They didn’t need a grocery store

The last two years, experiencing the difficulties of the covid pandemic, I’ve been reminded of how dependent we all are on producers of goods, supply chains and product inventories. Do you remember in early 2020, when the pandemic had started to gain momentum in its campaign to envelop the globe? There was a shortage of paper products, specifically paper towels, and toilet tissue. People were losing their minds, fearful of running out of these products. There were stories being reported by the media of hoarders buying truckloads of toilet tissue and paper towels, with hecklers attacking them as they exited the store. These images gave us small examples of how things might be or will be at a point in the future when our modern-day infrastructure for producing consumables fails.

I’ve been thinking about my grandparents (my maternal ones), born in the early years of the twentieth century, and how they seemed to have lived a very peaceful life despite the plethora of external forces that were against them. When I think about how they lived, I can’t see them being fearful or frustrated with even the thought of running out of food staples or any products necessary for living. They lived in a world that was hostile to them simply because they were born Black. They didn’t have access; access to the places where they could purchase many of the things, we stroll into a Walmart super center today to purchase. They both went through the great depression with little discomfort, at least it seemed that way whenever I had conversations with them about it. They had survival skills that would be the envy of modern-day survivalists. When I harken back to experiencing life with them as a young child, I recall them going to town and purchasing only sugar, flour, and corn meal. They didn’t increase their purchases of additional item until I was around the age of twelve or thirteen, which would have been the early to mid-1960s.

Those who have no clue what it takes to produce your own food might think that it involves a significant amount of demanding work. They might be right; however, as a child I didn’t see the challenging work. I would frolic around in the field while grandpa with through the entire process of preparing the soil in the spring, planting seed, lovingly caring for the growing plant, and harvesting the product later in the year. He grew a large inventory of products: watermelons, corn, sweet potatoes, Irish potatoes, a variety peas and beans, greens, and my more kinds of produce we now purchase at the supermarket. Of course, he also had cows to produce milk, as well as chickens and other backyard foul that tasted nothing like the industrially produced stuff we buy today. Speaking of taste, the foods tasted nothing like the chemically treated products we consume today. In addition to food stuffs grandpa produced on his small eighty-acre farm, he also made treks into the woods to hunt for wild meat and collect berries, which my grandma used to make tasty jams and jellies.

We were poor back then, during the 1950s and early 60s, but lack of food was never a problem with grandpa and grandma. Life had taught them how to survive despite external circumstances. I wonder how they would do today.

I old and blessed…hope you will be too.

The evolution of Midsomer Murders

Brits are great at producing crime shows. Their police procedurals are some of the most entertaining television shows one could watch. There’s a show that started back in the late 1990s called Midsomer Murders. Midsomer is a fictional county with what seems like endless villages. I had watched an episode of this show from time to time on our public broadcasting network, but I never really got attached to it. This summer’s weather in Arkansas has been brutally hot. That, plus the fact that I have a Firestick (offers various streaming services) attached to the flat screen I have in my office, prompted me to search one day for some interesting tv fair. I ran across some twenty seasons of Midsomer Murders one day, and I decided to start watching the series from the beginning.

Let me say from the beginning that two to three people murdered on each episode in a scarcely populated village is far from being realistic. Furthermore, twenty some years of episodes, with each one highlighting the murderous shenanigans in a different village seems far beyond farfetched. How many villages could any county in Great Britain have? Beyond that hard-to-swallow aspect of the show, the evolution of technology, hair styles, automobile models, diverse ethnicities and main characters present an interesting study, if you will.

The show begins with the main character Chief Detective Inspector Tom Barnaby and his sidekick Detective Sergeant Jones. They are stationed in a town called Causton. They regularly flash their credentials when introducing themselves as being with CID (Criminal Investigation Division) from Causton. There’s a good amount CDI Barnaby’s personal life interjected into the show…not too much, just enough. We see his wife and adult daughter, who sometimes are drawn into the mysteries the show presents. The earlier episodes, which began in the late 1990s lack some of the slickness displayed in those of the iPhone era, however, the perennial invitation for the viewer to tag the murder before Barnaby is always there. I feel pretty good about myself, since I developed a keen eye for identifying the murderous culprits about three-quarters of the way through most episodes.

