On Father’s Day, 2017…


IMG_6059
Angel Oak Tree, a gorgeous tree embracing Johns Island, SC

Dearest Readers:

Happy Father’s Day to all of the father’s in the United States of America. Today is a special day, to give thanks and celebrate our fathers. From the moment we were born, most of us had a father. Maybe you have precious memories of your father, and perhaps there are some, like me, who have — shall I say — interesting, sometimes traumatic memories.

As a little girl, I looked up to my father, sometimes squealing for him to scoop me into his arms. However, at five-years-old, I saw a different side of my father, and I must say, he scared me. At the time, we were living in the projects in Atlanta, Georgia. I hated the projects! My mother loved to go outside and gossip with all of the nasty, ugly, snide women who lived in the projects. On one crisp Saturday morning, my mother was outside. Sitting by the curb, legs spread wide open, wearing a dress. I couldn’t understand why my mother always told me to keep my knees together when I sat, wearing a dress, when she didn’t practice what she preached, but I listened and I didn’t dare open my legs wide in a dress. On this morning, Mom was laughing with the women, talking about the neighbors, the fighting and the ugly gossip always shared when wicked women get together.

I was sitting on the back porch playing with my dolly when Daddy opened the back door, screaming for my mama. She ignored his call. I looked at my daddy, seeing an evil look in his eyes. He pointed his finger at me, shaking it furiously he said: “You go get your mother and tell her I want to speak with her.” He paused, and then he screamed at me, “NOW!”

“Yes Sir,” I said, placing my doll on the floor of the porch.

I ran as fast as my little legs could move. “Mama, Daddy wants you. He’s been calling for you.”

She laughed, scratched her inner thigh and looked at me. “Well, girls I guess I better jump and go to him. You all know how these men in the projects get if the little woman doesn’t obey.”

They laughed. As Mama rose, Daddy met her. He shook her shoulders. Words were expressed, but I can’t remember exactly what he said. She laughed, then thrust her arms at him. He pushed her, knocking her down on to the concrete next to the metal trash cans. Mama hit her head on the trash can and when she fell she bruised her knees.

The gossipy, wicked women rushed away.

I struggled to help my mama up. I looked at my daddy, standing tall. Anger seeping from his eyes. I put my hands on his legs and said, “Daddy move away. Mama’s coming. Don’t push her anymore. That was a mean thing to do.”

I suppose one could say, on that day, I became the referee for our family. I was the middle child, but I refused to tolerate abuse and every time I was around, watching my daddy and my mother fight so dreadfully, I remember squeezing into the middle of the fight, placing my arms out to make them move away. I would always say, “Daddy. Mama. Stop this fighting. If you want to beat someone, beat me!”

When I was fifteen, I stopped the final fight. I arrived home from school. Excited to share that I had a lead in a musical! I was so happy and proud of myself on that beautiful Tuesday afternoon. Walking inside the house, I heard shouting and I knew, another round of fights was on. I listened to the shouts, cursing and the horror. I knocked on the door, then I pushed it open. Mama was bending down, gasping for breath. Her face was blue. Daddy stood, watching her, holding a stack of mail.

“You two need to stop this,” I screamed. “Look at her. She’s having difficulty breathing. You need to stop this fighting before one of you kills the other. One of you needs to leave.”

Daddy threw the mail in my direction. “Look at this. Just look at what she did. She bought a diamond ring and didn’t tell me. Now they’re going to garnish my wages. We’ll have to file for bankruptcy. Just look at what she’s done.”

I glanced at one envelope stamped with an orange Past Due notice.

“The fighting needs to stop before one of you goes to prison,” I said.

Little did I know how things would change.

The next day, I walked home from school, trying to work things out in my head. I knew domestic abuse wasn’t healthy in a family situation. I felt helpless. I had no one to talk to. None of my relatives would understand and I was certain if I said anything to anyone, I would become the trouble maker of our family. I remember hearing people saying fighting in a marriage was “normal”… “A Family Matter…”

Opening the door to the house, my mama was sitting on the couch in tears.  She rushed at me. “This is all your fault. I hope you’re happy now. Your daddy left us today. He’s dead. Dead. DEAD. I never want to hear his name again in this house and you are never allowed to talk to him, or mention his name again!”

