Letter to My Son on His 18th Birthday

GER-II (2014) reMy son, my dear, wonderful son,

Thou art favorable in my eyes and in my heart.
Thou art the greatest joy in my life.
I am and always have been, well pleased.

From the day you were conceived, I loved you.
For each and every day you were being formed in your mother’s womb, I loved you.
I spoke to you in love…there.
I sang to you in love…there.
I played all kinds of music for you to hear…there.
Not a day passed when I did not have thoughts of what you would be like the moment you entered the world and what you would accomplish in life.

On that Wonderful Day, March 22nd, a bitterly cold Friday in Halifax, Nova Scotia, you kept your mother in eleven hours of labor in that CanGrace Maternity Hospital, Halifax, NSadian hospital. Yet there was little worry for I was by her side – and in effect, by your side too. I wanted to help to make sure your entry into the world would be as smooth and comfortable as any birth could possibly be. I was always confident of that fact, for during those thirty-nine weeks of preparation I made it my priority to ensure that you and your mother got the very best of attention and care. Your mother and I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the wonderful Dr. Barbara Parish and her staff at Grace Maternity Hospital for their continuous attention, patience and awesome professional service.

I stood opposite of Dr. Parish at the point of your entry; ready to cut the feeding cord that would be the first of two things from your mother that I would sever you from in your young lifetime. That second planned cut – the proverbial “apron strings” – aka, that too-close-to-your-mother characteristic which many fathers fear of their sons, thankfully was never formed. Like a true alpha male you easily came to develop your own sense of respectful and respected identity and attitudes and developed a proper and equal relationship balance with both your parents. However, as your proud and loving father, mentor, teacher and primary disciplinarian, I rightfully and selfishly claim credit for helping you achieve that sense of identity as I guided you through various male rites of passage in preparation for this first day of your manhood and the many days to follow in your life.

GER-II (age 14)At 1:39 pm AST (Atlantic Standard Time) /12:39 pm EST (Eastern Standard Time) you entered the world. Dr. Parish pointed to where I should cut the umbilical cord. Once I did that, a nurse took you over to a nearby warming table where you were cleaned up, checked and weighed (6 lbs, 9 oz) before being wrapped in a warm, pale blue blanket. Another nurse gently handed you over to me.

I held you ever so gently in my arms, son; our eyes meeting for the first time. You were looking up at me and I looked down upon you with a father’s love as I shed tears of joy; my love for you had completely overwhelmed me. At that moment I had all certainty that our bond as father and son was sealed.

I gave you a strong masculine name – my name, Gerald Edward: the first meaning, rule of the spear, the second meaning rich, wealthy or prosperous. I made sure that everyone in Me and G (2009)the room knew your official name would forever be “Gerald Edward Robinson II” before I kissed you and thanked whatever gods there were to have blessed your mother and me with such a beautiful, whole and healthy creature. You were my first-born. I could not possibly know at the time that you would have no siblings. It is something which I have always regretted. Still, it simply felt right to give you, the first-born, my name.

I handed you over to your mother, who though weary from her laborious delivery, had a renewed look of energy and joy on her face. She too looked down upon you with the love that only a mother can have for her child. G, your mother and I were two happy, grateful, proud and loving parents at that moment – just as we have always been and always will be even though she and I are no longer together.

Son, I could go on and on writing your life’s story – from a father’s perspective, in this blog article but that would take me the rest of the day and this article would never be finished and published. Therefore, I’ll close with these final words:

My son, G in action-2 (2011)Gerald, you are one of the best sons any man – or woman would be proud to have for a son! You are blessed beyond measure and many people who know you and who have come to know you, see that! Your mother and I know people who envy us for having a son like you. It is important for you to know that unlike many other parents – loving as they may be for their children, your mother and I have never felt the need or desire to brag or boast about you or your accomplishments. Perhaps that’s because she and I are simply humble people individually and together, we are humble parents who have never taken you or our blessing as your parents, for granted. Never. Trust me, G; we know we are blessed and we are thankful for having the divine privilege to have you in our lives and the ability and means to raise such a very fine young man like you.