It’s interesting how Midsomer evolved in many ways through the decades. One such evolutions has been the presence of people of color on the show. The earlier episodes had few people of African, Asian or any other ancestry beside European. It’s almost like I turned on the tele one day and there be ethnic diversity in one of the quaint villages of Midsomer County. I know little about rural Great Britain, but I’ve been under the impression that most rural areas have few people of color. Regardless of what real life presents, I commend the producers of Midsomer Murders for answering the call of the times by including people of color in the high jinks associated with the crime that dates to early Biblical times.

Midsomer murder has provided me with some good entertainment for summer 2022. Most of it doesn’t really imitate life very well, but I give it a one hundred for trying.

I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.


I was sitting in my home office this morning after having a cup of coffee and reading the daily electronic newspaper. Since it was the first day of school, I decided to turn on the television to look at the local news. There are usually some interesting people-interest stories reported on the first day. If there were some light-hearted people-interest stories reported, I don’t remember them, because they were overshadowed by some disturbing stories, a least they were disturbing to me.

One local school district in Central Arkansas is hiring nine resource officers this year. These are police officers hired under contract from the city’s police department. (I’ve decided not to name the school district or the local police department.) I moved through the television channels and the reporting was the same. Security is a top priority this year. I couldn’t help but get the sense that going to school these days is like entering a high security government facility. I also couldn’t help but to allow images of school violence to develop in my mind. God forbid there be demented school shooters this year. The decrease in onsite school attendance over these last two covid-pandemic years has lessened the opportunities for mentally unbalanced people to enter our schools to end the lives of some of our most valuable resources.

I remember when I attended school back in the 1950s and 60s, even though this was during a time when segregation and the emergence of the civil rights movement were at loggerheads, there wasn’t the practice of using schools as shooting galleries. I was more concerned with how I would protect myself from the infamous school bully, who had promised to beat me up on the playground. These little high-noon type encounters didn’t have guns or knives added to the mix, only plain old fisticuffs. As I look back now, these scrimmages weren’t as bad as they seemed at the time. They almost seem comical.

I could write more, but I’m overwhelmed with the question: WHY? Of course, I could dedicate countless words to answering that question; however, I don’t feel they would amply define the social illness under which we live these days. So, I’m left with WHY.

I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.

She was acting, but she made a difference

I’m writing this piece to share some personal thoughts about Nichelle Nichols, translator, communications officer, and linguistics expert on the Starship Enterprise.

In case you’re wondering why I’m assigning role-model qualities to a fictitious character of a now, fifty-six-year-old TV/movie franchise. An article I read today where Whoopi Goldberg talks about the impact seeing Lieutenant Uhura on the bridge of the Enterprise will lead you in the direction of why talking about Uhura is important. Whoopi was nine years old when Star Trek debuted on television. See said when she first saw her, she screamed for others in her house to come see the Black lady on television who wasn’t a maid or servant. Those were my sentiments, too. Before then, I had been served up countless helpings of characters carrying luggage, cleaning floors, invisibly occupying unimportant space on the screen (big and small). I was sixteen when star Trek debut, and I was also coming into the knowledge that Black folks had done and were doing monumental things in building this United States of America.

One of the greatest stories I’ve heard about Nichelle Nichols is when she met Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This happened after the first season of Star Trek had wrapped. She told him that she was leaving the show for a career in Broadway. Dr. King convinced her that she couldn’t leave the show. Being a fan of the show himself, he told her of the importance of her role. It’s interesting how someone else can see the forest of which we’re a part. I often think of how Nichelle’s leaving might have changed the future of the show. Would there have been the same flavor to the interplay between Uhura and other characters on the Enterprise. Well, I must confess to my crush on Uhura, developed during season one. So, no anyone else playing that role would’ve been a travesty.

Uhura was a strong Black woman, equal to all others in importance, as she went about the galaxy on a mission to seek out new life and new civilizations, going where no one (no man in futuristic 1966) had gone before. She has now left us for a second and final time; the first time when she stopped appearing on Star Trek shows, and the second when she left us, as Nichelle Nichols on July 30, 2022.

Art can have an important influence on life, even when it stretches the imagination in a science fiction show that takes us where we can only imagine.

I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.

P.S. This is my fifth mission into the Star Trek galaxy. Other posts I’ve made to little leased corner of cyberspace include Maybe we need a Star Trek, 11/26/19; Star Trek on my birthday, 7/21/21; Gene Rodenberry’s dream is good medicine for today, 2/28/22; Back to the future: Diversity for today from the 1960s, 11/15/2020. Do I have Star Trek on the brain? You bet!