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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

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

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