I love you very much, son! Through good times and not-so-good times between us as father and son, you always fill my heart with joy and put a smile on my face. Of course, like any father and son we are no different in having a few disputes or conflicts between us. That’s simply natural and expected. In fact, I believe that helps us both to grow and it strengthens our already-wonderful and healthy relationship! Besides son, if you remember me always saying, “You can’t help yourself, son” you’ll know that your father – while sometimes stern and direct, is also loving, GER-II (2014) -2 (re)understanding and patient with you. And just because you don’t see me smiling in those conflictive moments, you should know with the fullest confidence that I’m still smiling inside because of the love I have for you and the father’s pride I feel for you; such feelings will never diminish or be extinguished. I am blessed and happy to not only be your father but your dad. My desire is to always be there whenever and however you may need me.

On this very special day – and with every day that follows in your life – just as I’ve wanted for you since before the day you were born, may there be safety, good health, peace of mind, prosperity, contentment, joy and happiness.

Happiest of Birthdays, my wonderful son! I love you!

Dad

Keepin’ It…REAL!

Mother Nature, Father Time and Spring

Spring Season in MichiganSpring. The first day of it is here; that is, if you follow the calendar date.

Early in my young adult life I’ve learned to not follow any calendar date for the beginning and ending of seasons on this planet. I suppose that’s because at age nineteen I began spending that life in military service where, for the next twenty years, I would live and/or travel to various parts of my country and throughout the world and experience differing time zones and climates. Damn the calendar date of when a season was set to begin or end. The question: Who is Man, this mortal creature who is powerless to control the very elements and weather around him, to dare make such a determination for when a season of Nature is to begin or end?
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Perhaps many centuries ago, recorded history shows that Man was near or on target with his predictions for when the changes of season would occur. However, in my lifetime – and perhaps some generations prior to my birth, records of various global changes reflect things happening on the earth that are altogether different thus somewhat proving how Man has been off target with his scientific season predictions for many years! As such, I ignore media hype about the “first day” or “last day” of any particular season. I think we all should let Nature do her thing and remove from our calendars such planned schedules of the seasons. But enough about all that! According to the calendar *snicker*, today – March 20th, is the “first day” of SPRING, baby! That means that in some parts of the world – or at least here on the upper part of the Western Hemisphere, we can look forward to warmer temperatures to arrive…uh …soon.

Mother Nature and her Children, The Seasons –
Mother Nature follows no calendar of Man. She simply prepares parts of the world as she sees fit (just like a woman). Is it any wonder we call her Mother Nature in the first place? Surely, she knows best. While Nature often works in concert with her husband – the respected, yet sometimes ignored (by both Nature and Man) entity we call Father Time, Mother Nature (illustration)Nature in her own way looks at each “room” of the world and determines whether she should heed Time’s plan and schedule for when one of their children, the Seasons named Spring, Summer, Autumn (aka Fall) and Winter, should stay put, be sent in specified “rooms” or parts of the earth or be allowed to roam free wherever. Sometimes Nature allows one or two of her children to play in specially selected areas of the earth while other times, she might allow all four of them to play – but in careful rotation. Remember: Nature rarely ever allows all four of her Season children to play in all areas of the world at the same time. Sometimes this is a good thing (for Man) and other times…well, she just has her reasons (just like a woman). If at least two of the Season children play in or near the same area around the same time, it is Man who is adversely affected by the disasters that often occur. If you don’t know this to have some truth then you haven’t been paying attention to what’s been happening on the planet Earth over the last few decades. That ignorance might also mean you didn’t pay attention in science class in school, to the weather media or that you might be too young to be reading this blog!

