Stick To Your Guns!

Happy Hump Day, All!

We are at the mid-point of another week! Have any of you had any challenges lately? How did you handle them? Did you change direction and go with the flow, or did you … “stick to your guns”?

Life is a constant process of experiences and living through them. Of course, some of us may want to do more than just that. Some of us may want to maximize our potential and feel productive while living this gift of “life”. Others may just want to “get by” while there may be still some who actually want to “make a difference”. Are you a follower or a leader? Do you have to choose one? In looking at this topic, I think back to the “sermon” I heard this past Sunday where the topic was “God’s Gifts”. Have you found yours?

My father was very old school, he didn’t have much formal education and dropped out of school somewhere around 9th grade. They lived on a farm, he and his two brothers, his mom and dad, here in Florida near Miccosukee. His mom, Mattie, was a “half breed” and his dad of African stock. I met them all except Grandpa Robert Cook. My father – “Big Ike” – met my mother – Marietta Dolores – when he ventured North in Florida near Ybor City, and, he told me he actually fought to get her! He threatened other guys in her neighborhood while he fought demons of his own – womanizing and alcohol. He proved himself to Grandma Sally by chopping wood, keeping things tidy around their country home … and then going home! Grandma Sally wasn’t having any of that hanging around all night stuff at her place. I never met nor heard much about my mother’s father, Jerry.

My father had dreams of living in New York and so did his brother David. So, they got their girls, married them first, one of my uncles on my mother’s side worked on the Amtrak train – The Eastern Seaboard Line – as a porter, got them tickets (paid for!) and they traveled to Harlem, NY. Once in Harlem, they all did odd jobs and all four lived in one room in a “rooming house” there in Harlem. My uncle David liked money and my father liked work. My uncle somehow got involved with a church and real estate while my mother and father moved North of Harlem into White Plains and worked as a team – my mother was a maid and my father was a chauffeur/butler for the well to do in Westchester County, NY. They together worked for different clients until my father finally met some African American men in the White Plains area who ran a garage. He worked there for several years, got a gun license, and soon procured a job with Pinkerton Detective Agency as an armed guard. I was the last of four kids at that time. The rest of the story is in my first book, From The Projects to Princeton.

So, this anecdote is in part a tribute to him for all he did … especially sticking to his guns … and to any of you who might need a real life story like this to help you stick to yours!


John I. Cook, Director

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