Keeba's Korner

KEEBA KORNERED & KAPTURED IN KAPTIVITY *** Includes articles from column, life experiences and various creative writing techniques of the life according to Keeba Smith - Hankered Writer and Feared Compressor. *** K Smith is an author, and social issues commentator.

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Location: Colorado, United States

I dont waste time with non-voters who are just menials-people who stand without meaning & contend to waste time with much success. As a child I never knew the sacrifices my parents faced while they intimated & provided for their children. Though they hinted they were lacking this and/or that, I can honestly say that we were never hungry, cold, or homeless but just the opposite. My parents were just that, real parents who took the time to teach right from wrong. They taught us to love and appreciate those in our lives and to be strong individuals. As the youngest of seven, I reminisce on the times all of us shared while growing up. Before the passing of both of my parents, I'm so glad I got the chance to express to them how I felt and my deepest gratitude of their love, value & foundation of respect and responsibility. It is & it is not because of them who I am as well as it is and is not because of them who I am not-God has given them to me-not me them. I have strength.

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

What would you do if this happened to you?

What would you do if this happened to you?
Re: Yvette Craddock - criminal investigation (child's death)
I am posting this on behalf of you, your loved ones and anyone else who has ever been wrongly accused of a criminal act.
I am personally writing this on the behalf of someone I know who has multiple sclerosis and is in dire need of ANY assistance. Her name is Yvette Craddock and her MS symptoms are severe. Again, her name is Yvette Craddock and here is her story:
Yvette is a divorcee and is living on social security. Before diagnosis, she was
married and a fulltime teacher assistant at Denver Public Schools until she
experienced vision problems. Even after her diagnosis, she worked fulltime, but
her symptoms got the best of her and before long, she was no longer able to work
and soon after, her marriage ended.
Because of Yvette's gentle nature, she
decided to help a friend by agreeing to baby sit an infant child. When the
mother of the child dropped the child off at Yvette's apartment, the mother
explained that the child was sick and that she (the mother) had given the child
some cough medicine. Moments after the mother left the child in Yvette's care,
the child began coughing. Yvette went to attend to him when she noticed that he
wasn't breathing. Yvette immediately called 911 and because there was a police
officer already in the area, the officer began to assist. Later, the child was
pronounced dead.

Because of limited finances, Yvette and her family were unable to hire a prominent attorney and investigator, and ultimately, Yvette was charged and arrested due to the child's death.
Yvette Craddock is out on bail, but I believe she has a court date set for this month or next month in November.
Now I know this is hearsay about what one of the judges declared, but I feel it necessary to bring it to your attention what one of the judges said. She said, and I quote, had she known the inaccuracies and trivialness of the case, she said there would have been no way she would have allowed it in her court. In my opinion, it was an indication that there were some problems with the case brought against Yvette Craddock. You see, there is a report that social services had been called to the home before. The report does NOT say to Yvette Craddock's home, but to the child's home.
The Colorado Department of Human Services also is investigating the circumstances of Rashad's death because his home had been visited by social workers before his death.
Rashad Maxey Died December 7, 2007 (age 8 ½ months) Arapahoe County No violations found
Rashad Maxey died of injuries "consistent with intentional trauma to the head." The Arapahoe County Department of Human Services report faulted Maxey's babysitter, Yvette Craddock. The CDHS review notes one prior referral involving Maxey's family, prior to his birth. CDHS found no violations in regard to the handling of this case.
The most troubling is that the Department of Human Services state:
…the violations listed require corrective action by the counties involved, regardless of whether they contest the validity of the cited violation.
Does this mean that just because CDHS has been to the child's home before, but the criminal investigation remains because the child died while at Yvette's Craddock's home???
Nevertheless, Yvette Craddock has been searching for ways to not only pay for her legal fees but also ways to accumulate funds to clear her name. Prior to this, Yvette Craddock did not have any criminal record and the only thing that she has ever done wrong, was agreeing to help someone and that should not be a crime!
Please do all you can to assist Ms. Craddock, as I believe that due to her financial circumstances, she was unable to afford an attorney who would thoroughly investigate the history of the parent's of the child. (It is all over the internet, so it wouldn’t take a lot of time or money to search for some truth.)
Please do all you can to help Ms. Craddock by contacting your local District Attorney's Office and tell them that you want this injustice stopped! Tell them that you are not pleased that your tax dollars are being wasted trying an innocent woman. She is a victim! Is it because she's Black? Or, is it because she's poor and Black?

Please do all you can to assist Ms. Craddock by telling anyone and EVERYONE you know.

What would you do if this happened to you or a loved one?

If this is true, one could certainly appreciate this Mission Statement:
The Office of the District will strive to always:
Do the Right Thing
To the Right People
At the Right Time
For the Right Reasons

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day

Valentines Day

Valentines Day is possibly the best holiday for females. Now wait, I don’t want you to think that the "lover’s holiday" is just for females, because it is not. Both females as well as their male counterparts deserve to be observed on this day. Likewise, I feel a little sympathetic towards the men because they often are expected to buy gifts for their female lovers, but often they do not receive anything at all; it seems like the norm.

While experiencing some reactions from my female friends, it seems as though the rules of Valentine’s Day are not the same for both males and females, hence notice the examples:

Example One
  • Its Valentines Day and FEMALE A walks into the house with candy, a card, and a sports poster.
  • Its Valentines Day and FEMALE B walks into the house without treats nor the acknowledgement of "lover’s day."

Most men would not have a problem with either female, although the man with FEMALE A might be overwhelmed that she took the time and was thinking of him.

Example Two
  • Its Valentines Day and MALE A walks into the house with candy, a card, a stuffed animal and/or flowers.
  • Its Valentines Day and MALE B walks into the house without material gifts, but just walks in and announces, "I’m going out to play B-Ball."

I know some women who would be extremely agitated with MALE B, and ultimately, he can not expect to receive his own personal "lover’s day" gift.

Now, I do not wish women to assume that I am helping the men with the old adage that women just take and take. Not at all. And for the men, I certainly do not want you to think that I am agreeing with you that all women are gold-diggers. Not true. I am merely saying that both women and men enjoy the bounties of this day. In contrast, The Greeting Card Association reports that 85% of Valentine Day cards are purchased by women and that close to one billion valentines are sent each year worldwide. Now that is a lot of cards!

I say that Valentines Day is possibly the best holiday for females, because it seems more than likely that they will receive a gift of gifts that is more enjoyable on February 14th, then any other celebrated holiday. Often gifts given on other holidays are not always well perceived and are keepers. Of course, the receiver should be thankful for any gift, but on Valentine’s day, the gift is more than likely pleasant and worth keeping. Whether it be Valentines Day or any other holiday, I have received some forgettable things. (It is the thought that counts, right?..Wrong!) Once, I received a blouse. It wasn’t just a blouse blouse, but an ugly blouse. If you think I’m being ungrateful or just totally picky, try this on for size: The colors were atrocious with neon green stripes and forest green and gray prints. The buttons matched the blouse, which were both gray and green. It was ugly! I believe in re-gifting, but I wanted to keep my current friends. Another time, I received some lotion that smelled like vomit. No re-gifting there. Other gifts include rock candy from three holidays ago, confetti, a large piece of wood, a curtain that not only didn't match anything, but also worse, did not cover the entire window. (Side note, I’m not a whittler.)

I am an avid reader, but was surprised to receive a book on paperclips. Mind you, I do have a book titled, "Useless Facts," but I didn't have a clue as to what to do with a book that does not supply the origin of paperclips, but just pictures of different shapes and colors.

Some of the greatest gifts I have received are a box of paper for my printers, a jumbo pack of CD’s from Sam’s Club, a curling iron, candy, and more candy. Additionally, stuffed animals dressed in valentine attire and valentine t-shirts.

Yes, I should be appreciative that someone – anyone - considered me on this or any other day, but while looking around my house, I have concluded that there are too many people who are less fortunate.

While I complain about the hideous blouse, someone is walking around wishing and hoping just to have anything warm to wear. While I complain about the books, I fail to recall how many schools that do not have books at all. Perhaps the children wouldn’t be able to read the paperclip book, but someone could find it enlightening just to enjoy the bright pictures.

