Don Roberts

Hey Daddy, Read This

June 12th, 2014 at 2:09 pm by under 10 On Your Side, Community, Health, News, Personalities, Uncategorized

   “Many thoughts come to mind this  FATHER’S DAY 1993!  Father's Day 599693_10100713632756286_1292965230_n

How thankful I am to have a dad.. and all that you’ve done for me.

    You know my three children well.. their ages are 17, 10, and 7.

Kristen’s the oldest, and the there’s Dawn, and last, but not, least, is Kevin.

    My wife and my children are my greatest blessings, but let me brag about you,  dad.

 You’ve always been there for me, my brothers, sisters, mom, and I’m glad.

    While we grew up, you worked several jobs, ’cause you felt you had to do it.

We had what we needed and sometimes more- we just asked and you saw to it.

   I remember days you worked late, we knew you were home by the squeal of car brakes without fail.

Your arrival was usually good news, unless you had too spank my tail!

   Dad, you seemed to never miss church on Sunday…no matter what you did on Saturday night.

You said making time for parties and fun…and denying God was not right.

   Dad, you could fix anything… plumbing, electrical, the car, if we’d holler…

I knew you were smart, and you taught yourself, while trying to save a dollar.

   You liked to sit out on our steps… and watch the changing neighborhood.

You made your point of speaking to children and encouraging them to do good.

    If we were walking and you saw a weed in the sidewalk… you’d go back…

You always told me to pull it out… because, after winter, it would leave a crack.

   You graduated high school but once you told me you wished you had gone on to college.

Instead, you earned a Ph.D in common sense... the best kind of knowledge.

   I’ll admit, I took you for granted while growing up… you were always there.

And I was surprised when my friends would tell me they had no dad who cares..

   It was hard to believe that a man would make a baby… and simply leave…

but it’s happening every day… as more and more unmarried couples conceive.

   I’m just glad my dad stayed around… your example showed me the way.

I love you dad… and I want to say- thank you on this Father’s Day.

   I guess the best way to show my thanks to a very special man…

is by using your example, and working hard,

to be the best DAD I can.”

(C) 2004 Don Roberts, from the book, HEY DADDY READ THIS, IUniverse Publishing.


‘Round The Block

June 4th, 2014 at 10:28 am by under Community, Health, News, Personalities, Uncategorized

I did something very unusual Monday afternoon. I took a walk around the block, -with my neighbor. I’ll call him MIKE. He’s a public servant who happens to wear blue -and silver. MIKE arrived home at about the same time I was heading out. MIKE works crazy hours- so, we’ve got that in common. Another thing, he and his wife are raising a toddler, an infant, and a dog. I’ve been there, done that- flea & tick spray still in the cab. girl-on-bicycleMy kids are now grown and gone. But, they come back! And with their children! 5 of the 7 grands were with me on this day. We were headed out, the kids on bikes, for a ride ’round the block. And that’s when I saw MIKE roll up. He’s cool. But, sometimes I just don’t know. Maybe, it’s his job. Maybe it’s mine. We’ve had our moments- as neighbors will- “Breaking News again, huh, Don? Don’t you ever have any ‘good news?’” OUCH! (Here’s some good news: It’s called a “Good Fence!” ZING! ) Ha ha… yeah. I don’t believe our meeting this time was a coincidence. Considering the Breaking News of the day, I found myself looking for his piece of silver… to see if he had added another color to it – black. Not yet. Back to the task at hand, our children! They were ready to roll and set some new land speed records on this urban course! MIKE planned the same thing with his 3 year old, an adorable little girl, on a custom bike with no pedals- how cute! So, the 8 of us stormed the neighborhood! And while the kids did their thing, we, kinda did ours… two neighbors, two dads, two friends, just watching, and walking and talking. About what? What else? The weather, and our children.


Happy Mothers’ Day!

May 12th, 2014 at 11:49 am by under 10 On Your Side, Community, Personalities, Uncategorized

My wife and I (and some good friends) saw the TEMPTATIONS and the FOUR TOPS last night (Sunday, 5-11-14) GRRRRRRREAT SHOW!!! Now, I know, both groups had their glory days seemingly “a hunnert” years ago, but the music is timeless.  Unfortunately, time has taken its toll on the groups. Each has only one original member, today. BUT, the new kids on the block provided a 20-14 FLAVOR that hooks a new crowd of any age, while doing justice to the LEGACY of MOTOWN. The replacement players have talent to spare.  And both the ‘TEMPTS & ‘TOPS “stepped” so hard, WE were out of breath just watching!!!

