I Guess … I Really Had It Good!!

Happy Friday … Is it safe to say that nowadays?!?  Some folks are skilled at twisting stuff and just distorting the TRUTH.  So, I’m going to state it, “TGIF”!  Well done!  Thanks!

Life is a precious gift.  As I continue to enjoy my first five years of retirement, I’ve managed to stay clear of that “hardcore” drama!  You know, that DUMB stuff that even you know deep down inside was the WRONG thing to be involved in!!  Shame on you … once or maybe twice!  But after that, one (you) is putting oneself out to maybe second or third place?!  Not me … anymore!  I’ve done it … regretfully once too many times.  As time goes on, we learn that if “it” puts one out just one place, maybe we should re-analyze “it” and determine if “it” is helping us in the long run.  It might be a trap that desperate emotions propel us toward!!  My Dad was tough and my Mom was sweet.  I had a great balance as a result.  They remained married and worked together for 50 years!  I reaped the benefits.

So far, I’ve completed two of the concrete projects that I came here to the Caribbean to complete … for now.  My third book was finished a year ago.  Mostly autobiographic and also self-published, “Cookin’ With Life!: CookBook III” was a work “in progress” even as I traveled Western Europe in search of a place to finish it.  Secondly, I had a “family” member finally come and visit me here in the Caribbean.  I had initially invited Caleb and his Mom, my daughter, to come to visit.  I had even rented a few houses with two bedrooms all furnished and prepared for the TWO of them to come for a week.  But, after being told over and over that “they” were coming (“sooner than you think”, I was once told), I realized it would never happen.  So, I sent my daughter money for a passport for Caleb and prepared to host him by himself … alone!!  He and I had a great week all things considered.  I took lots of photographs and made a few videos for memories to reflect upon from time to time!  I remember showing him how to kill a mosquito using the two-hand “clap”!  We even had a few Spanish classes right here on my yoga mat in the bungalow!!  We have a/c, color tv, WiFi, hot water, and cleaning service once or twice a week as needed.

As I am often careful to include, throughout my life I have had multiple missteps if you will.  But, I had two loving parents to use their skills and love for me to nurture (or tough love me) until I came around.  Now, I’ve been called a lot of things!  But, I KNOW myself … better than anybody else.  It’s always been my priority … to know myself.  So when some “armchair” psychiatrist attempts to “judge” or evaluate me, I find it comical!  I lost two siblings along the way and two of us remain.  I am sure things will be okay for me …  While it disappointed me to see my only Child once again “choose” to sever communications with me, I am not surprised.  I was hoping that after several years of me trying to mend our relationship, things between us would get better.  I know how difficult it may be for her to go between two parents … I had plenty of experience with preschool children as I worked with the White Plains Child Day Care Center for a few summers while I attended Princeton.

Thankfully, I didn’t have to choose to please one or the other parent.  That’s not cool.  Parents often split up and don’t consider what their child(ren) may experience as a result.  Other parents stay together and treat each other horribly in front of their children.  Sometimes, the kids think that their parents’ behavior is normal and carry it with them.  Imagine disrespecting your father because you saw your mother disrespect him …  toxic pathological behavior for sure.  Nobody wins …

My senior thesis to graduate from Princeton was a book entitled: “A Critique of Studies on The Black Family”.  It was close to my heart as I tried to expose the FACT that the Black Family is not dead nor has been destroyed through racist practices in the USA.  The Black Family had to morph, so to speak, to maintain the functions of child-rearing and socialization into American society.  Many studies concluded that the Black man had been marginalized so much that he was no longer effective and the family unit(s) had been destroyed, a la Daniel Patrick Moynihan.  I have chosen to “be the best that I can be” and dispel that hurtful sociological suggestion.  When I recall my youth as the youngest in the family, Big Ike remained my hero.  That will never change!

So, as we continue our lives wherever we find ourselves, represent the truth and who you really are.  As an African American male, I will ALWAYS represent!!

Thanks for reading!


John I. Cook, Director

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