In short, I suppose I am being too picky and am wrong about the males and females enjoying lover’s day, but that neither should purchase gifts, but instead do something more memorable. Instead of spending money, try just going to a movie. If you need a babysitter (dog sitter), stay home, put the kids to bed, and have a nice romantic night just for the two of you. But no matter what you do, enjoy one another and be mindful of not what you want, but what you already have. Look around your house, inside your closets, drawers, etc, and ask yourself if you are in need of anything other than a hug and a kiss.

There is only one other holiday that receives as much commercialized attention as Valentines Day, and both are a beautiful reminder of peace and love. It brings people together and that is truly divine and often sweet.


©Keeba Smith
Hankered Writer and Feared Compressor
K Smith is an author, and social issues commentator

Monday, January 01, 2007

It Is Winter Time

It's winter time

In 1966, just two days before Christmas, a pregnant woman was walking to the bus stop to continue her Christmas shopping for her children. While on her journey, she slipped and fell on some ice and immediately was rushed to the hospital to deliver what may or may not be her bundle of joy.

I am one who just enjoys cold weather. Perhaps it is because I was either born during or right after a snow storm; either or, I truly love it.

Growing up in Denver, I have witnessed and enjoyed many light snowfalls and snow storms and have had very few complaints while facing the elements. Its winter and usually during the winter months, it snows.

Some scientists have reported that winter is caused by the Earth being farther from the Sun and thus, there is winter, while others report that in the Northern Hemisphere, winter occurs when the Earth is its closest to the Sun. I am not a scientist but am certain that winter means cold and a chance for snow.

Many of my relatives, friends and Colorado natives are aware that during the winter months, it snows and are also aware that Colorado can be a tad fickle when choosing when and when not to allow the cold fluff to fall from the skies. I almost always expect it to snow by Halloween night and I almost always expect snow from October through February and/or March. It is wintertime and I can not help but to expect snow. However, just because I expect it, does not always means that it will, nonetheless, it is common for winter and snow to go hand in hand. It’s life.

While Googleing the reason or makings of snow, I have found two explanations. The easy definition is explained as snow is frozen water that falls from the sky and all snowflakes have six sides, but no two snowflakes are the same. And a harder explanation is explained as: Snow is precipitation in the form of small white ice crystals and snow is formed from the water vapor in the air at a temperature of less than 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Furthermore, scientists report that winter is a time where the ground is put to sleep and is Mother Nature’s way of healing the ground. Cool huh?

I’m not a scientist, but am keenly aware that snow is not always beautifully enjoyed. As a child it was neat when it snowed like crazy because the roads were closed and hence the schools declared it a snow-day. Whew, those were the good old days for the children - a chance for us to get in some extra playtime. Alternatively, those days may not have been so great for our parents as I’m sure they needed a break from the loud noises those snow-days would bring. So, when our toys became the usual humdrum and we weren’t so gladly received at home, there was nothing else for us to do but dress in the warmest of garments, grab snow shovels and begin our frost-like journey. We would walk for what seemed like hours knocking on doors in search of work. Do kids still do that today?

Back then, it was a fantasized venture, but today, it is something else. As adults, we are expected to show up for work come rain or snow, heavy traffic or colicky children. No matter what, our employers anticipate seeing our faces and if not, are willing to hire someone who is more reliable at any occasion - a new face. Heck, I recall working in a cold warehouse while suffering a terrible cold. Would I dare call in sick? Heck no, well, only if I wanted to be replaced. Remember that I love cold weather and I shouldn’t have a problem with it, but I have.

I remember driving up Colfax Avenue at a mere speed of 20 miles per hour when the light changed from green to a quick yellow and then dead red. I pumped my breaks to stop. But wait, my car wasn’t stopping but instead kept rolling into the intersection where a thousand ton 18-wheeler was approaching. Was I scared? Well, lets just say I’m glad I used the bathroom before leaving the house.

Another time, my employer closed the office early due to a heavy snowstorm and there I was slowly driving down York Street when a red jeep jumped in my path. Again, I pumped my brakes, but nothing but the curb would stop my wheels from rolling. At the time, I believed I uttered an obscenity, but today, I can not recall if I paid a visit to the ladies room prior to leaving work.

Yes, over the years, I’ve had some good and bad times with the snow, but nothing beats the time I was all dolled up for a date. Yes, child, you should have seen me. I had on this little cute outfit and I assumed that I was dress to kill until I stepped outside and wham! I fell on my buttocks so hard I could see stars. (No exaggeration.) I was no longer dressed to kill, but was about to be killed.

Most Coloradoans will never forget the "Blizzard of 82." I was still in high school at the time, but I will never forget the effects on the State. Everything from the schools, the majority of most businesses and all transportation ceased operation. The only businesses that were open, were those who had gotten stranded there and had no choice but to continue serving a handful of customers. Many vehicles and people were stranded and my dad and I spent hours shoveling snow. It was a time that I’ll never forget. And if I can remember, it was reported that many babies were conceived at that time, so I suppose some people were busy doing something other than wrestling with a blizzard.

In 2003, my spouse and I woke up to a winter wonderland. Yes, it was winter! We did not own a snow blower, so we just manually shoveled snow. We shoveled at 5:00 AM and then again at 9:00 AM. And after a few hours, the ground was covered again, so we shoveled some more. Then, my husband had a wise idea to venture out. (Bad, bad idea!) We drove to his place of employment and low and behold, we were stuck. Hmmm, who would have thought? While we disagreed to disagree some more, we got into a fight while attempting to remove the massive amount of snow from underneath my tires. Nothing seemed to work, so one of us had a bright idea to put my beautiful, expensive sweater underneath the tires. Hold on! As I reminisce this un-treasured moment, I can only say that this winter snow and my ruined sweater is what one might deem grounds for divorce. Well, I got so mad, that I buttoned up my coat and braced myself for a long winter-walk home. I was cold as winter-Alps. My nose had snot coming out and yes, I was cold and yes, I was madder than mad. It was a long cold winter walk home.

My husband and I were watching the news and the weatherman said it was going to snow. Yes, it’s December 2006, and usually Coloradoans can expect snow during this winter month. The news reporters stated that an outgoing flight had been cancelled as well as one incoming flight.

"Wow," I said. "It must be serious as the airport is already canceling flights before the snow."

During the night, the snow fell and the white fluff covered the ground so my husband and I went out to shovel. A few hours would pass, and we would shovel some more. In all, I suppose he and I shoveled a little more than 6 to 7 feet of snow, which is not an easy task. My neighbors would watch us out there shoveling, but no one enjoys the backbreaking art of removing snow, but it has to be done and we see no reason to allow it to pile up, but it does.

Snow in the wintertime is nothing new to Colorado.

When my husband and I came in from a bout of shoveling for the fourth time, we could see the Governor and Mayor on television talking about snow removal. Both government officials asked that people stay off the streets until the snow was removed.

People don’t listen. On the other hand, perhaps they don’t know it’s snowing and/or not aware as to how much or how heavy this "Blizzard" is going to be. I’m not sure as I hate to discern the knowledge of others. For whatever reason, I just assume that everyone is a lot smarter than me and if I know, then they do too. (Does everyone watch the news or at least the weather folks?)

During the first "Blizzard of 2006", people complained that the Mayor didn’t do enough to remove the snow. During and after the two "Blizzards", people complained that their flights were cancelled. People have complained that the City should have removed the snow in front of their home. It is not a main route, but these people wanted the snow removed – immediately! Today, I read a comment from someone who is mad at the Rocky Mountain Newspaper for not delivering their newspapers. The best complaint of all, was those who complained that the snowplows finally came, but made too much noise. Lord, help us!

My husband and I are both lazy, so we pay extra to have the newspaper placed at our front door instead of delivered at the end of the driveway. Guess what. The Duran’s were unable to deliver the paper to the front door the morning after the "Blizzard," however they did deliver it the day after. We are lazy, but we did shovel both the sidewalk and driveway and all the way out into the street. We didn’t need anything from the stores, but did venture out to Wal-Mart. We did what we normally would have done and that was making good of a somewhat bad situation. (It’s a good thing he didn’t want to drive to his job.)

Lets say that governor Owens, mayor Hickenlooper, DIA and the like, didn’t do anything to cease operation of the City. Lets just assume that they remained calm about the "Blizzard" and someone was killed. Worse, if a plane filled with passengers and workers were killed. Would the complainers still flap their gums in disgust? Shoot, normally, the people have to wait until something bad happens before the government even considers taking precautions.

