What would music be without the historic Chicago disc jockey, Herb Kent? For those of us who were raised on the south side of Chicago, he puts the Chi into Chicago. His deep, melodious voice has been an intricate part of the city’s fiber since my middle school years.
He has created all types of hilarious terms that entertained us such as being a ‘boss feznecki.’ That is the description for a good- looking girl. His deep, baritone voice is timeless and whenever I hear him, I know that I am in Chicago.
Though we do not get to hear him on a daily basis anymore, Sunday afternoons are treasures as he takes us back in time with his spinning of songs. I can relive snippets of my early teen years, teen years, and young adult years on through adulthood.
Songs are like perfumes and colognes. They usually transport us back to a time and location gone by, whether the memories are pleasant or not. But one thing is certain; we have come a long way. So, much has transpired since some of those songs were popular and we are still here along with Herb Kent. We are still creating new paths and making new inroads.
The other day, I was driving into the city and the minute I heard his deep, mellow voice, I knew it was Sunday in Chicago. He is “Easy like Sunday morning,”as the Commodores sang. Hearing ‘Herbie Baby’ made me smile and remember the days of my youth.
It energized me as I picked up my speed and swayed to the beat. I have driven an array of Ford Falcons from stick-shift on the collar to automatics as I weaved in and out of traffic with Herb Kent adding to my confidence with his light sense of humor.
The wonderful and comical Herb Kent remains and still adds a chuckle as he tells stories about the artists between the choices of songs. This deejay is truly a Chicago icon and each time I hear him, I simply say, “Oh yeah. This is going to be fun!”
June 8, 2015
Have you ever felt that you keep having the same negative experiences over and over again? The same people are dishing out of the same stuff and giving you the same feelings of angst?
Well, you have the power to say,” Enough already!” When the carousel slows and the momentum comes down to a slowing halt, you simply get up, brush yourself off and get off. Stop the repetitive motion!
We were discussing carousels in a classroom the other day and we compared them to merry-go rounds? Carousels have varied creatures to ride whereas merry-go rounds only have horses. Yet, they both have two simultaneous motions. The creatures or horses go up and down as they go round and round.
It is much like our lives. We have our ups and downs and if we are not mindful, we will find ourselves going around and around. We rehash and relive the same old painful events until we decide that it is time to move forward. No more circles! It’s time to go forth in a straight line!
Some folks never get off of the carousels or merry-go-rounds. They still recall the unhappy circumstances from their childhoods and go through every dark stage of their existence from their teen years on into their adult lives.
We can listen to these lengthy sagas for a season, but after so many tales of woe, even a pup would take his paws and cover his floppy ears as if to say, “Give me a break already!” When we see certain folks coming, we quietly start looking for an exit plan. We start thinking, “Oh. Got to go because the baby is crying.” (Privately knowing that there is no baby around.) Or as Erma Bombeck wrote, “I can’t hear you when the water is running.”
So, be a light of hope and after you have told the tale, decide that you are finished with it. In some children’s stories, the endings say, “Snip, snap, snout. This tale is told out!” Give everybody else a break and mostly give yourself one by climbing down from the dizzying carousel!
June 7, 2015
Sometimes when we sow seeds, we do not realize that the harvest will be there to catch us during the tough times. We are so busy sharing our gifts and talents because we enjoy doing so but then, when we need that soft cushion, the fruits of our labor keep us buoyant.
It’s like bouncing on a trapeze and eventually landing safely on a fluffy surface. When we rest and reflect on the journey itself, we remember some of things we shared from many years before and we can say, “Oh yeah! I recall.”
I write this as I realize that a place where I had given service many years ago is now giving back to me, in a nurturing way. This time around, I truly need the love and the hugs. I suppose that’s what it means to rest on your laurels. Our good boomerangs back our way.
