“And Away We Go”

Mr. Jack Poole

I was the co-pilot. It was always an average typical day. Blues skies and sunny days as we would prepare for take-off. Traffic control had given me the all clear sign as I would start up the engines, release the breaks and prepare for take off. Only one passenger, Mr. Jack Poole, and I would make sure that the “fasten your seat belt” sign was on and the flight rules were in compliance with. All systems checked out and I would say, “wheels up!” Mr. Poole would respond and sometime he would pretend to be the Great One, Jackie Gleason and would say “and away we go.” Every once and awhile we would experience some turbulence or heavy traffic and I would have to change our direction of flight. We always had a successful flight as I transported Mr.Poole to his destination without incidence. I first met Mr. Poole when my mother and him shared a table in the “activity room” where they had breakfast, lunch and dinner together at the skilled nursing facility better known as Caseyville Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. Mom and I had become very fond of Mr. Poole, which was not hard to do and he responded back in similar fashion. Mr. Poole loved breakfast (two pieces of bacon), tolerated lunch and absolutely hated dinner. It didn’t take long for staff at Caseyville to accept the fact that I had been hired by Mr. Poole to be his “official transporter” getting him from the dining area back to his room. He would always say “thank you” after every encounter after his request to turn up the heat in his room. I complied with his request during the winter months and avoided his request during the summer months.

Mr. Poole shared how he retired from McDonald Douglas. He seldom talked about himself but one could clearly see the “Jesus in Jack” and the “Jack in Jesus”. I met his pastor one day when he came to visit Mr. Poole. Really don’t remember his pastor’s name, nor how he looked, but I do remember what he said. As young teenagers, the pastor and his later to be wife spent many days at Mr. Poole’s home. He went on to stated that Mr. Poole’s son was his youth minister at the church. Then there was this season black lady I met one day in the halls. She appeared loss and I asked if I could help her. She had return back to Illinois and was there to see “Jack Poole.” Again, I don’t remember her name or how she looked but I do remember what she said. She spoke how she and her three children would frequently dine at the home of Mr. Poole and how he required them to take a bag of groceries home after they broke bread together. With her children now adults, she was back in the area and had learned of Mr. Poole’s whereabouts. That day Mr. Poole was out of his room, maybe for physical therapy, as the woman left without seeing him but promise to return. Later I informed him of the lady’s visit and he acknowledged knowing her and affirmed her story.

Erma Jenkins (Mom)

Elvera Valdez

The epitome of being a gentleman, humble, but firm, a sense of humor and always one to have the last word, were only some of the attributes of Jack Poole. He never complained about anything and was very thankful for everything and there in lies why the staff at Caseyville loved them some Jack Poole. He would frequently tell me to thank mom for loaning me to him. “I am finished.” he would say, letting me know he was ready to go. I would respond “in a minute” as mom ate much slower than Mr. Poole at breakfast. In between a bite here and a bite there, I would return Mr. Poole to his room and quickly return back to the dining area to assist mom with breakfast. Mom, Mr. Poole, my very special girl friend, Elvera Valdez, Mrs. Ruth Davis and Mr. Arrone Bradshaw all ate at Table #6. To be honest we grew to look out for one another and yes like mom and Mr. Poole to grow fond of each other. I learned years ago from a traveling evangelist about the ‘Uncertainties of Life, the Complexities of Life and the Brevities of Life. In less seven months, my love one and my above name friends have received their wings and transition from Life to Eternity. They all lived full lives in their late eighties and early nineties. As my family and theirs prepare to celebrate our first Christmas without the warmth of their presence, we must be thankful for their un-dying love that continue to live on in our hearts and souls. The grass does withers and the flowers fades, BUT the WORD of God stands forever. When we think about them it should cause us to Thank God for them. Truly Christmas is about the gift of life eternal given to us as Isaiah the prophet said almost seven hundreds years before Jesus was born. “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given…and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” Isaiah 9:6. 

