January 2015, All Aboard?

  Could the calendar have the wrong year at 2015? Have we really passed through December of 2014 and entered into a new year? I’m a Leo and as such am a very inquisitive individual. I am always interested in the why, how and when. The late Sidney Omarr, once billed “as the foremost astrologer in the United States” wrote a book entitled “Astrology, You and Your Love Life.” I found it accurately described friends, family and my personality as associated with the various astrological signs than any other or astrologer I’ve heard since. For me and my wife (Aries) of 46 years, it nailed our personalities and served notice that we are fire signs, but compatible.  
In the book, he wrote of Leo’s, “Obstinate, determined, colorful, exaggerators, at times boastful, but usually reserve the latter for challenges. You were born in a Fixed sign and the Fire element. You live for the love; without it, the greatest success imaginable could be nothing. That’s the key: Love, affection, appreciation, applause, encouragement, the knowledge that someone who cares is in our corner. You are gregarious; you can plan, even plot, train, and prepare alone, but for the ‘performance’ you need someone by your side.” Would you believe, in my much younger days, I thought this need to have someone at my side was a weakness? He went on to say “You can get along better without food than without love. That’s part of being born under the natural fifth zodiacal sing; it is a characteristic peculiar to Leo---it applies more, with greater intensity than it does to the rest of the signs.” This not only applies to the lady I am married too, but the need to feel appreciated by others. I long accepted this of myself and with prayer have managed to live a great life.          
  Thus, I am a people person. I love helping others reach heights they never thought possible. I love advising others which explain why I love writing these articles. Yet I have to say, currently, I find myself having less and less patience with people who have no clue as to what they are talking about. People who are phony, users, rude, cruel, and drift through life without purpose or any real direction are a waste of time to be around. We all know people like this who are friends and family. I also pray for patience with the same.    
Like you, at this time of year, I find myself taking stock of where I am at as an individual. I remember my childhood, as brief as it seems, was wild. There are little specks of memories and visions of a happy yet inquisitive child. Growing up, observing, I fully understood that my father was the head of the household.  He taught me to be in charge and responsible for myself and environment. It left the kind of lasting impression on me that govern my life choices through today, no matter how bold.
My father made his living working for the city as a trash man to pay his family bills.
Through the years four seasons of winter, spring, summer, fall, and for 28 years, he walked the alleys of the city. Through rain, sleet, snow, bone-chilling and freezing cold he worked without soliciting a word of pity. It was through his example; I learned the meaning of sacrifice and work. He also taught me that weekends were for play and worship.
The teenage years are a lot clearer in my short attention span and often cluttered mind.
Those were wild times of chasing girls and enjoying my youth during a changing time. Just like today, policemen stopped large crowds of youths just to see if anything was going on. Our little crowd was very diverse since we dated white, black, Hispanic, and Puerto Rican girls. Depending upon who you were walking with a large crowd to the police could be two people. I should also say, I had a cousin who was a detective on the Milwaukee police force that stopped me and others whenever he felt like it. Unlike today, policemen walked a beat and never felt threaten by us.    
Then there was a thought I had of not being taught to take on the world in high school.
I decided to join the Army, see the world at seventeen, and let my immature libido rule. I had to get the help of my stepmother, Rosalie, to get my father to sign a release for me to join as a minor. I also had to promise him I would finish high school. The first time I heard my basic training drill sergeant yell the name Hampton was sobering. The realization that I signed up for four long youthful years of this type of discipline was also discomforting. Now, I look back upon my military experience as time I matured, becoming an adult and proud black man. The story goes, enlisted as a boy and discharged as a well-traveled young man.
My father died at age 62 on January 14, 1988 of complications from a stroke…no one can replace “Brother Hamp.” There is no doubt that I am my father’s child, because I have most of his ways as the old folks say. There is no doubt that I am my mother’s too as I have a lot of her ways. Just ask my wife for confirmation.
We, as black people, have had a bad year in a lot of respects. 2014 was a political, social, community, and popularity upheaval in time.  We are under attack by people of wealth, right wing conservatives of all colors even some in authority who are hired to protect and serve. Even at that, we can still look back at tremendous gains in the technical fields, self-worth, and support of family, friends, and others. It reminds me of the camaraderie that was realized during the Civil Rights Era.      
We fast forward to a clear summer day in Pittsburg, California approaching the last days of May. I was approaching a monumental year in my age. I thought about a couple of friends and relatives in my life that are just passing through. Some have nothing to give, but will take all they can get. I sat there thinking of days gone by and wondering in amazement of what it will mean at the end of my day. Will I be loved and remembered as a good family man, friend, and grandpa by my family, friends, and Grandson? Will I be remembered as a man who loved life, served his fellow man, and could say without hesitation, I had my time, and now I am done? On almost a daily basis, I am seated at my computer ten to twelve hours, in my view, trying to serve my people and mankind. Is it all for naught?
This past Sunday (12/28), I was awakened; in fact energized by an excellent preacher. The word came from a man I call my on-line pastor. He is Rev-Doctor Lance Watson from St. Paul’s Baptist Church in Virginia.  He based his sermon on Psalm 56. It was as if God himself was saying, keep your head up, I got you. I’ve always considered myself to be a physiologically strong individual. Yet there are times when circumstances, politics, along with some people words raise doubt in my direction and on rare occasions my capabilities.
My faith in God has always been there. The will for me to continue doing what I do while reaching out to you and others has been confirmed by Reverend Watson’s sermon. To some, it may be an old Negro cliché with me saying I don’t feel no ways tired. I know for a fact God ain’t through with me yet. I am reminded of my mantra in my younger days when asking family members to stick with me on this journey. The train is on the tracks, engine warmed up, and ready to go, all aboard? Those who are not going on this trip, please get out of the way, you are impeding progress. We are leaving with or without you. I may be the conductor but God is driving. So how about it for 2015, all aboard? I think we are going to fool some and surprise a lot more people this year. There are times we love being underestimated because they don’t see us coming. Can’t you see them looking up and wondering how we got there, all aboard?    
Peace, make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,
Codis Hampton II 
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