious to a fault.

Stay tuned political observers    

By the way, can anybody name a Republican Politician that actually gives back to a disadvantaged community? We are not talking about giving to your church, Mitt Romney backers. Yet they have no problem in telling poor people to stand on their own two feet and get a job. All while voting to snatch programs that assist people to do just that. Nor do they want to fund an infrastructure jobs bill as proposed by President Obama. It makes you wonder how long the majority of the American voting public is going to tolerate politicians who actually work and vote against American concerns on behalf of lobbyist. We may find out during our National Election of 2016. Will it be more of the same or a vision and a political platform that actually serves everyone in the American Public?

NFL Season has officially begun     

I never thought I would agree with Commissioner Rodger Goodell on this Tom Brady-Patriots issue of deflated footballs. You have to admit, no matter which side you fall on, he knew or didn’t know; much less order the deflation of the game footballs, Goodell got this one right. Despite, the appearance of a buyout by owner Bob Kraft by submitting to the fine and loss of draft choices and their close friendship, Goodell made the call for the entire league. Can you believe they even floated the idea that one should not make Brady mad? This upholding of the suspension was right in line with the Commissioner previous behavior when his authority is challenged. His actions toward this and other matters involving protecting the NFL Shield has always been, I am commissioner and you (Bob Kraft-Tom Brady) are not. Next time maybe, the arrogant Brady will give the league’s investigators his cell phone, and anything else they want. I was almost certain that Goodell would reduce if not downright eliminate the punishment. Not because of any evidence supporting the QB’s innocence, but because the commissioner and Bob Kraft, the owner was tight.

And for the record, especially for the Bay Area sportswriters, every time there is a game on the 49ers schedule, I am positive the team will show up and play the game. And…they will play to win. Whether or not they win hasn’t been decided and will not be until the end of the games. Sportswriters, retired players, and analyst shut the hell up and let them play the games. Some players and coaches of last year’s team are no longer there. New coach, new team, new season, let’s all wait and see how it turns out. For me, if they look better at playing the game than they did last year, they might be on to something. Go Niners’.

Peace, make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,

Codis Hampton II                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Follow Hamp at https://twitter.com/#!/HampTwo   

Subscribe to this blog at http://wp.me/p65rCa-5c

Join us at the live broadcast of our bimonthly BTR Shows at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/hampscornerofamerica

Get my latest book, a collection of my Blogs/Articles from 1999 through 2014. It’s entitled The Episodic Thoughts of Hamp. Go to the following Authors page link for details. http://www.outskirtspress.com/webPage/isbn/9781478746232

Our Parent Company and sponsor is CHIIA Group, online at https://hcofa.net/

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

Prelude and In Honor of My Father

Following is a rewrite of a blog I wrote back in 2009, republished in 2013 in honor of Father’s Day. It is included in my latest book entitled “The Episodic Thoughts of Hamp.” More importantly, it was an inspiration for my next book, which is about the life and times of my father. Look for its release during this September/October timeframe. For this Father’s Day, allow me to repost an updated version of “In My Fathers Honor.” A faded but priceless picture from mid to late fifties. Left to right (My stepsister Johnny Mae, me, my stepmother Rosalie, baby sister, Delois Ann, and the man himself, Codis Hampton.) 

Those who know me, often hear me talk about my father in glowing terms. Many of my “old school” crowd has or had fathers with attitudes in the same mode. He worked hard and played hard. He was so full of, yet simply enjoyed life. He said what he meant and meant what he said, and did not like repeating himself. When I was a young lad, there were numerous teachable moments. If he gave us the warning to get our act together and we did not hear or misunderstood him. His famous words were “You heard what I said.” At that point, we better figure it out because if we made that same mistake that brought on his warning in the first place? Well, let’s just say that Papa did not take no stuff.

It took my hard head years to figure out that he was truly doing these things for my benefit. Another one of his favorite sayings was “I’ve been down the same road you are traveling.” While, in my teenage, and smart mouth years, I would reply, “But daddy, the roads have been paved, there are new things to see and conquer.” It was an obvious reference to him growing up in the South. Now, I laugh when I think about it. Because, he would just look at my dumb butt and say “Keep on living son, keep on living.”

Codis Hampton worked for the City of Milwaukee for twenty-eight years and retired (2-17-1985) as a trash collector. He was one of the men that walked behind the truck, emptying neighborhood houses trash receptacle. Today it is called recycling. Often, he would bring home items people threw away and repair them. We would use it, or he would sell it for extra spending cash. At times, he would have a basement full of old fans, toys, radios, and other small appliances. The bounty was a bonus for him working the wealthy side of Milwaukee. Some of our neighborhood kids teased me because they would not differentiate between a trash and garbage collector. I just laughed, for my family of small means, it was like shopping. “What you get today, daddy?” He once told me they offered him the truck driving position at one time.  He turned it down. A position change would interfere with his hustle.

In the wintertime, it almost took him twenty minutes to get out of his clothes.  He would have so many layers on to keep away the hawk. Yeah, Milwaukee, we knew “The Hawk” (cold weather) up close and personal. His message to his kids, get an education, and you will land a “good job”. He, like all parents, wanted his kids to be better than their parents. He probably never knew, but I always felt being a better man than my father would be a tough job. He was just that unique in my eyes.

