Donna C. Terrell

I Was Just Thinkin'

How Was Your Weekend?


I have decided that I’m done with idle chit-chat in the workplace. Particularly the whole “How was your weekend?” thing. Most folks, probably all of them around here, do not care how my weekend was. I really don’t care how theirs was. These people are not concerned whatsoever if I was well or sick, how the holiday barbecue tasted, or anything about me. We have nothing in common. Certainly no one has anything to add to the “I went to church” answer.

I remember when this phony woman once asked me “How was your Cinco de Mayo?” Like, do I look like I observe Cinco de Mayo? Nothing in my black heritage cares about or is even aware of it. I would have responded as such had she not been the VP of Creative.

Now I’m not mad at anyone, I’m just no longer interested. Just because you’re in the break room at the same time as a coworker, you should not feel obligated to talk. Talking about nothing is a waste of time and I’m done with it. Right now my time is very important to me. It’s nice to be friendly and it makes the day pleasant, but I just want to do the work and go home. Home is where conversation of substance really matters.




Way-Back Wednesday–Remember this?

We back-end baby boomers have been privileged to have lived through all forms of media. We have seen and experienced 45s, 33s (albums), 8-tracks, cassettes, 12″ extended plays (which were so cool), CDs and digital music. Love my iPod! I even had a portable record player that played 78s.(Dad had a few of those lying around.) My mother got the record player for me using S&H Green Stamps.

Wow, that takes one back–S&H Green Stamps–the-original-rewards-for-spending program. Remember those?



My mother had piles of those things! She and my father would be at the kitchen table with sponges, wetting the backs of stamp sheets and putting them into these saver books. Then they’d go to a redemption center and were able to get stuff of actual value.

Now when I sat down to write this, I did not plan to write about S&H Green Stamps. But isn’t it amazing how the mind and the memory works? One memory–music and my old record player–turned into something I haven’t thought about in mega-eons. I guess I’ll save my original intent for the next Way-Back Wednesday.

What distant memory has been sparked in you recently?


On Laflin Street: Chicago–And the shots just keep on going

2 preteen girls got shot as they walked past Cooper Park.

Too close for comfort.

Most times the shootings I read about and see on the news on a daily basis happens further north, never in Maple Park. But now 2 girls ages 12 and 13 got shot 4 days ago walking past the very park we were all so excited about back in the late 60s. Finally, we had a park, with swings, a sliding board and a sandbox, just for us in Maple Park! We didn’t have to go into Morgan Park and their Ada Park. (We weren’t allowed to, anyway.) We would all walk together up to Cooper Park–it was okay long as the “big kids” were there with us. We Laflin kids would be there, along with all the other kids from around the neighborhood, and everybody played together. Yeah, there were fights sometimes. In school where the threat would be made from one kid to another–“3:15.” That was Chicago-talk for ” when school gets out, I’m gonna kick yo butt.” Large crowds would gather to watch a fight that didn’t involve weapons.

2 preteen girls got shot as they walked past Cooper Park.

I used to ride my back back and forth past Cooper Park all the time, When I was 12 and 13. By myself. Didn’t think anything of it to go over to Racine to hang with school friends. My father never feared for my life. When I was 18 and 19, my best friend and I would use Ada, the street where Cooper Park is, as a rendevous point for the evening we were planning. I’d tell the stepmother I was going to her house and she’d say the same thing to her mom, but really we were going to catch the bus to another friend’s house to proceed to a disco that we didn’t have permission to be at. Nobody feared for us to walk across the neighborhood in the dark.

2 preteen girls got shot as they walked past Cooper Park.

It’s a different world, and it’s so sad.

People I love still live in Maple Park. My best friend still lives there with her 2 college-age daughters. There’s no way she’d let them walk across Maple Park, and they wouldn’t want to anyway.

Lord, I pray in the name of Jesus for the safety of the Maple Park neighborhood, and for all of Chicago. I bind up that strongman of murder and violence, and I loose peace and safety. I ask that you would touch the minds and souls of the thugs who make a simple thing like walking past a park on a summer night unthinkable. I ask  for salvation, conviction and conversion. Next I ask that they will have the desire to stop this behavior. Only you can do it, Lord.

Those two girls are out of the hospital and on the way to recovery. Luckily, they weren’t hurt badly. I could go on about this and write a more in-depth post, but I wanted to address this now. It was on my mind. I don’t like that the cops don’t really patrol Maple Park that much. My father is still waiting for them to respond to a call he made last year about some thugs hanging on a corner. Dad suspected drug activity. Maybe now the police will come faster. Because 2 preteen girls got shot as they walked past Cooper Park.














1 Comment »

The Christmas Connection–or Ways to Keep Everybody Happy During One Really Short Week

The “Christmas Season.” It’s only a hot month long, and everybody has plans–plans for good and not evil. Parties and get-togethers, shopping for friends and family, dinners, celebrations, and the distribution of gifts. This is a good year for me–I’ve been blessed and fortunate to have worked all year, so I have gifts for everyone! I also was very systematic with shopping–I started in September, thank you very much! So as of now, I’m pretty much done. I have to get the husband a couple of more things, and maybe a few little fun stocking stuffers for the ladies, but THAT’S IT.

If you’re like most folks, you want to see everyone who’s important to you as well as have some time for yourself. It’s also hard to get things done when you’re working every day. The main things you must do are:

PURPOSE IN YOUR MIND WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE. Everything starts in the mind. When you decide to set your mind, you’re halfway there. I know I need to see the in-laws, go back to the grocery store, and bake a lady 5 dozen cookies. I really don’t feel like baking. BUT I made a commitment, so it has to be done. That’s the end of it.

