Why I write


  Some have asked why I write. Some may wonder why take on such sensitive subjects. Why does he almost always include notes about his heritage, some wonder. I write because I want to inform. I want to enlightened, yes…even to prod. I write so that my readers can pause at something I’ve written and say…” you know?”  And above it all, I want everyone to know who I am by informing them of who my people were. The sacrifices they went through so that I am here to write. I want one and all to know; God gave me the ability and continues to give me life in order that I may write. If I can accomplish get your attention, while gaining more and more readers of my works, my goals will have been achieved. I promise, you the reader will find balance in your thoughts about the subject at hand. You can then move forward with a purpose armed with facts to solve any issue or obstacles you may face. In summary, it can be explained in one word, Communicate.  This is why I write.
Author, Codis Hampton II    
(Codis and Doreatha’s first born)

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Hamp's Latest Blog, November 17, 2021

Folks who don’t believe in talking are missing the point 

The last article we wrote was about many people discussing this, that, and the other. Often, they’re talking to family, associates, and friends about whatever.

Well, this article is about those who keep to themselves. You know…the ones you can barely get a hello from, much less a complete sentence. They say they are busy, don’t have time, or have nothing to say to you.

An old saying indicates that you will undoubtedly speak to the deceased at their gravesite if you don’t talk to family, friends, or acquaintances while they are alive. I don’t know about you, but I love a two-way conversation rather than a one-way, especially if the person is deceased.

Like many of you, I had problems with my parents, a few other relatives, and many acquaintances. Out of respect, I concluded people will not be who you want them to be. They, especially my older generation, are who they are; that is what you get around them. I, being an old-school admirer, simply because of the Jim Crow crap they had to endure, found their conversations enlightening. Most of my Arkansas-bred folk didn’t have a high school education. Yet, they were intelligent and capable of getting things done to support their family while enjoying a particular lifestyle. They were indeed men and women of substance.

On the other hand, I have no issues talking to anybody. If anything, I may have talked too much in my younger days. I got better at it as I matured. I learned to be respectful of folk’s feelings. That didn’t mean I lied to them or didn’t mention certain subjects. It just meant I learned how to speak to people without being offensive. I checked my attitude, putting it on the shelf. People want to get things done while allowing relationships to flourish. That was a perfect way to approach a project, no matter how small or large. My father warned me, “Boy, think before you say something.” Frankly, I have continued to learn ways of communicating in my field of employment. Yet I maintained an edge where I could speak in specific business terms using street verbiage. It was very seldom that I had to use that tactic, but it was at my disposal. The point I am making here is that people of color must be comfortable in either environment. You should be articulate in the boardroom or just as real on the corner.

And just as an aside, nobody should ever have trouble speaking to their mother, father, relatives, friends, or associates. If they cannot find the time or words to talk with the group mentioned above, they only need to look in the mirror to find the source of their problem. Regardless of their feelings at a particular time, people welcome honest conversations with almost anybody, especially their relatives. You don’t have to agree with each other’s approach to anything. That kind of outlook can be put on the shelf. Shared courtesy of how you are doing is all needed in a general conversational exchange. Yet you need to understand life is not always about what you want. Time is moving fast for us all, not just one person. I can’t speak for everybody, but I don’t carry on personal conversations on social media or the internet. Call me, write to me, and we can have a conversation.   

My wife and I are in the baby boomers age bracket. Recently, we have lost more than a few friends. Of course, we’ve lost family members, including parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and playing cousins. It was just a lot of people we grew up knowing, and we loved having them available to speak with, play cards with, or hang out with. Sometimes, it gets to you after realizing these folks are no longer alive. One tends to retreat into one’s inner cycle, which has suddenly gotten smaller. I would love to be able to talk to my mother about those sorry Green Bay Packers. Or even my dad about the places he fished last weekend. I miss speaking with those two the most. I cannot think of a better place to find out who you are or where you came from than asking a parent. I wouldn’t attempt to speak with them on social media. Again, I will not carry on a personal conversation with you on Facebook—a general hello, etc., yes, but a deeper discussion, no. The shame is that some view this as personal contact with a person.

Do yourself a favor and make your relative proud. Show them you have more respect for yourself rather than exposing yourself to impress your social media friends. That is my advice for the day.  

Peace, blessings, stay healthy and be vigilant for our American rights. Make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,

Codis Hampton II                                                                                                                                                    Author & Commentator

“The Episodic Thoughts of Hamp, Vol II” has been published. Check out my author webpage URL  https://outskirtspress.com/HampsEpisodicThoughtsVol2                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Join us for our live or Internet broadcast of bi-monthly BTR R&B or Smooth Jazz Musical at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/hampscornerofamerica. Or play the broadcast at your leisure.

Follow Hamp at our Parent Company/Sponsor CHIIA Group at https://hcofa.net/

Copyright 2011 Codis Hampton II, all rights reserved. A bi-weekly blog for your enjoyment

Everybody’s Talking – Some are up too Close and Personal 

There is an ‘old Negro saying’ that reads like this, “Say what you mean and mean what you say.” Well, maybe it’s not an ‘old Negro saying’ because my father was not an old Negro when I first heard him say it. I can’t tell you exactly how old he was or when I first heard him say it. He might have gotten it from the slang of the time or some old friend. It was a favorite phrasing of my fathers, who repeated it continuously to anyone who didn’t quite know how to put a particular thought into words. It also made one correct an outright lie.

We know how people talk in the hood. If you go to any function, there is always some black person going through a nonstop rant about something or the other. However, sooner or later, there will be a short pause. That’s when you know they add or spin their story version.

Daddy used the phrase often when counseling me, especially when I’d done something wrong. There I was, trying to figure out how to put into words an excuse for why I did it. He’d patiently wait as if to say, “Let me see what he is going to say about this.” He knew there was no excuse. Yet I kept trying to justify why I did something I knew was wrong. Yes, that’s right, I’m talking to the man who oversaw punishing or counseling me for that error in judgment. Immaturely, I always felt that the punishment would be light if I could justify it. If I could make him laugh about it, I may even get off with a warning. At least, it was a nice thought. Let me tell you, those mental games I tried to play with my father? If I had succeeded once, I don’t remember it. I always thought, even today, that old man had a master’s degree in life itself.

