The month of June means a lot of things to a lot of people. For kids, here in the NYC area, it means that school is almost over. They can put away the back packs, turn in the textbooks they used for the year and they no longer have to worry about doing homework every day. For most kids it also means that they will be going on to the next grade level.

For those of us that love the warm weather it means that summer is here. By now most of us have put away our winter clothes. It would not be unusual to see people wearing shorts and tee shirts during this time of the year. Depending on how hot it gets, some may even attempt to go shirtless. You see that with both males and females

I love this time of the year. If I had to choose, the summer is my most favorite season. You will never hear me complain about the heat or humidity. Instead, you will see a smile on my face as it gets hotter and hotter.

Also in this month, Ernest Jordan Jr. will reach a milestone. He will turn 91 this month.

If you ask him about it, he will say that it’s a pretty good accomplishment for a poor boy from the south.

Ernest Jordan Jr. is my dad. He was born in 1924 in Waggamann, Louisiana. For those who may not know, Louisiana is as far south as one can get in this country. Any farther south would have you in the Gulf of Mexico.

Even to this day it is in this part of the country where you will find some of the poorest. This includes the states of Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi.

My dad spent most of his childhood living on Gilligan Street in West We Go, Louisiana. This is a city located in Jefferson Parish. It is also a suburb of New Orleans. They no had running water nor electricity. There was no such thing as central heating or cooling in those days. He told me about a stove that was located in the living room. That was their major form of heat in the winter

He told me about the many jobs he had there as a young man. He told me about the time he was a shoe shine boy on the docks in New Orleans. He also told me about the time he worked on a boat that carried sugar. His job was to work the sugar into the ship’s hold. He said those areas are pretty big and you had to be careful because the sugar could overwhelm you and you could get buried in the thousands of pounds of sugar that were being fed into the ship through a long tube.

Racism exists all over but it seemed that the hot bed for such action was located right in that part of the country during the 1920’s and 1930’s.

He told me many stories about the face of racism. Some of those stores would make my hair stand on my neck stand up.

He told me of one story where he and some of his friends were on the city bus going home.  A policeman had stopped the bus and made them get off. His concern was why those ”niggars”  were on the bus and where they were going. Once off, the bus didn’t wait for them. They were afraid of being stopped again so they would go off into the woods and use the train tracks as their guide to get them home.

He told me of other stories of oppression and he said he had to leave there because he was afraid of hurting one of those oppressors or getting hurt himself.

There was always a balance with stories that he told. In addition to the bad he would also tell about the good people who crossed his path. Like the doctor who would take him on his boat on Lake Pontchartrain. I don’t know how got to know this gentleman but this man was very nice to him. My dad thought it important that I and my siblings not grow up hating “white people”.

He had always told me that 3 is an odd number and 2 was an even number. He said that was a norm all over the world.  He said that as long as I stayed with the facts, I would be able to tell the difference between the good and the bad.

June is also the month for Father’s Day and I think I’m very blessed to have a dad who would guide me through life.

Having a dad in one’s life is very important. Moms are also important but I don’t think there is as equal fanfare for Father’s Day as there is for Mother’s Day. Having dad around is very important.

Things are changing and one of the reasons I created” I Love Being A Dad” is to let the world know that there are many dads doing the right thing.

My first memory of my dad is when we lived at 1414 Bergen Street. We lived a few other places but what is stored in my brain began there.

He was a worker. There were times when he worked 2 jobs at the same time. He took a test for The New York City Transit Authority and he retired from that job 28 years ago.

He set the example for my sister, brother and I. He made sure that we all knew that the only way to get ahead in life is to work hard and to show compassion to those around us.

Every child as he/she grows up repeats the mantra that “I will be nothing like my parents”. The truth of the matter is that we generally become just like those who raise us. This includes both the good and the bad things we learn during our formidable years.

In my case I’ve been working for the same employer for just as long as my dad has been retired. I am now planning my retirement.

I have been also blessed to have three great kids, Wendell Jr., Deshawn and Jonathan. It’s funny how I am repeating some of those same things to them that my dad talked to me about when I was their age.

In many cases children are more attentive to what their parents do than to what they say.

I hope that I am setting as good as an example that my dad set for me. I am well aware that it doesn’t end with me and the Jordan legacy will continue through my grandchildren.

Happy Father’s Day!!

I will continue to pray for the nine families who lost loved ones in Charleston, South Carolina.

I am the guy whose glass is always ½ full.