I was not stranded at DIA or on the road, but I was stuck at home. The roads were closed, so I was unable to visit family, go to the mall, out to eat or the movies. Due to the road closures, it was reported that the snow would give us no place to go.

Who knew it was going to snow? I didn’t. The meteorologist only learned of it a few days before the rest of us, so he/she did their job.

For the folks visiting Colorado for the first time, now you know. For the Colorado natives, well you knew, but ignored it or thought you were super bad and ventured out anyway and now seeking a scapegoat. For you gum flappers, don’t blame the government folks, or meteorologists. Don’t blame the government for not removing the snow faster as I’m almost certain they did everything in their power to keep you quiet; please, they are seeking reelection or another government seat. Therefore, do you think they need your complaints? Please, they can not necessarily purchase more equipment as there isn’t any bodies to operate them. (You can blame that on the Village Idiot.) Meteorologists aren’t gods, they are just normal human beings reporting what they feel to be true. (At least that’s my thought anyway.)

Its wintertime and often times during the winter, it snows.

The next time you’re stranded on the road during a "Blizzard," be thankful that you’re safe and not stranded underneath the snow, hurt, bleeding and suffering. Yes, you have to use the bathroom, but I’m sure you could find some relief. Yes, you’re hungry, but imagine if you were homeless and do not have a television or radio to be warned of a "Blizzard." I’m sure the vagrants had it worse than any of you. And those of you who are upset that the plows didn’t come down your street. Well, the homeless folks live in the streets and I’m sure they would have loved to have the streets cleared, let alone a nights rest under a warm roof. For those stranded at DIA, well, at least you were inside safe (on the ground) and not fearing for your life thousands of feet in the air during a "Blizzard."

Its wintertime and often times during the winter, it snows.

I remember the winters when we didn’t get much snow at all and then when the summer heat scorched our lawns, we complained that there was a water shortage. Ya see, the time to blame the government folks is not during the wintertime, but during the summer months when they allow the Water Board to increase your bill; all because they can.

Next times choose your battles wisely. Moreover, remember the old adage, "Never miss a good opportunity to shut up." Remember Bill McNichols?

©Keeba Smith Hankered Writer and Feared Compressor K Smith is an author, and social issues commentator

Winter is one of the four seasons of temperate zones. It is the season with the shortest days and the lowest temperatures. In areas further away from the equator, winter is often marked by snow.
Depending on place and culture, what is considered to be the start and end of winter vary. Contemporary
meteorology takes winter to be the months of December, January, and February in the Northern Hemisphere and June, July, and August in the Southern Hemisphere. However, many cultures in Europe and East Asia consider winter to begin in November.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Antioch Baptist Church

Antioch Baptist Church
"Annual Church Picnic and Community Connection"
(July 15, 2006)

The community social event was to begin at 1:00PM and last until 5:00. I was running behind my own set schedule as I planned to arrive at the park at noon to catch the early attendees and a chance to take pictures of the setup from beginning to end. In addition, I thought I might lend a helping hand where needed.

With two lenses in tow, my corpulent feet did not touch the grounds until 1:05PM where I met a scattered group setting up tables and chairs and more tables, chairs, tents and booths. In this assemblage, was an exhibit of different cultures - some I had known since I was just a small child, others I had seen only a few times, but there were many more that I did not know and additionally, did not have an inkling I ever would have the opportunity to meet but would later realize the benefits of this connection.

Antioch Baptist Church held a picnic slash community connection celebration. While this is their 46th annual picnic celebration, it was their first community connection with church members inviting friends of friends and the entire neighborhood with an opportunity to network. They did not have music, yet you could hear a symphony of hearty sounds of children laughing and a jovial circle of people socializing while playing a game of cards. Additionally, a vigorous unbroken sound of a basketball or two, hitting the pavement. Yes, it was an event that I was glad to have attended as it was nice to see men and women both actively and willingly share in the duties of serving delicious meals prepared by some of the best cooks this side of Denver Colorado.

To my left was a five-foot table where two women sat dressed in garments that immediately caught my eye and I was certain I wanted to know why they selected their attire. They were friendly and very open to correct me when I presumed they were palm readers, but explained that they were "Palms readers." I wished I had carried a pen and paper to jot down a few things, but knew I would be visiting their corner [very soon.] It is almost odd that I can remember a year or even years ago, but my short-term memory often escapes me, yet with all of the events taking place, I was certain that the women cloaked in purple and black would remain in the front of my peduncle.

After visiting a small gathering of friends both old and new, I wandered to my right where a small group of men and women had setup an insurance information booth for United America Insurance Company. While snapping a few pictures, I stopped to pick up a pamphlet. I was not in need of additional health insurance, but after talking with one of the representatives, I immediately found that their Company might be able to assist me, my spouse and possibly my mother in law.

Ginger was very informative while explaining their services and their ability to provide a plan to cover not only my illness, but my family members as well. She took time to educate me on the differences in Medicare and Medicaid, as I am one who pretends to have knowledge about such services, but am admittedly clueless. When she informed me of an affordable plan for preexisting conditions, I willingly yielded my telephone number.

After a few snap-shots of several memorable events, I took time to engage in small talk with a dear family friend who I had just talked to days earlier, yet our reunion was most notable. We chatted as though we had not seen each other in years as this gathering brought such an allure of peace and harmony.

While the heat was often unnoticeable, I couldn’t resist from talking to the U.S. Army National Guard recruiter who I thought would surely detonate under her heavy-doubled army fatigues. Ms. Whitehead was not a woman that I thought would be in the Army. I mean, if you see her, you could easily declare she favored a movie star; and before bullying her about recruiting me, I revealed to her whom I felt she resembled. Aside from the sunglasses she so proudly wore with her clunky army garb, she could easily pass for a beautiful Julie Roberts [with braces.]

Ms. Whitehead-Roberts refused to accept my endorsement once she learned I had both a physical and mental illness. Humph, I suppose it makes perfect sense that neither the Village Idiot or gun-totting Cheney were not members of any branch of the United States military.

"I don’t think they will accept you," she said with a smile that didn’t appear to be affected by the sweltering heat.

She was comfortably ignoring the enemy a tactic they must teach in the military. Nope, I won't make it.

"But I have a lot to offer," I said begging to see a recruitment form.
"No, they don’t accept people under such conditions."
"What is the age limit?"
"Well, I’m just a bit younger than that so I believe you should accept my application and if not, I will take back my gorgeous Julie Roberts compliment."
"Welllll," she said, but still refusing to show concern of the scorching sun.
"Welllll, then I hope you get a sunburn and instead of looking like Julie Roberts, you now favor the demon in the movie ‘Raw Head Rex.’"
"Sorry, but I don’t think that’s gonna fly."

I became a little irritable with the heat baring down on me as the oils in my hair seeped onto the back of my now greasy soiled blouse.

"Look, I have respect and much admiration for all 4 and 5 branches of the U.S. military, but the way I see it, is that my government owes me. They lied to me," I said.

She just smiled and allowed me to continue rambling while comparing the heat to the hot air spilling from my mouth.

"Look," I said while continuing my own self-torment. "They lied to me about the invasion, Abernathy, WMD’s and so much more, why do I have to tell the truth about this?"
"Hmmm," was her reply.

Uh huh, I knew I had her when a pretense of colossal of sweat danced on her covered forehead and then dripped down both sides of her cheeks. I almost felt sorry for her.

I continued, "Okay, I won’t stoop to their level, but I will sink low enough and play their game by not revealing the truth about my health. So you see, you can stop trying to hide, but I’m not going away until you enlist me. ... what I will do, is volunteer my service to the U.S. military, but certainly will not volunteer anything concerning my health."

Finally she offered a T-shirt bearing the symbol of Aurora Mental Health and calmly replied, "This should help you skip the essential demands with immediate help from your local government."

I continued my journey, discovering people who felt victimized when I approached with cameras in tow. One stated they didn’t want to be caught eating and others who didn’t want their picture taken at all. As taught by a very respectable photographer, I did not take their pictures but strolled around for others to taunt. When I had a target in mind, someone interrupted and said I must go over to the fence and take a picture of a man working. I didn’t think it was such a big deal as I noticed many diligent workers - working in such harmony. However, this "worker" was not your usual run-of-the-mill all time volunteer worker.