Give Us This Day

The October 24, 2018 newspaper article entitled, “‘Give Us This Day’ documentary highlights a year in East St. Louis,” caught my attention. The documentary will premiere on Direct TV on November 8. Directors Michael Zimbalist and his brother, Jeff, and their crew reportedly invested more than 75 days during 2017 focusing on three younger East St. Louis residents and three police officers. The movie, according to the article, reports that East St Louis “has the highest homicide rate per1,000 residents in the United States, second only worldwide to El Salvador”. Within a few key strokes I learned that two other documentaries also titled, “Gives Us This Day” existed, one dating back to 1949 and the other dated back in 2013. The one in 2013 best reflected the current day East St. Louis, and is similar to the most recent documentary by former NBA Cleveland Cavalier’s superstar, Labron James, 89 Blocks. The 2013 documentary is set in the Del Paso Heights Neighborhood in  Sacramento, California and focuses on the pride of the black community, Grant High School and its football dynasty that made the state playoffs for more than 23 consecutive season. My key strokes couldn’t find the supporting data that East St. Louis has the second  highest homicide rate (world-wide) per 1000 residents, which from all account may probably be true. It is a given that more than 3000 African American homicides occur per year in the United States and that America is ranked the number one “developed” country in the world when it comes to actually homicides per year. Former Mayor of Philadelphia, Michael Nutter, highlighted this fact regarding Afro-American homicides in America several years ago, citing these annual deaths exceeded the deaths of the New York 911 attack of the Twins Towers and associated acts of terror on that infamous day. Mayor Nutter’s speech was given at the 9th Annual Mayor’s Summit on Race, Culture, and Human Relations in Tallahassee, FL behind the backdrop of the Trayvon Martin Murder. (See post titled, Slavery, Our National Taboo, dated May 22, 2014.)

Mr. Gilbert

After reviewing the trailer for the documentary, I await with anticipation the premiere showing next week. I thought about three seniors who would have been ideal “subjects” for the movie. My surrogate father, Mr,Gilbert, is 96 years of age and first came to East St. Louis in 1942 where he secured employment at the Swift Packing in National City. “When you get to be 93, you can tell me what to do,” he informed me more than three years ago. “G” as I sometimes calls him  frequently gives me an up close and personal view of his life. “I was making $0.62 and hour when I first started at Swift.” He arrived in East St. Louis with $5 he borrowed from his sister-in-law. “I worked from sun-up until sun-down for $0.50 a day” he would tell me, underscoring his decision to leave Marianna, Arkansas where his father rented 360 acres of land to grow cotton. “We didn’t work for anybody else because my father stated we had enough work of our own”. I asked him did they also work on Saturday and Sunday and he replied “No. Hell we had to rest some time.” Mr.Gilbert responded that his father went to the cotton Gin every day and his eldest  brother could pick one hundrend pounds of cotton an hour. Mr. Gilbert, a life long member of True Light Missionary Church in East St. Louis serving as a trustee shortly for more than 30 years. It was Truelight Church that toll the bells to warn black residents during the East St. Louis Massacre of 1917. Mr.Gilbert still drives and can be considered even at 96 a lady’s man. “G” takes care all of his personal affairs and mentally is sharper than I am who happens to be almost thirty years his junior.

I wish the filming crew could have interviewed one sweet senior named “Sadie.” I missed the golden opportunity myself to meet Mrs. Sadie “Auntie” Hardy in her younger days as she was “one-hundred” years young when I first met her at a local skilled nursing facility.” I don’t mean no harm, but I don’t want it,” Sadie told her much younger male certified nurse assistant who was trying to get her to eat her breakfast. My mom and I laughed after hearing Sadie’s warning to the young male CNA. The CNA and I would frequently argued over Sadie and our pursuit for her affection. It was not unusual for the CNAs to come into the dining room” tired” after working with Sadie getting her up and ready for breakfast. She was known to “fight” for her personal space and desires. Behind the backdrop of the Commodores hit “Sadie” I attended her Homegoing Celebration as she went home to glory on February 16, 2018. Born in East St.. Louis on November 13, 1916 Ms. Sadie was a faithful usher at New Era Missionary Baptist Church. One of the five ministers who graced the pulpit reminded us of an African Proverb that says, when “one elder dies, an entire library is lost.” All five ministers, all in the early to mid fifties, told how as children they tried to out smart ‘Sister Sadie” trying to conceal their chewing gum in church. All five lost  these encounters and at times received a smack to the face with a pair of white gloves. “She didn’t drive but always got where she needed to go,” one of the two minister who were Sadie’s nephews stated. “She didn’t have any biological children, yet she had many children,”

