Category Archives: Father & Son

How A Fisherman Taught his Son Life Lessons

Up before the crack of day
the light has not yet fallen on the ground outside.

That does not mean—
the light inside the house
is out.

Here, up early—earlier 
than most 
men, women, & children…

Two Men–one old–one young
make the final preparations.

Today they will provide for the family
Today they will fish for the family meals
Today they take their destiny in their own hands.

Many days, months, and years
The young boy has seen his father
at the table going over bills,
and at the same time
looking aggravated,
frustrated…knowing all the time
his money 
is already spent 
before payday…

Credit limits full 
at the local grocery stores
loan sharks coming around
even before the designated payback date
1/4 on the dollar…You know how it goes
Car note, Car insurance, 
Phone bill…
You know how it goes.
The story is the same everywhere.

Here in this early morning hour

While most people sleep
The Old Man stops in the mist of all these preparations,
and grabs his son’s shoulder as he tightens the fishing line firmly onto the hooks—
Looks straight into his son’s eyes,
and says, “Today son,
we go to provide
for the family like
The Men of Old Africa.
The days when men were men
The days when men would go over the earth
as God would have them do
Not asking for anybody’s permission
Not paying interest on loans
Not going to the store to get food,
But going to the oceans, lakes, rivers, streams,
and land like God expects us to do.”

The Old Man tells his son,
“pass on what you are seeing, hearing, and doing
Now as men, women, and children sleep.”

He tells his son,
“Always have a trade
Always stand up for Yourself, Your Family, & Our People.

Fish in God’s Rivers are free
when you catch them yourself…
no tax, no credit,
forget all that my son
No cost 
Take this example, and reproduce this…
this independence in every way possible
Make yourself independent my son…

Use your brains and talents to make your own destiny.

Be a Man.”


Pops, Me & My Sis Bout to Go Catch Some Fishes Out Dem Dare Ponds in Da Country


Pops, Me & My Sis bout to go catch some fishes out dem dare ponds in da country.

When we comes back, we cleans em real good. Cut da fish headz off & guts em. You know. Throws da fish headz to da catz. Once we gets em cleaned up, we takes da fishes in da house. By den, daddy be done had dat grease real hot. And he gots dem grits cooking with cheese in it. Mustard & ketchup ready. You talkin bout some good eating. Man, you got to take ya shoes off & wiggle ya toes while you eat dat kinda Deep South Cooking.

Peep this…at night when it was hard seeing the fishing rod duck down when fish bit the bait–my father had a master plan for that. You know baby shoe bells. He used them. Tied them to the tip of the fishing rods, where the hole is, where the line go through. He tied the bell on the rod tip wt bread wrappers. We might be down a railroad track, checking lines tied to the tracks, trees, etc. Just lines & hooks wt bait. But we had other rods out too. When a fish hit them, the bells went off.

Sometimes, the fish bit the bait one after another or at the same time. It sounded like Christmas bells going off. DADDY WOULD SAY…”that’s what I’m talking bout….get ready lil fish, y’all getting fried up tonight….yes Sir Son, that’s what I’m talking bout.”


Mr. Johnny James. A Role Model. Not A Hand-Picked One.

Father: Son, why do you want a treehouse so bad?

Son: Well, daddy I like to read and think a lot, and you know I love to write.

Father: I love your stories and poems.

Son: Thanks daddy. For some reason when I am off to myself, in that quiet spot of the world—a world away from confusion and clutter, I can think.

Father: What about your friends son?

Son: I love being around them—just like any other kid, I love to laugh, joke, and have fun. I know the world is not build around that. I watch you and mama.

Father: Watch us do what, son?

Son: I watch you all provide for us. Now that is serious. Did you have dreams of greatness daddy when you were my age?

Father: Yes son, I did have dreams of greatness. I bet you will never believe what some of them were?

Son: What, I am curious to know.

Father: Well son, I wanted to be the greatest running back since Jim Brown. When I was in Little League Football, I was straight out running jokers over like a semi-truck. Not only that, if I wanted to, I could outrun most defenders.

Son: So, you were the man Pops?

Father: Yep, I was the man. I moved on to Middle School and did the same thing. Even when I got to High School, I was doing it up—serving jokers sometimes two and three touchdowns a game.

Son: So, you wanted to be playing on Sundays in the NFL and all that?

Father: Yep son, the NFL was one of my dreams.

Son: What about School—what was your favorite subject?

