"BATTLING THE BLESSINGS"
Excerpt
From Chapter - 24
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20 YEARS IN THE MAKING

2 YEARS TO WRITE

OVER 50 YEARS OF HISTORY

"GOD HAS TRULY BLESSED ME"
Author : Terry Fulgham
(Luckado)
UAW MEMBER
Life time membership as a UAW                        member,  
Supporter of all Unions.  
" Together We Stand Divide We Fall "
Solidarity Forever
Excerpt From Chapter - 24
Chapter - 24
Daddy Needs A New Pair
of Shoes
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Author Terry Fulgham
(Luckado)

The weekend had come and I was putting the finishing touches on my large afro with an afro pick.
“Reggie, your friends are here,” Vanessa said from the living room.

“Vanessa,” I said, “I shouldn’t be gone long. As soon as the fight is over with, I’ll be back home. Andre,
come here and give your daddy a kiss.”

After kissing and hugging Andre, I gave Vanessa a big hug and kiss.

“Reggie,” Vanessa said, “my sister Zolah and her kids are coming by.”
I gave Vanessa a disapproving look, but I dared not say anything about her sister. Zolah was the only
family she had here in Flint, and she was a shit starter from her heart.
“Okay,” I said, “Tell Zolah I said hello.”

When I stepped outside, Norman, Gordon, Bernard, and D.L. Jones were out there. These were friends
that I grew up with, and it was nice to see them. The only ones who weren’t there were my best friend
Pancake, who was killed a few years before (I really missed Pancake), my brother Tyron, who was still
in prison for breaking into somebody’s house, and Evan.

“Where’s Evan?” I asked.

“He’s over at Louis Cook’s house; that’s where we’re watching the fight,” Norman said. As I walked
closer to the car, I noticed Norman and Bernard laughing.
“What’s so funny man?” I said to Norman.
Norman was still laughing.

Bernard said, “Where are you going, man?”

“Ain’t we going to watch the fight, man?” I asked.
“Yes, man,” Norman said, “but what about your shoes?”
Then everyone looked down at my shoes and started to laugh.
“What wrong with my shoes?” I said in a loud, angry voice. No one said anything. I repeated myself
again, “What the fuck is wrong with my shoes?”

Everyone stopped laughing. They could see I was mad.

“Reggie, you don’t know what wrong with your kicks?” Norman said.
I looked down again at my shoes and as hard as I tried to see what these assholes were talking about, I
couldn’t see anything.
“Man, you tell me,” I said, looking at Norman.

“Reggie,” Norman said, “you are walking on both heels of your shoes and one of the soles is flap-ping.
You can’t see that? Man, you mean to tell me that you didn’t know that?”
I looked down again, and sure enough, he was right.

They were the worst looking shoes that I had ever seen.
“What the hell did they do to you down South, brother man?” Norman said.
Bernard said, “Look man, I got a pair of shoes you can have.”
“No man,” I said. “I’m cool. I will get me a pair of kicks this week. Look, drop me off over at my
grandmother’s house. I need to take care of some business before I go watch anybody fight.”

My friends dropped me off at my grand-mother’s house and as they were driving away, I was thinking
that it was funny that I never knew how bad my shoes looked. It seemed that I was so wrapped up in
taking care of Vanessa and Andre that I wasn’t tak-ing care of myself. I was taught from an early age
that a man’s first responsibility was to his family and then to himself. I never paid attention to the way
I was looking.
“Big Mama,” I said, “what are you cooking that smells so good?”

She turned around from the stove and said, “Come here, my little Reggie, and give me a hug.”
“Big Mama,” I said, “I need a favor.”

“What is it, Reggie?” she asked.
“I need to buy me some shoes,” I said.

She looked down at my shoes and said with laughter, “You sure do!”
I said, “Big Mama, can you let me have a couple of dollars until I get a job?”

She smiled and said, “How much do you need?”
“Whatever you can spare, Big Mama,” I said.
She went into her change purse, which she al-ways had pinned to her apron on the side of her hip and
pulled out five $20 bills.

“Here, Reggie,” she said, “Will this help you out?”

“Yes, ma’am,” I said. “I will pay you back, Big Mama.”
“Reggie,” Big Mama said, “I know you will. How are Vanessa and the baby doing?”
I said, “They’re at home. They are doing fine.”
Big Mama said, “You make sure you take care of your family, Reggie.”
“I will, Big Mama,” I said.

“Reggie,” Big Mama asked, “Do you have enough food?”
“Yes, ma’am,” I said, “we have food.”
“You know I’ve got two deep-freezers full of food that you can always have,” Big Mama said.
“Yes, ma’am,” I said, “I know. But we are okay.”

I kissed Big Mama and told her thank you again.
“Big Mama,” I said, “I’ve got to go now. I am going over to a friend’s house to watch the fight on TV.”
“Reggie,” she said, “you be careful.”

I left and started walking toward Louis Cook’s house. He lived with his father about two blocks from
my grandmother’s house. As I was walking, I was thinking that none of my friends are married.
They have no idea what married life is about and what the bread winner has to go through to take care
of his family.

Really, there was no reason for me to stay mad at them for something they don’t understand.
I know that I needed a new pair of shoes.


Funny, now that I was aware of my shoes, I could feel myself walking on the heels and I could hear the
sole flipping and flopping back and forth.
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