Dads We Love – Rudolph

This week on the blog we are honoring real-life dads who have imparted wisdom, protected us from the monsters, and given lots of hugs through the years. Today we honor Rudolph Brown. From a boy born in a small town in Georgia, raised on the west side of Chicago, to living in segregated small college towns, today he is  a man who is highly revered by his peers and those who walk under him. Here’s to you Rudolph!

rudolph brown

The Best #WaysToSupport in Grief

Click through to read about grief for people and relationships.

Two weeks ago my family suffered a sudden and tremendous loss. My only aunt died while mowing her yard one Saturday morning. That day, phone calls from members of my family, text messages and the simple words, “I love you” took on new meaning. My kids lost a great-aunt who was the epitome of southern hospitality. My mother lost her only sister. My three first cousins lost their mom. The mom that each of them had spoken to the day before, only to realize they would never speak to her again.

From time to time I’ve written about my cousins, because as an only child, they have been everything to me. I wrote a poem for them that was recited at my wedding, I say the term like a badge of honor, and when they hurt, I hurt. All of them. Even though there are hundreds, I believe they all hung the moon. If there is such thing as cousin hierarchy though, my three first cousins sit at the top of the food chain. On sibling day, I celebrate them. My kids refer to them as their uncles and aunts, and since I’m the youngest, there is not a problem in the world that they can’t solve. When I had cancer, we held a conference call to talk about my treatment options and prognosis. I trust them.

Because they hung the moon. And people who hung the moon can do anything.  Continue reading

Cancer Remembered: My Peeps

This post is part of a month-long series on my cancer experience of 2013. They originally appeared on my blog at

As I’ve been on this health journey lately, I’ve also had the opportunity to reflect on the awesome people in my circle.  (Health issues have a way of making you feel sentimental. ) Like my friend and mentor Richard said about himself, “My circle is big.” One thing that I am honestly thankful for is that the past 30 years or so have brought fabulous people in my life. So, because I love these people, and I know you’d love them if you knew them, I’m going to tell you about them!