The following Saturday, Mama moved us to Columbus, Georgia. Four children. One adult, living in a two bedroom mill village with our grandparents. To say we were crowded for space is an understatement.

I had to follow the rules:

Church on Sunday.

Wednesday night prayer meetings at church

No makeup (I broke that rule)

No rock n’ roll music, only Christian music

Go to school

Nothing more.

I hated this new life and rebelled. No, I never did drugs. Never tried alcohol. I rebelled by staying alone, taking walks, retreating to the Chattahoochee River. At school, I became a wallflower, refusing to try out for plays, musicals, or anything interesting. I wrote to my dad, letting him know I loved him.

Never do I really remember celebrating Father’s Day for my dad as a child. As a grown up, married with a child of my own, I chose to make Father’s Day special. I bought cards for my dad. When he visited us, he was different. I actually heard him laugh, and I watched him playing with my son. Gone from his demeanor was the anger, hatred, and abuse. Never did I hear my dad say anything ugly about our mother after their divorce. He was truly a changed man. No violence. No shouting. Just a kind, and loving man filled with Laughter and Happiness within himself.

In December, 1997, my beloved father became ill with esophageal cancer. Serving as his caregiver until his death on July 6, 1999, I truly saw a beautiful person within his demeanor. On one occasion, he thanked me for what I said on the last day before my parents separated. He admired my strength to serve as the referee. To my knowledge, no one within our family circle knew about the domestic “family matters” of our family.

As a writer, I’ve written many articles about domestic abuse. How it changes a family. How it paints a vivid, horrifying picture about marriage and I vowed to myself that no one would ever abuse me. I suppose I overlooked another side of domestic abuse – the verbal abuse, and for years, my husband who suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder [PTSD] from Vietnam, would get into rages, shouting at me. Once, he shoved me and when he did, I fought back, standing firm to him, letting him know he had to stop his rage, or I would end the marriage.

I’m proud to say, we worked those issues out, and now, we do not scream, shout or verbally fight. Our home is a happy home. Father’s Day is always special. I give thanks to God for guiding me and giving me strength.

And so, on Father’s Day, 2017, I give thanks to God for all He has given me and my family. It is my wish for all of you reading this, to please take a moment to give your father a bit of special care and love on this Father’s Day. Although I am still sick with bronchial asthma, I will find the energy to make this a most special Father’s Day, to my dad in Heaven, and to my husband while he sleeps.

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY to all the fathers!

Belated Happy Father’s Day From the Holy City, Charleston, SC


Dearest Readers:

I do apologize for not writing a post about Father’s Day yesterday. If you read my posts on a regular basis, you will note, I live in the Holy City, Charleston, SC. Last week was truly a week of grief and shock for us, and when I heard about the church shootings early Thursday morning, I was truly in shock. I ask – “How? How does this happen in a Holy City.

Since the nine murders, I have worked on the events for a news publication and I have prayed…and PRAYED…and PRAYED. Some people believe that prayers do not help us, but I beg to differ. Prayer has always gotten me through the tough, shocking times in life.

Today, I do hope those who celebrated Father’s Day (and I am one of them) shared words of love, and gratitude for fathers. My father died in 1999; nevertheless, I still grieve for him and miss him. I can hear his melodious voice and I laugh when I hear it. Words cannot express how much I miss him. I am thankful that he and I were able to work through difficult times and not look back and on Father’s Day, we spent time together, appreciating and loving the bonding we shared.

So, to all of you who are Fathers, today I would like to say thank you. Thank you for being who you are and thank you for moving through the difficult times while remembering it is the little things in life that make a difference. Little things – like seeing a child born. Not exactly a little thing, but the precious gift of birth is something significant that changes our lives. Little things like awakening in the morning to see a new day…a bright sunshine…the gift of life and love.

I plan to write more in my blog about Charleston – at a later date – after I can decipher my notes and research. For now, I am proud that our Holy City is rising higher than the tallest church steeple to embrace what happened while teaching the world that we are a proud city – not filled with hatred…anger…and such bigotry. We will stand tall and survive.