Father Time –
It is Mother Nature, not Father Time, who determines when, where and for how long one of their four Season children should play on parts of the Earth. You see, Father Time has equally important things to do and look after – some of which is not popular, pretty or appreciated by Man. Let me break this down:
Think about man-made expressions like: timely manner, timely fashion, timely death or birth, timely happenings or occurrences, not enough time, too much time, equal amount of time and the sort. Think about man-made things like: clocks, calendars, schedules and planners. Father Time (illustration)Also consider man-made words like: due, past due, overdue, late, lateness, and tardy. Finally, consider entities like: seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, years and the like. All of those are the illegitimate children of Father Time and/or Man. Mother Nature had nothing to do with all that which is exactly why her job is easy – to some degree. Man sometimes makes Nature’s job hard because since his existence, he has been in constant battle with Mother Nature in that he is always trying to wrest control of the..uh, natural order of things. But Nature is usually fair, kind and resilient. In her wisdom she knows that it is to her advantage that she and Father Time – and that meddling stubborn mortal creature called Man, work together in harmony for the benefit of all living things. Of course Man still uses science to predict when Nature will do something. What he (Man) always fail to realize is that, like Father Time, Man is always planning and predicting and usually not being carefully mindful or respectful of Mother Nature – who already has something “cooking in the kitchen”.Nature angry When men act that way – even with the best intentions, it can piss off even the most patient of women. Mother Nature is no different. Thus the adage, “Hell hath no fury than a woman scorned (or ignored).” Many of us have seen, heard or unfortunately experienced the effects of a pissed off Mother Nature. Finally, both Father Time and Man always forget that Mother Nature will allow daughter Spring – and her other three children, to play in certain areas of the world when she (Nature) is damn good and ready. (Again, damn whatever the calendar says about the arrival of some season! Remember; the calendar date of a season is set by Man and Father Time’s schedule; it is not Mother Nature’s schedule!) Since it’s “officially” Spring by Man’s calendar, and since we are having longer daylight hours, I must make a brief digression.

Daylight Saving Time –
Many people complain whenever we change between living under Standard Time to Daylight Saving Time (DST) and back again. Our country’s return to Daylight Saving Time (DST) last week (March 9th) had many people expressing their semiannual whining of how their personal schedules were “all fucked up” and how they “now have to get used to the time change”. Poor time managmentGive me a fuckin’ break! It’s only a change by one hour! Some of our fellow citizens wonder why the United States bothers to observe or participate in DST. I’m often amazed how much I was taught in school versus what younger people are not taught in school anymore. With the internet, all one has to do is “Google” the history or origin of Daylight Saving Time here in America and BAM!! The information is right there for any person with any decent literacy skill to read. Here you go: I’ve done the work for you! Just click The History of Daylight Saving Time and learn a thing or two about Daylight Saving Time. Much of what is written at the link was taught to me back in the late 1960’s/early 1970s when I was in elementary school!

Many of the people who childishly complain about our semiannual one-hour time shift must have poor time management skills. That’s about the only reason I can think of for why they complain about the time shift twice a year. Perhaps some of them have never lived or traveled through multiple time zones. Perhaps they have never had to move to and live in various parts of the country or the world where they had to adjust their clocks. AA011327Perhaps they’ve never allowed for the gradual adjustment of their internal body clock to become accustomed to time changes. Depending on where one lives or has to travel, the shift is at least an hour or two difference either way. Simply go to bed earlier or take a nap. I don’t know what problem other people have with the twice-a-year time shift (other than poor time management as noted earlier). I’m simply thankful and fortunate that military service has allowed me the experience of various time changes which only came by the necessity and nature of my job as a military serviceman at the time. I simply adapted and learned how to make adjustments. That experience has helped me to respect and appreciate the benefits of having DST in the U.S. especially when we revert to standard time later in the year.
Ok, digression over.
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I was inspired to write this humorous article regarding my thoughts about seasonal changes by an article written by my friend and fellow blogger Roger P. On his blog, A Guy Without Boxers, Roger describes in excellent detail the meaning of what the dawn and presence of the season of Spring means. It’s a very positive and upbeat article; one in which I totally feel him on – EXCEPT of course, the date of it being Spring. Sorry Roger and fellow readers but I’m sticking to Mother Nature’s schedule and will wait until she allows her daughter Spring to actually arrive here in the Midwest.

