Donna C. Terrell

I Was Just Thinkin'

Dad, FOOTBALL and Me

In honor of my father and football season, this is a reposting of this favorite. Enjoy!

My mother died two days before my tenth birthday. That’s when my father and I began to really get to know each other. Oh, he was at home; it’s just that Dad worked two jobs, and I always had an enforced bedtime, so I really didn’t see him until the weekend rolled around. At the time of my mother’s death, Dad had to let go of that second job to begin to raise his little daughter alone.

Sports were always an obsession with my father. He watched the games as if he were on the field, or diamond, or ice—you get the picture. His outbursts—THROW THE BALL!!—were heard throughout the block and actually became quite legendary with the neighbors. Once, after what must have been an extremely stupid play that aroused the ire of my father, I asked, “What would you do if you were the coach, Dad?” “I’d fire all of ‘em!” he groused.

When my mother died, football season was well underway. Monday Night Football was a very big deal to Dad. I’d park myself on the couch next to him and scream at the TV with him. I started picking “favorite” teams so Dad and I could choose sides. (I just chose teams because I liked the names. To this day, I still like those teams.) Once Dad and I were in a store and I asked for a pack of football cards. I soon knew every team in the NFL. Dad then began to teach me the point system. I was a fast learner.

Once, some of the goofy boys in my fifth grade class were having a discussion about football. When they said a safety was worth three points, I quickly butted in and corrected them. “You don’t know nothing. Shut up!” they told me. “I’m gonna ask my father,” I retorted. “Ask your father, then!” they challenged.

I marched myself home and sought the confirmation of my all-knowing father. I complained to Dad that the boys were wrong and they thought I was stupid. Dad wrote a note: BOYS—A safety is worth 2 points in high school, college, and professional football. The next day, I proudly slammed that note on Arthur’s desk. BAM! Shut them up!

Speaking of boys, in high school, I learned that I couldn’t get in on any conversations with them unless I knew sports. I asked Dad more intricate questions about football, and I started paying attention to the stats of local schools and high profile players. At least I could then converse with some authority about what school was in the exalted red division and who dropped all the way to the lowly white.

Dad and I were in 7th heaven when the Chicago Bears won the Super Bowl. We started going to games at Soldier Field together. When my social life would take precedence over the game, my father would accusingly say to me “You don’t care anything about the Bears!” I now accuse him of being a fair-weather fan. He turns them off when they’re losing. When two weeks in a row he missed a stupendous finish from the Bears “D”—he of little faith—Dad caught an earful from me about that!

Over the years as my devotion and knowledge of the sport has increased, our football bond has grown stronger. I go to his house every Sunday to catch the game, and when we don’t watch the game together, we’re on the phone two and three times throughout to cheer a cool play or complain about who we’d personally like to drop kick off the field. Many things have changed in our lives, and many (football) seasons have passed, but Dad and I are still yelling at the TV together “THROW THE BALL!!”

(Photo compliments of the Ruffin Family)


Take-Me-Back-Tuesday: Songs from the Other End of the Dial

In the 70s, the trend on Chicago radio stations, and maybe all over the country, was playing the same thing over and over and over again. If you missed your favorite song in the 2:00 hour, it would be rolling around again in the 3:00 hour. That was good if you liked to tape the songs like I did. Otherwise, things got pretty boring if you listened to the same stations all the time. So when I got tired of R&B stations WJPC and WVON, I’d turn to the rock/pop stations WLS and WCFL to hear what they were playing. Those stations were jammin’ too!

There were certain artists that everybody (meaning those in my world, which really didn’t encompass a whole lot) knew about like Elton John, The BeeGees, The Stones, and Queen. STILL trying to learn all the lyrics to Bohemian Rhapsody. Very cool song!

The white kids in my acting class turned all us black kids onto Peter Frampton. We all bought the Frampton Comes Alive album. I would blast “Do You Feel Like I Do” throughout the house, much to the chagrin of my father. He would tolerate my loud music sometimes, but he really hated rock music!

I liked songs by the Doobie Brothers, Ambrosia, Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles, and Toto. Very few songs by rock artists crossed over to the R&B stations, but they played Toto’s Georgy Porgy. It had a mellow R&B beat. The R&B stations played The Stones’ Miss You probably more than the rock stations.

I just recently put these on my iPod:

Show Me The Way–Peter Frampton; Dream Weaver–Gary Wright; My Sharona–The Knack; and Rhiannon by Fleetwood Mac. Good stuff.

I leave you with one of the absolute coolest rock songs known to man: Barracuda by Heart. This is on my cardio playlist! I wish I could play the guitar like that!

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Time Out for the Same Ol’

Yep, it’s that time of year again–Birthday Time! And every year my best friend asks me, sometimes well over a month in advance, what I want to do. Sometimes I know, sometimes I just tell her I haven’t thought that far ahead. So I started thinking early this year to be on top of the question when it came.

I have no idea what I’d like to do. How many dinners, restaurants, parties, et al can one have? Maybe I’ve just grown bored of the whole thing. Maybe instead of “celebrating” I can just do nothing. I can very well be at home catching up on DVR watching. I rather enjoy my own company. I’d love to go out of town, but that’s not gonna happen so soon after my fabulous trip to Niagara Falls. (I should post some images…) Then I was thinking I could volunteer somewhere, maybe the animal shelter where I got my silly cat or cook at a soup kitchen, or read to some kids. I like reading to kids.

I guess this is where I’m at these days:

Last year I wanted to go listen to some jazz. It was cool. This year I want to PLAY some jazz.

I cooked a nice family dinner the other day, but I want to cook alongside Paula Deen, Emeril and The Neelys.

Last year, I wanted to hang out with a friend at a local bar and watch the Bears. We did and had so much fun! This year, I want to be on the sidelines WITH the Bears.

One year, I saw a movie on my birthday. Now it’s time I DIRECT a movie.

I want to go out of town and fly in First Class. All the way to Paris.

I used to always pray for a husband. Now I want deeper levels of intimacy with him.

I want to go hiking. Never been. Wonder what it’s like.

Once I wanted to go to the zoo for my birthday. Now I want to go on a safari.

I want to stroke a tiger’s face.

I want to meet President and First Lady Obama.

I want to take my father on a trip to Washington D.C. or Mt. Rushmore.

That’s where I’m at these days. I’m at an age where wisdom has set in and yet still have the youth to enjoy it. I’m also at an age where a lot of things are been-there, seen-it, done-that and it’s time for more. I’m ready for uncommon and unconventional experiences. I just gotta figure out how to get there. On a shoe-string budget. NOW.

Any suggestions?


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