Wednesday, October 31, 2007


1) "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job." (George W. Bush)

2) "I did not have sex with that woman." (William J. Clinton)

3) "I am not a crook." (Richard M. Nixon)

4) "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country." (John F. Kennedy)

5) "Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country." (Marion Berry)

6) "My belief is, we will in fact, be greeted as liberators." (Dick Cheney)

7) "It has been my experience that folks who have no vices have very few virtues." (Abraham Lincoln)

8) "Yee-aargh!" (Howard Dean)

9) "The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself." (Franklin D. Roosevelt)

10) "I've looked on many women with lust. I've committed adultery in my heart many times." (Jimmy Carter)

11) "There's not a punk bone in my body." (Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton)

12) "They misunderestimated me." (George Bush)

13) "The greatest lesson in life is to know that even fools are right sometimes." (Winston Churchill)

Do you have a favorite quote by a politician? Do tell--good, bad or ugly--even if it's not one on my list.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here! The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Sunday, October 28, 2007


The following are my definitions of the words and phrases I mentioned in a previous post. So when my novel After The Dance hits the shelves in April of 2008, don't forget you already have a reference guide here at the Old School Mix (smile).

1) bourgie: a less than flattering way of describing the middle-class; derives from the word "bourgeois."

2) chillren / chilluns: children

3) Christmas gift: a friendly Christmas greeting, like "Merry Christmas." The hubby swore only the old folks in my family used this particular expression until I showed him this reference in the Dictionary of American Regional English.

4) deef: deaf

5) haint: a ghost

6) hainty / haintey: stuck-up; haughty; uppitty

7) hey: hi; hello; how are you?

8) holped: helped (a couple of weeks ago, the hubby came home all excited about an NPR program he'd heard in which the word "holped" was actually discussed **LOL**)

9) knee baby: the next to the last child

10) main / mane: how many Black males in Memphis commonly pronounce the word "man"; this was one of the few things Brewer got right in the movie "Hustle & Flow."

11) mama 'nem: mama and them; one's relatives

12) mannish: a boy who isn't yet an adult, but who acts like one

13) roguish: bad; mischievous

14) sadiddy / saditty: stuck-up; self-righteous; arrogant

15) scound-bugga: a soundrel

16) sho' nuff: sure enough; also this is quite frequently used as a question or a version of the word "really" (Sho'nuff, girl?)

17) slobbed: slobbered

18) Sunday week: To be honest, I still don't know what this means (LOL). It refers to either this coming Sunday or the next.

19) trifling: shiftless; lazy; shady; no good

20) you (s) a tale/tail: you're a liar; you're lying

I appreciate all those who commented on the previous post. You all aren't as bourgie and sadiddy as I thought you were (smile). Seriously, thanks for sharing. I even learned a couple of new words and as we all know knowledge is truly power.

Saturday, October 27, 2007


From Lori's Pic Collection

Yes, in honor of my 100th post I changed my profile photo. Don't get too attached because I kind of like the old black and white baby pic and I just may go back and repost it at some point (smile).

The color photo is only a couple of years old. The twists in my hair are a little thicker and longer, but basically I think I look the same. My son snapped the pic and I'd say he did a fairly decent job of capturing the essence of ole Moms (smile).

One of my favorite things about the photo is the framed artwork in the background. The signed and numbered print is a piece entitled "Up All Night" and it is one of several I own by the Memphis-connected artists/brothers commonly known as "Twin."

I love how Terry & Jerry Lynn, who really are twins, capture the music, the vibrancy and the funky soulfulness of the Bluff-City and the Mid-South community. But what truly fascinates me about the twins is their ability to work on a piece simulateneously, (quite often standing side by side) as if they were of one mind. Cool stuff, don't you think?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


I'm early, I know. Halloween is another full week away. But I felt a need to air these particular feelings/grievances ahead of time. And now that I have, I feel so much better (smile).

1) DON'T send your kid out to knock on doors until you've first taught him/her proper Halloween etiquette. "Give me some candy!" and "Is that all you've got?" are not acceptable substitutes for "Trick or treat! and "Thank you."

