Donna C. Terrell

I Was Just Thinkin'

Take-Me-Back-Tuesday!–Larry Dodson and Rick James

Welcome to a new feature on donnacterrell–Take-Me-Back-Tuesday! Why Tuesday? I like alliteration. And I also love the music of back-in-the-day! My day! When music was such a part of my life–waking up with the radio, taping songs from the radio, buying records and tapes, blasting music throughout the house (much to the chagrin of my father). I even deejayed on my college radio station. Then I could equate a song with every event of my life. New boyfriend? There’s a song for that. Break up with him? There’s a song for that. Songs that remind me of pledging my sorority. Songs that remind me of certain high school parties and using fake IDs to get into college parties. I used to know every song on the JET Top 20 and had most of the albums.  Now, the music stations I ate and slept by have been replaced by news stations and sports talk, and I’ll admit, I now know very little about the world of R&B I so loved. But that’s okay! Life changes, right? So we’re going to revisit some things and I hope you’ll have as much fun as I know I’m going to have.

Everybody knows and loves Teddy Pendergrass and Luther Vandross–a moment of silence for them. But what about a couple of under-rated guys–funksters Larry Dodson of The Bar-Kays and ol’ slick Rick James? They were the wild ones. They were the dudes a girl wouldn’t dare take home to her father. The Bar-Kays never won a Grammy and for most people I know, you either liked them or you didn’t. Everybody has something by Rick James in their collection. These bad boys actually had very nice voices on slow and mid-tempo cuts.

I love Rick James singing Oh What A Night (1984) and Happy (1982) with Teena Marie.

And who can forget Rick with crooner Smokey Robinson on Ebony Eyes (1983)? That song also had a pretty nice video to go with it. I also love his voice on Moonchild (1985).

Now this guy was the one Rick James would study before he became “Rick James.” Larry Dodson, lead singer of The Bar-Kays, has a voice that makes you want to, well, put it like this–I’m sure there are a whole lot of Anticipation (1983) babies out there!

Now on Running In and Out of My Life (1979), Larry doesn’t sing lead, but his “oooh babies” in the background makes you want more of him.

Rick James and Larry Dodson may not be as “pretty” as the Teddys of the world, but they definitely have an appeal!

Unfortunately, we lost Rick in 2004. But Larry Dodson is still with us (and is quite handsome these days!), and The Bar-Kays still perform. They recently performed for the troops in Iraq along with fellow funk bands Confunkshun and The Dazz Band.

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“I Raise My Own Child”–A One-In-a-Million-Father

I have great intros, so I’ve been told. Thank you for the compliment. I think I do, too. I believe I know how to hook a reader within the first couple of lines. But this one poses a happy dilemma. How do I pay homage to the best man I know, the person I love and respect the most in this world? Where do I even begin to write about my father?

Here’s one thing that’s on my mind as I start this. Dad told me about 10 years ago that when my mother died, her well-meaning relatives offered to take me back with them to Mississippi.

My father told them emphatically, “I raise my own child.”

I guess they figured my father was a young man; he probably wanted to start afresh with a new wife or whatever. I had to ask about that whole exchange when I spoke with an older cousin sometime after I was made aware of this. She explained that the way of thinking at that time was “the best place for Mae’s daughter is with Mae’s people.” It wasn’t hard to hide my outrage at the thought of relatives I didn’t know taking me to a place and way of life I didn’t know–on the heels of losing my mother yet–and their thinking my father would just easily pawn me off. The cousin said, “Well, he’s one in a million.”


I had a wonderful life and still do because of my father. He gave me a wonderful childhood, and now in adulthood, his wisdom and friendship is such a rich blessing. How do I honor him? I have no idea, but I’ll tell you some tidbits about Dad.