I walked near the fence where a long large table held an overabundance of cuisine’s and I thought this is enough food to feed a great multitude. My greedy eyes glared at the food as if it were beckoning me. It was hard to resist although I did and instead, just flashed a very admirable and content smile while greeting the amiable women as I passed.

There in the corner stood an oversized barbecue pit with two men feverishly cooking. Yes, he was there, on the end, opening a package of hamburgers. His head was down as he attempted to make an opening; he wasn’t aware that I was preparing to snap his picture. However, his comrade noticed me but I motioned him to be quiet while pointing to the "worker." When my presence was known, the frustrated-package-of-food-opener, let out a repressed laugh and continued his package combat.

While I had every intention in paying a visit to the Mary Kay booth, I ran into a lady by mere accident. Her name is Yvette with a last name that I can hardly pronounce correctly let alone spell. Nonetheless, I found something most striking in her than anyone else in the organized accumulated mass. She was a busy woman seeking change and the words she spoke allowed me to see her impressive refinement both inside and out. Yvette, only a few years my elder is on a quest to help change society and by doing so, was setting her primary target on our youth. We talked about how it was in the day’s back then - when we were both just little girls respecting not only our parents and elders, but our keen awareness of our community as well. She said we are responsible to get back on track and before she departed, I felt eager to leave her my card in hopes that we could combine resources and remain steadfast on a future that we both were sure to change for the betterment of all.

With both a still lens and a digital camera strapped around my over heated-hardly-complaining-about-the-heat body, one of the cameras decided to leave overdrive but kicked into, I’m not working right now mode. But thank God, the stalemate didn’t last and before long, was back in action again.

After a few more shots, I took a recess and rested my weary load on the ground where I found myself seated in front of the "Palms Readers." I was asked my first name and then my favorite Palms. 23 and/or 92 are my favorites, either or, the "Reader" on the right swiftly spun the pages of her Bible and began to read. As she read, she took time to graciously submit her own interpretation of each verse and completed her reading with a prayer.

Now mind you, I’m not against prayer, but have much discernment as to who prays with and for me. Nonetheless, I was eagerly determined to learn what these women were about and why they felt to be masters of interpreting the chapters in the book of Palms - reading while dressed in their gypsy-like garb; I was observant and most entertained by the comments that followed.

Left reader [with the shaky hands:] I sense you love your grandmother.
Testee: I never knew either of the strong women, as they were both deceased before my earthly arrival.
Right reader [with gum on the right of her mouth:] Perhaps you miss them.
Testee: I’ve never had a Lexus or Mercedes or any other expensive vehicle, but is it possible for me to miss having them too?
I thought, perhaps they should start calling me, "Bymanitials," ‘cause they certainly were not listening when I said I didn’t know either of them.
Right reader: Perhaps you would like one.
Testee: Just call my by my initials as it is obvious you are not listening but eager to perform your own mental masturbation.
And then finally, right reader: I sense you are afraid, but I want you to know God does not want you to have fear.
Testee: I fear God, but who doesn’t.

The woman on the right mentioned fear again, and I was certain she hit the jackpot! Immediately, I begin to fear for my life! Yikes, I began to wonder when the earth would finally open and just swallow me whole and/or allow me to escape to… lets say Iraq or North Korea and if that wasn’t about to happen soon, just an easy escape to Arizona with an express route to Mexico.

I was blessed and without fear to finally approach the Mary Kay display where I found relief when I picked up a pamphlet regarding mental depression. (Fear, get behind me, Fear, get behind me!) Before making note of the Mary Kay reception, I took liberty to read a brochure regarding youth activities and was again in awe of the many establishments who were concerned about our youth. I then wondered if Yvette had any connection to these organizations.

I was surprised yet pleased to see my brother-thru-the-law make an appearance to represent the Denver Firefighter Recruitment Division. While I only spent a few minutes in his presence, I was glad he took the opportunity to talk to a few young men.

Although the heat continued, I remained calm and was certainly thankful that this year’s church picnic was not rained out like the year prior. (A time I will never forget.)

From time to time, a few people gathered to master a few fast and short games of dominoes. While watching, I reminisced about me being a master of the game as a youngster, but now with aged-time, I had grown weary and forgetful. (Is this a sign of Alzheimer’s?) The game ended quickly but not before a few players exchanged seats.

As the day grew on, a group of people came and went and all the while, I enjoyed watching the children play accordingly and many groups networking in a peaceful surrounding.

While I normally refuse to expose my impatient body and indurate scalp to 100 degree plus weather, it was well worth a day of fun in the sun. One could not help but to uncover the outcome of each realm; partaking in each eventful moment - allowing a chance not only to gather around friends both old and new, but a chance to learn and be enlighten. And if you didn't take something away from this event, then something is definitly wrong...

Although I encountered minor equipment problems and a mishap with a freeloader, I enjoyed the gathering Antioch Baptist Church put in place. With Pastor Hall, Rhonda Morgan and many other helpful eager and tireless church members hard at work, this Annual Church Picnic/Community Connection was a great-unified success.

Community Attendees:

  • Antioch Baptist Church
    2500 Lafayette Street
    Denver CO 80205
  • Colorado Army National Guard
    Recruiting and Retention NCO
    5275 Franklin Street
    Denver, CO 80216
  • United America Insurance Company
    9350 W. Cross Drive, #101
    Littleton, CO 80123
  • Denver Firefighter Recruitment
    Civil Service Commission
    1570 Grove Street (Federal & 16th Ave.)
    Denver, CO
  • Youth Link - 720.865.8000
  • Neighborhood Ministries
  • Palms Readers
  • Mary Kay
  • Avon

©Keeba Smith
Hankered Writer and Feared Compressor
K Smith is an author, columnist and social issues commentator.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Declaration of Independence July 4th

Happy Fourth of July

As America celebrates its Declaration of Independence, I am only praying that the day ends and begins quickly and quietly. Now, I know many are disappointed that more and more Colorado Counties are restricting fireworks but our State is once again facing a very dry season in more ways then one.

For one, we must keep in mind that many fires are burning across the State and there is little officials can do to keep homeowner’s safe and protect them from having their properties burned. A firecracker can easily ignite a fire and cause millions of dollars in damages. And while the cost is continuously rising, this certainly does not help but to spread the cost to all.

We should also consider that the unemployment is low and many of us have either lost jobs and/or are doing everything we can to maintain the current ones.

Many of us work more then one job, as it certainly is not easy trying to make ends meet in this current economy. Therefore, we need to go to bed early just to get up early to continue our employment status. If the loud bangs and booms of the firecracker celebration continue through all hours of the night and early morning, it is harder for us employees and employers to receive the required rest. We have to make a living and we can only plead with you that you show respect for the respectable working class.

On the other hand, there are many of us have children and because it is summer break, we greatly desire to share in this iconic celebration with our children. The joys on our children’s faces when they view the multi-colors flying freely in the air, is memorable and leaves us all in awe of such beauty. The sparklers and odd noises are fun while sharing with family and friends.

However, imagine that there are ways to view even more attractive fireworks then anyone could ever have in their own backyards. By clicking here, you can find a list of Firework Displays from Arvada to Winter Park. Consider that there will be a plethora of fireworks on display in these areas not to mention the entertainment and safety.

I pray that everyone enjoys their Fourth of July Celebration. In addition, I pray that it is safe and celebrated in the manner in which it was designed to be celebrated.

Declaration of Independence
Nothing to Declare

The Declaration of Independence is the document in which the thirteen colonies in North America declared themselves independent of the Kingdom of Great Britain and explained their justifications for doing so. The Continental Congress ratified it on July 4, 1776. This anniversary is celebrated as Independence Day all around the United States of America. The handwritten copy signed by the delegates to the Congress is on display in the National Archives in Washington, D.C.

