One of the gospel songs I listen to everyday when I get into the office is “Jesus, You’ve Been Good To Me” by Willie Neal Johnson. It begins with the words: “Jesus you’ve been good to me, you woke me up early this morning, clothed me in my right mind.” That within its self is enough but that is not what I am grateful and thankful for. What I am thankful for begun before I made it to the office. After He wakes me up, I need help from my wife to get out of bed. She helps me get dressed with all of the personal hygiene preparation -- washing, shaving and grooming. Then it is my schedule of breakfast and medicines I have to take. When she is not doing it Hardy II is right there to do the same thing. Thanks to Sonietta my daughter in law, I now have a bed side rail to help me with turning in bed and getting out of bed. This daily ritual takes about two hours and we have tried to take shortcuts without much success. We have found that with my situation getting in a rush creates other problems for me, so in some cases I will have them leave me behind which creates another trip. Also when that happens they have to make sure I have water or juice to drink so I can watch television in comfort. I am sure you are wondering, if I can’t get out of bed how can I get around? Well Cheryl made sure I have one of those comfortable chairs that have a power lift built into it. As a matter of fact, I have two power chairs thanks to Roy Mason.
I cannot get to the office unless they take me because I am not able to drive and sometimes I need assistance getting into and out of the car. Once I get to the office they have to make sure I have food to eat and water to drink. Cheryl and Hardy do it with a smile.
At night the ritual is repeated with much help from Sonietta who has my dinner ready for me when I get home from the office. All of them including my granddaughters Jordan and Peyton, make sure I have something sweet to knock the hunger pains down at night. Jordan, with help sometimes from Peyton the two-year-old, also helps me with my leg exercises. I don’t want to forget that they have a small Yorkshire dog that has become quite possessive of me and my chair so she is now a part of this routine.
Almost on a daily basis I will get a call or email from Paulette, Regina, Kennedy or Renee. They keep me up-to-date on local, state political and labor issues. This Thanksgiving Day Kurt, Regina, Kennedy and Reagan are making a special trip from Sacramento to be home to make my day complete. My son-in-law Kurt has a new job as City Manager for Ridgecrest, so he has been busy adjusting to these new duties. My other son-in-law Kerby was honored by the University of California, Riverside as Distinguished Alumni for Service. My grandsons James, Justin, Jonathan and his wife Vanessa are all gainfully employed and their families are doing well and happy. Alexander turned eighteen and has been attending Riverside Community College while finishing high school at the same time.
On Sundays Cheryl has established this special family day at the house for dinner with the kids and grandkids. Rickerby, Paulette, and Alex had developed this custom of stopping by Mommie Helen’s Bakery to bring a pie or cobbler to the house.
I know you are wondering, with all that eating, Hardy should be as big as a house. Well believe it or not eating three balanced meals a day with vegetables and fruit has kept my weight under control. This is something I would recommend for anyone. It is too bad I did not slow down and do it sooner. I give God all of the credit for this weight control plan.
While I have been blessed with such a wonderful family, my church family and community keep me prayed up with prayers of intersession so God does not forget me. Pastor Larry Campbell comes by faithfully to talk with me and make sure I have communion. I have five sisters and three brothers who check in on me with phone calls and they in turn tell the other ones I am doing alright. Our mother and father taught us to be each others keeper.
I have been blessed to have some supportive people in our business ventures of Black Voice News, Black Voice Foundation, BPC MediaWorks and California Black Media. I will not name all of them but two I have to mention are Lee Ragin and Ashley Jones. Lee has worked for us for over 16 years and Ashley has worked closely with me in developing California Black Media. These business ventures have had the support of Macy’s, Nordstrom, San Manuel Band Of Mission Indians, Seibert, Brandford, Shank & Co., March LifeCare and all of the local churches and Black owned business establishments you see advertising each week.
Also a part of my gratefulness is for my doctor at Kaiser, Joseph Paredes and the electronic access to him and my medical records. Through it I can access my medical history, email him, review my visit write ups, order medicine and most of all get full explanations on lab work. This has been just great because he is more than my doctor but a friend.
I was telling Paulette and Alexander just last week that it was fifty years ago this November that I came to California with my brother, Floyd and made all this “Wonderful Life” possible. Yes I have something to be thankful for and I thank Jesus each and every day for them because it keeps me focused on Him and not my situation.
Have a safe traveling day and tell your family and friends you love them this Thanksgiving as you come together around the table. This is also National Family Caregivers Month so I have to again thank my family for the quality care they are giving to me.