Spring flowersAs Roger so amply described, the season of Spring will allow us to see the gradual change of the seasons. However in my area, I think that if Spring is in fact here (by the calendar date) then she must be working on her father’s (Time) schedule and not that of her mother (Nature). That also means she’s playing with her brother Winter at the same time here in the Midwest. Until Winter is called in by Nature, Spring won’t be allowed to blossom and fully do her thing. In fact, I don’t expect Spring to truly manifest herself in my area for at least a few weeks more.

As far as I’m concerned, Nature’s son Winter is still here in Saginaw, Michigan and the rest of the Midwest.2014 Spring Outlook In recent weeks and up to this day, we have been experiencing various degrees of winter temperatures. There have been day temperature highs ranging on average between 30 and 47 degrees and night temperature lows ranging on average between 20 degrees down to 6 degrees. This varies throughout Michigan and the rest of the Midwest. Earlier this morning I read on the Weather Channel that the East Coast is expected to get hit with a major cold air snap and/or a snow storm next week. (Reference here)House in Saginaw,MI (3) That sure as hell doesn’t sound like kid Winter is about to take a hike! According to Father Time and Man’s calendar, it is March 20th and Time’s daughter Spring is here. Yeah, right. So is her brother, Winter since I still see a sea of white when I look out my window and I have to wear long sleeves, a sweater, and put on a winter coat with knit hat and gloves before I go out!

I don’t know about anyone else but so long as it’s freakin’ cold here, especially at night. I can still freeball but I can’t trim down the hairs on my ballsac just yet or break out the flip-flops and sleeveless t-shirts. Oh, but I can still stay naked in my warm home!

P.S. A hearty happy Spring to all my readers …and especially to my naked blogging brother, Roger P. of A Guy Without Boxers. Thanks for your unique welcome of Spring and for the inspiration to write this article!Spring running,flowers

Keepin’ It…REAL!

The Hypocrisy of American Celebration of St. Patrick’s Day

lrish Mug of Green Beer, St Patricks Hat

As usual every year, we (that’s me, myself & I = RobFather-X, and we are One) will be happy when all of the silliness of American St. Patrick’s Day (SPD) is over. Many of the people in America who “celebrate” the day haven’t a drop of Irish blood, ancestry or heritage nor do they know or understand the history and meaning behind the observance or “holiday”. Many in America seem more concerned with dressing up in green, pulling “Irish” pranks, pretending to be Irish and drinking anything that’s colored green than with educating themselves to the point of appreciation of another country’s culture, history and people as well as that country’s sacred holiday(s) and the reasons for them. As such, we consider many of the people who choose to “celebrate’ St. Patrick’s Day in a carefree, intentionally ignorant manner to be arrogant and disrespectful fools.

Many of our fellow Americans are so quick to engage in certain cultural observances that it makes them look pathetic whenever they participate. We see this ignorance and hypocrisy happen yearly with calendar observances like Valentine’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, Easter, Veterans Day, Memorial Day and Christmas, for example. Speaking of Christmas, many people would swear or argue others down if ever someone were to tell them that holidays like Christmas is in fact, originally a pagan holiday; one stolen by Christians to designate and celebrate the actually unknown and undocumented birthday of their “savior” Jesus Christ. How interesting that the Bible is absent of that important information. Maybe God forgot to tell Man to record that data! For all we know, Jesus Christ was born on our birthday! Yeah…let us go with that!
Now why – you might ask, did we mention “God” and “Jesus Christ” in this writing? How the hell does Christianity relate to this commentary? Well, if you knew anything about St. Patrick you would not have to ask that question! But I digress.