2) If you're 13 years old or older and you're thinking about knocking on my door and asking for candy . . . DON'T . . . unless you're looking to be embarrassed or have the police called on your behind.

3) If you're thinking about letting little Ashley dress up like Peaches the stripper or Kitty the call girl, and calling it a costume . . . DON'T! That mess is SO NOT cute.

4) If you forget to buy candy, DON'T try to substitute those stale mints and those dried up sticks of gum that have been sitting in the bottom of your purse or in that dusty bowl in the living room forever. That's just nasty . . . and trifling.

5) If you're one of those anti-sugar freaks, DON'T pass out toothbrushes and dental floss--sheesh, just turn out the lights and keep your durn door shut.

6) DON'T send your child up to my house clutching one of those big, green, 30-gallon sized trash bags, unless he/she is pretending to be a sanitation worker. It's Halloween folks, not garbage pick-up day.

7) If you're sitting in the house in your drawers, getting your drank on, when the door bell rings, do us all a favor and just DON'T answer it.

8) DON'T pass out candy you had left over from Valentine's Day or worse yet, last Halloween.

9) If you notice that my porch light and all of my house lights are OUT or I've got a big a$$ neon sign on my door that says, "NO CANDY HERE!" DON'T bother to knock or ring my freaking doorbell.

10) If you see me out trick or treating with my kid, DON'T jump out the bushes and holler "Boo!" unless you're looking to get clubbed, maced or possibly even shanked. Mama DON'T play that.

11) If your religious beliefs prevent you from participating in Halloween, DON'T spoil it for the folks/heathens who do by passing out prayer cards, verses from Revelations or communion wafers.

12) If there's a thunderstorm or a blizzard or the weather man says there's a tornado, hurricane or a tsunami in the immediate vicinity, please DON'T show up at my door trying to trick or treat.

13) DON'T send your child out door-to-door on Halloween without a costume or at least some make-up. That's not trick or treating folks, that's just plain ole begging.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here! The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Monday, October 22, 2007


In my previous post, my good friend and Memphis "Go-To-Guy" (MR) expressed a bit of amusement at my use of the term "mama 'nem." Likewise, in another post, my use of the phrase "ripping and running" caught the attention of my Detroit-based internet pal, Malcolm (of Malcolm's Pop Culture Dish). I'd dare say, by now most regular readers of the OLD SCHOOL MIX have noticed my indulgence and delight in the "colorfulness" of the Southern Black vernacular. While I am quite capable of expressing myself in the "King's English," whenever I can get away with it, I generally opt to go another route.

There have been occasions in the past when my word choices have proved slightly problematic, particularly for those readers (and listeners) unfamiliar with my Memphis brand of Southern Ebonics. So I thought it might be fun, if not somewhat educational, to post a list of words and phrases I've heard used by African Americans who hail from Memphis and/or the Mid-South tri-state area (specifically SW Tennessee, NW Mississippi & NE Arkansas).

Oh, I bet some of y'all thought all Black Southerners chewed up and spat out the language in much the same way, huh? Yeah, well, while some things carry over, there are quite a few regional differences. For instance, the folks from East Tennessee have more of a noticeable "twang" in their "thang" than those who hail from West Tennessee. On the other hand, a lot of Memphis folks are known for what my friend MW, a communications instructor, describes as a "mumble."

Anyway, let's get to the list. How many of the following words and/or phrases do you know? How many do you use? I'll give my own definitions and responses in a future post.

1) bourgie

2) chillren / chilluns

3) Christmas gift

4) deef

5) haint

6) hainty

7) hey

8) holped

9) knee baby

10) main / mane

11) Mama 'nem

12) mannish

13) rougish

14) sadiddy / saditty

15) scound-bugga

16) sho' nuff

17) slobbed

18) Sunday week

19) trifling

20) you (s) a tale / tail

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


The October 2007 issue of O Magazine contains a nice article about a writing group called "The Finish Party." The eight member San Francisco Bay area group meets once a month, even though several of the members have to commute from LA in order to participate.