Back in those days, black people felt that sending their kids to a Catholic school would ensure their children would get a good education. I remember thinking while walking to and from Milwaukee’s St Benedict de Moor. I wanted to go to the same school as my father. Why? Because that man knew something about everything. And another thing, he was no fool. That was another one of his favorite sayings. He would say, “I ain’t no fool, so don’t play me cheap.” I never did understand how the words’ fool’ and ‘cheap’ related to each other. But I and most people around him got the message and agreed with his statement.

The other day, I thought about my dad while watching a commercial of Donald Trump selling two-dollar bills with his mug picture. It made you wonder who would buy such a foolish thing. Then, I realized many of his MAGA followers would stock up on those bills. I can’t wait to see some of them wearing his $ 400-style tennis shoes. Wow, it’s unreal as to where some people’s heads are in this country these days.

As they always do, the thoughts stir up those memories of growing up in a household where ninety percent of the people who came into your house were relatives, and another five percent were your play cousins. I’m telling you, up until I was approaching thirteen years of age, I thought half the black people, a few Puerto Ricans, and a couple of white people in Milwaukee were related to me in some way.

They taught us sound values as children. Our parents, originally farmland country folk, may not have had a high school diploma. In the late forties and fifties, they moved north, west, and east to escape the segregated South. They arrived in places like California, New York, Chicago, and Milwaukee, looking for jobs and a place to raise a family. My mother and father left Arkansas, heading for Milwaukee four months after I was born.

They knew how to make ends meet. We never felt poor or were never hungry as kids growing up. No, we were not rich with dollars but with community and love. And there were rules in that community, no matter what adult a kid was talking to. You didn’t lie to an adult, you didn’t say bad words, you didn’t steal. And one that will probably make today’s young parents wish for those old days. You didn’t speak while grown people spoke. After the initial hello to a visitor, the kids didn’t stay in the same room, sitting on Auntie’s lap listening to grown folk conversations.

Back then, people didn’t use many unnecessary or phony descriptive words during their conversation. Most were short and to the point. There was no room for misinterpreting what was meant by someone. And usually, if you were dealing with a down-home person, as they used to call themselves, they meant what they were saying. If they said they were going to slap the mess out of you, you better duck or get hit.

Nowadays, there is a lot of talk. Everybody is talking. The children are talking. The teenagers are talking. The grown-ups are talking. The people on TV, in the grocery store, at the bank, at the gas station, the President, and other seemingly nonstop politicians’ ads or in person. Commentators and analysts on the radio. Sports reporters on ESPN, CNN, ABC, CBS, you name it, everybody has something to say. At least, they think they do.

Everybody’s mouth is moving. Words are spoken, but mostly, they have no real thought or meaning except for self-promotion. Some folks talk while knowing there is no purpose or clarity in their conversation. They are just talking because they think that is what they are supposed to do. There are times when you can interrupt a speaker to ask a question. There is just no telling what kind of response you get. They may try to make you look like a fool. Or they answer you with technical jargon that does not affect the conversation.

As noted, many of these people show up on our TVs as experts or supposedly speaking the truth. They are like carnival barkers. Unfortunately, some innocent folks base their decisions on what they hear instead of checking for the truth. Often, they are just trying to sell something, either a product or themselves. And even worse, they’re spouting some political line they know is false. Just think about it. If there were some truth litmus test before people started talking, we would all be better off in a more silent world.

We live in a ‘Get all up in your face’ society. Some want you to know and remember them. They’re taking their cues from the late Michal Jackson record. That is “They’re Bad.” I saw a guy on the news the other day punching another passenger while they were flying in a plane. What would happen if one of them threw something that broke the window? That behavior is one reason I no longer like to fly in an airplane. Some of these passengers on the place are crazy. And I am not talking about terrorists.

Too many people are carrying guns, concealed or in the open, depending upon the laws in your state. There is another saying from back in the day. If you carry a gun, somebody or something will make you use it. A newscaster commented the other day that up to this point, there were more mass shootings in the US this year than days on the calendar. That number would be forty-eight. Yet the NRA and Republics in some states are advocating that we arm the teachers. They want everyone to be able to carry a gun openly. Kids are already afraid to go to school. Their parents are worried from the time they leave home until they return.

When will we wise up and take our country in a new direction? Where is the politician, in a JFK, MLK, or BHO mode, that can lead this country on a democratic journey to self-assurance? A place where our children see growth and a bright future. Remember, this is our country, not the Republicans, MAGA, or any right-wing organization. This is the year; we need to make our voices heard…vote.

Peace, blessings, stay healthy and be vigilant for our American rights. Make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,

Codis Hampton II                                                                                                                          Author & Commentator

“The Episodic Thoughts of Hamp, Vol II” has been published. Check out my author webpage URL  https://outskirtspress.com/HampsEpisodicThoughtsVol2                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Join us for our live or Internet broadcast of bi-monthly BTR R&B or Smooth Jazz Musical at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/hampscornerofamerica. Or play the broadcast at your leisure.

Follow Hamp at our Parent Company/Sponsor CHIIA Group at https://hcofa.net/

Copyright 2011 Codis Hampton II, all rights reserved. A bi-weekly blog for your enjoyment

Who am I at the End of 2023? 

(Article Updated from 7/4/04)

How often do we reach a point where we talk to someone daily or ask ourselves, who am I? The question usually is asked when we are going through some things. Something is out of balance in our lives, so we turn inward to ask questions to which we already know the answer. Why am I here, in this place, currently, a member of this family?

We must only look at our roots to find our souls’ origin. Most originated in Arkansas. The surnames are Belin ~ Childs ~ Green ~ Hall ~ Hampton ~Momon ~ Johnson ~ Phifer ~ Tatum ~ Trotter ~Wheller ~ Webb ~ Wright ~ Woods ~ Harmon ~ Falls ~ Hayes ~ Neal ~ Pickett ~ Purifoy ~ Strong ~ Griffin ~ Lovett ~ Gardner ~ Newton ~Wiley ~ Jones ~ Boswells ~ Wynter ~ White and Davis. One only needs to trace our ancestry to discover who we are and whence we originated.