Father: Math was my favorite subject and shop.

Son: Shop!

Father: Yep son—shop. I have always loved math and making things with my hands, and figuring things out, and creating things.

Father: Around the 10th grade a friend of mine named Roscoe asked me if I would help him upholster his old Chevy Impala.

Son: Had you ever done that before?

Father: No, I had never. But let me tell you—we worked on that Impala for a few days. I had to use math and all, and a lot of common sense. He had never done it before either. But we talked with this old guy that had a Upholstery shop named Mr. Johnny James. He was the best in town. He said it was OK to drop by his shop for a few days, and watch him do other people cars. So, before we got started on my friend’s car, we hung out at his shop. He showed us a lot in just a few days. Matter of fact, he enjoyed having us down there with him, and we enjoyed being around his upholstery shop.

After a few days, we got started on that Impala. When we got finished—it was a thing of beauty. Then, other people wanted us to hook up their rides. We told them we had so much more to learn, and it would be better if they take their cars on down to Mr. Johnny James shop. Mr. Johnny James saw how excited everybody was about my friend’s ride. He told us we could become his apprentices at his shop. I did that until I got out of High School, and he paid me too. My friend Roscoe was only interested in fixing up his own car, but not me, I wanted to get better at this craft. So, I stayed working with Mr. James.

Son: What about football, did you still love the game? I have not heard you say anything else after you started talking about Upholstering cars.

Father: Well, to tell you the truth son, sports became almost secondary to me at that time. The funny thing about it—is this—many times I would be at football practice thinking of work Mr Johnny and I would be doing after I got out of football practice.

Son: How did you play football and work on cars?

Father: We would get through with practice about 5:30 pm. I would come home, take a bath, eat, do my homework, and then go to the shop about 8 pm, and stay down there until about 10 or 11 pm. Yea son, I use to be tired, but I loved what I was doing, in fact, my grades got better as I did both—play football and work at the shop.

I used to look at a lot of Lowrider Magazines and other car magazines, and check out the latest styles of upholstery. Many of my friends had certain requests for me and Mr. Johnny. There were no jobs we turned down son, some of them were pretty rough, but the end result was always customer satisfaction. It got to the point, I studied upholstery books just as much as I did my playbook for football. For some reason, Coach Smith was always telling me I am trying to do too much with my life right now, I need to slow down. But, I couldn’t. I didn’t know any Pro Football players that ever came out of our community. But I did know Mr. Johnny James at that shop. He was a role model for me right then. I could talk to him, and ask him questions. He was the man. So I learned way back then—that you got to prepare for your future as an adult right now—in the present. That is how I went right into a mindset of doing for myself way back then. I was not going to let some College Football Scout determine my fate in life. I got control on my life—no matter what they decided. I see you got that in you too son, you are a leader, and I am proud of you son.

Son: Dad, I really enjoy our talks. I want us to always to be able to talk like this.

Father: We will son.

Spoken Word Piece in Honor of Wise Black Men Mentors (Fire Spittas) in My Life…

Black Boys & Young Men Must Have Mentors.

Mentors (Fire Spittas) are Older Men in Our Communities that Keep It Real. That Break The Real from The UnReal Down.

They might not even have a High School Diploma or College Degree, but just Might be some of the Smartest & Realist Men We Ever Met.

Young Brothers got to seek them out & Mothers or Women got to Love the Young Brothers enough or see the importance of connecting the young brothers with the older Fire Spittas…Keep It Real Brothers.

This will put some type of balance in the young brothers minds. When confronted with tough situations, when backs are pushed up against the wall, they will learn how to think through these times in another platform than how they might have come up around when fathers are gone and many times they hear a lot of yelling or emotional responses.

Hook the Older Fire Spitting Brothers up with the Young Lions. 

7:17 am
2 Major things happen when Young Brothers Linked wt Fire Spittas….there will be less Young Brothers Killing Each Other & Feminine Ways in Brothers will start to Diminish.

Believe it or Not, Emotionalism & quick pop off of the mouths in heated situations sometimes cause killings of young brothers among each other. A lot of huffed up talk that ain’t going to amount to much but the other brother getting intimadated by words in a heated conversation….Wolf Talking or Talking Big, but might not be able to do that much technically wt the hands–so guns start popping.

Hook the young brothers up wt older guys wt trades, always doing something productive & producing something or manufacturing something on their own terms. The (Fire Spittas) got plenty to share wt the young lions to calm them down. Getting their minds focused & productive.