Belated Father’s Day wishes to all of our precious fathers. Thank you for helping our city to move forward with pride…acceptance…love…and compassion.

If you would like to help the Holy City heal, USA TODAY shared this information:

“People can help in these ways:

• Donate to the Mother Emanuel Hope Fund at any Wells Fargo branch across the USA.

• Send a check to Mother Emanuel Hope Fund, c/o City of Charleston, P.O. Box 304, Charleston, S.C. 29402.

• Text ‘prayforcharleston’ to 843-606-5995 or go to http://www.bidr.co/prayforcharleston to donate by credit card.

• Send a check to Lowcountry Ministries, a South Carolina nonprofit that also has established a fund to help Emanuel and support projects for youth and vulnerable populations, at Lowcountry Ministries — the Rev. Pinckney Fund, c/o The Palmetto Project, 6296 Rivers Ave. #100, North Charleston, S.C. 29406.

• Donate to the Pinckney Fund online at palmettoproject.org via major credit card or PayPal.

• Give directly to Emanuel AME Church. You can donate online via major credit card or PayPal.

Donations to both Lowcountry Ministries and Emanuel AME Church are tax deductible.”

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/06/18/charleston-church-shooting-donations/28959731/

Father’s Day 2014


Dearest Readers:

This Sunday, June 15, 2014 is Father’s Day. I am sharing a post below about Father’s Day. I hope you will enjoy and take the time to appreciate your father or husband or loved one.

Today is a beautiful day in Charleston, SC. Blue skies, a slight breeze, and gorgeous bright sunshine. Today is truly a day of appreciation — for life, love, family and all that we in America are blessed with, especially on Father’s Day.

To all the fathers, and the fathers-to-be, I would like to extend a blessed and loving Happy Father’s Day. My wish for you is that all of your children and wives will appreciate all that you are and will spoil you just a bit today. Let us all make the time to say, “Happy Father’s Day,” and to make the time to do something special for Dad. Even if it is only a short phone call to say, “Happy Father’s Day,” please make the time to express your love and appreciation.

Father’s come in all shapes and sizes, all temperaments and there are times when father’s may not have the patience they need. Becoming a parent doesn’t come with a guide book of instructions, nor do we take classes for parenting. We simply become a parent, hoping we will make the right decisions.

I lost my father on Tuesday, July 6, 1999. For two years I watched him fighting the debilitating disease of esophageal cancer. I watched his body slowly melting away from him. At first, he was robbed of health, then his strength and independence. Gone was the ability to eat food. His body was attached to a feeding tube, he commonly referred to it as his umbilical cord. He detested it! After his body refused to allow his independence to return, we admitted him to a convalescent center. He coped with his new residency, but was never happy there. Daily, I visited him. At first, he welcomed me with open arms. A few months before he died, he became angry, shouting at me…telling me to leave, and not to come back. His roommate said he was mean to me. “No,”I defended. “He isn’t mean. He just wants me to leave.”

On July 4, 1999, I saw my dad for the last time. Walking into his room, he was sitting in a chair, reading his Bible. His head lifted to look at me, but he did not welcome me. He continued to recite Bible verses, telling me to ‘go on… get out of here. I don’t want you here.’

Exhausted, I left in tears. On July 5, I returned to work. Working a bit late, I drove home, completely exhausted. Early in the morning of July 6, I awoke from a frightening nightmare. I suppose you could say, I have the gift (or wickedness) of visions. In this dream my dad was dying. I looked at the clock. It was 3:45 am. I reached for the phone. Dialed a portion of the phone number to the nursing home, stopped dialing, and hung up the phone. I did not go back to sleep.

That day at work, I phoned the nursing home several times. I was told my dad was doing well, or ‘as well as to be expected.’ Before arriving for my visit, my dad took a fall. He was eating dinner when I arrived. Placing my hand on the door of his room, I met up with a nurse, with an oxygen tank by her side. She motioned for me to move away and not to come inside. I knew what was going on. I screamed.I looked at my watch. It was 5:45pm. Again, a vision I had was coming true!

Standing next to my dad’s doorway, I listened to the actions of the nurses. They encouraged me to tell them to bring him back. I declined. “No,” I cried. “Just let him go with dignity.”