Ferguson Center features the Temptations & four Tops

Ferguson Center features the Temptations & four Tops

Now, here’s the really great part- we got to see them for FREE. (No, I didn’t pull a “Do You Know Who I Am?- ego trip ’cause I would have gotten my feelings hurt, big time). The tickets were “make-goods” from a February concert featuring the FIFTH DIMENSION and SPINNERS at CNU’s Ferguson Center.   Problem then was, the SPINNERS didn’t show up due to bad weather. We were on the edge of a major attitude, but, The “5th -D” had a cure for that- A FANTASTIC PERFORMANCE! Florence LaRue, again, the last of the 5 originals, led the new-crew in a fresh performance of their numerous hits from the ’60′s and ’70′s. And they flavored it with a touch of  Broadway. Their extended performance left us satisfied. But, about two days later, the professionals at CNU-FERGUSON CENTER called, emailed and sent letters- to all patrons, me included, APOLOGIZING and offering the make-goods, free tickets, for another show- best seats available. Nice!!

What we, the patrons, also didn’t know, was what happened behind the scenes to make sure somebody showed up to perform at all. When learning that members of both the 5th-D and SPINNERS were in trouble, “Lisa” and her crack compadres at CNU-FERGUSON, tried to rearrange flights, coordinate ground transportation -including personally picking up performers, their crew, and equipment, from Richmond, D-C or points beyond, because…. the SOLD OUT show must go on! Talk about “beyond and above!” Turns out- The Fifth Dimension was “the” show – that day, and they were enough! The make-good tickets were a bonus (as in hitting the LOTTERY-bonus. You gotta see the reconstituted ‘TEMPTS and ‘TOPS for yourself). Meanwhile- CNU -Ferguson, thank YOU. You made-good, alright! Your professional crew- made a great memory on this Mother’s Day!

CNU -2 10365824_679161832131807_490639619446290934_nCNU COVER 1


2 REASONS

April 22nd, 2014 at 11:01 am by under 10 On Your Side, Community, Health, Military, News, Personalities

Two reasons why I’ve been smiling while I walked the scenic NOLAND TRAIL in Newport News over the past week. I’ll be smiling again as I hit “trails” all over Hampton Roads in the next five days. ELIAS, my oldest daughter’s February blessing is on the left. And “LIL ROSCOE” (aka- LIAM) is my partner KATIE’s handsome boy, born last July. BABY Elias and mommy 16627_10152272982082930_123902686_n

These healthy infants have a great opportunity to grow to a ripe old age, and physically do whatever they want, thanks to the MARCH OF DIMES.  Wednesday through Sunday, I’ll be thinking of the boys as I pound the pavement with JIMMY RAY of “97-3 THE EAGLE.”  We start at the Country Club of Williamsburg, 7am, with the goal of reaching Patrick Henry Mall by about 11. And each day, we’ll take a bite out of the 80+ mile route, inching closer to the goal of the oceanfront. Check the link for each day’s effort.
During that first FOUR HOUR trek with JIMMY RAY, we’ll each have plenty of time to talk (I’ll do a lot of LISTENING) about how to solve every problem in the universe. But when we’re not flapping our gums, the quiet moments will be great for counting our blessings- two of which you see, here.

Liam - Lil Roscoe -2 1238940_4845738956387_724864554_n

Their moms knew what to do to help insure their successful births- thanks in large part to the work of the MARCH OF DIMES. In their words:   “We help moms have full-term pregnancies and healthy babies. If something goes wrong, we offer information and comfort to families. We research the problems that threaten our babies and work on preventing them.”
You may know someone who’s waiting for their little blessing right now. You can help them by supporting me and my walking buddy, Jimmy Ray. Better yet, just go right to the source, the March of Dimes. Send them a check -and on the memo line, just write in that name that’s your reason to smile.
Each day, our MARCH FOR BABIES will shine a spotlight on the MARCH OF DIMES and it’s support of research to prevent premature births and defects. Check out the link to the map of our daily route, follow our progress, cheer us on when you see us on the street AND PUH-LEEZE support the MARCH OF DIMES.  And to top it all off, join our MARCH FOR BABIES and WALK WITH US this SUNDAY, April 27, 2014, 830am at the VB oceanfront!


ANNOUNCEMENT: I’m NOT Gay… but my brother was.