©Keeba Smith - Hankered Writer and Feared Compressor
K Smith is an author, columnist and social issues commentator

Friday, June 30, 2006

MEDICARE...Dave & Sharyn Madison

I do not know the Madison’s personally, but painfully, their story hits home for many (TOO MANY) Americans:

"Medicare’s Sinkhole"
Senior citizens stuck in drug program's coverage gap
At first, health insurance with the new Medicare prescription drug plan seemed like a good deal to Dave and Sharyn Madison.
Then Dave Madison got cancer.
That was when the Madisons found out about the "hole" in their drug plan.
This month, their co-pay was $1,307 for the oral chemotherapy Dave Madison needs to fight his pancreatic cancer.
That seemed like a lot, until they learned that in July, they'll have to pay the entire cost of that drug: $2,587.
"We've hit that doughnut hole," Sharyn Madison said.
The "doughnut hole" is a designed coverage gap in the new Medicare program, which began in January.
Almost 7 million senior citizens with Medicare drug coverage are expected to fall into the doughnut hole this year, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation study.
The Medicare drug benefit's basic coverage, known as Part D, pays nothing until drug costs reach $250.
The plan then covers 75 percent of costs - until the annual bill reaches $2,250 - with the individual paying the remaining 25 percent.
"From $2,250 to $5,100, the plan pays zero," said Mike Fierberg, a regional spokesman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
"The beneficiary pays 100 percent," Fierberg said. "That's what's called the doughnut hole."
The expenditures are calculated annually, so anyone who needs a lot of drugs faces the gap year after year.
Some plans also cover fewer drugs or pay less for particular drugs.
Dave Madison, 66, will be one of those people. Doctors have told him he'll have to stay on his grueling chemotherapy regimen - an intravenous treatment once a week for three weeks, then one week off, plus the oral drug Tarceva - for the rest of his life.
Congress intentionally created the coverage gap, said Vicki Gottlich, a senior policy attorney with the Center for Medicare Advocacy.
"Congress wanted to fund catastrophic needs and make sure everybody got something," Gottlich said.
"The only way they could do that for the amount of money they intended to allocate was to create the doughnut hole," she said.
Even with the coverage gap, the 10-year price tag for Medicare drug coverage is currently estimated to be $724 billion, far more than the $395 billion originally projected, according to federal figures.
Congressional reasoning isn't much solace to the Madisons, whose fixed income, including Dave's pension from 40 years as a bricklayer, amounts to about $34,000 a year.
"There's something wrong with the way they wrote Medicare Part D because people who earn as little as we live on and have worked hard all our lives, it drops us out of the picture," Sharyn Madison said.
Before Medicare Part D, many drug companies offered special assistance for people who couldn't afford lifesaving medication.
But there is confusion over whether such assistance is legal under Part D, leading many companies to cut back or cut off that assistance to seniors.
Medicare's Fierberg said drug companies can still legally provide drugs.
But Debra Charlesworth, a spokeswoman for the pharmaceutical company Genentech, said many drug companies are awaiting official clarification on what assistance they can and can't provide.
Genentech makes Tarceva, the drug Dave Madison needs.
Since January, pharmaceutical assistance has dried up, according to Thomas Stephansky, a social worker with Rocky Mountain Cancer Center's Aurora clinic.
"With Medicare Part D, we're told patients can no longer get assistance through the manufacturer directly," he said.
In Colorado, 436,900 seniors, about 83 percent of those eligible, have signed up, Fierberg said.
They've enrolled in one of 43 private-insurance plans offered in the state.
The monthly premiums vary from no charge for some HMOs to about $73.
It is possible to buy coverage that includes a much smaller doughnut hole, Fierberg said.
"A number of plans in Colorado do offer coverage in the doughnut hole, particularly for generic drugs," he said, adding that those plans cost more.
Nationwide, the Center for Medicare Advocacy is starting to hear stories of people with expensive drug regimens - especially cancer patients, and people with HIV/AIDS or multiple chronic conditions - who are struggling, Gottlich said.
Advocates and health-care providers are seeing those people in Colorado as well.
"I've had patients who have gone into debt, who are getting second mortgages, putting expenses on credit cards, even filing for bankruptcy," Stephansky said.
Sharyn Madison fears that sort of financial catastrophe. "We've always had really, really good credit," she said. "Now it's becoming questionable because we're struggling to pay our bills every month. We used to be able go to the movies or out to dinner. Now we just put all the money into medicine and hope it saves his life."
There are already 10 bills in Congress that would reduce or eliminate the doughnut hole, including one co-sponsored by Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar.
Gottlich said there is little hope that any of the measures will become law. "I think Congress is reluctant to open up anything about Part D," she said.
Andrew Nannis, Salazar's spokesman, said making a change in an election year "would be tough."
"However, as more and more people either butt up against the doughnut hole or realize the benefit isn't ... giving them more coverage than they had with private insurers, it's going to be hard for members of Congress to ignore," Nannis said.
Meantime, Sharyn and Dave Madison are scraping together money for his July chemotherapy and have applied for aid through the drug company.
"We have some of it, but we're starting to panic," Sharyn Madison said.
She said they will probably have to sell Dave's truck to get the entire amount.
After July, they will be through the doughnut hole - at least for this year.
"Then on January 1st, we have to start it all over again," Sharyn Madison said.

Yep, the V.I. has done it again by telling folks to bend over and take it up the tail. Nope, you don’t get a reach-around, grease or even a kiss, just bend over and take it.

Medicare will not be fixed until one thing happens and the solution is simple. Make ALL politicians eligible for Medicare and Social Security. Take away their lifetime benefits and make them vulnerable and poverty-stricken just like the people and then and only then will the problems of Medicare and Social Security go away.

The average annual salary for most politicians is over $150.000.

I don’t know why anyone would stand by those who refuse to show any interest in the people, but easily squander away money. Politicians should only receive raises when the minimum wage is adjusted. Why pay politicians over $150,000 a year when all they do is lie about where the money is spent - all while the people suffer on minimum wage. Most politicians claim they are looking out for the people so one can assume they are risking their lives while doing the work for the people; as if they are performing a job that they love. They are public servants and should behave in such a manner. In short, cut their pay and give some of that surplus back to the people who blindly stand by them.

When our politicians get the same treatment as the people, only then will they realize the sinister acts of government.

Only after working 40 plus years and coming down with illnesses such as cancer and other debilitating -and possibly deadly diseases, will our politicians change their minds about fixing the problem.

Sadly, the people have worked hard all of their lives not seeking a handout but merely expecting to provide for their families, but in the end, get trampled by this polluted government. Consider Mr. Roy E. Johnson who has served in Vietnam only now to be a steady worker on downtown Denver streets as a beggar. How does our government repay him for his tour of duty? Yep, come up with a new article that says panhandling should be outlawed. Furthermore, they want to fine those who give to the panhandlers. Yikes, they are at it again!

It is not surprising, but what is most baffling is the menials who continue to endorse them; contributing to the pain on the people. Is it any wonder that people commit suicide? Okay, that to me is very drastic, but is it any wonder that crime is on the rise? Yes there are more people, but the government should have done something better to control that problem. Humph! You see a huge increase in fraudulent activity while at the same time, more homes in foreclosure. Yes, our money, MY money could be spent more wisely. Luckily our government has made the choice to spend YOUR money on wood investigations all that is costing the people only a small amount of $6 million dollars per year.

No big deal.

I read a study that claims if you were conceived at a young age, then there is a possibility that you’ll live longer. I suppose that study could coincide with the same report that claims people are living longer today then they did 10 years ago. Okay, that’s cool, but my question remains why? Why is it that the Fuzzy Math guy thinks this is so great under this administration? Is it because they have more people to take advantage of? Is it because those so-called lucky folk who live so long that they can now endure more pain? How lucky can one be? Yes Mr. V.I. I can certainly see why that is something to cheer about.

How is that there are so many homeless people are living in a park only yards away from the State Capital?

I pray that the following will do more then just waste the people’s money, but make a stand and do right by and for the people:
Mr. Bill Owens, Ms. Diana DeGette, Mr. Wayne Allard, Mr. Ken Salazar, Mr. Mark Udall, Mr. John Salazar, Ms. Marilyn Musgrave, Mr. Joel Hefley, Mr. Thomas Tancredo, Mr. Bob Beauprez, Mr. John Hickenlooper, Colorado’s Health Care Task Force, the lobbyists, council representatives; ALL elected officials.

And for all the Madisons, I want you to know that you’re not alone, but that there are people out there who care and are praying for you and yours.

©Keeba Smith

Hankered Writer and Feared Compressor
K Smith is an author, columnist and social issues commentator

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Ode to the Old Clothes

Old Clothes

She said her husband’s underwear was so ragged that the crotch would wave in the wind as he walked. She said he refused to let go of the underwear although she had purchased several new pairs just for him. The wife just could not understand as to why he loved those old pants.