8:12 am


Fire Spittas Reach D Youth wt Profound Truth

One’s Connection with Destiny, Outreach Experts Hands.


From the Words of My Big Cousin, More Like a Big Brother–Gerald Murphy speaks of his Son, Gelani Shakir Murphy.
“The baby boy, born 3 months early at 1pound-11ounces.

The Dr. said “he might not walk. He’s gonna have a lot of physical problems.”

He was on a respirator for 2 months. Lungs collapsed the day we were supposed to bring him home. His lungs hadn’t even developed.

…Now, he runs 8-10 miles each day.

He is a 5th Degree Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do & Competing to make the Olympic Team.

God Is Powerful…”If God for You, Who or What can be against You?”

Gerald Murphy
(Former World Tae Kwon Do World Champ)

Father: Gerald Murphy–aka–“Little Dragon”

Father: Gerald Murphy–aka –“Little Dragon











Sports & Long Lasting Friendships/–Inspiration for Present & Future Youth.


My 2 great Nephews Kavan Thomas (wt Ball) & Kevis Thomas get in a Sunday Morning Workout.

Me & Best Childhood Friend Leevan Thomas, their Father had them going through various drills. It did not start out that way. Initially, we were just doing a throw around with the Football. But, within minutes, we were going all in–Running Passing routes. Well, to be real about it…Kavan & Kevis did that. Me & Leevan were the Old School Quarterbabcks & Drill Coordinators.

Neither one of us…Me or Leevan could hit our targets right on the mark initially wt the passes. The young bucks ran their perfect pass routes though.

Now, this thing was getting serious. How in the world we going to inspire them to be masters of the game and we off the mark with our passes?

After a few bad throws by both Pops Leevan Thomas & Unc, we had to get it together or we were about to look like “Dankies” like My Father/–Chief/–Coach Turner, used to call Jokers that couldn’t quite get it together in an exercise or some type of task at hand.

After a few Dankey Throws Pops & Unc got it together. We started hitting the Young Bucs right on The Mark as they ran through the Drills.

I asked Pops  Leevan Thomas if Kevis, his son, the Quarterback of his Championship Pop Warner team could throw against his body. Meaning, could he run one way, and throw against his body and hit the receiver dead on the mark. Leevan said….”Keith, they don’t call him Cam Newton for Nothing…Man, that joker bad…he don’t play wit em.”

I said “Nephew, let me see what you got.”

Just like Pops said, he was the real deal.

Kevis threw against his body with perfect skill. He has a very good arm. I told him to throw me a line drive. We were about 15 yards from each other and Kevis threw a line drive alright…the darn ball stung my hands when I caught it. Oh course, I was not a receiver in High School. I played Defensive End all my years of High School Football.

Kevis & Kavan had Pops & Uncle cover them as they ran routes. I have never played cornerback, safety or linebacker. Leevan played Linebacker in High school and was real good.

I call my self going to cover Kavan. That joker did a move off the line and tied Unc feet up & I fell right on my behind. Good Lawd…that was a Ugly Sight right there.

I got my behind back on the Quaterback side of things and let the Nephews run pass routes. I had to redeem myself from that Danky behind fall when I covered Kavan.

Now, I got the rock & Kevis the Reciever. Pops & I go over A Pass Route wt Young Brother Kevis. Pops tell his son Kevis, run full speed at Kavan, stop like he is going to catch the ball wt his hands out and continue the route. Kevis ran the route wt precision like Pops said & Kavan got lost in the action, temporarily. That was all the time needed. Kevis got behind Kavan Slightly. As this was going on, the ball was in the air and Kavan was recovering from the move and tried to get up high to catch the ball, but the ball was a perfect pass by Unc and got over his fingertips and hit Kevis dead in the hands….but, he dropped it.

From that point on, my passes were on the point.

Pops and Unc teamed up on other pass routes for Young Brother Kevis to Run….It was a great matchup between the Brothers…Big Brother & Little Brother.

Great Pass Routes & Great Coverage Between The Two Brothers.

Kavan is 13 and Kevis is 11. Kavan plays Wide Receiver & Linebacker for his Middle School and Kevis Plays Quarterback & Safety for his Pop Warner Team that won the Championship this Year.