I came away from the article both a bit envious and with a renewed sense of hope about such endeavors. Over the years, dating as far back as my freshman year in college, I've been aligned with several different writing groups. My own experience with such groups has ranged from truly horrific to decidely mixed at best.

Sometimes the primary issue was simply a matter of conflicting interests and/or objectives. But more often than not, my own lack of patience with what I perceived as too much unadulterated bull crap came into play.

No doubt, some of the items on the following list (Twenty Signs That A Writing Group / Workshop Isn't For Me) are bound to rub some folks the wrong way. My reponse to that is . . . "Oh well." As I've mentioned before in the Old School Mix, what to me may reek like ten day old boiled cabbage, may to some one else have all of the savory appeal of birthday cake with ice-cream. It's just an opinion folks and one of the best things about living in the US of A is that we're each entitled to our own.

Anyway, this list is in no particular order, but the existence of more than one or two of these items in a group and on a regularly occurring basis will generally lead to the swift end of my participation.

1) The group is over-run by folks writing ghetto / gangsta / street / pimp /'I don't wanna be a freak but I can't help myself'/ type of lit. (Sorry, that's just not my kinda crowd.)

2) Lots of praise is given, but no real critique or discussion ever takes place. (Seriously, if all you want to hear is how great your work is, your best bet is to keep showing it to your Mama 'Nem.)

3) The group acts like it doesn't know how to function in the absence of its leader. (You know, where there is a set "game plan" this typically doesn't happen.)

4) Bad information is routinely passed of as fact and/or "The Truth, The Way and The Light." (Dag people, just 'cause the leader of the group or the dude with 20 self-published books under his belt or the wanna-be-editor who's out to take the rest of your money said "it," doesn't make "it" Gospel. Learn to double check stuff and solicit other opinions. Sheesh, when all else fails "Google."

5) The first thirty minutes to an hour is spent waiting on late arrivals. (Why? Am I the only one who thinks life is too short and my time too valuable to waste on folks who've obviously decided they have better things to do?)

6) No one knows when or where the next meeting will take place. (Ah, yeah, sounds like a plan to me.)

7) The consumption of food, liquor and/or weed appears to take higher priority than any actual writing, critiquing or discussion. (Gotta love those priorities, don't cha?)

8) Group members appear more interested in attending and scheduling events and selling their work than working on craft. (This is one of my major pet peeves. Sorry, while I can certainly see the benfits of such for some, every now and then, I'm simply not interested in doing marketing, making money or bringing attention to myself under the guise of providing a service to the community.)

9) Group members are strongly encouraged, instructed and/or required to dress alike. (Huh? Say what? Sorry, as one who treasures her individuality, just the thought repulses me. One reason I never wanted to join the Girl Scouts is because I hated those doofus-looking--oops--I meant, those cookie-cutter outfits.)

10) The group is over-run with groupies, star-gazers and brown-nosers. (In general, these types get on my nerves anyway. But in a group setting their presence is particularly distracting and annoying.)

11) There is no real accounting of the monies being collected. (Yeah, this always makes me want to hum a few bars of Prince's "Thieves In The Temple.")

12) A lot of time is devoted to writing exercises. (Really, if I wanted to do exercises, I'd sign up for a class, preferably one where I'd get a grade for my efforts. Sorry, but for me this typically feels like a huge waste of a group's time.)

13) The group has an on-line presence (or website), but very few people know how to access it or it is extremely difficult to do so. (To me, this is a sign that the parties involved don't really care).

14) The group leader is consistently late, missing in action or unprepared. (Is it just me, or does the lust for power and incompetence frequently appear to march hand-in-hand?)

15) Non-writing participants routinely critique the work of writing participants. (I'm saying, why are non-writing participants even in the group?)

16) Newcomers are never given any specific written information about the group--no rules or by-laws, no agenda, no member contact information, no meeting schedule. (I'm cool with a casual, laid-back style, but to me this is the mark of a group who isn't really serious.)