February 10th, 2014 at 3:09 pm by under Community, Health, News, Personalities, Politics, Sports, Uncategorized

Michael ROBERTS died in 1985… of AIDS. When he finally “came out of the closet” he went straight to a hospital bed. Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome ravaged his body. At peak health he stood six feet three, two hundred twenty five pounds. At death, I could’ve carried him in one arm while holding a stack of his lesson plans in the other. The only things that terrified this former middle school teacher -as much as the disease’s death sentence- were having to tell our parents he was ill- and why.

Michael also worried about another thing… the world finding out about his illness through the efforts of a persistent reporter. Consider the times: In ’85,  the average Joe and Jane  were terrified of being in the SAME ROOM with someone who was gay. Homosexual black males were at high risk of contracting AIDS and HIV, then. And, too many people thought they could “catch it” if an infected person just breathed on you.  So, a teacher, with AIDS, and charged with caring for 30 rambunctious kids all day? That would have been BREAKING NEWS. Thankfully, my big bro’s “story” never made the headlines.

Michael Sam_image Michael Sam -3 nfl_mortscheft_sam

 

 

 

 

Fast forward 30 years to 2014… another MICHAEL, (about the same SIZE as my brother) is proudly telling the world he is gay. Michael Sam  made an ANNOUNCEMENT on ESPN. My, My, My, how times have changed. SAM, a star defensive end at UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI, thus could become the first openly gay  player in the NFL. Now, I’m as guilty as the next man of selective amnesia – my initial reaction to SAM’S interview with ESPN was- “Why do you have to make an announcement? Your sexual preferences are your business! Just do your talking on the field!” Up to this point, there are no “known” homosexual players in the NFL. Guys have said they suspect there are some on each team, but with hyper aggressive players like Ritchie Incognito running roughshod over locker rooms, it’s no surprise no one dares speak up.

KATIE COLLETT heard me thinking out loud this a-m and offered a timely perspective- that may or may not have been SAM’S’ thinking. She said she, too, has a gay relative. And that relative endured some stressful times due to lack of acceptance in the broader, heterosexual community. But, here’s where she hit the nail on the head. She said – maybe MICHAEL SAM “came out” so the next kid won’t have to… He, or she, can just “be.”

I immediately thought of the Rutgers University student who committed suicide after his roommate posted video of him in a sexual act with his male partner. Gay student Tyler Clementi _190-articleInline-v2

Tyler Clementi  told his parents he was gay, just days before heading off to college.

Michael SAM will soon be graduating, I imagine, with his head held high, and fully capable of “taking off” anyone else’s head who wants to give him some grief over being gay. Good luck in the draft, the locker room, the field, and life.

Michael ROBERTS hated football. But I wouldn’t be surprised if he looked down from the heavenly grandstand to applaud a good hit.


Free At Last? Not Yet.

January 20th, 2014 at 9:35 am by under 10 On Your Side, Community, Health, News, Personalities, Politics, Uncategorized

mlk-_1389523638      I think an 85 year old ML KING would probably be crying today. SATURDAY a HANDFUL of Newport News residents took to the streets, in his name, MARCHING FOR PEACE. SUNDAY, two fools took to the same street, but just four blocks away- FIRING GUNS at each other. A 71 year old man got hit and killed. A Pastor VENTS -and calls for the MAYOR to “do something.” McKinley Price has – leading the effort to bring in a new top crime fighter. Police Chief RICHARD MYERS was sworn in Friday. Criminals were not impressed. But sadly, neither were/are some residents – residents who continue to look the other way -or have nothing to say- while these criminals continue to try and control the streets. *AND* this latest shooting comes on top of the ONGOING search for the guy who’s ATTACKING WOMEN. One victim told me he grabbed her bag- knocking her off her feet – just outside her house, around 430pm! And she says she LATER found out she was likely his 4th victim. She was frustrated at not having heard any alert or warning about the other 3 crimes -also in the south east community.

     If only more EAST END residents would VENT and say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH, but also, finally realize their POWER!! You can do that- by doing 3 things TODAY: a-INTRODUCE YOURSELF TO THAT NEIGHBOR YOU DON’T KNOW; b- AGREE TO LOOK OUT FOR HIM/HER, AS THEY LOOK OUT FOR YOU; c- CALL 9-1-1, or that NEW CHIEF- directly!!! to report what you’ve seen- like that knucklehead that you know carries a gun- or deals drugs, or hides out in a specific public housing unit. Only when “we” realize that there are MORE good people than “bad”- and that EVIL can only FLOURISH when GOOD PEOPLE DO NOTHING- will we truly be Free At Last!


Smile!