Think of your great-grandmother great-grandfather. Mine are Sally (Davis) and David’ Sambo’ Hampton. My grandfather, John Hampton, was born in that union. He married my grandmother, Gracie Hall. My father, Codis Sr, was their firstborn. They were married, raising their own family in the heart of Arkansas Jim Crow’s South. They survived, even prospered, to provide our mothers and fathers a place on this earth. My parents were part of the black folk migration out of the South, headed east, west, or north, looking for a better way of life. Thus, my parents, aunts, uncles, and assorted cousins ended up in Milwaukee.

Big Mama, Big Papa, or old dude included when we look at our fathers and their family values. These are our people, our kinfolk whom we examined closely to find the depths of our character. At this stage in my life, I am the age my Grandparents, Uncles, and Cousins were toward the end of their existence on earth. I’ve laughed with my sister and cousins about that fact.

Don’t forget our sisters and brothers. Check out their mannerisms, how they talk, move, walk, fidget, twitch, or even when relaxing in a reflective mood. Look closely and ask questions about your heritage from those individuals. They will tell you who you are.

They may not explain it in words or actions you can readily see—answers entwined in stories about other relatives. You may pick up specific nuances in their southern or black person dialect. Some may call it Ebonics’…we call it family speaks. We can look at family members to see our characteristics. Or we can look in the mirror to see the product of our roots. The face staring back at you is who you are at any given time.

It’s funny, sometimes sad, that most knowledgeable relatives, familiar with our history because they lived it, have passed on to be with their maker, lord, and Savior. They didn’t have to be reminded by a political ad of the meaning of family. They remember what their parents and grandparents told them about being part of a family. They said family members with the same blood that runs through your veins are people you can count on when times are hard or when you need a helping hand. You can trust them. It would help if you did not misuse that trust.

For those who think we are dissing your homies. We know how you feel about your dog, your shorty, your squeeze, and the many other words of affection you may voice when speaking of someone close to you, someone you feel has your back. There is room for both family members and homies in your life. Facebook or other social media friends are not blood relatives. However, some may be better than a few blood relatives. We find no argument against a good social media friend. Yet, as noted, when it comes down to it, you are here because of the people who came before you. That happens to be factual and not up for debate.

We always like to emphasize that family comes first. Yet relationships, no matter the connection, are two ways, not one way. Unlike some who think they’re entitled to certain privileges because of their last name. You’re expected to contribute to the family’s reputation as a member in good standing. I often wonder how we, as baby boomers or graybeards, pass birthright to our offspring. How do we show you that blood is thicker than water? What do we need to do to make an impression on you? Even though television or movies stress individuality, including portraying what have you done for me lately attitudes. We must look to family for grounding.

We may hold monthly family get-togethers or dinners. We attend family reunions. Cousins who may not have known they were related meet and greet each other. The little kids can see they belong to more than just their immediate family. In other words, we can be who we want to be professionally. We can strive to reach the peak of our class. Some may soar above the clouds on the wings or a mentor. Others may achieve the ultimate personal satisfaction in any endeavor. Yet without someone to share it with, the accolades ring hollow after the initial celebration unless you have a family with whom to share a personal triumph.

Cliches like,” I knew you could do it, baby… that’s my son, my daughter”. A father said,” Son, I’m so proud of you today.” Or “Remember, sweetheart…wherever you go, you will still be daddy’s little girl.” You may have a crazy, lovable uncle to say, “That boy got all that stuff from me.” Or “that girl is the spitting image of her mother, my sister, and my dearly departed mother.” 

A wise man once said, “How can you get where you are going if you don’t know where you came from?” It doesn’t matter who someone else thinks we are. It does matter who we eventually become. We must ask ourselves if our ancestors would be proud of our accomplishments.

In this date and time, we are inundated with various crimes, daily shootings, a growing homeless population, family misunderstandings, unlawful and even prescribed drugs, along with an ever-growing impatient citizen who legally may be able to carry unconcealed weapons. Folks are getting fed up with the criminal element of our society, snatching and grabbing, among other things.

Our political process seems to be broken, drifting away from Democracy. A national election in 2024 with Trump heading for the Republican nomination? We remember the authoritative posture he represents. Are we headed for a dictator in the White House? All while the Democrat, current President Biden looks like his capability is in question. Why? Because of his age.  

Can you imagine all those folks at our borders clamoring to get into this country, adding to our problems? If they only knew. Our country seems to have less common sense, primarily in how we act toward others. Racism, homophobia, conservatism against liberals, some whites against anybody who isn’t, poor against the wealthy, you name it. The only people living prominent are the very rich in this country. The only way to change that situation is to vote people into office who are Americans without a destructive agenda. Slogans like “Make America Great Again” are a dog whistle to many anxious folks. For whatever reasons, they feel left out of the political process. They also want to be the ruling class. The question is, at what cost? My request of you is to be on guard. This is our country, too.   

Meanwhile, most of us live our daily lives dealing with the joys and sorrows contributing to our life experiences. Remember, we know who we are and what we stand for. That knowledge alone will help us get to where we are going.

Dedicated to my father, mother, stepmother…RIP Codis Sr, DoReatha Cole, and Rosalie Miller. To my uncles, aunts, cousins, Grand and Great Grandparents, thanks for the love and protection, along with providing an example for me to follow. It’s been a hell of a ride. A great life that I can genuinely say you ‘all laid the groundwork.

Happy Holidays, and may the new year of 2024 be as healthy and prosperous as you make it, from Sandra and Codis.

Peace, blessings, stay healthy and be vigilant for our American rights. Make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,

Codis Hampton II                                                                                                   Author & Commentator

“The Episodic Thoughts of Hamp, Vol II” has been published. Check out my author webpage URL  https://outskirtspress.com/HampsEpisodicThoughtsVol2                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Join us for our live or Internet broadcast of bi-monthly BTR R&B or Smooth Jazz Musical at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/hampscornerofamerica. Or play the broadcast at your leisure.