And then there Mr. Hogan, age 94, also a life long resident of East St. Louis. I met Mr. Hogan several weeks ago at an auto repair shop. in East St. Louis. Sitting on a chair in the garage, I couldn’t help but notice his cap which he wore proudly with the World War II embalm above the brim. Retired from American Steel Foundry, Mr. Hogan gave me a crash course on his tour of duty in the South Pacific and how difficult it was to get rank during his day. A member of the U.S. Army, he quickly expounded on “five star generals” back then, and talked about General Eisenhower and Patton. I informed him that my father was in the U.S. Navy at the same time period and had also served during World War II in the South Pacific. I could help but wondered how Mr. Hogan and my father survived in a segregated military completely engulf in a racist culture. ‘I remember buying a brand new Pontiac,” stated Mr. Hogan. He told me how he idolized that car and would look out the window to observed it in the parking lot. One day he was “t-boned’ and the car was demolished but he and his wife were not injured. This experience lead to him becoming a faithful deacon at Pilgrims Missionary Baptist Church even to this day.

My, “subjects of interest,” Mr. Gilbert, Sadie, and Mr. Hogan were not in East St. Louis when the founder and first mayor of the city, Mayor John B. Bowman, a German born immigrant, arranged for the purchase of what became National City and the St. Louis National Socks Yards, second only to the Chicago Stock Yard.  In the late 1800  St. Louis and the power brokers used East St. Louis as their personal land field. They were not in East St. Louis when the first mayor was assassinated in 1885 or when the city had “two” police departments and two separate form of government at the “same” time, an issue that later had to be resolved in court. They were not here when the U.S. Air Core at Scott Field (Scott Air Force Base) declared East St. Louis “off limits” to their servicemen due to the prostitution, crime and political graft that flourished prior to the East St. Louis Massacre of 1917.  History record this event as a “Riot,” but the truth of the events of those bloody dark days says otherwise. And “they” were not here when East St. Louis had a very limited tax revenue base due to the company towns like the City of Monsanto, later renamed Village of Sauget, Alorton and National City came into exists with the intent not to be a part of the city’s tax base. If the filming crew had taken  notice riding around in the city they would have observed even” today” that any and all capital development and new business ventures stop just outside of the city limits. But, they were here when an open door of opportunity was extended to the European white immigrants, from Germany, Lithuania, Hungry, Poland and other countries when that same door of opportunity, then like today, was limited and curtailed to the black immigrants and “citizens” who arrived here from the deep south. Limitations due to the socio-political and economic ills and policies of the day. Not too much has changed since East St. Louis first black mayor, Mayor James Williams took the helm of the financial strap city back in 1971.  “Give us this day” requires us all to know the Giver.


Stuck on Stupid

It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. As I looked at the image on social media showing how the separation of children from their parents is deeply rooted in America’s dark past, the caption and image served as a vivid reminder of the past wounds and suffering of African Americans “before” we were Blacks, Negroes, Colored or any other descriptive adjectives placed upon us by the ruling class. The caption above the image, “Forcibly separating parents from children has a history, it is our history” certainly rings true as “Zero Tolerance” is being pursed by our current president and his administration. The sign posted on the auction block reads “Negroes For Sale At Auction This Day At 1 o’clock.” But I didn’t stop there as I thought about how America separated and tried to annihilate  the indigenous inhabitants of this land before “Columbus” discovered America. I thought about the “Trail of Tears” and how the native inhabitants suffered back then and even now. But I didn’t stop there, as I recalled how America treated our Japanese Americans brothers and sisters and their children and forced them into concentration camps. But there exist no need to chronicle America’s past sins as the aftermath is constantly before us even today. Its has been said that those who do not learn from the errors of their past are doomed to repeat it.

God has a special place in his heart for “widows, orphans and strangers.” Israel was reminded to “never forget” how they were delivered with a Mighty Hand out of Egypt and how to treat the “widows, orphans and the strangers.” And whenever Israel forgot this lesson God was quick to take them to the wood shed for a little corrective chastisement. The Oracle of God’s WORD were first given and shared to His chosen people so they knew what was required by God–“…and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? Micah 6:8 KJV. As our president talks about “Two Corinthians” and our Attorney General mis-quotes the Bible we all should remember what is required of us from God’s WORD as we head toward the wood shed. We should also remember that ” …God is Not mocked: whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Galatians 6:7.


“Segregation today, segregation tomorrow and segregation forever”. It has been more than four decades since Alabama Governor George Wallace shouted out the above infamous words in 1963 as he stood behind the backdrop of Alabama University, denying access for two black student to the segregated university. Some eight months later, also in 1963,  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., using the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. as a backdrop gave his I Have A Dream Speech. Governor Wallace, fanning the fire of racism, wanted America to stay the course and resist effort to usher in a new day of racial equality, fighting the Brown vs. Board of Education decision and the federal government.. King wanted to drown out racism and demanded that” judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream.” Amos 5:24. As America and the world commemorated the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s death, one can’t help but wonder has King’s dream become America’s nightmare?