  • When my mother died, Dad couldn’t cook much. My mother did all the cooking. She’d see Dad parking the car in the garage and start fixing his plate. All Dad had to do was come in, hang up his coat, wash his hands and sit down at the table. Now he had to cook for us. Those were some lean days, I tell ya! Dad didn’t do the fast food route–he learned to cook and cook quite well, actually. He would boastfully proclaim we were in “Don Coleman’s Soul Kitchen.” Even now if you dare to give him a compliment on a meal, he’ll say, “I know it.”
  • Once I disrespected my mother. She wouldn’t let me go outside, so I stomped my foot and yelled, “Forget you, then!” Dad was on me within seconds and tore my tail up.
  • I didn’t see Dad much during the week cause he was working, but I loved to hang with him on the weekends, even if it was just watching TV.
  • Dad always listened to jazz and smooth instrumentals. I developed a love for that kind of music at an early age. My mother was surprised that I’d change the R&B radio station to Dad’s favorite.
  • Dad took me to the circus on my 7th birthday.
  • Dad bought me a cool red and white bike for my 8th birthday. I was the only girl on the block who had a 3-speed bike.
  • My one beef with my father–and I hold it against him to this day–is when I was 8 or 9 years old he got rid of my kitten. Why, I don’t know. He took me and the kitten to a grocery store and instructed me to just leave the kitten there. Dad’s rationale was that the kitten would be fed. Yeah, right. I guess he compensated by letting me have a couple of other kittens and a dog in the coming years. But still…
  • Dad and I would butt heads over curfew when I was a teenager and even until I turned 21! I told him no one would hang out with me if I always had to be home at midnight.
  • When I was a child, my father would tell me to “stop wasting paper” when I wrote stories. When I became an adult, he couldn’t stop bragging when I got stuff published.
  • Dad is very smart with money. I wish I had listened to him more. I’m listening now!
  • Sports is an obsession with Dad. He will watch anything that involves a ball. Dad has even developed full understanding of World Cup Soccer. Because of him, I think it’s strange if a man doesn’t like sports. I married a football coach.
  • We talk everyday and I go over to his house every Sunday afternoon. We love to watch NFL football and we suffer through football withdrawal when it’s over.
  • I instructed my husband when we were dating that he needed to talk to my father before we got married. He did. When I called Dad to tell him we had got engaged, Dad said, “I know it.”
  • Dad became a Christian almost 30 years ago and has since never missed a year reading the Bible cover to cover.
  • Dad is man of action and commitment. He knows how to take of business, and if Dad says something, you can bet your life on his word.

It brings tears to my eyes to think what I would have missed out on had Donald Coleman been any other kind of man.


Summer TV Shows You Should Be Watching Now

Well, it’s that time a year when TV-holics across the land are feeling a bit high and dry and left to our own devices. Our favorite shows are either on hiatus or just plain kaput. However, in these days of online TV show availability, RedBox and OnDemand (depending on your cable provider), you can always find something to keep you busy. Here are my summer suggestions for shows you should be watching now. These are not just “chick” shows; these shows offer something for everybody.

DROP DEAD DIVA (Lifetime, Sundays 8p CST) Now in its 4th season, this is the story of Deb, a once dippy model who has died and is now inhabiting the body of Jane, a super-smart overweight attorney. (There was a mix-up at point of death.) Most of the action centers around the law firm and the partners, and Jane’s wacky best friend Stacy and her guardian angel. Drop Dead Diva has comedy, law and courtroom drama, and a bit of romance and fantasy.

Note: I’m not happy to see that doggone Kim Kardashian as a current guest star. Will aliens PLEASE abduct this chick so she will GO AWAY. NOW. YESTERDAY.

NECESSARY ROUGHNESS  (USA Network, Wednesdays 9p CST) This is the second season for this show about Dr. Dani Santino, a divorced, single-mom therapist who works with a pro football team, which of course is filled with dysfunctional characters. This comedy-drama has the ups and downs of Dr. Santino’s less-than-perfect personal life, the obligatory teenage story line and some behind-the scenes football action.

ALPHAS (SyFy Channel) 5 ordinary people with extraordinary abilities–a woman who has serious power of suggestion, a man with super strength, a guy with enhanced hand-eye coordination, a woman with souped-up sensory ability, and a highly functioning autistic dude who can see radio waves in the air–work together as the good guys. They find others like themselves who have more sinister motives. This show will come back for a second season in July, so there’s lots of time to catch up on last season.

THE NEXT FOOD NETWORK STAR (Food Network, Sundays 8p CST) This is the only reality show worth watching, in my opinion. The new season is 3 episodes in, but this show always runs at least 10 weeks. In true reality show form there’s some weeping and gnashing of teeth, but most of the contestants are not totally out to do each other in. You get those cool food challenges and the integrity of the Food Network, where the judges don’t get off on making the contestants feel like total morons.

BONANZA–The Lost Episodes (Encore Westerns) In July, Encore Westerns will be showing the Lost Episodes of Bonanza. I’m excited! Love those Cartwrights! It will be cool to see episodes I haven’t already seen at least 20 times. (I can watch the same reruns over and over again.) Bonanza is good, clean fun, and it’s amazing that they would go 30 episodes a season WITH NO CONTINUING STORY LINES. Ben, Adam, Hoss and Little Joe are the coolest dudes, the James Bonds of the 1800s.

Do you have any shows you’d like to add to the list?


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