12: 52 pm

The Day I Had to Swim or Stay a Little Boy


I will never forget the day I had to come up swimming or get laughed at in front of everybody. For several weeks Daddy would get in the Jerkins pool with me in the mornings to show me how to swim. Daddy was very detailed in showing me how to swim like he had shown hundreds of kids before at Jerkins High and as Manager of the Jerkins Pool in the summers. He showed me the One Arm Side Stroke, The Breast Stroke, how to tread the water, dog paddle, The Butter Fly Stroke, how to float, how to frog kick, and many other things about swimming. He did all of this in 3ft of water and he had me to lie on the flat surface of the side of the pool with half of my body in the water and the other half in the water. He would get in front of me and demonstrated the various kicks and arm movements and I had to imitate them.

As the weeks went on, I quickly caught on to the various swimming techniques. And as usual, Daddy allowed me to ask as many questions as I wanted, and he would answer them with great detail, and if need be, he would show me physically if he needed to while he was in the water. I had so much confidence in him. Whatever he did, he did it with great skill and precision. These traits I always trusted. “Lil Man, you doing real good. One day you are going to have to take all of these things I am teaching you over into 11ft of water.”

That one day he told me about came about in a very unexpected way, without warning or anything. It went down like this. Within weeks, I was almost a master of 3 ft swimming. At 5 years old 3 feet was at my chest and all the things daddy had shown me I was doing with great ease. As daddy would sit up in the lifeguard chair or do his daily routine, I would call out to him, “hey daddy check this out, watch me do the one arm side stroke”. That’s all right lil man, I am going to have to get you in the Olympics and let you bring home the gold medal. How bout hitting that butterfly for me from one side of the pool to the other” daddy would yell to me. Sometimes I would even wonder on down the pool to 5ft. Now this was water that was a little over my head, but I only had to push off the floor of the pool slightly and come to the surface, and start swimming on back to 3ft.

Well, one day I was riding on one of Daddy’s tall football players shoulders named Allen Dale Campbell. This guy was like a giant to me at the time. He was like 6 foot 4 and 240 pounds. He use to ride me on his shoulders and carry me into 5ft of water duck under the ropes that separated the 3 and 5ft water from the 11ft water. Once you crossed the ropes, the water quickly dropped off into 11ft of water. Many days I would ride his shoulders around the pool. He would lift me up over his head, turn me around, let me stretch straight out like a plane, and he would throw me like a rocket out from him, and I would hit the water with a pretty dive or ball my feet up and hit the water like a cannon ball.

Well, this particular day, Allen Dale called me as I was swimming in the shallow water as usual doing all kinds of swims. “He little Chief, you ready to ride” Allen Dale called out to me. He ducked down and let me get on his shoulders. The whole time he is just talking like always as he walked around the shallow side on the 3ft and 5 ft side of the ropes. But for some reason, he seemed to be talking to me more than usual. Usually he would walk around and do his normal routine of holding me over his head and throwing me into the water and all that, and when he got tired, he would go to the ropes near the deep center of the pool with me on his shoulders, let me touch the ropes, and turn around and bring me back to the shallow water. Then he would get out, and go to his position on the lifeguard stand or go to the entrance of the pool and take money from the people as they paid to get in the pool. The lifeguards at the entrance of the pool and the lifeguards on the lifeguard chair had to rotate duties like every hour so they would not get bored at either position, and keep their enthusiasm, and keep the summer pool with a friendly spirit.

Well anyway, Allen Dale went to the ropes, but, instead of him letting me touch the ropes, he raised me up off shoulders up over his head, and the whole time I am just to laughing not yet realizing what was about to go down. He raised me up high, higher than ever before, and told me to stretch out my hands he is going to throw me back toward the shallow water, and I did stretch out my hands like an airplane. With the quickness of a bullfighter, he turned his body around with my hands still stretched out and threw me over the ropes into 11ft. Since I was so accustomed to diving or doing the cannon ball and splashing in 3 or 5ft, I just reacted as usual, and hit the water. I in and instant did the dive as I hit the water. As I hit the water with my eyes wide open, I could see the water on this end was a darker blue, which meant it was deeper. As I hit the water, the first thing I did was look in the direction of daddy sitting on the lifeguard stand. As I looked out the water, I could vaguely see daddy on the lifeguard stand through the water. He had his hands in a ready position on the arms of the chair, but he did not move, and was just watching me. All of this seemed to be almost like slow motion from this point. Once I saw him not do anything, I almost panicked. This was unfamiliar territory for me. Now I am mad at Allen Dale, scared, and had to make a decision because neither Allen Dale or Daddy did nothing while I was in 11ft. Within a few seconds, I just reacted, I sunk a little further under the water, and said to myself, “ I am getting up out of here”, I pushed my hands in a downward flap, and at the same time did like a frog kick. These two movements simultaneously caused me to rocket to the surface, and as I did, Daddy started clapping and said, that is Daddy’s Lil Man, do it Lil Man, Show them what you made of.” That is all I needed to hear. When I leveled my body off with the water level, I started swimming toward the ladder on the side of the pool in 11ft. As I was swimming to the ladder I was so happy. Words can not describe the feeling I had swimming to the ladder. No longer was I swimming in that light blue water of 3 and 5ft, but this water was a deep blue. This water was the same water I had looked over the ropes for years at that I had designated in my mind as the big boys and girls, and the adults side of the pool. Here I am only 5 years old doing my thing like a champ. With all that in mind, As I start swimming to the wall, I got sporty propelling my arms in the water pulling my body forward with each stroke and kicking my feet pushing me forward like a boat motor in an open river.