Over the years, I have listened to women complain that their spouses refuse to say goodbye to old clothing and each of these women seemed clueless as to why. Some men who love these old raggedy clothes deem them a necessity in their lives seemingly as a comforter. I presume it is similar to a child with a pacifier - a must have to sedate.

As a woman who thought it elegant to wear matching dress, shoes and purse, I thought these classy tattered men just failed to look good for the women in their lives; forgetting mom’s adage, Make sure you have on clean underwear just in case you get into an accident.

Now I know these men knew what mom meant and that they were very obedient to their mothers. Yes, they were men who actually listened to what mom said. She said that the underwear had to be clean NOT store bought. There is a huge difference.

While growing up, my parents had 7 crumb-snatchers to feed and clothe as well as themselves. Now count the number of people on your fingers and you will see that amounts to 9 people to purchase the necessities for. Often time, we would receive hand-me-downs from family friends and/or shop at our nearest Kmart. We could not always afford brand new clothing, but my mother said that as long as the clothes were clean, then we were in good shape.

"If you just have one dress, make sure that one dress is clean; no missing buttons or holes."
Okay mom, we heard ya.

I got my first job when I was 15 and found that I was able to purchase the necessities of an overabundance of clothes. Yes, each pair of shoes matched my purses, which matched my new dresses. I thought I looked good. Every chance I got, I would drive to the mall and pickup a dress or two along with the matching necessary accessories of more shoes, purses, earrings, fingernail polish, bracelets and other items to fill my over crowded bedroom. (M.S. and the other homemaker-decorating-queens would be proud that I was able to store over 200 pairs of shoes in such a small closet space.)

Often I would receive opposition from those who did not understand that just because you have a brown pair of shoes does not necessarily mean that you have taupe, tan, or even auburn. In addition, the color black comes in more than one shade of black and any intelligent person is aware of the different styles and shades of gold, gray, silver, blue, light blue, baby blue, sky blue, green, winter green and hunter green. Please even white has different, noticeable shades; bone, bone-white, off white, pearly white, egg shell white, golden pearl, etc.

While I was purchasing all of these nonsense items, it never occurred to me that I was spending my college money, a down payment for a home, additional life insurance, payment for a car and other important things, but I was looking and feeling good for the moment. It wasn’t until my dad said, "Keeba, give me some of that money to put away for you," did I realize that there was such a thing called saving for a rainy day.

Humph, who did he think he was? It was MY money and I should be able to spend it any way I wanted. Uh huh, at least so I thought. My dad drove me to Colorado National Bank and purchased a few savings bonds. Please! What the heck was I suppose to do with those pieces of paper? They didn’t have any value; for the moment. I wasn’t happy, but I suppose that just how it was going to have to be; at least until I was able to afford to live under my own roof.

While I was able to increase my waistline at McDonalds, and purchase more cheap shoes, I bought food for the house and paid both the electricity and water bill. (I had to do my little part.)

I am thankful I was able to learn from my mother after she endured much pain while continuously wearing cheap shoes.

Thanks to my dad saving my little funds, I was able to purchase a reliable vehicle. Of course, I wasn’t too bright when I allowed my car insurance to lapse at the same time as this marijuana-head man smashed into the back of my car. Yes, I suffered in more ways then one when I walked away with severe whiplash and an uninsured vehicle that now looked like a badly smashed-inflexible boot on I-70.

Thanks to my dad in helping me pay some of my creditors who sought me out in the daylight with a flashlight seeking their money when I lost my job.

Thanks to the education system and commonsense that the word, "temporary" is just that, temporary; short-lived and passing. Yes, my job title read, "Temporary Supplemental" and was only gainful and attainable while I was in High School. (I was awfully bright as you can tell.)

Thanks to the excess McDonalds-weight program I learned that additional money would have to be made to cover my body expansion. And that I learned I would no longer eat fast-foods until I gained some type of employment.

Thanks to God, commonsense and experience, that I learned that beauty is temporary and brains are forever, well…

There came a time when I did not mind wearing the same alternated clothes in my closet. And the shoes, well they became hard and discolored while sitting in the uncovered shoeboxes. There came a time when I either grew up or didn’t have much concern as to what I wore, but just that the clothes were clean and neatly pressed. Only age, wisdom and experience would allow me to consider owning a dry cleaning business as well as buying stock in "No-Nonsense Pantyhose." But I was young and the future was never a factor in my temporary mind.

I wished I had gained some knowledge regarding healthy and nutritious eating or lack thereof while dinning at all of those fast food restaurants.

Today, I am a few pounds lighter, but certainly much more aware (not necessarily smarter) of my expenditures. So much so, that I remember my mother telling me that I could own one dress just as long as it is clean and pressed. When I go shopping for clothes, I seek the cheap outlets and for shoes, JC Penny, Sears and shoe outlets.

I’m not proud of the experiences, but am thankful I learned from them, as I certainly would not wish them to define me. In addition, I do not wish to be characterized as a cheap person, but know a good bargain when I see one. Howeverrrrrrrr, my mother thought I was tacky when I went to the thrift store and purchased several blouses to wear throughout the summer months.

"Keeba, aren’t you ashamed?" she asked.
"No," I said. "When we were young, we received hand-me-downs and there wasn’t any problem, so I certainly don’t see a problem with wearing used (recycled) clothes now."
"But that was then and this is now. You can afford to buy clothes from the mall and not some cheap place like the thrift store."
"But mom, you wouldn’t have known if I didn’t tell you now, would you?"
"No, but since I do, well lets just say that you’re just so cheap that you won’t even buy descent clothes."
"Mom, you and daddy told me about saving money." (See I actually did listen.) I continued to state my case. "When you see Bill Gates, he doesn’t look as though he stepped off the run-way, but as if he purchased those wrinkled khaki pants from the second hand store."

My mother let out a shameful and pitiful "ummmmmm," and shook her head.

I hoped she was not so ashamed of me, but I did look good or presentable anyway. I mean, the blouse was neatly ironed and it was certainly clean. Besides, I had a few extra bucks saved in the BANK!

Some years ago, I embarked on an endeavor that greatly took me by surprise. While at home, I didn’t see any reason to continue to play dress-up, but instead took on more of Mr. Gates tactics and dressed down. With my flexible weight, I took on elastic pants from Wal-Mart. Ah! I felt good. Well, maybe not so much, but at least my stomach was not eating the waist-line of my pants. I purchased 8 or 9 pairs of those comfortable fat pants and wore them 7 days a week. Wash and wear was great; no more dry cleaning bills! Yes!

Does anyone know that you can not wash those cheap pants repeatedly and expect them to last more than 1,095 days? Well, I didn’t. Well, not until one of the many black pairs began to produce openings in various places in the material. At first, the material receeded and produced a small hole in the leg, and then in the other and then the knee and shortly after, near the ankle area. It was not until later that a small rip in the seam of the crotch that I noticed I might run into problems. I continued to wash and wear the pants until one day I discovered a large, oversized cavity in the knee and crotch and that I would have to do the unthinkable and pull out the old needle and thread. I sewed the pants without considering wasting gas, time or money to purchase new ones. It cost me no more than 15 to 20 minutes for me to repair my oldies but goodies and to top it off, I looked and felt good; at least for the moment.

One day while visiting my mom, I suppose I was not sitting in the fashionable lady-like stance; I really don’t recall. Anyway, my mothered looked at me and made some reply regarding the unsaved pants. She laughed. I laughed. She continued to laugh and point while I sat with a disfigured look.

After a few bouts with self, I decided to put the stretch pants to rest and try a size 10 Rider jeans. I felt good knowing that my butt was not trying to swallow the back of my jeans.

Every now and then, I pull on a pair of the old goodies and I feel fine, although others seem to have a problem with the holes and permanent stains. I am not going to a fancy diner, and gone are my so-called modeling days. Furthermore, every time Mr. Good Wrench a.k.a. Home-Improvement-Tim Allen-wannabe asks if I want to take a drive, and I say I need to change clothes, he just simply responds, "Who are you dressing up for? Its just you and me… you like fine…lets go."

So, if Mr. Bad Wrench doesn’t have a problem with it, then neither do I. Again, I do not wish to be defined as to who I am or am not.

Proudly, I still own a few pairs of old trusties, but my jeans are wearing fine - for now.