17) The poets in the group out-number those writing fiction. (Okay, I like poets. Some of my best friends are poets. But I don't really know a lot about writing poetry. Likewise, most poets don't really know a lot about writing fiction. Come on folks, lets keep it honest and real. Aren't we supposed to be helping one another?)

18) The leader dictates, delegates and castigates those who refuse to adhere to his/her personal program and/or agenda. (This may work with weak-minded, easily impressed folks who are open to drinking the Kool-Aid, but I'm grown and I'm neither easily enamored nor readily led.)

19) Members full of excuses and reasons why they NEVER have any work to submit to the group for critique. (Keep it real, y'all. Writing isn't a spectator's sport. Either you're committed and ready to do the damn thing or you're not.)

20) The group is primarily made up of self-published authors. (Nothing personal. I've just noticed that the goal of a lot of self-pub folks appears to be perfecting what they obviously view as little more than a hustle . . . rather than learning what it takes to improve their writing and story-telling skills.)

Again, to be clear, just because the things I've listed don't work for me, that doesn't necessarily make them bad. Feel free to share some of your own thoughts . . . even if they don't exactly jibe with mine.

Monday, October 15, 2007


The following is a version of a concept I stumbled upon the other night while browsing Community Live Journal's "Blackfolks" blog. For the purposes of the "Old School Mix," I added a couple of my own unique spins to the idea.

The Task: Select three musical artists (acts or groups) who you'd like to see perform in your very own "dream concert" and chose a venue for the performance.

The Limitations: The concert can only last 2 hours and you are only allowed to choose performers who are no longer with us . . . yeah, that's right, they have be to dead.


The ARTISTS I'd choose for my dream concert: Phyllis Hyman, Luther Vandross and Marvin Gaye.

The PLACE would be in Memphis, Tennessee at either the Orpheum Theatre or the Mud Island Amphitheatre.

The SET-UP: I'd have Phyllis open up the concert with a thirty minute jazz- flavored set. Luther would follow her with thirty minutes of his R &B hits. Of course, Marvin would come on stage and turn it out with thirty minutes of his hits from the 60s, 70s and 80s.

But the highlight of the show would be the last thirty minutes when I'd have all three grace the stage simultaneously. Talk about a blend of voices. The duets alone would be out of this world! Think about it . . . Phyllis & Luther . . . Phyllis & Marvin . . . Luther & Marvin. And all three together? Something tells me I'd feel like I'd died and gone to heaven (smile).

So given the task and the limitations, WHO would perform at YOUR "DREAM CONCERT"? WHERE would it take place? Who would go on FIRST? SECOND? THIRD?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


1) When you realize "C" students really do rule the world.

2) When you discover ministers, priests, pastors and the like, are capable of lying, cheating, stealing, committing adultry, beating their wives, preying on children and other immoral acts.

3) When you accidently see your grandmama topless.

4) When you realize you and everyone you love will one day die.

5) When you discover liars and cheaters can and often do win.

6) When you realize evil is real and often lives a long time in the world.

7) When you discover life isn't really fair.

8) When it dawns on you that your parents do "it" or if they're older have the nerve to still be doing "it."

9) When you discover, not only do you not know most of the answers, you don't even know half of the questions.

10) When you realize a lot of people mistakenly believe they can actually sing or rap or dance or act or properly raise a kid or lead you to the promised land or ( ______ ) fill in the blank.

11) When you realize the life you dreamt in your youth, will most likely never happen.

12) When it dawns on you that this baby really does have to come out of you some kind of way.

13) When you discover that the words "one nation, under God, indivisible and with liberty and justice for all" are more of a wishful thought than an actual reality.

Any others you want to add? Be my guest. Just remember, this isn't HBO or Cinemax or any of those late night, boot-leg cable tv programs . . . so please, try to keep your "shocking moment" comments PG13 (smile).

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here! The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

GUEST BLOGGER . . . SHARON JEFFERSON . . . (aka the Old School Mix's "Sharon J.") PART III
GHANA 2007
From Sharon Jefferson's
picture collection
My Trip To Ghana (by Sharon Jefferson) . . . continued . . .

