Those of you that know me or have read some of my words, might realize that I am drink, drug and tobacco free. Typically, when we remove one addiction another one will step in its place. My present addiction is food. Some of you might know that I have lost a lot of weight (on purpose) since my congestive heart failure on February 10, 2021.
I have planned days to eat higher carbohydrates (carbs) during my weight loss program. Sometimes it is difficult to get back on track, but that is a topic for another day. Today is the fourth day of returning to the plan. During the first three days is always an eating frenzy to taste the things I have been jonesing for. This action is similar to the same as with any other addiction. My energy level takes a big hit during this time – all I want to do is eat tasty high carbs and lay down. Not only does my energy take a hit, but so does my self-esteem.
My desire to write, walk or socialize is diminished to almost nil till the fourth day. However the fourth day is two days too many. I hope to eventually learn to eat better and not be on some kind of diet. Habits and addictions are hard to change, but I feel it will eventually take place, but I should remained to be vigil and take it one day at a time.
I had the pleasure of meeting some interesting people this past Saturday at the St. Mary’s County Crab Festival in St. Mary’s County, MD. First a school chum, Sandy Stamp-Brock (photo 1), from Thomas Stone High School in Waldorf, MD stopped by. She told her husband that I was really shy back then and how far away from her I stood when we were slow dancing at a 9th grade shindig.
Next was a buddy I hadn’t seen in a few years, Liz Ballou (photo 2), never told her about the crush I had on her ever since I met her. Guess she knows now.
I also met Deb Rey (photo 3) who is running for the Maryland House of Delegates, she was pleasant to talk too. She bought both of my books.
Then several other really nice people stopped in and listened to my 90 second spiel about my books. I even talked a Dallas Cowboy fan into buying one and he knew I was a Skin fan. He was fun.
Three people bought both of them that means thirteen people wanted to read what I have to say. Yes, that means I sold sixteen books, which is a good day for me.
It was a long day though, set-up was at 10am and the event ran from 11am to 7pm. I was exhausted by 4pm or so, but hung in there and sold more books.
I will be at the Colonial Beach Boardwalk Arts and Craft Show this Saturday (September 4th) and Sunday (September 5th) selling and signing my books. You can find me on the south side of the boardwalk near the Town Pier.
Mathew Jones died on August 10, 2021, he was my friend, but most importantly he was my father figure. We met October of 2014 in a Creative Writing class at College of Southern Maryland in La Plata, MD. I was the oldest student, 60, in the class as was a normal occurrence. Matt, 85, came riding in on his electric wheel chair and parked on the other side of the circle. I got up, walked over to him, shook his hand, then tagged him on the shoulder and said, “You’re it.”
With an inquisitive look he wondered, “What is this long haired guy up to.”
then said, “What?”
I introduced myself and replied with, ‘You’re the oldest in the class.” That
was the first time I saw his smile and we enjoyed our first deep laugh. We
were friend from that very moment.
Other than marriage and rearing loads of children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, one of Matt’s biggest accomplishments was his Navy career. While in the Navy he was one of the first black men to accomplish many accolades, way too many to mention in this short post. He retired as Master Chief. He had many other substantial responsibilities in Washington D.C. and Southern Maryland over the years. We started writing his autobiography, but unexpected circumstances made it impossible to complete. However, I probably have enough information to complete it, but I will talk with his wife to confirm that is what she wants. I cried when she called and gave me the news. He will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery not too far from my mom and dad.
I cannot express how much this man meant to me. I loved my old friend and will miss him.
By these photos, taken by my friend at Arlington National Cemetery, you might feel this is a post about Memorial Day, but it’s not. My mom’s birthday falls on Memorial Day this year. I have wrote about mom’s death before, but I’m going to take another swing at. Warning this piece might be considered a little long, over 600 words.
My mom died on February 6, 1998 from Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and spent most of ‘97 in and out of two hospitals. The closest one was Malcolm Grove on Andrews Air Force Base and the other was Bethesda Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. She was always in a room with two beds no matter which venue we were at. As it worked out the other bed was never taken by another patient during any of her visits and I was allowed to sleep in it. Guess the Doctors new mom wasn’t long for this world and the bed was mine if it wasn’t needed.
Mom loved us kids and her grandchildren and was constantly praying for us. I drank and drugged for years and she prayed that I would stop and I did nine years before her death. I was given the blessing to give back the kindness and love that she gave me all my life and was able to move her in with me for her last year on earth. As a result of that year I lost almost everything I had after she died, because I neglected everything and concentrated on her. The one thing I did not give up was sharing the Gospel Message in the Charles County Detention Center (CCDC) every Thursday. I would go home to wash clothes and re-up for another week at the hospitals, then go to jail and give the message, before going back to mom the next day.
Here’s where the miracle takes place. She was moved from the west wing of the fifth floor at Malcolm Grove to Bethesda four days before she died. Side note, dad died at Malcom Groove in 1975 on the east wing of the fifth floor. The Doctors said she had two days to live, so they wanted to move her to a special bed. It was a noisy bed because of the movement needed to combat bed sores. I used the other bed to either sleep in or study for the next message at the CCDC. In order to concentrate on the message I needed to turn the TV up as back ground noise.
Picture this: I’m in the hospital room with mom, the noisy bed, loud TV and all of my study material is on my bed. All of a sudden the world went silent. The TV made no sound, even as I saw the actor’s lips moving, but no sound came from them. I looked at mom and she was fixed as I had grown use to – no change. The bed was muted, but it was still moving as normal. There was no sound from the hallway or outside, the wind was blowing the tree tops but hushed. I got up and walked to mom’s right side and cupped her right hand with my left one. After a few seconds God gave me the opportunity to wipe mom’s last tear from her right eye. I knew she was finally at peace – so was I. Then as an afterthought, all volume returned.
I packed my belongings, turned the TV off and stepped to the hallway after one last look at mom and the room. Standing outside of that unforgettable room I nodded to the Doctor down the hall on my right, then turned left for home. God gave mom and I that special moment to say goodbye. Mom is buried on top of dad and they share the same headstone.