Follow Hamp at our Parent Company/Sponsor CHIIA Group at https://hcofa.net/

Copyright 2011 Codis Hampton II, all rights reserved. A bi-weekly blog for your enjoyment

There’s That Word Again…Respect. 

There is that word again: Respect.

 It seems every time a rapper opens their mouth, they demand respect. As do others… In fact, we have an entire generation of people who feel no one respects them. Disrespect is the mantra many younger and middle-aged folks tend to throw out when they need something to go their way. It always comes up when they have no answers to serious social skill questions. Most are smart enough to figure it out if they are honest with themselves. There lies the problem: they often bend the truth to fit their idea of solving an issue.

As a child, I was taught that respect is earned by an individual, not automatically given, because one belongs to humanity. I’ve found it to be more rewarding that way. Yes, this comes from me, who used to hate authoritarian figures. I always seemed to run into people I felt didn’t belong in specific positions. They didn’t communicate with people or consult them when making decisions about a company’s work processes. As Marvin Gaye says in one of his song titles, I am a Stubborn Kind of Fellow, especially about social issues.

According to my Encarta Dictionary, one meaning of respect is esteem: a feeling or attitude of admiration and deference toward somebody or something, as winning colleagues’ respect.

Another definition is the state of being admired: The state of being admired deferentially.

And finally, characteristic: an individual characteristic or point. … satisfactory in all respects.  

From my perspective, it all points toward a person who should attempt to produce cooperation between all parties involved. Or at least as many as one can. Look at it from another viewpoint: a team cannot only show up, they still must play the game. That is, play it in a way that supports each player.  

As note, an entire generation of people think “give me my respect” should be an international law. Here is a thought: a person can love themselves and still be critical of making stupid decisions based upon inaccurate information or assumptions. There are no magic potions, selfish one-person-show, perfect individuals that will get everything done correctly. One can even imagine God looking on to see how successful the cooperating group can be with each other.

Everyone must bring something to the table for success, no matter the number of people or size of the organization. It also applies to couples, two friends, and family members’ attitudes towards each other. The idea is to realize a successful effort, maximizing your probabilities of achievement. That way, everyone wins, all walking away from the table happy with a feeling of accomplishment. There is no better feeling than being part of a successful group accomplishment. 

This can also work as a one-person project if you know where and who to go to for input about your idea. Instead of trying to make things work by communicating right, wrong, or indifferent, at least the parties are trying to talk it out. Some give up because they are too sensitive about someone hurting their feelings instead of concentrating on reaching a logical conclusion between all involved. There lies another problem with some folks. They are too sensitive in their interpretation of what another person says, and their concentration on the job is almost null and void. No one person lives in this world alone except a very lonely individual. I would much rather be known as a people person than an introvert who somehow reaches the wrong conclusion because they are debating themselves most inaccurately. To go through life as if you have it all together with yourself is stupid. It goes back to that old warning: he who selects themselves as their legal representative has a fool for a lawyer.

One of the first steps I took to reach maturity was to promise myself that I would no longer lie to myself. It’s a simple life. No need to complicate it with half-truths, misplaced observations, or downright lies to yourself to make you look good to who, yourself? Get real, please. It would be best to use personal or peer criticism as a steppingstone to self-improvement. You will find the road of life without several complications and a more leisurely trip to maneuver.

Remember, you and only you are in control of how you react to people’s right or wrong observations of you. Folks talked about Jesus Christ. You, my friend, must live your life to your expectations. And no rule says you can’t change how you associate it with whoever. Always treat people how you want to be treated; your associations will be much kinder and more natural.  

So, the next time you read or hear of somebody asking for respect with no concrete plan on how to earn the same. Realize you are dealing with a selfish individual who is immature regarding project building, workable solutions to ideas, or sustained process accomplishments—the size of the project matter. Surprise, they also like the qualities required to become involved in a loving and successful relationship.

 I’ve been involved in successful endeavors as well as failed projects. As you can guess, successful projects are the most rewarding. Working with others to reach a common goal gives a person a warm feeling. In the end, we are all working toward a prompt conclusion so that we may get into the real fun and games of everyday living. Think about that for a moment. At least, that’s my motivation. 

 Peace, blessings, stay healthy and be vigilant for our American rights. Make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,

Codis Hampton II                                                                                                                        Author & Commentator

“The Episodic Thoughts of Hamp, Vol II” has been published. Check out my author webpage URL  https://outskirtspress.com/HampsEpisodicThoughtsVol2                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Join us for our live or Internet broadcast of bi-monthly BTR R&B or Smooth Jazz Musical at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/hampscornerofamerica. Or play the broadcast at your leisure.

Follow Hamp at our Parent Company/Sponsor CHIIA Group at https://hcofa.net/

Copyright 2011 Codis Hampton II, all rights reserved. A bi-weekly blog for your enjoyment

Downsizing, along with Relocating…an Emotional Exercise 

Picture this: you’ve lived in a previous house for over twenty-five years. You’ve seen neighbors come and go, a few of which have gone on to meet their maker. Little Jimmy and Janice from next door moved on to their first year of college. It seems like only yesterday you gave Jimmy a hot wheel for Christmas. Janice preferred a little black doll. They are around your two children’s age who have also moved out.

Now, you are planning to move to a new house—an unfamiliar neighborhood with friendly neighbors. Yet diversity is still your prerequisite. If you haven’t experienced this type of relocation, it is more than a notion.

It’s just you and your spouse. Your son and daughter regularly stop by for announced or unannounced visits to check on their parents. Besides that, the house is no longer populated with family or visiting guests.

To begin packing is an easy task. You start with the kids’ rooms. Each toy, book, or whatever has a profoundly emotional memory of a severed relationship. Your spouse joins you. Each item now takes on additional importance. In these rooms, you’re reminded of a past event. You can remember many things: a tooth pulled, a special birthday, a specific holiday. Your spouse helps you to recall if you have forgotten certain events. You know you told those kids to take their souvenirs with them. One look at the residual items and you know this was an almost impossible task. In the end, both of you leave the room almost as it was because it’s also hard to throw away certain items.