When I got to the ladder, the first thing I did was climb out, and went straight to the diving board. Oh no, I was not going to that little kid side of the pool today. From that point on, I hardly ever went to the kids side of the pool unless I was going to wrestle some of my friends. I went to the diving board in 11ft, dived in, then swam to the sides. I did the same thing again…and from that point on, the rest was history. 

On the way home from the pool, daddy told me he felt like it was time for me to go into 11ft. He explained to me he had shown me most of the things he wanted me to know about swimming, and he and Allen Dale had planned this for a few days. He was laughing as he told me and told me he had a sign for Allen Dale to proceed with their plan by blowing his whistle with a light blow and nodding his head. As we rode home he laughed and said, “Man, it was time for you to hit 11ft, but you needed that extra boost, I knew you could do it the whole time, I was not worried the least bit”. Daddy had confidence in me, and I had all the confidence in the world of him. That was The Day I Had to Swim or Stay a Little Boy. That day I will never forget. I was not going to be a little boy…not when I was Daddy’s Lil Man.

* 1974 Memoir
* SPECIAL NOTE of Photo above…My Father said I had just swam in from Cuba…LOL…by this time I could handle my own in Ocean Swimming (Daytona, FL Beach)… Pool Swimming…Had that mastered a long time ago, since 5 years old.


When Daddy & I Went Fishing on the St. John’s River in Florida…


Sister Robin. Daddy. Me. About to go catch a cooler full of fish. One Sat. Afternoon back in the day.

* When Daddy & I went Fishing on the St. John’s River in Florida…

(Memories from when I was 6-8 yrs old)

Daddy and I would go to get the bait, hooks, sodas, ice, everything we need from Wilson’s bait and tackle. School on Fridays almost seemed insignificant. All I dreamt of was hitting that river.

I loved to fish, but I loved being with my daddy more than anything in this world. I knew this was our time together, to talk, to explore, my time to learn and ask questions, to get answers in detail. What I loved most about these times was knowing I was going to learn so much. I did not have any reservations about asking my daddy anything in the world. A child needs that in this world. They need to know they can reach out into the universe with the help of their parents, and pull down a star, ride the milky way, and have their parents explain all of it to them. They need to know their parents will always have a answer for them, and if they do not have the answer—the parents are honest enough to tell them “I do not know, but daddy will find out, momma will find out.” Confidence of our children start at home. God put parents on earth to provide guidance for the children.

We both loved fishing. Daddy seemed to love fishing for two reasons from what I could sense at this young age. It allowed him to provide for his family, and not have to worry about credit at Weed, credit at Town Square (very expensive local grocery stories). He did not have to got to Town Square or Weed at the end of the month to pay on the fish he caught. The fish were free—Gods gift to the world. Fishing had significance to him more than it did to the fellow on the other side of the tracks.

Fishing was survival. Fishing also allowed him the time to teach his son, his daughter, my sister—when she went. Fishing allowed him to be a man as God would have him to be. Fishing, allowed him to set an example for his son of what it took to provide for the family. They say Jesus was a fisherman. Daddy reminded me of the story of Jesus when he took fish, and fed the masses of people.

Once we got home, daddy and I would change the lead on the line to a heaver lead because we had lead on the line set for fishing in ponds and did not have to cast so far. I would ask him why we had to change the lead. He said the river is big, and the currents strong, and the lead allow you to cast further, and keep the bait on the bottom of the river better.