January 8th, 2014 at 10:55 am by under 10 On Your Side, Community, Health, Personalities

MARCIA D. BANKS-ALSTON imagesShe’s probably doing that right now- even though my sister-in-law, Marcia, is waking up in a Charlotte, North Carolina hospital room -minus her lower left leg.

Marcia seems to have always found a reason to smile- at least in the 30+ years I’ve know her. She would smile when one of her deaf and blind students would learn a new “sign” at the former Virginia School in Hampton. She’d proudly show off those pearly whites when one of her teens at a Newport News high school would “drop back in” to classes. And, recently, she couldn’t stop smiling as members of her Carolina church enthusiastically took their faith outside the sanctuary- and into some of Charlotte’s toughest neighborhoods. They swept streets and probably saved some souls in the process.

Today, Marcia is smiling through the pain-while believing that she’s beaten DIABETES. Oh, yeah! That debilitating illness may have claimed her leg, but not her spirit. And she would smile, knowing that, after YOU read this, you’re going to check with your doctor to assess your risk for it. Strange thing- neither Marcia’s dad or mother had diabetes. My side of the family? Dad HAD it, and  mom HAS it now. I know what I have to do: watch my weight, cut back on sugary, fatty and fried foods, drink more water, and step up the exercise. But how about YOU? Next check up- get tested.

Smiling through it all.

Smiling through it all.

Somehow, Marcia will know- or at least *feel it- as she goes on to claim a  VICTORY:

Marcia has this gift of a new day, and a new start to the rest of her life.


Health Screaming! (I meant: SCREENING)

November 14th, 2013 at 11:30 am by under Community, Health, Personalities, Uncategorized

HEALTH SCREENING on the job? Bring it on! It should be no problem, but, What if…?Health Screening images I try to stay in shape with my little daily routine- push-ups, stretching, squats- in between sprints to the coffee machine(and bathroom). But I still felt a little STRESSED OUT-because, I do wonder: will the wrong numbers JACK UP my premiums?! THAT could cause a heart attack!! I later found out it won’t.

SO, after the NOON show-basically the end of my  330a-1:30p workday (that’s another post)- I start to get a little “tight.”  I begin to OVERTHINK this thing: Flashbacks to EVERY “bad” item I recently ATE (An ALMOND JOY I snatched from my grand daughter’s T-O-T bucket; a slice of cheese PIZZA from Costco (Hey! We do get a MINUTE to get out!!) and the ONE-AND-A HALF-CUPS OF COFFEE……. okay, okay…. AND hot chocolate mix-YUM! (busted). It’s from the *New* instant brewing machine in the green room. The boss had it installed 2 DAYS AGO! Hmmmm: new coffee machine on Monday- health screening on Wednesday… DID THEY CALIBRATE the caffeine content? – those beans were kinda dark? And, WHY WERE TWO OF THE HEALTH SCREENING *TECHNICIANS* IN THE GREEN ROOM, NEAR THE NEW COFFEE MACHINE, *AT *THE *PRECISE *TIME *I WALKED IN??

Okay,okay,okay… breathe in… breathe out… nice and slow. Gotta get the blood pressure down. IX-NAY on cup #2.5. Time to GIT-R-DUN.. do NOT run up the steps- it’ll increase my heart rate. Drink water- YEAH! That’ll dilute the ALMOND JOY. “Poink!” …blood test done. Yes, mine is RED despite my affinity for STAR TREK. Blood pressure? Hold up, wait a minute- IT *WAS HIGHER than usual!! See? What did I say?? CHOLESTEROL: UNDER 180- BAMM!!! And then, she “RED-FLAGS me- for, of all things, my WEIGHT! “What-chu-talkin-bout, Willis?!” A buck- 70 at 5′ 8″ AND-A-HALF. She said I was OVERWEIGHT!!!! SAY WHAT?!? I almost had a HEART ATTACK! …until she came back with the caveat- “That’s okay for a guy- we allow a little extra poundage for muscle.” AW, YEAH! THANK YOU VERY MUCH! “Honey, I’m on my way home! FIRE UP THE GRILL, GET THE CHITTERLINGS READY!”