You may use an attic, basement, or garage for stored stuff. Here, you run into personal gifts, awards, and sure souvenirs that are just as hard to get rid of as those items in the kids’ old rooms. Never let it be said that you haven’t looked at the little artifact and classified it as unimportant until you realize who and why it was given to you. By now, you’ve got the picture. Ultimately, you cannot take all this stuff to the new house. Now comes the hard part: what goes and what stays.

Somehow, both of you have got to give each item the stay or go designation. The retaining criteria can be a priceless or silly item with some personal or monetary value. In the end, you will throw away cherished items. You will donate some of your most deeply personal things to churches or Goodwill. Again, …you cannot keep all this stuff you two have accumulated over the last two decades.

We finally realized that even though we had an eye for quality items, we still had to let some go. It doesn’t matter that Aunt Hattie will one day ask where the location of the cuckoo clock she gave you for your wedding present. The answer is, “Honey, we kept that little priceless item for over fifteen years and finally realized that someone else should be able to enjoy it. Anyway, it stopped working a few years ago.”

Your mother-in-law believes she has some gift tenure or supreme right to place items in your home for perpetuity. You are floored to find out your father-in-law feels the same way, not to think of your mother, father, or even some close relatives or friends.  

By now, you two are annoyed, no longer amused. The nerve of those who expect you to keep the little dusty vase or artifact forever. Your spouse asks what she thinks is a silly question: “Do they think we should be buried with them?”

Face it. You will hurt some folk’s feelings while tugging at your emotional reasoning for keeping or discarding certain items. Trips back and forth from Goodwill remind you that they will resale the items. Some of these priceless artifacts could be placed on the Internet by you. Then again, who has the time to haggle with potential buyers?

In our case, we had retail items stored in a tuff shed. They were bought for resale when we frequented the Flea Market back in the day. Most are collectors’ items that cannot be discarded as worthless.

It is usually hard to sell these items for a fair price at the flea market. You know their actual worth, some appreciating in cost rather than just collecting dust. i.e., Ron Lee clown sculptures, Annie Lee paintings, and collector statures. Folks are not as excited about those items as back in the day. Yet these pieces stand the test of time. They will be worth their weight in gold someday. The question is when and how long you can hold on to them.

Struggling craft artists created other artifacts at the time. Most likely, their works are not going to increase in value. The bottom line is that I cannot keep them in a costly storage bin—it’s time to get back on eBay.

I have personal and retail items in PODs, my new garage, and others in a public storage unit. My wife and I do not move as fast as we did back in the day. So, it’s a slow process. Everyone I’ve spoken to reminds me that organization doesn’t happen overnight. My new next-door neighbor shook his head and noted that had it not been for friends’ help, he and the wife would not have been able to settle within weeks in the new house.

I long for the good old days in our twenties. With the help of a couple of cousins, we could move out and into a new house within two hours. We could do that on a Saturday afternoon and attend a house party or concert by nine o’clock that evening. Rise and shine the following Sunday morning, spending time with family and friends. By Monday morning, we would report for work fresh and ready to work eight or more hours—those days are gone and buried in the past, along with the quality of moving help.

As it turns out, we completed emptying the last two PODs on Thursday, the 21st. Imagine moving your belongings around for almost two months until you have them in your new home. Now, I have boxes in my garage and a public storage area. That timeline includes selling our old house and moving into our new residence. Finally, we can begin sorting the items to keep necessities and discard the rest.

So, if you plan to move away from a resident after a long residential presence, prepare for an emotional experience between your spouse, neighbors, relatives, and within your mind. These days, it turns out to be quite a very drawn-out endeavor.   

 Peace, blessings, stay healthy and be vigilant for our American rights. Make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,

Codis Hampton II                                                                                                                                                     Author & Commentator

“The Episodic Thoughts of Hamp, Vol II” has been published. Check out my author webpage URL  https://outskirtspress.com/HampsEpisodicThoughtsVol2                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Join us for our live or Internet broadcast of bi-monthly BTR R&B or Smooth Jazz Musical at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/hampscornerofamerica. Or play the broadcast at your leisure.

Follow Hamp at our Parent Company/Sponsor CHIIA Group at https://hcofa.net/

Copyright 2011 Codis Hampton II, all rights reserved. A bi-weekly blog for your enjoyment

My Take on the Music Industry 

When I was young, I thought I was smart. People told me I was smart. Oh, I noticed there were still kids more intelligent than me. Some had faster brain reactions. That became evident when I figured out problems or other class work. The fact that I was young and stupid (about so many things) didn’t deter me from the self-assurance of my brilliance. 

Yep, I pat myself on my back several times a day. My father would tell anyone I did that several times an hour. As I enter my senior year, I realize I am not as bright as I once thought. It’s funny how the passing of time clears up inevitable confusion for most of us. It’s better than being in a place where you never conclude you cannot excel at everything.

A few facts stand out during my baby boomer generation of life. Number one has to do with music. I never did get to play an instrument, although I had an excellent singing voice.

 To give you a little background, I’m an old-school music lover. As a young boy, I imitated the sounds of Brooke Benton, Sam Cooke, Chuck Berry, and even Bobby Blue Bland. I grew into manhood with Motown, the Temptations, Marvin Gaye, O’Jays, Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes featuring Teddy Pendergrass, The Commodores featuring Lionel Ritchie, Al Green, James Brown, The Isley Brothers, migrating to and filling my soul with the funk. Acts like Sly and the Family Stone, Earth, Wind, & Fire, Confunction, Maze, Ohio Players, Parliament, Slave, Rick James, Rufus & Chaka Khan had an entire era of putting the funk in whatever we did. Meanwhile, being a product of the late sixties and early seventies, I protested by joining the music of Curtis Mayfield, Bobby Womack, Marvin Gaye, Donny Hathaway, and even Bob Dylan. From there I graduated to smooth Jazz by the Crusaders, Ronnie Laws, Eric Gale, Donald Byrd, and The Blackbyrd’s. In short, I wasn’t just attracted to the lyrics. The sound of a record or performer’s musical notes struck suitable accord with me. 