Since the calendar – as of this writing, is set on March 17 to celebrate (for another fifteen minutes) St. Patrick’s Day, we challenge many of you SPD revelers – after your “Irish” debauchery is over, that is – and long after you’ve recovered from your green beer hangover, to ask someone to briefly explain just WHO the fuck was Saint Patrick (and what was his real or full name), what the hell IS a leprechaun, what is a “shamrock” and where it can be found or is grown and to name the historical significance behind this particular Irish holiday. Better yet, ask someone who had such a hard-on for St. Patrick’s Day to tell you where Ireland is and who, what or where is Downpatrick. Ask them to name TWO other rock bands (besides the band U2) that are from Ireland and to explain that country’s relationship to another sovereign nation on that side of “the pond”. You may be hard pressed to find someone who can correctly answer these questions without first hitting up the Internet via their smart phone or iPad. What you might find humorously interesting is the answers given by some people with Irish surnames.

So yes, we cannot wait until the American St. Patrick’s Day bullshit is over. In fact, it has long been our desire to someday see the elimination of the St. Patrick’s Day stricken from the American calendar. We realize that’s just a pipe dream but we can wish.
– RobFather-X
(who, for all you know, might have some Irish blood, knows some Irish history and yearly takes offense to American St. Patrick’s Day hypocrisy.)

Keepin’ It…REAL!

Season 1 of HBO’s “Looking” ends

It’s 2:30 AM on Monday, March 10, 2014.
…..and now, it is with great regret that I watch the repeated version of the season-ender of the HBO series, Looking.

I’ve come to love this weekly half-hour series that features masculine gay men who are friends living in San Francisco. The show greatly reminds me of Armistead Maupin’s novels (and early 1990’s TV mini-series) Tales of the City and Showtime’s [U.S. version] of Queer as Folk. Actually, Looking – in my opinion, is more like the former than the latter. And before you ask readers; yes… I do have my favorite characters in the show but I’d rather not mention them.

Oh, ok, ok. Fuck it; I’ll tell!
I’m feeling the vibe of Richie (yes!); I like Dom (who is very handsome for that character’s age of 40); and definitely feeling Kevin (who gets a double yes from me). I think Lynn and I are in the same age group so I can certainly relate to that character’s kool, laid-back demeanor a great deal.
Looking-1I don’t know when – or if the series Looking will be back so for now I’ll simply say,
See you guys later…to the show’s characters:
Patrick (Jonathan Groff)
Agustin (Frankie J. Alvarez)
Dom (Murray Bartlett)
Richie (Raúl Castillo)
Kevin (Russell Tovey)
Lynn (Scott Bakula)
Frank (O.T. Fagbenle)
I must note that I think Scott Bakula was/is a great add to the show; but then I’m bias since I’ve always been a long-time fan of his work.

I sure hope to see each of these guys next season – which I hope will come soon!

And now this memorable scene between Looking’s Patrick and Richie:

Keepin’ It…REAL!

Drinking – A Part of Male Bonding

Drinking - A part of male bondingI wish I had a regular drinking partner. I missed the good old days when me and a Navy buddy would go to the pubs or visit either one’s residence and just be guys; shooting the shit, laughing, play a few games of chess, listen to blues and jazz and share some serious things on our minds and … drink. And drink. And do shots of schnapps.
And drink again.