Every African-American, no, every American should pay a visit to the slave dungeons at Cape Coast. My cousin Melvin out of Chicago didn't lie when he forewarned me that I would be in tears witnessing where my ancestors were held captive before being sent to the Americas--only six percent came to the United States our tour guide said.

Our group toured a small cave-like room where slavers kept the males, who in some cases had to walk in shackles as far as 200 miles just to get there. American Legacy magazine reports that as many as 500 were crammed in the room, which appeared to me to be about the size of a living room of a moderate size home. Only a beam of light came through a small opening high on one side of the wall. There was an opening on the opposite side of the wall, through which food would be thrown. Boys as young as eight had to fight with men as old as thirty-two over scraps. The dark, damp dungeon served as a dining room, toilet and bedroom for the captives.

They stayed between three weeks to three months, according to American Legacy. The males who were considered "unruly" were sent to the condemned room and left to die. Males were seperated from the females, who endured many of the same indignities. I know some Blacks who are either in denial or ashamed to admit they had slave ancestors. There are some, Blacks and non-Blacks, who see having a slave legacy as a sign of inferiority. I think visiting slave dungeons will help many realzie what strong people Africans in the Disaspora must be to have forebearers who were able to survive the misery of the entire slavery process.

Being in the midst of the Ghanaians was like visiting West Mifflin, Pa.-- where practically everyone in the town is related to me. The Ghanaians look a lot like their cousins here in the United States. Seeing them gave me more of an appreciation for the beauty of dark skin. Ghana seems to have a young demographic. I didn't see many people older than their early 30s. Grown and sexy women, i.e. women 40-plus, were referred to as "mommy." Out of shape, Buddha belly folks, like me were a rarity. They were in great shape without ever seeing the inside of a gym or taking a Pilates class. Our group was often served fruit for dessert. Even the pastries served in the hotel had very litte sugar. Much of the Ghanaian diet is similar to that of Black West Indians. They eat a lot of rice and plantains. The hotel where some of us stayed served a drink similar to ginger beer for breakfast and another place served a delicious goat meat stew.

The areas of Ghana our group visited had a mixture of modern buildings and homes and rural dwellings. One of the villages we visited called Etomdome, had mud huts and straw roofs. Chickens and two-foot tall goats roamed freely. The villagers held a naming ceremony for us. I was given the name Akua, which means born on Wednesday. Our group brought school supplies for the children, who attend classes in a one-room schoolhouse. Teachers don't hand out many perfect attendance awards in the villages; often the children have to miss school to work to help support their families. Before we left the village, our gracious hosts treated us to bananas and coconut juice.

Little boy preparing Fu Fu

Ghana 2007

from Sharon Jefferson's

picture collection

There's a surplus of talented people in Ghana who cannot reach their highest potential because there is no system in place to do so. They've been let down first by their unsanctified British colonizers and later by leaders who have been running the country since Ghana's independence in March of 1957. For example, construction is underway to replace the presidential palace with a new 50 million dollar one, when in my opinion, the money could be better used to improve the country's water and sewage system for example. Still, Ghana remains politically stable. Let's understand that it takes generations to get a nation-state running smoothly. Remember, the United States had a Civil War less than 100 years after our independence.

Besides, Ghana is about to come up. She recently has been blessed with the discovery of 600 million barrels of oil off its shores. Let's pray that Ghana's President John Kufuor's desire to see Ghana become an "African tiger" economically, with all the money the oil will generate, comes true.

One of the highlights of my trips was a vist with King Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofari Panin who leads Akyem Abuakwa--the Eastern Region of Ghana. He held a special reception for our group. He had only recently become king after living several years in the United States. He was hesitant about taking on that role, but his mother insisted that it was his duty to come back home and serve his people.

He spoke eloquently about the relationship that he would like to see developed with Africans and African-Americans. He said "Africa wants your solidarity, not your pity." He related Black Americans' experiences to that of Joseph in the Bible. He was taken from Canaan to be a slave in Egypt. After gaining his freedom he prospered and shared his blessings with his brothers who were facing challenges in their family's motherland.