A little more than four weeks before King’s death, The Kerner Report, also known as the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorder, issued it report. which highlighted without corrective measures, the nation would continue on its path toward becoming “two societies–one black, one white–separate and unequal.” The report, commission by President Lyndon Johnson in 1967 after four consecutive years of “long hot summers” stated that white American institutions basically “created” and “maintained” the ghetto. King dedicated his life in challenging three evils, the evil of racism, militarism and poverty. President Johnson, also knew something about poverty, hence his “Great Society” and his war on poverty. But it was the Vietnam War which changed his focus from bread and butter issues to the prevailing issues of bombs and bullets. Regarding racism, then Senator Lyndon Johnson once said during his 1960 campaign in Tennessee,” If you can convince the lowest white man that he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll even empty his pockets for you.” A Time for Choosing , February 29, 2016 Post). Our current president is well aware of the politics of division.

The last decade, from 2008 to 2018 has been and continues to been exciting ,exemplary, and an enlighten experience. You might be black or white, Democrat or Republican, rich or poor, it has been and continues to be one roller coaster ride of highs and lows, mountain top experiences followed by valley views. From #Black Lives Matter,  #MeToo, and #Never Again, America appears to be at a fork in the road, one directions marked, Martin Luther King’s Dream and the other road marked An American Nightmare. In the words of Dr. King, “we have some difficult days up ahead,”but an ever loud chorus has begun to sing… black, brown, red, yellow and white , all who are precious in God’s sight. May the voices of Emma Gonzales, Jaclyn Corin, Yolanda Renee, the granddaughter of Martin Luther King, Jr and countless others continue to warn America that #Enough is Enough.”  

President Trump, “A Useful Idiot”

Somewhere I remember a sermon that spoke of “Adam’s Rib, Satan’s Fib and Women’s Lib”. The sermon focus on the very first lie every recorded in, Genesis 3:4-5 as Satan lies to Eve while Adam, is privy to the conversation but refuses to challenge the lie. Later I recall a statement saying how a “Lie can go half way around the world before the truth gets to the front door”, hence these few words regarding our Liar in Chief, the real “Apprentice” who now occupies the White House, President Donald J. Trump.

Author, Jeffrey Toobin’s article in The New Yorker Magazine’s February 26, 2018 issue entitled, The Miss Universe Connection, documents Trump’s Miss Universe Pageant held in Moscow in November 2013. As “Trumpmania” continues to grow and enters our psyche 24 hours a day seven days per week, there appears to be a resounding truth that Donald J. Trump was identified as “A Useful Idiot” by Russia’s President Putin years before his decent down the escalators at Trump Tower and his ascent to the White House. Reportedly Trump tweeted on June 18, 2013 “Do you think Putin will be going to The Miss Universe Pageant in November in Moscow–if so, will he become my new best friend?’ The tweet allegedly was made after Trump announced that Moscow was the chosen site for his Pageant in 2013. Toobin’s article cites names and places that frequently arise when one has been diagnosis with having Trumpmania, but here I will focuse on several letter “A” names, like Aras Agalarov, a Russian real-estate developer and his son, Emin Agalarov, a Russian rapper, whose publicist was Rob Goldstone from Great Britian. Goldstone reportedly was one of the architects who help set up the Trump Tower Meeting in June 2016,to deliver the oppositional “bad stuff” on Hillary Clinton. Then there connections to “Azerbaijan.” I have been fascinated about this country located in the South Caucasus Region of Eurasia at the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Western Asia.The capital is Baku and the current president is  Ilham Aliyev who recently appointed his “wife” as vice-president. Any one with Trumpmania will recognize this as the place where a Trump Tower was being built in the middle of “nowhere.” The political players appeared deeply enmeshed with money laundering as one player received a “duffle bag” of cash. Candidate Donald Trump terminated his involvement in this project late in December 2016 but it is doubtful that the great “deal maker” loss money on this endeavor, an endeavor that his daughter, Ivanka Trump, once spearheaded.