The death certificate recorded his death at 6pm. In all reality, he died at 5:45, when I was about to enter his room. This year will be the 15th anniversary of his death. I no longer have a Father to wish “Happy Father’s Day.” Today, I will think of him, as I do every day. I will pray that he will enjoy today with his identical twin brother, his parents and other siblings and relatives. Yes, I miss him, but I know that he is in a better place…no longer attached to an umbilical cord, and now he can take his daily strolls and he can sing again.

Happy Father’s Day to all of the special men I have been blessed to know in my lifetime. Many of you know who you are! As for me and my husband, I intend to take him to dinner and to spend the day with him. How I wish I could spend the day with my dad, and I wish I could spoil him a bit on Father’s Day. Let us all appreciate the fathers of the world. Let us share kindness and love to them. After all, we never know what tomorrow may bring. Happy Father’s Day with my thoughts, love and kindness! I am blessed to know many of you!

All to the Credit of My Father


Not that we are grown, we all know how influential our parents are to our lives and success — the good and the bad! As a child, my father influenced my life. He was the first to criticize and punish me when I misbehaved — and there were many times I misbehaved. I was a bit ‘too independent for my own britches…’ I asked too many questions. I danced to my own music, and wanted to do things, “My Way!” 

I suppose you get the picture. Whenever my grandfather said that women belonged in the home, and I might as well give up on my dreams to sing, because I would grow up to marry a mill kid, since I lived in a mill village and that was what all the girls in Bibb City did. My reply, “I think not…I’ll never marry a mill kid!” 

Heck – I would not date a mill kid, or a high school boy! Living in a mill village I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, I would break away from Bibb City. And I did. Yes, I was a feminist as a child!

But — this isn’t a story about breaking away from Bibb City, or my life as a feminist. Today is a reflection on Father’s Day and how my dad guided my way. I was eight-years-old when I recall writing my first story. A teacher assigned the students to write a story about science fiction. Since we were studying the planets, I chose to write about Saturn. The title was “My Visit to Saturn.” 

Never did I realize I had a talent for writing until my dad went to the PTA meeting. The science teacher approached my dad about my story, telling my Dad I made an A+. “No big deal,” I said…”I always make an A.”

Months later, I came home from school. My dad greeted me at the door, carrying a magazine. “Barbara,” he said, his voice stern, his eyes bright. “Look at this magazine. Your story is in it! At the age of eight-years-old, you are a published writer!”

I glanced at the magazine, saw my story, and tossed the magazine on the couch, cluttered with laundry for me to fold. Till this day, I do not recall what magazine published the story. I was a child…it didn’t matter to me that I was a published writer at such a young age. I had bigger dreams. I wanted to sing on stage!

Years later, when my dad was frail and wasting away from his battle with esophageal cancer, his eyes opened as I sat next to his bed in the nursing home. “Barbara,” he said, his once boisterous voice barely a whisper. “Do you remember your first published story – “My Visit to Saturn?”

I laughed. “Oh Dad, that was such a long time ago.”

“Yes, it was. Do you remember it? I still have it.”

“Yes…that was such a stupid story!”

Dad smiled. I touched his freezing cold hand. My mind was elsewhere, as Father Time slowly ticked away for my precious father.

A few days later, my dad died. Losing him felt as if someone had pulled my heart out of my body. How could I live? How could I breathe? How could I enjoy the sunset, and the robins without my dad?

Somehow my life continued. In September, 1999, I decided it was time to sort through my dad’s belongings. The many scrapbooks. Diaries. Picture books. Sorting through the many pages, I opened a section that appeared to be a bit thicker than the other booklets. 

Folded in half was a stack of notebook paper. I opened it, noticing the handwriting of a child. “My Visit to Saturn,” I read. Oh my goodness. This is my story. My handwritten story. How did Dad get this? Why did he save it? Oh my goodness. Tears streamed down my face as I read the story, Dad had treasured it. He saved it — all these years later, and I had the first story I had written, all to the credit of my father.

I still have that story. Friends have said I should preserve it, maybe frame it. My first story – published!

All of this is to the credit of my father – Walter Perkins. He believed in me when no one else did, and throughout his life, he still believed in me. Happy Father’s Day to a man who lead me down the path to become a writer. 

