Friday, May 24, 2013

Blog 140: Greatness in a Handshake


By Vernon M. Herron

     Two gentlemen greeted this writer on last Sunday with a fervent handshake which impressed me greatly with a revealing message. 
     The first occurrence followed the 7:30 a.m. service at the Friendship Missionary Baptist Church of Charlotte, NC. It was offered by the Rev. Mr. Clifford Jones, Jr., Pastor of the United Cornerstone Missionary Baptist Church of Winston-Salem, NC. He had just finished his sermon as guest minister. The Rev. Jones, Jr. went out of his way to approach this one who does not walk well. He greeted the early worshippers for the 9:30 a.m. service with a hearty and fervent handshake.  That gesture was noted because of its message and significance.

     As this early worshipper awaited the beginning of the second of three services, along came a second brother who approached me with another fervent handshake, saying, “Good morning, brother Herron. I am glad to see you. Have a blessed day.”
     That greeting came from one:
            – Who once served as a board member of The Comprehensive Genealogical Services.
            – Who once served as a Charlotte City Councilman.
            – Who is currently the Mayor of the City of Charlotte.
            – Who is President Obama’s nominee to be the next Secretary of
Anthony Foxx is his name.
     (As this blog is being written, Mayor Foxx is appearing on TV in a Senate hearing  for confirmation in Washington, D.C.  What a coincidence!)

History of Handshaking

     Research defines handshake as the grasping of hands by two people, as in greeting or leave-taking. Archaeological ruins and ancient texts show that handshaking was practiced in ancient Greece as far back as the 5th century BC; a depiction of two soldiers shaking hands can be found on part of a 5th century BC funerary stele on display in the Pergamon Museum, Berlin and other funerary steles like the one of the 4th century BC which depicts Thraseas and his wife Euandria handshaking. The handshake is thought by some to have originated as a gesture of peace by demonstrating that the hand holds no weapon.

Today’s Meaning

     Both brothers greeted me with a handshake which was fraternal and spiritual. And what was the transmitted revealing message? That simple act spoke volumes about their humility and the value they place in people. That act said, “I am growing in service and position but I acknowledge you on my upward journey.”

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Blog 139: A Son Writes About His Father

 By James Frison
     I am writing this letter in appreciation and recognition of my father, John H. Frison, Sr.  As I look back over my life at the age of 41, I have a renewed appreciation for the man of God that my father is and the contributions and sacrifices he has made to me and my family.
     Although I learned many things from my father growing up, there are 3 primary lessons that stand out to me:  Sacrifice, Humility and Leadership.

     Growing up as a young African-American male, we were the 2nd black family to move into our neighborhood in North East Charlotte.  We had a small family with my mom and dad, brother, sister and me.  My father moved to Charlotte to attend college at Johnson C. Smith University where he met my mother.  They later married and moved into a home in North East Charlotte. 
     My father worked as a Package Delivery Driver for UPS for 43 years on the same route in Monroe, NC. My dad was a very hard worker at times holding down 2 or 3 jobs at a time to help make ends meet.  He always told us to do our best in school so that we would not have regrets later in life. He would say "you better get all that you can because one day you will wish that you had."  When we brought home good grades, he would encourage us to "keep up the good work." 
     When I was in the 2nd or 3rd grade, we were learning multiplication using a flash card that had all of the multiplication tables from 1 to 12.  My teacher had instructed us to learn them all.  Being stubborn, I decided that I didn't need to learn my multiplication tables and that playing outside would be a better use of my time. However, my dad thought differently.  
     I remember him telling me to go to my room, sit down and learn those multiplication tables.  My dad came up later that night and found that I had fallen asleep at my desk.  He woke me up and sat there with me to ensure that I  studied my work.  This cycle went on for days (although it felt like years) until I learned them.
     Despite the fact that he had worked all day long on a physically tough job, he still took the time to make sure that I remained focused on my school work.  Although it was stressful at the time, the hard work that my father forced me to put in when I was a kid enabled me to excel in college later in life.  I was able to attend undergraduate and graduate school on full academic scholarships.

     Growing up, I thought that my dad was invincible.  He wasn't the biggest man in the world but he was exceptionally strong.  I remember in our early teens, my brother and I started weight-lifting.  We had a starter weight set (the plates were filled with concrete) that weighed about 110 lbs total. 
     One day, my brother and our friends were outside trying to clean and press the entire weight set (all 110 lbs) from the ground up into the air.  None of us were able to press the set up into the air.  My dad was out working in the yard and came over to the group.  He told us to move out of the way and leaned down to pick up the barbell.
     However, my dad was using a different technique.  He tried to balance the entire barbell using one hand.  My brother and I were thinking "okay, if this goes well, my dad is the official super hero of the neighborhood.  If not, he is still the strongest one out here."  Well, once he was able to balance the barbell, my dad pressed the weight up over his head and dropped it to the ground....all with one hand and walked away.  The rest of us stood around in silence wondering how in the world he did that.
     Later on, we asked my dad why he didn't say anything after he had pressed the weight.  We were thinking "if we could've done that, we would have been telling everyone."  My dad responded that "there is no need to brag.  When you are confident in your abilities, you do what you need to do and move on."

     Parenting is a tough job that does not come with an instruction manual.  My dad was skillful in playing the role of a father balancing both the art and science of the role.  My dad showed us all how to be a leader.  He made sure that we not only attended church every Sunday but that we were involved as well.  He showed us what it means to be a Man and instilled a healthy respect for him.
     While most people look forward to retiring or relaxing after they have raised their own children, my parents have devoted themselves to raising their 3 grandchildren as well. My father spent countless hours coaching, mentoring, and parenting my nephews from young boys to young men.  He ensured that they were involved in extracurricular activities, stayed in school, completed their homework and performed chores around the house.  He tapped into their musical talents when they were young kids and each of them plays multiple instruments today.  They each play for different churches on Sunday mornings and volunteer their musical talents in the community.
     Finally and most importantly, my dad has been a devoted husband to my mother.  They have been married now for 40-plus years and continue to set an example for all of us.
      To this day, my father continues to show leadership.  He serves as an usher in the church and volunteers with the 100 Black Men of America providing mentorship to young boys.
      So it is with honor that I write this letter in appreciation of my dad for Father's Day in hopes that it will serve as an inspiration for others to lead their lives as Men of God.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Blog 138: Honoring Our Children

By Vernon M. Herron

     Very soon, we will observe “Children’s Day,” at which time we will honor all beloved children. After all, at one time we all were children. Today, we observe two brothers who are among the finest children in the “world.” They are Simeon and Solomon Ray, who possess qualities and traits we wish for all children. 

     Simeon is seven years of age, (He and I were born on the same date: Oct. 7) and is a third-grader at River Oaks Academy on Mt. Holly-Huntersville Road with a high aptitude. He likes to collect gemstones and does research to learn about them. He records that information in small notebooks for future use.
     When  Simeon was five years of age, he was recognized in Blog 43 for his use of the word “awesome.” He has steadily built a strong and diverse vocabulary. He is observant, creative and destined for greatness. Keep your eye on this future leader.
     Solomon is the older and big brother at nine year of age. He likewise attends River Oaks Academy and is in the fourth grade, where he demonstrates academic  leadership. He is a trail-blazer. For instance, he gave the offertory prayer in church last Sunday and the congregation was moved with his sincerity, originality and delivery.
     Solomon and Simeon are not only brothers but they are friends, bonded helpers and fraternal explorers. Both have biblical names. They show and express their love toward their parents and other family members.  They enjoy phone conversations and always end them by saying "I love you." They have friends of all ages – children and adults. They are good students and consistently do well in school.  They are multi-age grouped where learning takes place according to ability and not according to age.They enjoy and use the computer regularly, but they still love and appreciate books.  They enjoy regular trips to the public library and they have favorite bookstores they like to visit.
     They enjoy special times with their dad, especially fishing trips and visits to the Bass Pro Shop.
     They like pets, the usual ones like dogs, and the not so usual ones like the turtle they had at one time.
     They like music and both of them sing in Friendship's Children 4 Christ Choir.  Solomon plays the saxophone in his school band and has also taken violin lessons.  Both of them are being taught piano lessons by their mother, who is the music teacher and band director at their school.
     They are obedient and they understand the importance of respect and good manners.
     Simeon and Solomon are the sons of Mr. and Mrs. Kwasi Ray and the grandsons of Dr. and Mrs. Rudolph Hendricks.
     We recognize and honor the Ray boys today but in fact we honor all children who are home trained.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Blog 137: Mother of the Year

     The Herron Speaks Blog is delighted to designate Mrs. Terri J. McGhee as the 2013 “Mother of the Year.” Terri is a native of Cleveland, Ohio and reared in Fort Payne, Alabama.

     Terri attended Fort Payne High School and played flute in the marching band. Terri graduated from Fort Payne High School in 1983.  Terri was the first African American to become Valedictorian of Fort Payne High School.  After high school Terri attended Jacksonville State University.  She majored in Accounting and minored in Computer Science.  Terri graduated in the top 10% of her class in 1986.  While attending Jacksonville State University she caught the eye of a heavy set brother who later became her husband.  After graduation she moved to Birmingham, Alabama and started her career in banking and her life with that heavy set brother Anthony.

     Mrs. McGhee is the beloved wife of Anthony E. McGhee for 26 years. They are the parents of one son, Anthony “Travis” McGhee.

     “Terri is an outstanding mother.  Her wisdom and smarts have been passed on to Travis. He gets his looks from his dad, but his intelligence from his mom, ” says dad.  Travis is a recent college graduate from Winston-Salem State University (Summer 2012).  While attending WSSU, Travis majored in Occupational Science in which he hopes to become a Physical Therapist.  He is currently employed with the school and hopes to start graduate studies in the fall of 2013.
     Mrs. McGhee taught Sunday school at her home church in Alabama and has volunteered at Second Harvest Food Bank in Charlotte on several occasions.  Terri is currently employed with Bank of America as aFinance Manager/Controller - Consumer Bank Technology & OperationsFinance Manager/Controller - Consumer Bank Technology & OperationsFinance Manager/Controller - Consumer Bank Technology & Operations SVP Financial Manager / Controller for the Technology and Operations group.  Terri works with the Greeters Ministry on the second Sunday at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church in Charlotte.
     Brother McGhee was filled with complimentary words for his wife. He said, “I am very lucky to have a wonderful woman like Terri as my wife.  She completes me and has been a wonderful mother to our son. Terri is a caring and loving person who will give the shirt off her back to a friend in need. She has been my biggest supporter and most importantly my best friend. As a mother and wife, Terri  always puts our family first.”
     “Terri is my BIG FACE GIRL and the love of my life. Terri is not only ‘Mother of the year’ or ‘wife of the year,’ she is Queen of my life and most importantly the love of my life. Congratulations on being selected as ‘Mother of the Year.’ I love you forever and one day.”