Just like any family, we help our brothers or sisters out and tomorrow they may have to bail us out. You never know when you might need a cup of oil.

Thanks Sharon for sharing your Ghananian experience with the visitors of the Old School Mix. I'm sure Sharon would be delighted to repond to any questions or comments OSM readers might have about her trip. The following is a link for more information about the National Book Club Conference.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

GUEST BLOGGER . . . SHARON JEFFERSON . . . (aka the Old School Mix's "Sharon J.") Part II

"Women carrying nuts"
from Sharon Jefferson's
picture collection
Ghana 2007

by Sharon Jefferson

The announcement that I was going to Ghana in West Africa garnered some very interesting responses. Most people were positive and understood why I would want to go to a country that could very well be the home of my ancestors. Some thought that I might be doing missionary work or perhaps going on a safari. Others were just downright negative and wanted to know why I would want to go to such a disease-infested place.

When I arrived in the capital Accra, I didn't find people who needed to be ministered to. Nor did I find a nation full of sickly, frail people, where babies walked around with bloated bellies and flies in their eyes. What I found were vibrant, healthy people who weren't afraid to show a deep reverance for God. I spent a glorious week in Ghana this past August as part of the National Book Club Conference. Apart from the book conference, which included a dinner honoring prolific author Bernice L. McFadden for her body of work, most of our time was spent touring villages, shops and historical landmarks in Ghana. Here are are just a few observations I made regarding the country and its people:

The Ghanaians really know how to get their hustle on. It was not unusual to see men and women weaving through Accra's thick early morning traffic carrying heavy baskets, bowls or pots filled with fruit, nuts or water on their heads. I saw a brother walking with a sewing machine on his head, and he carried it with the coolness of a cootie from Cleveland strutting along Kinsman Avenue in a Kangol felt cap.

An entrepreneurial spirit permeates the capital and parts of the country where we traveled. The streets were lined with all types of businesses selling such items as clothing, hand-made furniture and even old appliances. I saw one lot with nothing but old refrigerators. Casket making seems to be big business there. Many of the businesses have some type of Christian reference to God in their title. There might be the Blessed Assurance hair salon on one side of the street and God's Will Be Done restaurant on the other side. Forty percent of the population is Christian and another twelve percent are Muslim, according to information from the Ghanaian embassy in Washington D.C

We shopped at a well-known retail spot called the Art Center where we spent our Ghana Ceis (one amonts to $1.06) on snake-skinned purses, Kente cloth, wooden Ashanti stools and drums. One woman, obviously trying to win salesperson of the month, grabbed my hand before I barely had the chance to exit the bus, sat me down in a chair and attempted to do a hard sell. Unfortunately, she didn't have anything that interested me so I moved on to another section. Haggling over prices is encouraged. It got to be a game for me. At one point, I exhausted myself trying to get the price lowered on a jewelry box I wanted, but to no avail. I was so anxious to get some kind of deal, that when the salesman offered a slight discount on another item I bought, I realized later I probably paid more than I should have.



GUEST BLOGGER . . . SHARON JEFFERSON . . . (aka the Old School Mix's "Sharon J.") Part I
Sharon Jefferson in Ghana
standing next to a bust of
WEB DuBois

While the more boisterous types are barking orders, delegating tasks and trying to convince others of their leadership abilities, inevitably, there is always someone like my friend, Sharon Jefferson, who is somewhere quietly getting the job done.

I've always admired people like Sharon. Were I ten to twenty years younger, I'd say, "When I grow up, I want to be just like her." But the truth is, Sharon doesn't have much on me in the age department (smile). And when it comes to wisdom and the spiritual fortitude required to be not just a "reader" but a "doer" of The Word, well, she has me thoroughly beat.

Throughout my four years of exile in the Cleveland area, Sharon's friendship was, for me, a blessing and then some. As the fierceless moderator of the women's group book club at East View United Church of Christ, Sharon's book selections are what ultimately led me to find my Cleveland area church home. Newspaper notices about the club and the titles they were reading caught my attention and piqued my interest. The way I figured it, any church brave enough to read and discuss books by authors like Toni Morrison (The Bluest Eye), Charles Barkley (I May Be Wrong, But I Doubt It) and Michael Eric Dyson (Is Bill Cosby Right Or Has The Black Middle Class Lost Its Mind?) had to be worthy of at least a visit or two.

Not long after I joined both the church and the book club, I discovered Sharon was also the guiding force behind East View's MLK essay contest, an annual event that awards several sizable monetary scholarships to area students. Being able to participate as a volunteer in this inspirational program was truly one of the highlights of my entire Cleveland experience.

Of course, when I asked Sharon to write a bio for her Old School Mix guest appearance, in keeping with her humble ways, she wrote: "Sharon Jefferson is a writer living in Cleveland. When she's not daydreaming about another trip to an exotic locale, she is doing what she hopes will be the last re-write on her novel and studying creative writing at Cleveland State University." But I would be remiss if I didn't add that Sharon's work has also appeared in the pages of the Cleveland Call & Post and Essence Magazine (Oct. 1990).

Coming next (part II of this post) is a piece Sharon wrote, per my request, about the trip she recently took to Ghana in conjunction with the National Book Club Conference.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


My boy, at age 4, holding what I'd dare say is the finest punkin in the patch! For whatever reason, when I stare at this picture too long, I start to hear music from the "Peanuts" cartoon series.

**To all you puriest out there, yes, I do know pumpkin is spelled with an "m." But in certain sectors of the Deep South, it has long been lovingly pronounced with an "n."

Monday, October 01, 2007


In typical old school fashion, I belong to a cd music club. No ipod, mp3 player, pesky downloading issues and premature deafness for me, mon . . . not yet anyway.

Most times, after I've flipped through the music club's booklet a couple of times, one selection will stand out from the rest. Sometimes it's something from the Jazz bin. Sometimes it's something from the wonderful world of R &B. And every once in a while, it's a soft Rock classic or else some of them down-home Blues. Generally though, my attention is seized by only ONE cd.

But after scanning this past week's offerings, I found myself being pulled back to not ONE, but (gasp!) THREE different cd titles. I'm sure, in time, I'll add all of these title to my collection, but practical (frugal . . . okay, cheap) gal that I am, at the moment, I'm only looking to add one.

My choices are: (1) The Police: Hits and Highlights Why? Oh, come on! This is the '80s at its best. "Every Breath You Take" , "Don't Stand So Close To Me." I know I'm not the only one who gets goose gumps and hears something primal in Sting's voice when he screams, "Roxanne!"

(2) Lou Rawls: Live! Hey, don't laugh. Okay, well after you stop laughing, check this out. This is Brother Lou in his prime, before all of that "Groovy People" business. If I'm not mistaken, this is the only Lou Rawls album my parents own . . . which is also the reason why, I never stole it ( See last year's "Holiday Pat Down" post for a list of music I did steal from the folks). Lou Rawls: Live! has classics on it like, "Stormy Monday", "Tobacco Road", "St. James Infirmary" and "The Girl From Ipanema." So, if you don't know, now you know. And last, but not least,

(3) The Very Best Of Chicago: Only The Beginning. Whenever I hear songs by the group Chicago, I think about two things, being a kid and living in Idaho. Thanks to my Dad's ties to the US Air Force, I spent part of the 3rd grade and all of the 4th and 5th grades in Mountain Home, Idaho. Seems like I heard songs like, "Saturday In The Park", "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is? and "If You Leave Me Now" on the radio when my Mom would be ushering me off to school in the morning. That period in my life is one of my favorites.

If you'd like to weigh-in on my decision, you're welcome to post your suggestions or thoughts on the matter. Which cd would be your pick? Of, in what order would you purchase the three selections? Like I said, at some point, I'm sure I'll own all three. So, there really are no right or wrong answers.