Upon turning 21 years old, one of the most expensive units in my household was the stereo system, including the speakers. That practice only increased after I got married a few years later. Clarity of sound was my mantra. One could say I became a musical connoisseur. That was also when I found specific genres, Country-western, Blues, which I laughed at as a kid, or Rock, that attracted my attention. Surprise…surprise, like a musical performer, I evolved to understand how the instrumentals and lyrics complement each other in a song. Adding the performer’s appearance, song delivery, and dedication to craft enhanced my envy of them. 

You may have noticed I left out Rap. My reasoning is simple. One of the most lasting contributions from the Rap Artists is their ability to take earnings from performances and record sales and turn those funds into a viable business entity, contributing to their rise in wealth. It was no small accomplishment, given earlier artists’ lack of the same. As for musical talents, sampling gets in the way of their musical contributions. Add that to their reasoning that just because you Rap about your neighborhood issues does not speak to the world’s problems. It only allows you to verbalize about specific environmental occurrences. It is naivete to think that you, your crew, or others around you are experiencing everything life offers…My brother, please get real.

I know, I know, some who act as though they were born yesterday think they have a meaningful handle on the talents of Biggy Small, Tupac, LL Cool Jay, and an assortment of rappers. The only problem is they are not musicians. They have no training, industry practice, or identity outside of hip-hop. They are only holding a place for a natural performer.  

As for me, I’ve found ways to satisfy my shortcomings as a musician, performer, and frustrated singer. I play some of my favorite cuts as a host on Saturday morning. I’ve gotten decent reviews from the two to three-hour offering. I could probably get a good following if I was more consistent. This last time away was caused by selling an old home buying and moving into a new home at a new city’s location. I’ve got a story to tell you there, but then enough about the frustrations of moving after twenty-five years in Pittsburg.

Finally, I’m here to say…I am still kicking it from a new Rio Vista, CA, location. I am no longer in the Bay Area. As noted, I’m in the Delta, still doing my own thing. Check me out at https://www.blogtalkradio.com/hampscornerofamerica/2023/09/09/im-back-up-close-and-personal-hsfrhc-vol-xciv-or-simply-94

Listen to part of it at a time, all of it, or repeatedly. You will not be disappointed.            

Peace, blessings, stay healthy and be vigilant for our American rights. Make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,

Codis Hampton II                                                                                        Author & Commentator

“The Episodic Thoughts of Hamp, Vol II” has been published. Check out my author webpage URL  https://outskirtspress.com/HampsEpisodicThoughtsVol2                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Follow Hamp at our Parent Company/Sponsor CHIIA Group at https://hcofa.net/

Copyright 2011 Codis Hampton II, all rights reserved. A bi-weekly blog for your enjoyment

Patience, Customer Service, or wishing humanity the best is a lost Art. 

Frequently, older folks begin tripping at any suggestion by a youngster that they are losing some skill or another. Think of memory of family contact or events, even occurrences with those critical to our memory. We may not be as quick in mind or physically as in the past. Now, we seem so much slower in our response to their request.

Physically, we may use a cane or walker to get around. There is nothing like watching the impatience of someone waiting on someone requiring those tools to walk. Oh, they are fine initially, but their patience wears out as time goes on. You can almost see the willingness to assist in the beginning turn to annoyance after dealing with the older person after a while. It’s that they are on the move, and anything that slows them down affects their required life cycle speed, if you get my drift.

Don’t get me wrong. Most are glad to assist an older individual for a few minutes. Anything longer than that depends upon your relationship. It helps if it’s your grandson or other close relative.

As old timers, we can recall we were just like them. We always had something to do, somewhere to go, late for a meeting, or, heavens forbid, a date with the opposite sex. Like today’s youngsters, we were always in a hurry to be somewhere. Even if that somewhere was to hang out on the corner with our friends.

Customer service or general consideration of another person’s space in our orbit seems lost. Even if you have no handicaps, shopping in stores, eating in restaurants, or even going through the fast-food drive-through can be an experience. People seem not to have a minute to waste when getting your food. You better get in the habit of checking your bag to see if they completed your order. Nothing grinds your nerves as to get home to find something missing or not, as you requested at the outset.

Some folks pushing grocery store shopping carts are oblivious to their whereabouts. They are blocking your advancement. Or they think they are racing at the Indianapolis 500 speedway. That is evident when you head for the checkout line. They act like they don’t see you heading in the same direction. A picture worth a thousand-dollar price is the one that has their kid in the seat of the cart. The child is either laughing at the sudden burst of speed or turning quiet, hoping their parent will not have a wreck rushing to the checkout cash register.

How about dealing with a telephone customer service representative? If you have computer issues, you better be prepared to listen to the rep reading from a script of possible customer errors. This is almost always followed by insisting you unplug this and hook up that before they request access to your computer. They will practically ignore your answers to their questions until they finish reading the script.

And finally, those who rang your doorbell. It makes no difference if you have a “No Soliciting Sign on your house. I have one, but they act as though they didn’t see it when you ask about it. They are just in the neighborhood, they begin. How much do you pay for your monthly electric bill? They continue by expressing how much they will save you on that bill; sign up with us. Your charge is on your monthly energy bill.

They get offended if you are adamant about keeping your current setup and fees. “You mean you don’t want to save money.” You practically must insist they leave. You may have to slam the door on their faces to get them to move along.

The bottom line is this. Baby Boomers went through their twenties and thirties when society changed to a more liberal attitude period. We all wanted the best for people we had not met. It was an overall ‘wish you well,’ man. We inherited our parents’ work ethic. Becoming employed, we took on the responsibility of job performance as a leading criterion for promotions or other career advancements. Overall, we treated others like we wanted to be treated whenever we encountered them.

Then, Ronald Reagan became president. He addressed those “I got mine, and I don’t care about you” attitudes. Since then, Conservatism has moved closer to first place in exchange for more liberal thoughts toward our neighbors or friends.