Daddy grew up in Banks Arkansas. He moved his family (me and my mother) to Milwaukee when I was four months old. Being from Arkansas, he enjoyed hunting, fishing, and all the country stuff. We went fishing almost every weekend of the summers. During our teenage years, my stepsister and I didn’t want to go. We wanted to hang out with friends. Eventually, they trusted us to stay home. Did that mean party time in the house? Not hardly, because if we had brought a bunch of kids to the house while they were fishing, and they found out about it. We would have had to leave town. Did I say Papa did not take no stuff? Although, he was the most loving and caring man you would ever want to meet.

My father was soft spoken, a man of few words. That is until he had his weekend drink. Imagine having a conversation with him on the front porch of a bright summer day. The next door neighbor might play a James Brown record. He hears the music. Daddy would stop the conversation, yell “That’s my record or jam”, and break off into one of his dance routines. That could be any record, R&B, Blues, or even Country Western, anywhere, or any time he was in a playful mood. He just had to dance and dance he did. I’ve got a picture of my father in a hat, dress shirt and pleated dress slacks with a dirty spot on one knee. That’s right; invariably he would do a half split or just go down on his knees and slowly gyrate back up never missing a beat.

Just as it was in a lot of households in those days (late fifties, early sixties), daddy did not want his wife working, so my stepmother was a housewife. She was responsible for me, my stepsister, and after their birth, my younger half-sister and brother. I was the oldest. I thought we were poor, according to the standards of some of the neighborhood kids. Sometimes Santa Clause skipped our house altogether. We always had a Xmas tree, decorations, and visits from family and friends. Gifts were items of need, like school clothes and new shoes. Or in my case those doggone black ankle high “Brogan Boots.” They had a metal tap plate on the front and a metal horseshoe-like plate for the heel. They also had a steel toe. They were similar to today’s safety shoes for hazardous workplaces.  One could not tear up that boot with a blow torch. At times, I used everything but, trying to destroy those boots. I think one pair would last something like two years. For maintenance, all I had to do was polish them.  After which they would look…polished.  I was so glad when I turned thirteen. I did not have to wear them anymore.

We never went a day without food or a hot meal from my stepmother. Never went a day without clean and freshly iron clothes. We never came home to a nasty house unless there was a gathering culminating with them playing cards and drinking on a Friday or Saturday. Either way, Mama Rosalie had that house spic and span by the next day. Little doilies placed on the arm of the couch. Pillows smartly placed where they should be, end and cocktail table shining with furniture polish, clean ashtrays for company. She would put out one or two ashtrays that could be used by the guest. We had ashtrays for show that were never used. And cook, she is the only woman I’ve ever known that could make beans, neck bones and cornbread taste like a Rib- eye steak dinner, with all your favorite side dishes. She was also the first lady I called my friend. That was partly because she liked to talk and would try to answer my questions.  All we had to do was to keep our bedrooms clean. In our house, everything had a place and everything was in place.

It was not only my house. Most neighbors and family members I knew kept a clean house and somehow dust free. Now, I often wonder where all this dust was when I was a kid. Oh, there were the exceptions and everybody in the neighborhood knew the identity of that family. Why? The entire neighborhood talked about them.

I was living the American Dream at home and did not even know it. I learned more about being a man, being part of a family and life itself from watching my dad live his life. As previously stated, the men back then did not talk a lot. There were times I wanted him to explain things to me. Now that I look back on it and being as inquisitive as I am, he probably felt like he did not have the time to explain every little thing in long detail to me. I practically ran the nuns crazy at St. Benedict (Grade and later, Jr high school) asking them about God and racial relations.

All in all, he was a great dad. I would not have had him behave in any other way. He taught me by words and deeds. After moving my family out west, (1978), I would always call him, a couple of uncles, cousins, and my mother. Living a Long distance from family, each of you not so sure when you will see each other again, has a tendency to eliminate all taboo subjects. Conversations were meaningful, heartfelt, and simply enjoyable.  These were people who I missed talking too, seeing or simply being in their presence. I learned so much more about them and from them during those conversations than I ever knew.

Today, many of them have passed on; I will never again talk to them on this earth.  My father died of a stroke (January 14, 1988), twenty days before his 63rd birthday. I knew at the time how important it was for me to have had those memorable conversations with him. Especially… those that were between a once knuckled-headed son and a very understanding father. You think you and your homies are close, try family. That is a real bond of blood for life and eternity.

So today, or on his special day, if you have the opportunity to look into your father’s eyes, smile at him.  He probably is not really looking for flowers, candy, or some other small gift from you this Father’s Day. That’s not the way daddy’s roll. You might just catch him staring at you. Know that he stares because he is looking at his finished product, so to speak. You, just happen to be the one great legacy or gift he gave this world. He looks at you knowing that in you, he has placed in this world another part of himself. The remainder of his dreams and aspirations are in you. Oh, he won’t say it because he doesn’t want to put a large burden on you. But you can bet your last bottom dollar, he wants you to carry on. That is the way daddy’s roll.

On a personal note, I’m having so much fun reminiscing while working on daddy’s book. It’s a pleasure to write about the man for whom I give the credit (besides God) for making me into the man I am today. I just wish you all had met him. You would have remembered him because he was the kind of individual that left a lasting impression. RIP, I love and miss you, Daddy.    

Peace, make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,

Codis Hampton II

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