And then there the “other” Adams family, one Cindy Adams and her husband, Joey Adams. Toobin document Cindy Adams’ influence with the Miss Universe Oganization back in the late nineteen-sixties. He explains how ownership of the Miss Universe Organization had passed to a lingerie company called Kayser-Roth where Cindy Adams was an assistant in the company. Her husband, Joey was a comedian and the Adams apparently struck up a friendship with Roy Cohn, a New York Lawyer who was a friend to then Senator Joseph McCarthy. Back then Cohn inform the Adams that “one day” Trump would own New York and reportedly Cindy Adams dismissed the comment at a dinner attended by Trump. Later in 1971. Toobin cites how Cindy Adams arranged for Miss Universe contestants to walk down Seventh Avenue as a publicity stunt and the soon to become “The Donald” accompanied one of the beauty contestant from a “Who-Knows-Where Country?” Trump later purchase the Miss Universe Pageant in 1996.

“The Teflon Don” ran the Miss Universe Pageant like he is currently running the country as president. He decided the winners and losers of the contestant, basically the winner being from the country where he was attempting to makes “some deals” like Venezuela. There appears to be a level of truth to him going back stage and “inspecting” the contestant because he was the wizard behind the curtain. The judges were just another prop and Donald Trump made all the final decision. In the words of Mitt Romney, it was a “con” job to the max. There exist little doubt that Donald Trump love “beautiful women” until there beauty begins to fade and like everything else when you are no longer useful to him or for him, he discards you like trash. Can you see him attending a meeting about a potential Trump Tower in Moscow with “two beautiful Russian women” locked in step on each arm?. And it is not a stretch of the imagination that Putin just may have photos and probable videos of the Trump dating back before Trump became a presidential candidate in a “un-compromising position”. Putin reportedly did not attend the Miss Universe Pageant in Moscow. Toobin writes how it was reported that Putin sent a “note” and a little decorative box to Trump. As one who have a severe case of narcissism and “Obamanitis” (everything and anything wrong is Obama’s fault) I can’t wait to learn what the “note” said or what was inside of the little box. The answers should be coming to a theater near you soon as the saga of the man who became President of the United States with less than 100,000 votes from three States continues.

Trump’s Tar Baby

The bumper sticker read, “elect a clown, expect a circus.” It is hard for this writer to refer to #45 as President, but it is what it is. After having eight years of a “mountain top experience” with President Obama, we the people, at least 65% or more, now find ourselves experiencing” views from the valley”. This is not to say that it was all peaches and cream with President Barack Obama, as I disagreed with a lot of his policies. The election of President Obama was America at its best. The election of Trump is well on its way of going down the annals of time as being America at its worse. There exist so much material on #45 that editorials, “breaking news events,” and any other imaginal form of print or video could be done on the hour every day. Trump, like the “baby” in the White House now finds himself following after all the “President’s Men” who once occupied this most sacred ground before him.

From day one in the White House, #45 have made every attempt to “undo” anything that former President Obama did in office. “Tar baby” my wife and a political junkie yells out every time #45 finds himself in a “sticky situations. Remember repeal and replace Obamacare on day one. The more #45 tries to dismantle this legislation the more he becomes more entangled and entrapped in his failing efforts. The same could be said for his executives orders dealing with the “Muslim Ban” or “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Like a dark shadow, everywhere #45 goes, everything he attempts to do, the former first African American President’s shadow hoovers over his strange, straight blond hair. The more Trump wiggles, the deeper he sinks in his own political quagmire that he has set in motion. Now the term “tar baby” does have a derogatory sting to Afro Americans as I reviewed the TIME article of August 01, 2006 by Ta-Nehisi Paul Coates, titled, Why “Tar Baby” is Such a Sticky Phrase. One may agree or disagree on the phrase “tar baby” as  being insensitive, controversial or racist in nature but most people will agree that #45 have found himself going from “one sticky situation to another.” Less than one year in the White House it is,Obama 6, Trump,0 ) as Trump continue to counter punch to his and our own hurt.

In a prior post entitled, A Tiger Named Trump, date Aug.31, 2016, I quoted JFK, “those who foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger ended up inside. “President Donald Trump (yes I said it) is neither a Democrat, nor a Republican. He is a Trump and his party is “Trumpism.” As Americans and the world watches as #45 fumble in his effort to meet the needs of over 3 million Americans in Puerto Rico the President tweets about the NFL and make reference to “those people” as SOB’s who need to be fired. In his shadow is President Obama and how he handle Hurricane Sandy compared to #45’s handling of Hurricane Maria. Welcome to the real, live, “Apprentice” show featuring $45 as he attempts to free himself from the sticky situation of Russia as Putin’s engineered election of Trump comes more into focus. President Trump is indeed the “First Baby” in the White House who is both the commander and the tweeter in chief.