With much compunction, I finally have the courage to say goodbye to one pair of thee most trustworthy clothes I have ever had the great opportunity in owning. I have been good to them and them me as I have certainly got my monies worth. And to all those men who enjoy the waving crotch, keep it up, or down, just as long as you’re comfortable. I won’t judge, but will simply say, I understand.

©Keeba Smith
Hankered Writer and Feared Compressor
K Smith is an author, columnist and social issues commentator

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


Juneteenth means something different for my family; it was my mother’s birthday. As a young child, my mother had thought that the big commotion was a celebration of her birthday, and when she learned it was not, she said she felt overlooked on a day that was special to her. When she told us this, we decided to make the day special - just for her. She said that was then and this is now, however we wouldn’t hear anything of it. We would bake a cake or have one specially made, either or, a larger assemblage of friends and family would come together to celebrate the life of a much appreciated woman. We had barbecue ribs, chicken, hamburger, hotdogs - the works.

Now that my mother is at peace, we are in memorial of a special day of a woman who meant so much to us. We do not celebrate the dead but give thanks to the life she gave and shared with so many.

Here in the Mile High City, Juneteenth is not widely celebrated in the community as the former site has been taken over by big businesses that do not have any desire to view a bunch of Urban folk celebrating a day that commemorates their freedom. There are two small (brief) crowds of people who come together to celebrate, but it is not the same. …. I will not elaborate, but have accepted the day as my mother’s birthday.

Happy Juneteenth to all who celebrated and to the rest….

©Keeba Smith
Hankered Writer and Feared Compressor
K Smith is a columnist, an author, and social issues commentator

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Nothing Is What It Seems

Nothing Is What It Seems

Nothing is what it seems
I can't imagine nothing could cause the beams
To go down on 9/11
I thank God in heaven
It wasn't me or my loved ones there
To face such trauma
To watch a plane fly so freely in the air
Into a building
Causing such damage and turmoil
I can only imagine what was the cause
So many blamed the Muslims
Who believe in Allah
He who does not understand history
Is bound to repeat it self
Was this contempt, greed or wealth
Nothing is what it seems
Oh what a terrible dream
But I am awake watching in fear
Awaking late
Thinking of my dying mother I held dear
This day she went to sleep
Dear Lord, her soul He will keep
From that day forward
It would be remembered
2001, the 11th of September
Sometimes through my own greed
Often times praying to God to heed
And keep my mother here
Sometimes glad she did not awake
To know my heart ached
For this world I did not know
From what will allow me to continue to grow
All of my dreams was just that,
Dreams I would combat
This day forward only God knows I enjoy to remember
The 23rd of December
However I would not enjoy to remember
The 11th of September

Nothing is what it seems
Was it Osama’s dream
(or our very own)
For us to spend millions
And kill over 1,000 American humans
Or our own government at work
Shoving their own dirt
On the American sheep
(can I use drones)
Who believe anything
Oh, America, please God keep
Us safe; watching us from being taken
For thinking as we should
On our own instead of being petrified old wood
I'd believe if I could
We are the god of the world
When it comes to our beliefs
Should I remain a sheep

Nothing is what it seems
I still hold on to my dreams

Osama from Afghanistan?
Will we ever find the man
Who if found, will be held responsible
For an insensible plan
But is it all that impossible
A man who went to congress for money
Now that is plausible
His term had just began
How inconceivable
But perhaps believable
He appears
Like a deer
Scared, caught in the lights
Stop this plight
And allow us to live our dreams
‘Cause nothing is what it seems
He peers like an idiot
Please quit
That's just it!
He peers
Stop and allow our fears
To cease
What about the peace?
Plausible it was our own to cause this terrible thing
Reminder: in America, freedom rings

Possibly it was an act
To know the seat was stolen is a fact
The faithful train need to be trained
The economy is in trouble
Mess around and hit a triple double
(watch out Korea, Iran and Iraq)
Things like this has happened before
How soon we forgot
Here again history is repeating itself
But put those dusty books away you don't need em'
Return them to the shelf
Who can gamble our fate
So boldly and go to Kuwait
We stand to see our own demise
It's no surprise
They call it liberty
The government has decided without evidence
That Iraq is guilty
Comply or take the ride
Have we forgotten the war in Afghanistan
Or have we just scrapped the plan
Aren't we spreading ourselves a bit just too thin
Picking fights
The size of a small country but will we win
The battle or loose the war
Remind me once again
Just what are we fighting for?
Peace and liberty
For you or me

I didn't ask for the fight
Don't I have a right
To say no
is me
Asked where is my patriotism
My national loyalism
Nothing is what it seems
This is not my All-American dream
Osama, he just like most had a momma
Has taught him right from wrong
At least he sings his own or new song
And split
Are we even equipped

Looking for him or check ourselves
Sheep or just simple ol’ elves
Call it what you like or the way you see it
I don't want to be
The one to tell the children no food, medicine or a place to stay
Woe is to him that says
Pro anything
Eyes are wet
Writing letters to the president
Asking him not to bet
Or stake our lives on something that isn't a sure thing

Nothing is what it seems!

Medicine is not available to me or yours
But to those who come a shore
Medicine is readily available if you have the money
Isn't that funny
Work hard all your life
Never expecting anything more only to face such strife
But asking do I dare take treat
Or have a roof over my head for another week

Nothing is what it seems
They have shattered all my hopes and dreams

Working harder, voting too
Following all the rules
Told I’m lucky
Born in a system that is the best there is
Who’s to say there could have been a better one in the Africans
Of Africa my forefathers were born
To make a way of life
Until the slave snatchers did swarm/sworn
Ironing boards, light filaments, type writing machine, pens too
The advanced printing press and automatic gear shift to name a few
Invented by AA’s but hated by the KK
For the color of my skin
They don’t know unless they know where we've been
Or where we may have stayed
We could have built a better place
We could have stayed and you'd never see our face
History is repeating itself
Keep your own wealth
For the wealth of the wicked is stored up for the wise
It is not a surprise to see your own demise

Nothing is what it seems
Kill all of our dreams

Nothing is what it seems!

I’m not a radical,
Fundamentalist or thief;
I just have my own beliefs.
Nothing is what it seems.
I will keep quiet as I wait
To see America's fate.
I hope I’m not here
As I fear
Because of my beliefs;
As I say, "Nothing is what it seems."
I’ve tried so hard to fulfill my own dreams.
Though tired, I’m not lazy or onus,
Just need to figure out a way;
As I build my own safe haven; a place to stay.
This is not a message of hostility or hate,
Just when the horrible day comes; so soon when we face our fate.
I do not hold resentment, disrespect or contempt,
But I, the writer of this,
wishes to remain exempt…
...just nameless

From the author/Writer’s comments:
My time is limited with my dear mother.
My television is always on. Fox News and CNN seem to be my news critic of choice. While I cleaned the kitchen, I watched Colin Powell’s speech regarding a potential war with Iraq and the U.S.’s involvement. While I listened, pain and anguish filled my heart, for my mother, my family and this Nation. Who am I, what can I do?
With little else to do, I wrote, "Nothing is What it Seems." September 12, 2001
©Keeba Smith

~Collection from Keeba Kornered and Kaptured in Kaptivity
From the book of anthology, "Keeba Kornered and Kaptured in Kaptivity" © No. 71
© Keeba Smith

©Keeba Smith-Hankered Writer and Feared Compressor
K Smith is an author, columnist and social issues commentator

Saturday, June 17, 2006

HAPPY DAD'S DAY (To all the REAL Dad's)

Dad’s Day

I always say that no one needs to state who they are, but their actions should speak as to who they are and or are not.

As often stated, my dad was not a man who walked around proudly and claimed he was a dad as his actions spoke LOUD and clear.

My dad was not a man who just allowed a woman to have his children, but fathered the seeds. My dad had 3 and sometimes 4 jobs to supply our habits of eating, our strong desire to sleep inside a warm home with electricity, as well as the longing hope to have clothes on our backs and medication when needed. Often his brothers would call and asked, "And how is the family?" Now, I do not believe their inquiry was limited to my mother, the dog and the limited-lifetime fish, but my dad’s children as well.

I am very happy as well as pleased when I honestly say that my dad could easily answer the question, 'How is the family.'

Today, I ask, where are the dads? Can you proudly say I AM A DAD? Do you know the definition of "Dad?"