The entertainment world reflected the free-spirited Baby Boomers era. Despite the hatred, this is still harbored by certain groups of folks. The great majority didn’t mind lending a hand to see our fellow humans lift themselves and earn their piece of the American Pie.

Ever since Reagan became president, we’ve gone in the opposite direction. Reagan’s administration instituted and changed more liberal laws. That practice continued with each Republican administration. Today, we have evolved into a ‘get out of my face before I hurt you’ type of people. In other words, ‘who let the dogs out’…Donald Trump. We don’t seem to have any patience with anybody, no matter their handicap. It’s all about I got mine. And I’ll take yours too if you are not careful.

Add that to the Wild West syndrome of backup before I shoot because I don’t like your kind. Or some other folks, taking the law into their own hands after drinking the right-wing rhetoric water of lying. Kids are shooting each other at our children’s parties or schools. What the…? The NRA doesn’t care; let anybody have as many weapons as they want, military-style or whatever. Surprise, surprise, all creeds and colors are in play.

For those of us who have seen a different America, it is sad to see the attitude change. We wonder how far our society is going to drift in this direction. When will we change course, if ever again?      

 Peace, blessings, stay healthy, and vigilant for our American rights. Make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,

Codis Hampton II                                                                                                                                                     Author & Commentator

“The Episodic Thoughts of Hamp, Vol II” has been published. Check out my Authors webpage URL  https://outskirtspress.com/HampsEpisodicThoughtsVol2                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Join us for our live or Internet broadcast of bi-monthly BTR R&B or Smooth Jazz Musical at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/hampscornerofamerica. Or play the broadcast at your leisure.

Follow Hamp at our Parent Company/Sponsor CHIIA Group at https://hcofa.net/

Copyright 2011 Codis Hampton II, all rights reserved. A bi-weekly blog for your enjoyment

Getting Old is a Trip 

Hey People,

   You know how I do it, meaning I’m putting some of my business into the street. I had cataract surgery on my left eye on the eighteenth of April. All is well; thank you for caring. Anyway, they put a small clear patch over my eye. That’s cool. On my way home from the clinic, my sight was somewhat blurred. No worries, my wife drove the car.

According to my instructions, I should wait about a week. My vision will return to normal at that time, with the usual ability to see without this gray film over my sight. So I’m anticipating a clear vision in a few days.

Well, the next day, I went to the bathroom at about four o’clock in the morning. Our bathroom has a mirror that sits above the cabinet and counter. To my surprise, there was a stranger reflecting in the mirror. Suddenly I realized it was me.

Keep in mind it took almost eight months for my doctor to perform the surgery. They were backed up because of Covid19. So I’ve been dealing with this gray matter in my vision worsening over time. I could hardly believe how clear my vision had become due to the surgery.  

Looking in the mirror, I wondered who in the hell is that guy. And what is he doing in my bathroom? Then, just as quickly, I came to my senses and realized I was staring at myself. I almost had a vocal conversation with myself. But, instead, I still wondered what happened to Sporty-oddie-cody. What did you do to cool Papa Hamp? Finally, I resigned myself and thought, Jesus Christ…you have let yourself go and do look like Santa Clause younger brother. My wife thought I was Santa Clause after I grew the goatee.

That mirror reflection blew my mind. First, my hair is almost entirely gray. I had yet to comb it, so it looked wild. There was more gray than black in my eyebrows. And finally, the goatee was a lot more grey than black.

Oh, there were no significant wrinkles on my face. There is something to the saying that black don’t crack. But believe me, people, I looked like the very senior person I have become these last few years. So, I won’t give you my age, but let’s say I am beyond sixty-five.

All I can say is the man in the mirror shocked my ego. I stared at myself for a few minutes as if meeting a stranger. Then, I thought about going to the store and purchasing hair dye. But then, I finally came to my senses and realized how blessed I am at this time in my life.

For me, it has always been about how I look at myself. So I accepted the vision and decided to get a haircut and straighten my goatee. It looked a little crooked since it was hard to see a few days ago. Yep! Getting older is a trip, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.  

Peace, blessings, stay healthy, and vigilant for our American rights. Make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,

Codis Hampton II                                                                                                                                               Author & Commentator

“The Episodic Thoughts of Hamp, Vol II” has been published. Check out my Authors webpage URL  https://outskirtspress.com/HampsEpisodicThoughtsVol2                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Join us for our live or Internet broadcast of bi-monthly BTR R&B or Smooth Jazz Musical at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/hampscornerofamerica. Or play the broadcast at your leisure.

Follow Hamp at https://twitter.com/#!/HampTwo, Parent Company/Sponsor CHIIA Group at https://hcofa.net/

Copyright 2011 Codis Hampton II, all rights reserved. A bi-weekly blog for your enjoyment

Bradley County Arkansas Reunion 

There is a family event planned in Arkansas this summer. It’s entitled the Bradley County Reunion and scheduled for August 11, 12, 2023. Since, my family roots are in Banks, (Bradley County) Arkansas, I will participate in promoting the historic reunion.

Their aim is to raise funds for the Mt. Olive Rosenwald School (1927-1954). The school was nominated to the National Register of Historic Places as a part of Julius Rosenwald’s legacy as the foremost benefactor to Negro education in the South.

Included in the fund-raising effort is the Mt. Olive African Methodist Episcopal Church in Bradley County. This site is also nominated to the Arkansas Register of Historical Places in 2016 under Criterion A with local significance for its association with the history of the development of the African American community of Mt. Olive and the surrounding area.    

Sponsors are soliciting donations as of this notice. For more details, contact sponsor representative, Princella Davis at 870-952-0320. Her email address is princelladavis5@gmail.com.

You will hear more about the planned events of August from me on my sites. Meanwhile, contact Princella via the telephone or email address provided. Remember, if you don’t know where you came from, it makes it harder to get where you are going.

Faces, Specific Times I Remember for our Black History 

Are you familiar with your heritage, roots, and family birth line of relatives? If not, I’m suggesting your emotional future will be unsettling, or worse, lived without an identity of self. I know, that’s a long, careful, and accurate thought about knowing yourself. A familiarity that some may dismiss as unnecessary. Yet, it is essential to your growth as a person.