I also think of my former students who I took extra time to guide and direct. I wondered if they heard me and received my countless messages. I wanted them to see and understand where the real jewels of life are hidden. And now, like magic, they have emerged as responsible young people making good choices. It makes me proud that I had a hand in their evolving. I see them continually running the race set before them as they become spokespersons for their generation.
Clifton Davis, the actor from the sitcom Amen, gave a sermon at our church one year. It was called, “Cast Your Bread Upon the Waters.” I bought that tape and I played it until the reels from the inside came apart. It has stayed with me. I have come to know that it truly works.
Good seeds do come back to bear bountiful fruit. So, fling out those seeds of goodness and they will be there to break your fall when the going gets rough. As stated in Ecclesiastes 11:1, “Cast thy bread upon the waters; for thou shalt find it after many days.”
June 5, 2015
The other day, I was in the fabric store and as I thumbed through the pattern books, two small children came and were graciously placed on the stools by a perusing parent. I felt their pain as they swiveled around wishing time would fly on by. I remembered those days during my childhood as I waited on my mother to finish her browsing episodes.
I recall sitting there with absolutely nothing to do as each tortuous moment crawled by as my mother slowly turned the pages looking at patterns from Simplicity, McCall’s, and Butterick’s or Vogue. It took me years to return to a fabric store and even then, I made my visits as short as possible.
The books are humongous and it can be a small child’s greatest nightmare as he or she tries to be good and dutiful in such a non-child friendly environment. As fate would have it, the little boy, about five years old, sidled up to me and started showing me what he was doing. He must have felt my school marm past and knew that I would take pity on his plight.
He and his younger sister took out the small sheets of paper that customers normally use to write down pattern numbers. They used them to draw and write on. I loaned my pen to the little boy and he wrote some of his alphabets and started a conversation. I listened to what he shared and helped him spell a few words. I truly empathized with him!
I found the boy’s section of the pattern book and showed him some pictures of little boys dressed as pirates so he would understand that even in a situation such as this, there was something for him as well. His little sister was further down the aisle, using up the slips of paper. I continued my search and made a quick pattern selection and I noticed another kind woman who gave the children a little special attention.
I humorously shared my observations with my cousin and she chuckled. She had the same memories about the fabric store when she went there as a child with her seamstress mother. Bottom line? To the parents, I would say when taking small children to a fabric store, pack up some coloring books, crayons, puzzles, word searches or SOMETHING! Then the little ones can remain occupied while they wait for the pain to end!!
June 3, 2015
Putting a creative work together is like putting together a dress or some cherished garment. For the extremely creative, no pattern is needed. There simply has to be a grand idea in mind. It reminds me of two of my sisters who were able to make coats and even intricate wedding dresses without a pattern. They could design a pattern from newspaper and create a beautiful masterpiece.
But, I need a pattern to guide me because I am still a novice at sewing. I also think of the Proverb that reminds us to “Measure twice, cut once.” We know that when cutting the material, there is no room for error. Little can be done to salvage a piece of cloth, once it has been cut.
As in writing, sometimes there is a designed plan or outline. I wrote my first two fiction works from a plan or a blueprint. But we writers know that once the writing process gets underway, the magic pen has a way of taking over and some unexpected detours occur which even surprise us. Yet, there was still a pattern, so to speak, to follow.
But as we evolve and our confidence in our craft soars, we may write without a definite plan. We then fall into the same category as my highly creative sisters who had the ability to design a work of art from the images that they saw in their minds’ eye. They were comparable to Michelangelo who saw the beautiful sculpture in the marble block.
So this time around, I am taking the snippets of conversations and scenarios from my characters as they reveal themselves. I am working without a definite plan or pattern and not quite sure where they will end up, but I know that it will be in a good place.
I will continue to work like a seamstress. I will take the pieces of writings, lay them out on a huge surface and jumble the pieces around until each part finds it right place. It may take time and patience and some areas may have to be revised more than once, but it will all eventually come together. Hopefully, the final product will be an entertaining, readable work ready to showcase to the world, just like a nicely handcrafted dress!
June 1, 2015