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Doubting Thomas

September 29th, 2014 at 2:35 pm by under 10 On Your Side, Community, Health, Military, News, Personalities, Uncategorized

Doubting Thomas

What would you do? I was driving through a neighborhood and saw a man, lying on the street. In those few seconds- as best I could determine from a moving vehicle- he didn’t move. First thought- “keep on going. He’s sleeping ‘it’ off.” Second thought: “Uh oh. What if he just collapsed from some other health problem and was dying; or maybe he was a victim of a hit-and-run, or, he just got ‘jacked’?” I ran through a bunch of other “What If’s” by the time I’d gotten two blocks away. My answer to one of those questions was – DO SOMETHING.

This happened Saturday evening along busy Warwick Boulevard in the “trendy” Hilton area of Newport News. Who knows how long he’d been there? I’m guessing – dozens of other drivers passed him by, too, as I had to wait a traffic light cycle or two to make my U. As I doubled back, I realized I was just a couple of blocks away from the GOODWILL and CHKD second hand stores. U-turn complete and… he was still there. Still not moving. I pulled over, parked and headed for him.

If he’s unresponsive, or obviously hurt, of course I’m going to dial 9-1-1. But what if he’s just “sleeping it off” or mentally ill, and he’s “clingy” or violent, what do I do then? (Don’t know KARATE- I watched for 3 years as my son trained for his black belt. It’s been ’bout 50 years since my last STREET FIGHT. Hey, I can still run!) Those thoughts- and the standard one from my wife: “CALL 9-1-1.”

No. I had to personally get involved.

I reach the guy. He looked like a younger Tommie Lee Jones, but with white hair. “Hey, brother, you alright?” He actually looked kind of comfortable on the manicured edge of a bank’s property. He jerked in reaction to my voice, then said: “Who the f— wants to know?” Back and forth for about a minute- I’m asking him obligatory questions- he’s cussing me out for disturbing him. And, as we go at it, I notice both his lower legs are metallic. And his 3rd leg, a cane, is on the ground, just out of reach. His eyes are glazed, but not quite bloodshot. He’s angry at the world, still cussin’. And then he loudly proclaims: “I’M GOING STRAIGHT TO HELL! I KNOW IT!” And then he gives me an exaggerated, wide-eyed look as if he’s trying to scare the h— out of me! I am scared, but I’m not running. He said his name was THOMAS. He quickly corrected that and then called himself “Doubting Thomas.”

I’m now “Paralyzed Don.” What do I do now? I’ve engaged him, he’s in need of some kind of help; he’s angry, possible drunk; I’ve got no answers, and, I’m not going to just walk away. I make the cliched offer: “Can I get you something to eat?” And then I step across my wife’s line – “Want a ride to the shelter?” He answers “No! I’ve had a ‘couple’- and the Mission won’t take you if you’ve been drinking.”

So now what? Thomas says someone ripped off his bag with all his stuff. Coat’s gone, too, and it’s going to be cold again tonight. Aha! There is something I CAN DO. But, what’s my exit strategy? THOMAS needs help. He doesn’t want me to do anything but to get out of his way so he can got to H—. Now, standing on his tennis-shoe-wrapped metalic feet, I guess he saw how hopeless I looked. I wasn’t preaching, or offering him any money. And he wasn’t going to stick around for the 9-1-1 guys.

I let him go, got in my car and u-turned toward the GOOD WILL. They had a nice peacoat onsale for  ONLY 8.99. Now, to find him. THOMAS perched himself between two dumpsters behind a 7-11. He seemed surprised I found him. Thomas reminded me he was on his way to H—. But he doesn’t have to be cold along the way. Thomas saw what was in my hand and rejected it. I told him I’d leave the coat on the side of the dumpster incase he changed his mind. As I walked away, he said… Thanks.  He’s probably still out there. What should I have done? How about you?  And, one more thing: On the day I’m writing this, I just happened to find this post on my facebook page- a homeless guy named RONALD, telling his story. Tell me what you think, here, or on my facebook page.  Thanks.

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=707368385974326&set=vb.100001035124435&type=2&theater

Homeless-2


FOOD ALLERGIES Leave Parents Boiling Mad.

September 4th, 2014 at 10:51 am by under Community, Health, News, Personalities, Uncategorized

“CINDY”- was SO excited about her first day of school, she got up early, dressed quickly and was practically ready to JUMP on the bus before it stopped rolling.  Little did CINDY know she would be riding into a nightmare. When  it was time for lunch, a teacher placed CINDY at a small table, alone, and facing a wall. Her back was to her new classmates and all the other children in the cafeteria. And that’s how CINDY’S mother and grandmother told me they found her when they arrived to join CINDY for lunch.  CINDY was near tears and, needless to say, the two adults were practically breathing fire.
food allergies index
CINDY has food allergies. For most of her five years, she’s reacted badly when exposed to dairy, nuts, and wheat. She’ll break out in hives, swell severely and experience potentially life threatening conditions- if not treated quickly. Usually, a shot from an E p i  P e n will do the trick.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, food allergies among children jumped 50 percent between 1997 and 2011. A Richmond TV Station, W T V R, aired a report on child allergies- quoting a fascinating blog called “Butter Nutrition.” It’s writer raised the question, “Why your grandparents didn’t have food allergies, but you do.” The blog spelled out several theories on what could be the trigger behind the spike in children’s allergies.

Dr. Bob Call with Richmond Allergy & Asthma Specialists, called the theories non-scientific, but hard to ignore. He said his practice has seen allergy cases double over the last 10 years. Sixty percent of (his) practice are children, the youngest patient is just three weeks old.

“There are many more additives,thickeners, all of these different proteins that are added to food- even chemicals can become an allergen,” Dr. Call said about the theory that the food we eat these days contains more preservatives, thus causes more allergies.”

A spokeswoman for Newport News public schools say the elementary school staff wanted to err on the side of caution.  Michelle Price told me the first day of school is always a bit awkward and there’s some confusion. But, the staff also didn’t know the severity of CINDY’S allergy. Price said the staff had not yet determined what the other children  had brought to school,(PB&J, nuts, yogurt) in addition to how they would act.  Still, sitting a child at a table- facing a wall- seems drastic and insensitive, to say the least. I questioned why the school wasn’t better prepared to deal with a student/allergy case- after having met with the parent and child several times prior to the first day. Certainly, one has to consider the larger picture. Here’s Price’s whole statement for the record:

“Newport News Public Schools’ child nutrition and nursing staff works directly with families to meet the special dietary needs of our students. Families are asked to complete a special dietary needs form (see attached) with their child’s physician and return it with any other medical forms to the school office. If a student has severe food allergies, the school nurse and the cafeteria manager will meet with the family to develop a plan to address the students’ health and safety needs in conjunction with peer interaction.

“The school principal, the nurse and the cafeteria manager met with the student’s parents yesterday and developed accommodations that met with everyone’s approval. The student in question has a severe food allergy that her mother has stated could lead to anaphylactic shock. To ensure the student’s well being, her teacher temporarily sat her at another table during lunch while the teacher sought to make seating adjustments to make sure that the student could be seated with classmates whose lunches did not contain the allergen.”

Day -2 for CINDY was much better. CINDY’s mom told me an assistant principal called her to apologize and to inform her of seating adjustments, and other arrangements made for CINDY’s safety, in addition to helping her feel welcomed. CINDY told me, herself, that  she had a great (second) day,  she’s made new friends. And- she’s sitting at a table with other children!


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!