Furthermore, that knowledge gives one the impetus to succeed in this world. So, take it from a Baby Boomer, OG, or Senior Citizen, if your will. This is extremely important.

My cousin and her husband published a book a few years ago. They collected hundreds of pictures, and comments of our relatives, from Bradley County, Arkansas, from 1800 to 1930. Staring at the faces in my copy of Afro-Americans, I see one common thread among all those pictured in the book. The eyes that stare back seem to say I was here for you to be there. Yes, I was here. At this time, at this place, at this moment in what is now history, I was here. So see me as I was, and please remember me, for you are part of me and the result of my struggles to survive.

We know the Hamptons go even farther back than Jane Hampton, who was listed as 60 years old in the 1880 United States Federal Census. That would put her birth at some time in 1820.

My favorite picture is of my Great Grandfather David (Sambo) Hampton (1883-1953). Yes, Sambo, ain’t that a trip? He’s pictured with his wife, Sally Davis Hampton (1885-1943). Great Grandpa Sambo is a direct descendant of Jane Hampton. He is also the father of my Grandfather, John Hampton, who married Gracie Hall in 1924.

It’s the expression on their faces and those eyes that attract and almost demand that you see them as they were at that time. The equality struggles of the African American communities within the United States have been well chronicled in the written word and song over the last 200 years. All that has paid attention and those who have lived the life can attest to the night riders in the South. Songs such as ‘The Strange Fruit,’ so sadly sung by Billie Holiday, come to mind when recalling how a race of people can be attacked and hated simply for the color of their skin.

Yet, one can see the faces of determination in the Negro baseball team of Banks, Arkansas, in which my grandfather John Hampton (1906-1935) was a member. I wonder what that team would think of organized baseball as it is today. I wonder what they would say about the salaries.

There is one of two pictures of my father’s mother, grandma Gracie (Hall-Hampton 1904-1985). My parents sent me from Milwaukee back to Arkansas to stay with her while they went through their divorce issues. Boy, do I remember those times. Especially the time I dug in the ground in the backyard and filled it up with water. Then, I made a fishing pole from the branch of a tree. Then, using a safety pin hook, I sat down at my fishing hole, expecting to catch a fish. I don’t remember what I used for bait, but I do remember my disappointment at not catching a fish. I also remember the smile on my granny’s face when I told her we did not have fish for dinner. I had mixed emotions about leaving that lady when my father returned to get me. I was glad to return home with my father and sad about leaving Grandma alone.

Grandma Gracie, whose husband John died, was a strong-willed woman. The one thing I learned as a very young kid during that stay was Grandma didn’t take any stuff from anybody. And I do mean anybody. She later moved to Milwaukee to witness me running wild in my teenage years. I think she left her shotgun down South. I never saw it in Milwaukee. I remember the tea cakes she would cook and how glad she was to see me stop by and see her every week. Now there was a woman who had a reputation as ornery but showed me nothing but love.

Look at your family pictures, especially of those who lived long ago. Not many smiles, just the look of I am here at this place and time. You will find a good number of women and men pictured with the look of surviving and placing themselves in a position to thrive and prosper, albeit an inch or very small steps at a time. This was no small task happening within a hostile environment amidst a race of people who hated them simply because of the color of their skin. Some whites did not object to black neighbors, customers in their stores, and consumers of their goods. Yes, numerous whites could truthful say they were not racist.

Wikipedia reports that 6 million blacks participated in the general exodus from the South, or as it’s called, the Black Migration from 1910 through 1970, to cities in the Northeast, Midwest, and West.

I am a black man who can never say there were no strong black men in my life. But, starting with my father, that’s all I ever knew during my early childhood, well into my teenage years.

Visitors were a steady stream, especially during the spring and summer weekends. Upon reflection, it seems that every one that came through our door was related in some way or another. Until I started grade school, I thought almost every black person in Milwaukee was a cousin or some relation. It just shows the context of family involvement in our day-to-day lives. It gave you a sense of community.   

And that is the last impression one gets from looking through the over 1300 faces in Princella and MacArthur Davis Afro-American book. Instead, it’s one of belonging to something greater than oneself. 

You can look at the backgrounds of some of these pictures and see houses, trees, and other landmarks that bring back memories of visiting relatives at some time or other. Yes, family… tradition, and community are what one remembers from back in the day. But, at the risk of repeating myself, it makes me proud of who I am, who I have become due to where I came from, and who was there for me as I struggled to become a man.  

I can’t imagine their thoughts or memories of daily life as an Afro-American in the South from 1800 to 1930 and beyond, up to, let’s say, 1950. What would they have given to be a part of Chicago’s Grant Park crowd the night the Obama family walked on that stage? Instead, I remember the televised sight of Reverend Jessie Jackson shedding tears at the election of a black man for President of the United States in this country.

To mothers, fathers, aunts, and uncles, including mine, who came before us, I hope you are all sitting at the dinner table of your maker. I pray that you are looking down on your offspring and feel your legacy is in good hands. We remember the good times and bad, but most of all, we recognize the lessons of life you left us. We still feel the love you send our way. We want you to know the best way we can honor your lifetime is to let our children and their children know they came from a long line of heroes. So that they know they have a bevy of role models in their ancestry to look to when searching for inspiration.

Peace, blessings, stay healthy, and vigilant for our American rights. Make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,

Codis Hampton II                                                                         Author & Commentator

“The Episodic Thoughts of Hamp, Vol II” has been published. Check out my Authors webpage URL  https://outskirtspress.com/HampsEpisodicThoughtsVol2                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Join us for our live or Internet broadcast of bi-monthly BTR R&B or Smooth Jazz Musical at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/hampscornerofamerica. Or play the broadcast at your leisure.

Follow Hamp at https://twitter.com/#!/HampTwo, Parent Company/Sponsor CHIIA Group at https://hcofa.net/

Copyright 2011 Codis Hampton II, all rights reserved. A bi-weekly blog for your enjoyment