Don’t Take No Wooden Nickels!

Happy Friday, All!

It’s only customary to give it up for “My Creator” … you can do the same for yours, if you like!  T.G.I.F.!!

Most folks try to improve their lives over time, especially once they realize and accept the fact that some behavior(s) need modification, improvements to be exact.  Yet, unfortunately, I have noticed that some of “us” choose to ignore the obvious when wrong!  What’s the big problem with improving “sketchy”, unacceptable actions?!  Has ones “ego” turned one into an idiot?!?  Don’t let that happen to you.  Between my Dad’s detesting a liar and gossiper, and, my Mom always warning me “not to accept a wooden nickel” (or a phony), I had no choice except to “get wise”.

In my time living in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, which was nearly 22 years, I made various friends from different walks of life.  When I had just gotten back on my feet after serving some time in Broward County Jail, I met a friend named “Tashie”.  She worked at Broward Motor Sports on Sunrise Blvd. in Ft. Lauderdale.  My friend Peter Zachary, RIP, had purchased a motorcycle for me for a couple of thousand dollars or more from Broward Motor Sports.  Since “Tashie”, somewhere around her early 20’s at that time perhaps, was the cashier when I bought stuff like oil or spark plugs, replacement flasher lights or a gear cable, we got to “chat” every now and then.  My previous marriage was in bad shape as I tried to stay in touch with my daughter during these challenging times.  Cut to the chase, “Tashie” became that ear that listened to my stories and how I had messed up a few times while living in Ft. Lauderdale which is the ONLY place that I have ever been arrested in my life!!  If you know Florida, you know what I am talking about.  If you are of an ethnic minority … African American, to be exact … you are a very possible “racial profiling” victim.  Poor people want to eat, too, so they may sell drugs, steal, hustle in any way possible … not to DIE like a dog on the street.  In Ft. Lauderdale, most of the “street level” hustlers are “black”.

I was profiled over and over as “the new brother in town” and happened to be a proud brother that would ask questions before turning over my documents like a driver’s license and registration.  No rude questions but simply, “Why are you stopping me, Sir?”.  This could turn a simple traffic stop in to a full blown “resist/obstruct without violence” charge and arrest.  This was protocol in Ft. Lauderdale as well as many other parts of Florida.  “Tashie” became my unofficial adopted daughter, and, I had introduced her  and my biological child, Ayanna Lynne, to each other by social media.  “Tashie” worked hard and landed a job with the Broward Sheriff’s Office and we remained friends.  She would invite me to lunch as I struggled to get my life back together.  I even met some of her ex-boyfriends!  We got to know each other fairly well and I counted on communicating with her in my most challenging moments.  I thank her from the bottom of my heart to the top and back!!  She replied to my last communication and blog when she remembered an incident at Broward MotorSports when I got perturbed at an employee who wanted to “be in charge of me”:

“I remember thinking to myself, why did he get so aggressive? You weren’t trying to make a scene for attention. You weren’t trying to make a scene for free stuff, but I saw a lot of pain and anger in your eyes. I thought about that a lot throughout the years . I’ve concluded that there have been many instances where you’ve been deceived, taken advantage of, discriminated against, given unfair treatment, harassed and lied to throughout your life. NOW I’M NOT CALLING YOU MR. INNOCENT. Like myself we’ve made mistakes, very poor choices, and did things that ultimately  needed consequences. But since I’ve known you, you’ve never stopped giving up on bettering you and never go back to that “dark place” again.  I know many times every 1 step forward would lead to 3 steps back.  I’m proud of you! I’m proud at how far you’ve come. I’m proud of the person you’ve wanted to be and have become. You’ve never given up and have worked hard.  I’m so sorry for all the pain, harassment, and mistreatment you’ve gone through in your life.

You are and will always have a special place in my heart because I see a story of bravery and growth.”

In closing, be sure that you “Know Thyself”.  Don’t forget to “be the best that YOU can be”!  Oh yeah, “Don’t take no wooden nickels, honey!”  -Marietta Dolores


John I. Cook, Director

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