Special Note. I introduce to you, Mr. Larry Spencer, the graphic artist of the above cartoon and will be sharing his work with you as time permits. Together again Larry !!!


Why We Are Broke

A Jewish Proverb states that “a man who does not teach his son to work, teaches him to steal”. Generally speaking, if a father was a carpenter, his son or at least one of his sons would be taught the skills of carpentry. A wise father may expose his skills to all of his sons and or daughters, but the father will know which child has the DNA makeup to take the spark set a fire in his heart and eventually set the entire world a blaze. After time and space allowed our paths to meet, I couldn’t help but ask myself the question, “Is this why we are broke?’ Carlos T.Vinson, the owner and proprietor of Seven Signs Masonry answers the above question with a resounding “yes.”

Carlos T. Vinson

One could not help but notice the yellow scaffolds at the two story brick business and apartment complex located on one of the city’s main thoroughfares. Like Moses and the burning bush, I drove bye on a regular basis to observed the activity occurring at this site. The scorching heat and humidity of June summer days limited my observations as this tall slender frame of a man would be busy tuck pointing during the coolness of the morning and be gone shortly after noon. You could tell he was working grid by grid as the scaffolds would move gradually until the section of the gridded area had been tuck pointed and eventually the wall was completed. Time takes its toll on everything and a beautiful brick home may end up falling down one brick at a time if the structure is not properly maintained, hence the need for tuck pointing. Tuck pointing is a way of using two contrasting colors of mortar in the mortar joints of brickwork, one color matching he bricks themselves to give an artificial impression that very fine joints have been made. I had already experienced being “ripped off” financially by a previous contractor so this time I was doing my due diligence research before I spent one red cent. After several weeks of observations had passed, I stopped by and made inquiries on the possibility of having my home tuck pointed, or at least the front of the house as this skilled labor intensive work can be very expensive. After being greeted with a firm hand shake Mr. Vinson identified himself as a professional, a master in his craft of masonry work.. He explained how his father, the late Bishop Edward L. Vinson, Sr, had a trowel in his hand before the age of ten and he was now fifty years of age. “I have been doing this for more than 40 years.” Vinson explained. He quickly gave me his business card and let it be known that he had an “A+ Rating with the Better Business Bureau” which was proudly noted on his business card that also highlighted him being a 3rd Generation Brick Mason. “This is how I make a living.” replied Vinson.

Less than three weeks after our hand shake, Mr. Vinson placed me in rotation for his demanding craft and started giving the house a  “facial makeover” as he meticulously used his grinder to remove old mortar and made preparations to leave his signature mark upon this one hundred year-old residence.. “I only get dirty once,” stated Vinson, as somehow, like “superman” he changes his work attire and covers himself almost entirely projecting a” Lawrence of Arabia” effect.  I would later learned that part of his work attire and dress down included “long sleeves” shirts that like his business card ,tout that he has “The Best Hands in the Business” on the back of the shirt as well as “ELV Sr. 1929-2016.” The “ELV” initials represent Mr. Vinson’s father, his mentor and teacher of his craft. The senior Vinson, left a legacy behind for his surviving two sons, eight daughters, and host of grand and great grandchildren that included but not limited to his entrepreneurial abilities.  Bishop Vinson at one time owned and operated six dry cleaners, a part owner of a thriving downtown business, own and operated a laundromat as well as a corner store called E and D Market. To summarized that he was a contractor, businessman and community leader would only be scratching the surface of his life endeavors. The old adage, “like father like son,” appears to be a good exit here. The junior Vinson proudly displays his father’s initials and impact upon his life each and every day as he lives and works. “They call me Coach V,” proclaim the man with the “Best Hand in the Business.” He tells how he coaches basketball to the younger generation in the St. Louis Metro Area and proudly shows the championship trophies, rings and past players who he has invested time and energy in.

Vinson is hoping that he can take his grandson within the next four or five years, when he turns ten and begin to teach him the craft that was taught to him by his father. But like other master craftsmen in such professions as carpentry, plumbing, photography, electrical work ( and others), seldom does one fine a young mentee who is willing to “work” and “learn” from the master. As my mentor, James A. Finley  ( read prior post, dated 12/11/16,  From Shake and Bake to the Super Bowl) was told by his mentor, “the hardest problem is finding another one of YOU.”  This is one more reason  Why We Are Broke?