Many men often used drinking with good friends to share, discuss and sometimes help resolve various issues which bother them or which have long plagued their souls. Drinking alcohol has been a form of male bonding since men first created beer, wine and other hard drinks to be a beverage many thousands of years ago. I say it is an honorable male rite of passage for many young teen boys – if properly guided by a responsible adult. I was introduced to alcohol at age 15. Drinking alcohol is an integral part of male bonding but is not necessary to be considered manly or masculine. Male bonding is often established and cemented through drinking alcoholic beverages. I’ve found this to be true and deeply appreciated and respected. Drinking buddy (3)

There are some downsides to drinking, true – but then anything done in excess or irresponsibly by humans can get out of hand or abused. I try not to think on that level but that doesn’t mean that I ignore or dismiss such instances. I simply don’t choose to live my life thinking how bad or dangerous certain pleasures in life can be. Fuck it. Call me a risk-takerBirthday celebration at JB Meinberg's _Saginaw, MI if you want; for in truth with certain vices such as drinking, recreational drugs, sex and just being a strong, confident Black man in America, I have in the past and here in the present, indeed taken many risks. In the nearly forty years that I’ve been drinking beer, wine, hard liquor and what-not, I’ve never once gotten in a fight or lost my kool while under the influence of alcohol… although I have helped break up a few fights. It’s sometimes what I do when people I know and love get mixed up in something like that. It’s the bro-code of old school. I don’t expect many reading this to understand.

In the military, I proudly confess to having “contributed to the delinquency of a minor”. Those “minors” would be the young men in my military command who worked for me but who were not legally “old enough” to drink. Yes, I bought them beers and other drinks but I alwaysDrinking buddy (1) looked out for those youngbloods because they were good people who worked hard and had my deepest admiration and respect – even if a few of them called me “asshole” behind my back or under their breath when I gave them an order they didn’t like or when I would deny them some requested privilege. The mantle of good leadership often means having to say No and/or impose discipline when and where necessary. My men understood that, even if they didn’t like it. I knew I had their respect and that’s truly all that a leader of others needs from his subordinates. Yeah, those guys honorably served this country with me too. Who would dare deny a 17, 18, 19 or 20 year-old serviceman a drink if he wanted it?

As for me, I have done some crazy wild shit Drinking buddy (7)under the influence of alcohol but everything I did – or that I can remember doing – or that I was told I did, was all done in fun and silliness but while in the company of trusted people.

This was a simple flashback to pleasant times I’ve had concerning drinking. I’m not advocating that people drink but I won’t ever tell someone to never start or stop drinking either. I was fortunate to be taught how to drink. Yes; in some cultures – or in my case, beer mugsin the hoods of Philly, responsible people who drink can and do often teach the art of drinking. For example, one can learn the differences in something as common as beer. Everything that looks like beer on TV or on the shelf in the neighborhood package store isn’t exactly beer. One can learn how to tell – almost by taste, the difference between a stout, a lager or ale. But I digress.

At this point, I ask that readers not share with me the negatives of drinking alcohol or their ugly experiences with the beverage. Just save me all of that. I don’t want or care to hear your stories of woe. If I see such comments on this blog I will delete them. Period. Not every pleasurable vice in this world has to be negative – even if you don’t partake or approve.
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My humble little bar -2(01MAR2014)The picture above is of my humble little bar. Above it is the cabinet for my drinking and shot glasses and a few glasses for beers. Beer mugs, wine and champagne glasses are kept in the kitchen. The alcohol you see sits on top of a mini-fridge that’s larger or almost twice the size of those tiny college dorm cube refrigerators. The fridge is strictly for alcohol and soda. It’s usually – if not always, stocked with a few bottles of wine, wine coolers, soda, Red Bull, Jägermeister, vodka, coconut rum and maybe one or two other things. Jägermeister, Jägermeister Spice

There is always (always!) beer in that fridge for I was taught as a teen that a good, true man is to always keeps something drinkable that’s five percent (5%) alcohol or higher in his home for those times when another man makes a planned or unplanned visit; to serve as an “ice breaker” with male strangers; as a bargaining chip to get a small or unique favor I want or need done; and/or to offer as a token of appreciation for that special favor that was done. And regarding Red Bull: that shit is expensive for it to come in such a thin can. It does nothing for me by itself but I do keep it to make Jäger-bombs for myself.

If you drink – whether alone or with friends, do this one thing for yourself and for others: drink responsibly.

Keepin’ It…REAL!