Happy Father’s Day in Heaven, Dad — thank you for saving and preserving my first published story, “My Visit to Saturn!”

“Stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit…
It’s when things seem worse — you mustn’t quit!”

For the Dads on Father’s Day


Dearest Readers:

This Sunday, June 15, 2014 is Father’s Day. I am sharing a post below about Father’s Day. I hope you will enjoy and take the time to appreciate your father or husband or loved one.

Today is a beautiful day in Charleston, SC. Blue skies, a slight breeze, and gorgeous bright sunshine. Today is truly a day of appreciation — for life, love, family and all that we in America are blessed with, especially on Father’s Day.

To all the fathers, and the fathers-to-be, I would like to extend a blessed and loving Happy Father’s Day. My wish for you is that all of your children and wives will appreciate all that you are and will spoil you just a bit today. Let us all make the time to say, “Happy Father’s Day,” and to make the time to do something special for Dad. Even if it is only a short phone call to say, “Happy Father’s Day,” please make the time to express your love and appreciation.

Father’s come in all shapes and sizes, all temperaments and there are times when father’s may not have the patience they need. Becoming a parent doesn’t come with a guide book of instructions, nor do we take classes for parenting. We simply become a parent, hoping we will make the right decisions.

I lost my father on Tuesday, July 6, 1999. For two years I watched him fighting the debilitating disease of esophageal cancer. I watched his body slowly melting away from him. At first, he was robbed of health, then his strength and independence. Gone was the ability to eat food. His body was attached to a feeding tube, he commonly referred to it as his umbilical cord. He detested it! After his body refused to allow his independence to return, we admitted him to a convalescent center. He coped with his new residency, but was never happy there. Daily, I visited him. At first, he welcomed me with open arms. A few months before he died, he became angry, shouting at me…telling me to leave, and not to come back. His roommate said he was mean to me. “No,”I defended. “He isn’t mean. He just wants me to leave.”

On July 4, 1999, I saw my dad for the last time. Walking into his room, he was sitting in a chair, reading his Bible. His head lifted to look at me, but he did not welcome me. He continued to recite Bible verses, telling me to ‘go on… get out of here. I don’t want you here.’

Exhausted, I left in tears. On July 5, I returned to work. Working a bit late, I drove home, completely exhausted. Early in the morning of July 6, I awoke from a frightening nightmare. I suppose you could say, I have the gift (or wickedness) of visions. In this dream my dad was dying. I looked at the clock. It was 3:45 am. I reached for the phone. Dialed a portion of the phone number to the nursing home, stopped dialing, and hung up the phone. I did not go back to sleep.

That day at work, I phoned the nursing home several times. I was told my dad was doing well, or ‘as well as to be expected.’ Before arriving for my visit, my dad took a fall. He was eating dinner when I arrived. Placing my hand on the door of his room, I met up with a nurse, with an oxygen tank by her side. She motioned for me to move away and not to come inside. I knew what was going on. I screamed.I looked at my watch. It was 5:45pm. Again, a vision I had was coming true!

Standing next to my dad’s doorway, I listened to the actions of the nurses. They encouraged me to tell them to bring him back. I declined. “No,” I cried. “Just let him go with dignity.”

The death certificate recorded his death at 6pm. In all reality, he died at 5:45, when I was about to enter his room. This year will be the 15th anniversary of his death. I no longer have a Father to wish “Happy Father’s Day.” Today, I will think of him, as I do every day. I will pray that he will enjoy today with his identical twin brother, his parents and other siblings and relatives. Yes, I miss him, but I know that he is in a better place…no longer attached to an umbilical cord, and now he can take his daily strolls and he can sing again.

Happy Father’s Day to all of the special men I have been blessed to know in my lifetime. Many of you know who you are! As for me and my husband, I intend to take him to dinner and to spend the day with him. How I wish I could spend the day with my dad, and I wish I could spoil him a bit on Father’s Day. Let us all appreciate the fathers of the world. Let us share kindness and love to them. After all, we never know what tomorrow may bring. Happy Father’s Day with my thoughts, love and kindness! I am blessed to know many of you!