Microsoft Word provides the following definition of "dad" as: 1.) Father 2.) Male parent 3.) Progenitor 4.) Sire 5.) Parent.

The Super Thesaurus describes "Dad" as, 1.) Daddy 2.) Father 3.) Pop 4.) Papa 5.) Old man 6.) Parent 7.) Governor 8.) Protector.

The Holy Bible "heritage edition," states, FATHER, a word which means "protector" and has several meanings. It can mean an ancestor, (I Kings 15:11; II Kings, 14:3) a founder (Genesis 10:21; 17:4,5; 19:37) a benefactor (Job 29:16), a teacher (I Samuel 10:12), or an intimate relationship (Job 17:14). The position of the father as the head of the family finds its root in the patriarchal government (Genesis 3:16; I Corinthians 11:3). God is designated as Father of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:17; I Corinthians 8:6), "the Father of light" (James 1:17), "the Father of spirits" (Hebrews 12:9), and the Father of man (Acts 17:26; Luke 3:8).

When referring to the Bible, the 5th commandment clearly states the duty of the children, however, the duties of the parents to the children are also strongly emphasized in the Scriptures. The job of the parent is to train the child to fear and respect the Lord and must refrain from provoking the child to unnecessary anger in order that the child will not be discouraged (Deuteronomy 6:7; Ephesians 6:1-4.)

If children are to be gifts from God, then why don’t we as parents do more to show appreciation and cherish the gifts by being parents to the child?

Let us not boldly proclaim our own self-given titles, but actually live up to the name we proudly wish to be acknowledged by; allowing our actions to show and speak for themselves.

For all of you REAL Dad’s, I can onlyyyyy simply say, THANK YOU!

Thank You for getting up all hours of the day and night to tread to work so that your children can enjoy the necessities of food, electricity, clothes, and a roof over their heads. Thank You for chastising your children when needed and thereby keeping them from harming others, but worse yet, themselves. And though tired, Thank You for staying up late to tell them bed time stories even when they feel they are too old to be read to and tucked in. Thank You for staying up late at night, securing the home, and making them feel safe. In lieu of blaming the lack of concern in our education system, Thank You for taking the extra time to help them study and finding the answers to not only the questions in their study books, but in life as well. Thank You for taking the time in not only saying you love them, but showing it as well. Thank You for being dads and not just a donor of life but donating to an enriched life for your children. Thank You for showing – being a role model for your male children and teaching your female children how to get along in this life. Thank You for being there when the mom’s could or would not. Thank You for teaching them that they must be aware of their own actions/accountability, thereby teaching them respect and responsibility. Thank You for teaching them how to save money as well as to spend wisely. Thank You for being a reflection of what a REAL MAN is and that his/her heritage is something to be held to the highest esteem and hence should be carried on with the same integrity.

I Thank You, MEN [REAL MEN] for putting all of your selfishness aside and sacrificing your own needs by putting your children first. To all of the MEN, who are and are not biological dad’s, Thank You for being a parent for the children.

The children Thank You for teaching them how they too can be prosperous and active dads in years to come. In addition, they Thank You for teaching them right from wrong and how to care for you in your old age.

For that reason, I simply wish to say, Thank you!

I find the following article most interesting and most of all, sad but true:

Taki S. Raton, wrote, "Fathers Day" For The Black Man Has Yet To Be Earned. Quoting from a speech delivered by The Rev. Dr. Patrick T. O'Neill of the First Parish Unitarian Universalistic Church in Framingham, Massachusetts, Dr. Joy Degruy Leary in the opening prologue to her book "Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome" shares a traditional greeting in the Masai culture.
"Among the most accomplished and fabled tribes in Africa," quoting O'Neill, "no tribe was considered to have warriors more fearsome or more intelligent than the mighty Masai.
"It is perhaps surprising, then, to learn that the traditional greeting that passed between Masai warriors was 'Kasserian ingera' as one would always say to another, 'And how are the children?'"
This greeting, notes the excerpt, underscored the high value that the Masai places not only on the well being of the children but also on the security and well being of the family and community. So to the question, "And how are the children," the response being, "The children are well," the unsaid inference is that the families and the community are safe and secure both from within and from without.
If the men of any group are not doing well; if at any time in the historical corridor the men become defeated and consumed by another, then eventually the family and the community will evolve into a self-destruct mode. A group, a culture must always ensure that their men are strong, able bodied, mentally cultivated and culturally spirited. Then and only then will the families and community remain secure.
Presently 141 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, the Black man today is at his weakest point here in 2006 then we have ever been. Our children are not doing well. Our families and our communities are not safe and secure. Our future remains in serious question.
What happened to the role, duty, responsibility, obligation, expectation, and charge of the Black man to ensure that his family and community are secure and protected both from within and from without? All other men protect their families and communities. Why Can't we?
What happened to our role as provider and protector of our African/African American "beingness"? Just where is our Kingdom, Black man. And by the way - how are the children on this Fathers Day? Where one to read the April 4, 2006 edition of the Chicago "Courier" newspaper, you would find that Chicago based Black Star Project founder and executive director Phillip Jackson responds by noting that our children are fighting a war amongst themselves and against their communities:
"Many Black children are out of control. They swear, fight, vandalize, challenge authority and exhibit overly aggressive behaviors. They have a reckless disregard for virtually any social norm, rules, or grace," he says.
Quoting a study by the Advancement Project entitled "Education on Lockdown: The Schoolhouse to Jailhouse Track," the article notes that in the Chicago public school system of 434,419 students, 29,700 students were suspended in the 2002-2003 school year and possibly up to 3,000 students were expelled in the 2003-2004 school year.
According to the Public Education and Black Male Students: A State Report Card study released in 2004, only 41% of Black males in the United States graduated from high school in 2001-2002. That would be only 4 out of every 10 Black men.
This report surfaces the lowest graduation rates for Black males in 20 districts with Black male enrollments of 10,000 or more during the stated period. Cincinnati for example had a Black male enrollment of 15,340 with only 19% graduating; Cleveland records a 25,973 Black male enrollment with only 19% Black males graduating. The Black male enrollment for Milwaukee during this period was 29,893 with only 24% graduating. In Chicago, the numbers are 112,040 with 30% graduating and in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, North Carolina, the Black male enrollment was 23,947 with only 34% graduating.
The Black male homicide rate is seven times the white male rate and a young Black male in America is more likely to die from gunfire," according to these statistical quotes, "than was any soldier in Vietnam." One in every 21 Black men can expect to be murdered, a death rate doubled that of U.S. soldiers in World War II as noted by Black Star.
Leary writes that throughout recorded history, people have been subjected, enslaved, and at times come very close to extermination and that these "crimes against humanity" are perpetrated, even today, in a seemingly "never-ending cycle."
She adds, however, that upon the conclusion of any horrific holocaustic encounter, each group must first "see to their own healing. No other group can mend the scars of another."
Her book, as above stated, is entitled "Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome" which she defines simply as "the residual impact of multi-generational trauma unhealed."
The author says that the slave experience "was one of continued, violent attacks on the slave's body, mind and spirit. Slave men, women and children were traumatized throughout their lives and the violent attacks during slavery persisted long after emancipation. In the face of these injuries, those traumatized adapted their attitudes and behaviors to simply survive, and these adaptations continue to manifest today."
We have not healed from slavery. We have been carrying, perpetuating and even cultivating this psychological trauma now for 141 years. Leary says that there is no way that a group can undergo 246 years of trauma under the North American enslavement era and not be scared as a result. Within this historical corridor, the Black man, his woman and his child became defeated and consumed by another man.
We have not reversed this process. We have not reclaimed a lost African humanity that was taken from us. Therefore, unlike the Masai, we eventually, as men, have nothing to past down to our children. And integration, obviously, was/is not the answer. Given the current status of Black men in America, the plight of the Black family, the fact that today there are 1.2 million more Black women then Black men in the available mating and marriage arena, the continuing and regenerative socially denormed behavior of our children and the apparent ongoing demise of our urban communities across the country.
Taki S. Raton is founder and principal of Blyden Delany Academy, a private African Centered school in Milwaukee, Wisconsin serving children in K4 through 8th grade. The writer can be contacted at (414) 933-1130.

©Keeba Smith
Hankered Writer and Feared Compressor
K Smith is a columnist for Black Denver Speaks, an author, and social issues commentator