SET A PLAN OF ACTION. I’ll have to work a little bit at a time to get this done, cause I don’t like last-minute crap. I’m not baking all weekend.

DO NOT WAIVER FROM YOUR PLAN. Despite fatigue and just generally wanting to veg out in front of the tube, I’ve baked 4 of the 5 dozen cookies. Now all that’s not hanging over my head. I feel accomplished thus far.

MAKE IT ENJOYABLE AND NOT A DRUDGE. While baking, which was and is my most dreaded task, I watched my Charlie Brown and Grinch DVDs.

REALIZE THAT RELATIONSHIPS ARE IMPORTANT and IT REALLY DOESN’T TAKE MUCH TO MAKE SOMEONE HAPPY. My best friends are important. My nieces are important. My best friend’s mother is important. So time MUST be made to see them during this time period. My mother-in-law will be happy if we spend a couple of hours at her house this weekend. My father will be happy if I cook Christmas dinner. Do this kind of stuff, purpose in your mind that you will, and you’ll feel very good about yourself afterwards.

HAVE SOME DOWN TIME. I have four days off. On Monday, I ain’t doing nothin’!




A Salute to “A Charlie Brown Christmas”

Christmas time is here! You can always tell when the Sunday paper is twice as thick with ads and the “lite” radio station starts its Christmas music programming right after Halloween.  People flood the stores at obscene times like 4:00 a.m. and even high-end stores are open 24 hours. Good grief!

However, when we hear piano music and children’s voices singing  “Christmastime is here, happiness and cheer, fun for all, that children call their favorite time of year,” that signals the beginning of the most beloved and enduring shows ever, A Charlie Brown Christmas. A Charlie Brown Christmas was the very first Peanuts television special and it premiered on December 9th, 1965.

It’s hard to believe that such a wonderful, sincere show like A Charlie Brown Christmas would have problems actually getting on the air.

  • The network (CBS) thought it moved much too slowly, and the execs also weren’t too thrilled about Linus reciting from the Bible, but Peanuts creator Charles Schultz pushed to keep this in. He wanted to make sure his show relayed the true meaning of Christmas. Good for him.
  • An all-child cast was used instead of using adult women, as commonly used to voice children’s parts. Some of the kids could not read and had to be coached line-by-line.
  • There was no laugh track. Many children’s cartoons of the day had one. Again, Schultz objected, saying he wanted viewers to enjoy the show without being prompted.
  • The Vince Guaraldi Trio’s soundtrack wasn’t met with favor. The thinking was that jazz wouldn’t fly in a children’s show. The music is part of what we now associate with Christmas music, especially Linus and Lucy, which became the theme of all Peanuts specials.

Even with all of the network trepidation, the show had 50% of the country tuned in and went on to win a Peabody award and an Emmy award for Outstanding Children’s Program in 1966!

A Charlie Brown Christmas is a tradition and it rings in the Christmas season, especially for those who were kids back in the 60s and 70s. “It reminds me of past Christmases,” said Mark. Shavonne says, “I play the tape every Christmas morning. It’s pretty worn; I guess I should get the DVD now,” she laughs.

Here are just a few things I love about the show:

Charlie Brown combats commercialism. Even as a kid, he recognized that even with all the parties, gifts, glitter and glitz, something was still missing regarding the Christmas holiday.

The real meaning of Christmas Linus sincerely relayed the Bible story from Luke chapter 2. He helped Charlie Brown realize that it wasn’t about all the commercialism that so dismayed him.

Snoopy What a dog! He skates. He does impersonations and home makeovers. Snoopy even plays the guitar, and you gotta love his Trepak dance on top of Schroeder’s piano. However, Snoopy did deserve to be drop-kicked for laughing at Charlie Brown along with the rest of the kids. No doggy treats for him.

Sally’s letter to Santa She’s very resourceful, telling Santa he can save time by just sending money—especially tens and twenties.

Lucy Lucy, although mouthy, does have a heart. She pushed for Charlie Brown to get involved in the Christmas play, and she tried to analyze his problems at her psychiatry kiosk. But Lucy’s crush Schroeder wasn’t too impressed with the Christmas Queen’s hitting on him.

The little Christmas tree The poor, pitiful tree became the standard upon which all things scrawny and scraggly are measured. “Don’t get that one! It looks like Charlie Brown’s tree!” It showed that anything could flourish when given a little love.

A Christmas carol This is one of the most heartfelt renditions of Hark the Herald Angels Sing ever sung.

What do you like about this classic?

Leave a comment »

On Halloween Night

I used to love Halloween because of the look, tone and feel of the month of October. Now as a Christian, I don’t get into it (except for the candy and Affy Tapples) but I found the shorter, darker days, the crispness in the air, and the moon quite inspiring. I wrote this poem waaay back during a burst of that inspiration.


Grab your bags and baskets

Put on your scariest face

Prepare for a night of devilish delight

Let’s go spook the place!

The wolves will all be howling

Black cats will scratch and bite

Everything will dance and play

And scare you on Halloween night!

Let’s go trick or treating

Among the graveyard tombs

Beware the ghosts and werewolves

For tonight is a shining full moon!

Sip a cup of witches brew

It’s sure to give you a fright

They cast their spell, they will not fail

To haunt you on Halloween night!

The ghouls will all be calling

They seem to know your name

The haunted house is beckoning

Come into its hall of fame

Run away from the haunted house!

Run far away past the tombs!

Away from the monsters and cats and bats

Hide under your bed in your room!

And while you eat your goodies

By the light of the pumpkin so bright

Remember the chills and thrills and spills

You had on Halloween night!

Copyright 1984 by Donna Coleman

1 Comment »

%d bloggers like this: