Our Thanksgiving will be smaller with no snoring or peach cobbler

The basement mini fridge is filled with bottled water and juice. The bar is lined up with chips, granola bars, Twizzlers, pita chips and a few other of Celine favorites to snack on.

We are breaking CDC guide lines by flying my daughter Celine home for the holidays today from California. And then we will stuff her in the basement for quarantine.

Other than that we are planning an atypical Thanksgiving celebration. The two grandmothers are not invited. Uncle Ralph won’t be over and the Reed family won’t make the annual drive from North Carolina to grub with us.

Usually we have 12 people over. This year it will be four. Wife Abs, son Brandon and Celine who will quarantine in the basement. She won’t eat with us but we will keep a steady diet of turkey, ham, macaroni and cheese, yams, rolls and sweet potato pie rolling to the basement.

That is our concession to the Covid-19 break out. We are risking Celine traveling through the San Francisco and Detroit airports. We are hoping her mask protects her for the flight and the strolls to and from the gates. I don’t want my daughter spending weeks on a darkened uninhabited campus. I want her home.

We are not even sure when Stanford is going to open again. Therefore we got her a one way ticket home. She could be here through December or return in the spring or summer to finish her senior year. She might finish her senior year in the basement. We are not sure.

However, she has quarantined at home before. The last time was for 15 days after sitting next to someone at a play in San Francisco who tested positive. Celine was not infected but we wanted to be sure.

She is clean right now. We are pretty sure because Stanford requires students to be tested once a week.

I am glad she will be home but I will miss the traditional Thanksgiving. I will miss the chatter and catching up on everybody’s lives. I will miss the snoring. By the time the second football game hits half time half of our family is in different stages of food coma.

We are catering most of our side dishes from a local restaurant because the industry is struggling with the latest shutdown by the state of Michigan. The only thing we are making at home is the turkey, which I am in charge of.

The menu is pretty standard. Turkey, Honey Baked ham, collard greens, macaroni and cheese, yams, dressing, cranberry sauce and sweet potato pie. I am still hoping that peach cobbler lands on our door step, but I was overruled on the cobbler because no one wants to bake one or find one.

My fingers are crossed that we all enjoy a smaller but safe Thanksgiving. I hope your food is scrumptious and that we have a Covid free holiday.

And if peach cobbler is on your menu please save me a piece. I love extra crust.

Is a dad’s kiss on the lips getting too chummy?

My assignment as a young reporter at the Grand Rapids Press was to write a feature story on a top local wrestler.

I visited the house, sat at the family kitchen table talking to the wrestler’s dad. It was mid afternoon when the four kids — two boys and two girls — stood by their father’s side.

They were on their way to practice, to the mall and just to hang out with friends. The dad excused himself briefly from the interview and kissed each of his children on the lips before they departed. That became part of the story.

A dad kisses his teenage children on the lips before they leave for school or leave for a big match. He said that’s the way he shows love. It felt strange to me.

My son Brandon is 18. I last kissed him on the cheek when he was a toddler. When I say good bye to daughter Celine I hug her and cry because I know I won’t see her for many months because she attends school in California.

I kiss my wife. I do not kiss my kids. Maybe I should.

I just know that I did not like being fussed over when I was a kid. I did not want them to kiss me, especially around non family members.

I love my children. We talk and walk, we cook together and laugh together. We hug and slug. But kissing is out of the question.

I am tight with my kids, but I’ve always felt there is a little bit of distance between us. I am not their favorite person every day. I avoid the basement when they have friends over mostly because their friends are the most important people at the moment. And I don’t want to have a dumb or uncool daddy moment in front of my kids that might be embarrassing.

The other day I saw a dad walk his daughter to school while holding her hand. But she began to recoil as they got closer to the school and friends could see her. She finally broke loose from the hand hold. There should be some distance between parents and kids. How much should be left up to the individuals.

Should a dad kiss his children? Probably. On the lips? I don’t know the answer to that.

This social butterfly wants compromise on shutdowns

Today is the first day of another state lockdown and it is already driving me nuts.

I barely leave the house any way, but I miss the option of hanging out or eating out whenever I feel it was safe enough to do so. Covid-19 is driving me nuts.

I am a hugger. I am a social butterfly. I love my friends.

I understand why we cannot go out at a whim, but it is tough. I won’t be one of those people that storm social media and call Gov. Gretchen Whitmer a tyrant bitch because the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services closed restaurants, Bowling alleys and movie theaters. But you know Whitmer will get the praise or scorn for this. She means well. She wants to save lives and wants to save people from the anguish of Covid-19.

I mostly support the governor but I do not understand why she could not reach out to the legislature to put more eyes on the prize. This should have been a committee of the governor, the legislature, Dr. J, Democrats, Republicans and Independents. They should have reached out more to the community for its input.

Everybody should be in on the solution.

This is a tough disease with tough consequences no matter what side of the fence you stand on. If we open up we lose lives. If we close down we lose jobs. There must be a common sense game plan to get through all of this.

Actually there is. But not everybody wants to follow that game plan. I truly believe that if we’d social distanced more and wore mask that the tough parts of Covid would be behind us. I just don’t get the aversion to wearing a mask.

It’s not like doctors and politicians are asking us to wear balls and chains or I’m a with Stupid T-shirt. It is a mask. It is a piece of cloth.

We must wear shoes and a shirt to enter a store. We know we can’t wear a University of Michigan shirt in Columbus.

I have fun with it. I wear Red Wings, Tigers and Pistons masks. I also found masks that support my old school Central Michigan University. People even greet me with a hearty “Fire Up Chips.”

One of our problems is we have too many rights in the United States and we feel entitled. The mentality is we don’t want anybody telling us what to do even if it is for our own good. People don’t trust government. They don’t trust the media. And they don’t trust doctors and scientists.

We must put our trust in somebody. So what do we do? We pile on top of each other in clubs and bars, boats and barges. And we believe that Covid won’t touch us. The problem is that it touches too many of us in a bad way. More than 10 million Americans have been touched. More than 240,000 have died this year. Many more will die before the year is out.

I know eight people who have it now, including one relative. They all say this is not a hoax, it is more serious than a super flu. It is no fun to have tubes hooked up to you. It is no fun to spend time in the hospital.

Instead of calling the governor a tyrant bitch and launching plans to kidnap her maybe we should reflect on what we can all do to improve the situation. Whether you like it or not, we are all in this together. So let’s become teammates.

I miss holding court with old Detroit News pals Bob Wojnowski and Chris McCoskey while watching a college football game or the game of the night in the NBA or NHL. I miss life as it used to be.

Let’s figure this out. Together.

Too many people believe in the misinformation rather than the information. We live in a society where any Tom, Dick or Harry can float a hair brain idea and people believe them. I don’t know what’s fact or fiction.

Chinese food in Italy is fantastico

I was in Torino, Italy at a Chinese restaurant when I took a sip of asparagus soup. My eyes closed and my head hit the table.

An old Chinese man came running over to the table waving his hands speaking loudly in Mandarin. I did not know what he was saying but I knew he was concerned about my well being. He spoke neither English or Italian. So he called his son over.

“My dad wants to know if you are OK,” the son said. “Is the food bad?”

The old man owned this Chinese restaurant off an alley in downtown Torino.

“Tell your dad that I am OK and that this food is great,” I told the son. “I am just having a moment because it is so good.”

It was the third time I had great Chinese food in Italy. Someone explained to me that a bunch of people from China settled in different parts of Italy and opened up restaurants with food that momma prepared at home.

People look at me as if I am growing a third arm when I tell them a Chinese restaurant is a must stop if they travel to Italy. I was in Italy for the 2006 Winter Olympic games with former broadcast partner Mike Valenti. NBC flew a bunch of American radio shows to the games and set us up in their massive broadcast center.

Mike rolled his eyes when I told him we should hit a Chinese restaurant while in Italy. Mike, who is Italian, was in the motherland and had no interest in Chinese food.

“We are not having Chinese food in Italy,” he said. “That’s ridiculous.”

One day we went downtown together and we were both hungry for lunch. We were near my Chinese food restaurant and I told him we should try it.

“Hell no,” he said.

I can be a pain in the ass. I did not let up. I told him we should step outside the norm and go in. I asked that we order an appetizer. If he did not like it then we could leave in search of pizza and pasta. He reluctantly gave in.

I recommended the asparagus soup. The man and his son were there and recognized me from my last visit. I told them I brought a friend.

Mike ordered the soup, took one sip, and got a glassy-eyed look before closing his eyes. I didn’t know if he took a sip of soup or a puff of weed. Was having a moment like I had or was going to spit it out? There was a moment of silence. He called the son and owner over and began ordering entrees off the menu — about eight total.

I told him we could not eat all this food. But we did. It was that good.

The first time I had Chinese food in Italy was in Florence overlooking a church court yard drowned in a spotlight. I took a flyer on Chinese in Rome. Both times the food was close your eyes delicious.

So if you go to Italy visit the Leaning Tower of Pisa, hit the ruins in Rome. And don’t forget Chinese for lunch.

It was that good.

Even Mikey liked it.

I grew up on odd home remedies that worked

We never made our children drink castor oil or cod liver oil. And they survived.

We never made them eat liver and onions every Sunday. And they never caught a deadly blood disorder that ruined their lives.

I grew up on home remedies and it was awful. If I didn’t drink cod liver oil or castor oil I would come down with some deadly disease that would ravage my body. All the moisture in my skin would disappear and I would turn into a block of ash and granite. I’d never poop again and the back up would eventually kill me. If I didn’t eat liver once a week my blood would turn from liquid to chalk.

My aunt and grandmother scared me into consuming this awful stuff. In today’s modern world it might be considered child abuse. Cod liver oil was like drinking mucus. Liver taste awful, but it was good for your blood.

The women in our neighborhood could fix just about anything. For instance I used to get terrible leg cramps as a child. I got one while laying in bed and it would not go away. My grandmother grabbed a box of Morton’s salt and rubbed the salt on the bottom of my foot. The cramp disappeared.

A few weeks later I got another leg cramp at Mrs. Price’s house. She calmly turned to her son and said: “Lamont get the salt.”

Is there a book I don’t know about?

Whenever I got a nose bleed my grandmother cut off a sliver of a brown paper bag, folded it and placed it over my top gum. Nose bleed stopped. It still works. My daughter Celine used to get bad nose bleeds. I tried the brown paper bag trick and left her room.

About 30 seconds later she lets out a loud scream. “Dad!”

“It worked.”

Do we still use home remedies in today’s modern world? If so, what are they?

I never took my kids to the doctor when they got stomach cramps. Instead I did the hot towel treatment. You soak rags or towels in scalding hot water, wring out excess water, and place it on their stomachs. You repeat until the pain subsides.

It takes about 10 minutes but their stomachs begin to gurgle. They poop. And the stomach cramp disappears.

When Celine’s stomach hurt as a baby I’d place her on the diaper changing table, pull her legs back over her head. She’d fart and begin laughing. I don’t know if the laughter was because her stomach felt better or because she nailed the old man with a smelly fart.

Dirty dancing with a white girl on the Bob Lo boat

We’d had an enjoyable fun filled day on Bob Lo Island located in the middle of the Detroit River.

It was the only amusement park I really knew about. We were on the return boat trip to Detroit when I would turn a run of the mill trip into controversy. I decided to dance with a white girl. And that sent shock waves through the black and brown girls at Pattengill Elementary School, my neighborhood school.

Every year teachers passed out permission slips to ship for a fun filled day at Boblo Island. It was the best trip of the year. It topped school trips to the Detroit Historical Museum, the DIA and the Belle Isle Children’s Zoo.

After riding The Wild Mouse, Dodge Em cars and all the other rides we gathered in line to board the boat for the 45-minute trip downtown. I noticed a pretty white girl with long flowing brownish hair. I nodded. She nodded back and said hello.

She was with her female friends. I learned early in life that you never approach a girl you like when her girls are around. They are nothing but trouble.

Once on the boat the Pattengill crew climbed the steps to the third deck of the Boblo boat where we could enjoy the afternoon breeze and get a better glimpse of the passing towns off the river.

In the 1970s black boys did not talk to white girls. We did not date. We could not be friends. And we could not dance. I glanced across the deck and the white girl with flowing dark hair leaned against the railing as we sailed toward Detroit. Her friends were not around.

This might be my last chance to meet her. So I approached and nearly turned back. Chills ran up and down my back. I became petrified because I was approaching sacred ground. What if she screamed? What if she told me to get away from her?

I mustered up all my inner strength and said hello. She smiled and said hello back.

I leaned on the railing next to her and we talked for the next 10 minutes. She was from Trenton, a place I never heard of.

“We pass it on the way to Boblo,” she said.

Thanks for the education. I thought it was in Macomb County. Seriously.

She was on a day trip with her parents and some girl friends. She needed to get away for a bit. That’s why she stood on the third deck, leaning against the rail by her self.

I began to feel more comfortable around her. I reached for her hand and instead of recoiling she wrapped her hands around mine. I felt her warmth transfer from her body to mine. I was no longer on the Boblo boat. I was on the Love Boat.

I asked her to dance. She said yes. We had to walk by all the black and brown girls from Pattengill and I don’t know who they were more angry at. Me? Or her?

We danced one song and returned to our third deck perch. I could feel the girls from Pattengill and a few other people staring a hole through the back of my skull. I didn’t care. I met a new friend and we enjoyed each other’s company.

I swear that 45-minute boat ride lasted 10 minutes. It was time to disembark. I wanted to kiss her or hug her. I thought better of it and we sort of nodded toward each other and shook hands.

After the boat ride her parents bitched at her as her girlfriends stood around. I did not want her getting in trouble because of me. I never knew if that was the reason because I only overheard the dad complaining of her disappearing.

My lecture was coming.

Nobody sat next to me on the bus ride back to school. The girls were angry and wanted nothing to do with me because I turned my back on them. About 10 minutes after we left downtown Debra Brown sat next to me. She was a girl who spoke her mind. The other girls sent her over to lecture me.

“Why did you have to dance with a white girl,?” she asked. “Aren’t we good enough for you?”

I told her that I wanted to meet a new friend. Besides, the girls at Pattengill complained that I was not a good dancer. I meant no disrespect. I liked the girl and wanted to dance with her. That’s it.

“You have to be careful. You know that white people are crazy. I don’t want you to get killed over a white girl,” Debra lectured. “Come back home. We still love you.”

I didn’t go anywhere. I thought about how crazy the world was back then. You can’t hold hands with a white girl? You can’t dance with her?

Urban Cowboy

This may sound silly to some. But I have a bucket list item that is simple and unglamorous.

I want to drive an RV halfway across the country to Wyoming and have a shot of bourbon, beer and burger wearing a cowboy hat in a western bar in Jackson Hole, Cheyenne or Laramie.

Then I would visit Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Teton National Forest. I first proposed this to my family when my daughter Celine moved into her dorm at Stanford University in California. It was rejected by my family as too long of a diversion. So we flew to California.

I’ve been to the Grand Canyon and Yosemite several times. I want to see Geyser’s and bubbling water on top of the world’s largest volcano. I do not want to do this trip by myself. It’s too far to drive solo. At least it is for me.

My family is not excited for such a trip so I asked some of the men in the neighborhood and they were enthusiastic.

“Yippie,” one of the men responded. “Let me find my cowboy boots.”

Maybe we can take a side trip to the Black Hills and Mount Rushmore in South Dakota.

I have requested tourist guides from the two states and even jotted down notes on two restaurants from Diners, Drive Ins and Dives. I am all ears if you have taken this trip before.

I don’t know why I want to add the shot and beer aspect to the trip. Maybe it was from watching old Westerns with my aunt when a cowboy would stroll in the saloon and ask for a whiskey in a dirty glass.

My family is not gung ho for RV life. My wife Abs once said if it doesn’t say Marriott on the building I’m not going. I once tricked the family into “roughing it” during a trip to the Bay Area. We stayed at the Marriott in Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, but we lived in a trailer home during a getaway to Yosemite.

We had a blast. No cell phone service. No lights. It was great. The kids had a great time outside of the fear into running into a bear. The man who rented us the trailer assured us that bears avoid humans in the summer and they had bear proof trash cans where bears could not pillage food at night.

We saw water falls, beautiful granite domes and mountains. But no bears.

It was the only trip where I cooked food on a grill. Now I want to do the same at Yellowstone and Wyoming. This time wearing a cowboy hat.

Prepare for Thanksgiving now with these nifty eating tips

Thanksgiving is a few days away and we should begin preparing for America’s biggest food fest.

We will eat too much. Eat too fast. And we will eat things that are not good for us. My advice is to enjoy that day along with the following days of leftovers. Let’s enjoy the ham and turkey, the stuffing and sweet potato pie and macaroni and cheese.

And if you want to have a drink or two, go for it.

However, let’s begin preparing for that day today. This blog is motivated by a note I received from a man who was thankful that I shared some tips on lowering sodium intake which helps lower blood pressure. He has high blood pressure and is struggling to lower it.

High blood pressure took me down with a stroke four years ago. However, on the journey to recovery I learned a lot from doctors and during my own trial and errors. Let me share some of them with you.

Also let’s begin preparing for our Thanksgiving feast by being a little healthier until our big day arrives.

Let me warn you. I am not a doctor or professional. I don’t do this for a living. These are some things that worked for me. I hope they work for you.

GROCEREY SHOPPING TIP

Salt or sodium is both a blessing and curse. It makes our food taste better and last longer. The problem is sodium is saturated in much of our food and it is making us unhealthy and in some cases fatter because the food is so good that we tend to over eat.

When grocery shopping fill your basket with most foods that are on the perimeter of the market. That is usually fresh fruits and vegetables, lean beef and ground turkey, milk and cheese.

I’m not saying everything on the perimeter is a healthy choice, but it is usually lower in sodium, which leads to high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease.

We get in trouble in the aisles where the canned good items are. Those cans are usually filled with sodium. That’s why the food can last for years in a can. My rule of thumb is if it is above 400 milligrams of sodium I don’t buy it.

Read the labels closely. Don’t fall for the fake when they advertise lower sodium. For instance a regular can of peas can have 600 milligrams of sodium. The lower sodium peas 520 grams. It is lower, but that is still too high.

I like to make chili during cooler weather, but did not like that my navy beans were 450 milligrams of sodium and my chili requires two cans. One day I spotted cans of navy beans with 10 milligrams of sodium. JACKPOT!!

Sold. And guess what. My chili tasted the same.

The other trick doctors told me about is to rinse can goods in water. Much of the sodium is in the juices that are stored with the peas, corn or beans. The rinse lowers the sodium.

RESTAURANTS

Limit eating out to no more than twice a week. Do you know why the food at your favorite restaurant tastes so good? You guessed it. Sodium.

Its the seasoning that makes us want to come back for more. That includes grilled fish and grilled chicken. But you can request little or no seasoning for certain items.

Menus tell us how many calories are in each entrée and sandwich because we all want to lose weight or watch our figures. What they don’t tell you is how much sodium is in each item. Restaurants do have that information. I requested a more detailed nutrition guide and the items I liked had anywhere from 1,100 to 2,000 grams of sodium.

DRINK LOTS OF WATER

My doctor once told me that water is a very underrated medicine. It helps flush sodium and other bad ingredients out of our system. And if we fill up on water we may not want that extra plate of pasta.

I gave up soda for water. I’ll be honest. A good meal tastes better with a glass of Coke or Pepsi than it does with water. However, soda is not good for you. Even diet soda.

A year after getting out of the hospital I asked doc if I could drink beer again. She said yes, but don’t over do it. Two a week would not hurt me. I then asked if I could have pop. Her eyes narrowed and said no.

Maybe I could have two or three a month. She told me that beer is better for you than pop. It is not a health food but at least it has hops and grains in it. Soda is all sugar and has no healthy components to it.

TYPE 2 DIABETES

There are two myths about Type 2 diabetes. One, you can never get rid of it. Two, you can never eat bread or sweets.

You can get rid of the disease. The key is diet and exercise.

A doctor who treated me said 45 minutes to an hour of moderate exercise was like getting a shot of insulin which lowers blood sugar.

I spoke to a group of doctors who treated extreme case of diabetes. Their treatment was amputation. And they wanted to lower amputation cases. Word spread that I had lowered my A1C from 10.2 to 5.3. They wanted to know how I did it.

Type 2 diabetes is measured by A1C blood sugar levels. If you are a 6.0 or above you are considered diabetic. 5.7 to 5.9 you are diagnosed with pre-diabetes.

The doctors told me that when they diagnose patients with Type 2 diabetes that half never return for follow up treatment. They come to the conclusion that this is how they are going to die.

What inspired me to return?

It was a goofy cartoon I received in a diabetes nutrition class at Providence Hospital in Novi. It featured a bald man driving through the countryside shopping for fruit and vegetables.

The caption read: “You are in the driver’s seat.”

In other words you determine if you are going to be a non diabetic or diabetic. You are in the driver’s seat to good health or bad health.

I’ve decided to lower the heat on my Twitter time line

Often my Twitter time line turns into a shit show.

I don’t know if I’m being trolled or do people really have these backwards opinions? Are they messing with me? Are these bots, Russian operatives, Proud Boys or regular US citizens? Usually they support Donald Trump and they get their views from Breitbart, The New York Post and other conservative news sights or bloggers.

Anything in the New York Times, Washington Post and CNN is fake news.

They claim to like me but are angry that I do not think like them. I’d be a more perfect human being if I thought more like Candace Owens, Hershal Walker or Diamond and Silk. Why can’t I be a good Negro?

They lecture me and try to tell me how to feel as a black person in America, that black people have more rights than white people and that black people are in better shape than whites.

I don’t know why they’ve got to mess with me. But they come out of the woodwork to fill my time line.

They tell me that Trump did not make fun of a handicapped New York Times reporter, that the 2020 election was stolen from him and that the most divisive president in the last 20 years has been Barack Obama.

Gretchen Whitmer deserved to be kidnapped and left floating in the middle of Lake Michigan. Bat shit stuff.

I’ve been brain washed by CNN. Of course my views would have nothing to do with my life experiences. That’s why I sometimes bring real life experiences into my blog posts and Twitter jams.

I’m sure they think I’m just making shit up.

I get angry and try to talk common sense. It did not work. It does not work. And it will never work. And they don’t just pound their views once. They do it for three and four days. I’m part of the problem because I fire back over and over and over again.

I get this from my Aunt who believed if somebody pisses you off that you fire back. Do not allow anyone to trample you. That may have worked in the 70s and 80s. It may have worked when I was 30 or 40. But I am older. Times have changed. And I get frustrated, exhausted and tired.

Someone tweeted at me “I remember when Terry Foster used to talk sports.” They are right. I’ve become distracted. I plan to try to fix the Detroit Lions, make Michigan and Michigan State football great again. And rediscover every Detroit sport franchise that appears to be dead and buried.

Let’s talk beer and bourbon and women and men. Let’s have fun.

Let’s get through Covid and meet at Comerica Park on a warm summer night. Tell me where to get the best sandwich. Help me with my dream trip of going to Wyoming where I want to order a shot, beer and burger while wearing a cowboy hat at a cool cowboy bar with mountains peaking over the horizon.

I want life back to normal. I am tired of being a jerk. I’m tired of being angry and talking down to people. I am tired of being attacked and I’m tired of attacking people.

I need to remember that Twitter is not the real world. It is fake views.

I run into conservatives and Trump supporters in real life. They are great. They are fantastic. We sometimes talk politics, but we never argue. A guy invited me to a Trump boat rally. I told him I was not a big Trump supporter. He smiled and said: “Come anyway. We will help educate you. And there might even be a beer in it for you.”

I also run into people in real life who say: “I have found your Twitter time line the last few days to be entertaining. Who are these people?” Then there is a second set who want to know “Why do I engage with these people?”

I’ve come to the conclusion that silence is golden.

So when some bot or butthead post something ridiculous I plan to quote the great philosopher Marshawn Lynch. You will see what I mean.