Veterans: Good and Plenty

November 7th, 2013 at 3:29 pm by under Military, News, Personalities, Politics, Sports

6 was good enough for Matthew Plenty. That’s how many children this AIR FORCE veteran had between wives’ one, and two. And he also loved his COWBOYS! That always made for some good conversation during the few times I visited his Newport News home. Mr. Plenty could talk some “smack” about WASHINGTON. After retiring from the AIR FORCE and settling into a civil service job at FORT EUSTIS, the PLENTYs’ welcomed my wife’s family by their East End homestead all the time. I recall first meeting him at our wedding in 1982! And although my wife stayed in touch with the kids, we hadn’t seen him much over the years- one of those friends you kinda knew was always there. Always. Until Monday. I vividly recall my wife’s reaction when she learned Mr. Plenty had died. She knew he was sick, in home hospice care. We planned to visit, tomorrow.. but LIFE got in the way. I hear he had some fascinating stories to tell about his military service. But now he’s takes those stories with him. TOMORROW now becomes TODAY. I’m finalizing plans, along with a colleague over at SUNTRUST BANK in downtown Norfolk, to talk to- actually, HONOR, some other VETERANS, who have some stories to tell. I personally know two of them. Mr JULIUS GREEN is the husband of my wife’s best friend, Rosalyn. Every now and then, “Roz” would drop a dime about Mr Green’s ARMY years, duty in Korea, Germany, Fort Eustis. Only after pressing for details did I learn that he was the Army’s first African American MASTER DIVER; or in other words, the Army’s version of CARL BRASHEAR.

He was the Army's CARL BRASHEAR

Army Master Diver

Poking around a little more, I learned Mr. Green attended Warrant Officer School with his neighbor, and another friend of mine, JOHN E. GRAGG… That’s Army Chief Warrant Officer 3, John Gragg. He went on to become the ARMY’s first African American BOAT CAPTAIN.

The Army's first African American boat captain

The Army’s first African American boat captain

Gragg says he was the captain of the big tug that helped pull this ARMY VESSEL OFF a sand bar in the James River in March of 1972. And, boy, does he have more stories to tell.

CW3 John E. Gragg captains tug that helped free this stranded vessel in the James River, March, 1972.

CW3 John E. Gragg captains tug that helped free this stranded vessel in the James River, March, 1972.

Both plan to share them with us at a reception in their honor, 10 AM, FRIDAY, 09NOV13, at SUNTRUST BANK, 150 West Main Street, downtown Norfolk, 12th floor. Also being honored this day, a “young man” who earned 3 PURPLE HEARTS, the hard way. Retired Army Ranger William “Joey” Pocan. TOMORROW is TODAY…The time is now to say THANK YOU to these, and all outstanding veterans. I hope they’ll take a moment to tell us a story.


Headlines hit home: Cyber bullies and my grandchildren

October 17th, 2013 at 3:38 pm by under 10 On Your Side, News, Personalities

I love it when my 9 year old grandson, Christion, visits. He’s growing up so quickly! He has twin 6 year old “baby” sisters, Sonaia and Simone. And there’s one more- Leila- who’s 12. They are sooo smart- AND- very proficient with technology. Christion is my focus here. He and the “fam” all live in Roanoke. And, whenever they visit, Christion loves to play games on my cell  phone and laptop. He especially likes interacting with people, he thinks, are kids his age, in online “gaming” and other seemingly harmless sites. As soon as I figured out what he was doing, (Hey!, I’m 57! Yeah, yeah, no excuse) we limited his time, observed,  then just simply cut it off.  He admitted he didn’t personally know who he was talking to. Now, I’m hearing this troubling story: 12 and 14 year old girls could serve jail time for CYBER BULLYING 12 year old Rebecca Sedwick, pictured here. Rebecca couldn’t take it anymore, so, she committed suicide. CYBER bullying Rebecca Sedwick 1374118_583393441708647_1765423216_sAnd it appears the PARENTS of the two kids charged, and those whose kids bully- could bare responsibility. I was bullied when I was a kid – BUT I had great parental support, AND, I outgrew the bullies and their attacks. This online stuff is proving to be exponentially more dangerous since it’s PERMANENT, WORLDWIDE and ANONYMOUS!  Christion has limited access to computers at his home – as far as I know. But he has friends with cellphones, tablets and other connections. And then there are the kids will all that access, and NO SUPERVISION or, as we called it in my family- “no home training.”  Those kids could scar CHRISTION, for life, with one “tap.” I, and CHRISTION’S parents, will continue to monitor what he does online, and shut it down if we don’t approve. We have to. Lives are at stake. We’ll “train him up” as best we know how, and keep pointing him in the “right” direction. Then, we’ll turn him loose on the world – hoping and praying  he’ll “turn ‘it’ off”  on his own, and just TALK to someone FACE TO FACE! How ’bout that for a unique idea?