The Class of ’90
I know a lot a people have fond memories of high school, but you definitely missed out if you weren’t a part of the Class of 1990 at Francis Parker. We are a class of 70 people who still LOVE each other. We stay in touch with each other, we support each other across the miles, and we actually look forward to our reunions. And you know what else, we don’t look a day over 29….well maybe 30.
Oh, and let me say this…anyone who EVER went to Francis Parker is amazing,
Tougaloo Alums
I know that when I mention my Mississippi heritage and college connections, a lot of people are confused as to how a state with such negative connotations can be a positive place for me. It’s simple: because of the people. My ancestors and family elders overcame a lot in that state and while much of their suffering was due to racial oppression, they still found a way to own land, get educated, and help others out of their circumstances. I will always consider Mississippi my second home after Chicago, and love it when I get to visit. Tougaloo Alums are the some of the smartest people you will ever meet. Their intellectual pedigree is second to none. I know that sounds a bit extreme, but it is true. Especially if you have a medical situation. They really, really know medical stuff. Did I mention that they know the medical stuff?
The Green-Hudson-McGee Clan
When I moved to Texas in 1995, one of the first people I met was Christie. Our friendship gave us both entry into each other hearts and families. Our mother’s even have the same maiden name…so of course we use the familiar terms of “Granny, Papaw, Lala, Maxine, and Walter” when speaking of family members. This is perhaps the first time in 18 years we have lived further than 2 miles apart…well scratch that, the second time, I think. But anyway, this girl and her family get so much credit for the greatness in my life.
The Cousins
At my wedding, I had a poem dedicated to my cousins because they are amazing. I am an only child. I have 3 first cousins. We are tight. If one of us is sick, all of us is sick. Right now, we have Multiple Sclerosis and Cancer. We also have also rediscovered our childhood because one of us has 2 granddaughters. We live in Miami, Houston, Dallas, and Jackson, and we dare anyone, anyone to mess with us. Outside of the initial 4, I have plenty more cousins who are the bomb as well. Try any of us and we will cut you. Just ask Bubba, he’ll tell you.
My Work Family
To work anywhere other than the Dallas County Community College District is sad. Not because what we do is more important than other organizations, but because we are so awesome when we will work together. My DCCCD family knew Toni Williams and Toni Holloway and Toni Williams again and loved me unconditionally through it all. And here’s the thing, once you work in the DCCCD, you are always a part of us…even if you leave. I have dinner with an eclectic group of friends every so often and at one point in time we all worked at one of the colleges together. We’ve gotten married, got divorced, had babies, had schizophrenic dogs, eaten ice cream for dinner, and even dealt with serious health conditions. We don’t color in the lines, and that can be a huge frustration for some, but we don’t care. And kind of like the cousins, we may cut you if you mess with one of us too.
The Deltas
Spend five minutes with me and you will find out pretty quickly about my sorority, Delta Sigma Theta. In the African American culture, greek letter organizations are lifetime commitments. I have friends who may say, “I was in a sorority in college, or I used to be a ____”
Well for us, if we joined a sorority or fraternity in college, we are still members. We still perform regular public service activities and are committed to the principles for which the organization stands.
We also have a little friendly rivalry with members in other organizations. But the rivalry is friendly. Friendly.
So I’m a Delta and I know a lot of Deltas. And we wear red and collect elephants and make loud noises. And sometimes we hang out with grown men who bark like dogs when they are happy. And you know what, CJ is in a male mentoring group with those men and I couldn’t be happier. With all of the influences he is faced with at school each day, he NEEDS to be around college-educated men who look like him. Remember, the cousins live out of town…so for Dallas male involvement, we have the Omegas. So they are in my circle too, along with the Alphas, the Kappas, the Sigmas, and the Zetas.
The Village People
Better than the group that sings “YMCA”….this is the church! I joined St. Luke Community United Methodist Church shortly after I moved to Dallas. I love being Methodist. (Mississippi friends, this church is a lot like Anderson UMC.) About 3 years ago, St. Luke expanded it’s community base and opened a satellite location in the southern
Dallas suburb of DeSoto. The kids and I started attending the southern location, which is now The Village United Methodist Church. Church is awesome from the preaching, the singing, community outreach, and the friendly folks. They will help you pray though any circumstance, and the Pastoral staff are not just ministerial icons, they are people who I know and love. The Village is definitely an important part of our lives.
Preschool and Kindergarten Mommies
I know this may sound a bit strange, but when my kids were in preschool and kindergarten, I bonded with the moms in my kids’ classes. Here we are 6-8 years later, at different schools, and we still meet for lunch, catch up over email, talk about raising chickens, and genuinely care about each other’s lives. These ladies rock, and I am better for knowing them.
Hyde Parkers (like President Obama)
To grow up in the Chicago neighborhood of Hyde Park is beyond incredible. It’s multicultural, it’s lively, and the food is amazing. I will always love Hyde Park and the people in it. ALWAYS. (Sidenote on Chicago facts for non-Chicagoans: I do realize that President Obama did not grow up in Chicago, but he lived in Hyde Park and still has his house there.)
Now, there are five more people who pretty much are the circle, rather than being in the circle. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention them, but they don’t like being mentioned ANYWHERE on the internet. I am eternally grateful for all of the support they’ve lent over the past 40 years as parents, family members, role models, disciplinarians, fashion consultants, and now grandparents.
So thank you for being in my circle, wherever you are. And especially thank you for joining me on this journey. Now tell me about your circle……………

Cancer Remembered: Support

This post is part of a month-long series on my cancer experience of 2013. They originally appeared on my blog at
Another common question is, “What kind of support do I need right now?”
The truth is, I don’t know. I know that I don’t like to ask for help, but honestly, I’ve  never been through something like this so I really don’t know. Prayer does help, so if you’re the praying kind, by all means pray. But ummm….shouldn’t we be praying for friends and loved ones already? (I’m just saying).
What has helped is talking to each of you and ending the conversation with “I love you.” What’s also helped is when you speak my language…telling me about things you’ve googled, blogs I should read, and talking to me in medical terms like I’m you know…medical.
I really enjoy feeling smart…and I am really proud to have so many doctor friends. The medical talk is me really paying homage to the coolness that is medicine. So, go with me here….the tumor is in my thoracic region (not my chest).
If you run across anything I can do at home to help prepare my body for surgery…herbal teas or vitamin supplements I can take, let me know. An important part of cancer recovery is eating right. I have had a love affair for more than 30 years with french fries. The french fries are being traded in for fresh fruits and veggies, wheatgrass, and other things.
Oh…I hate the word suffering. It sounds so pitiful. I am not suffering. I am dealing with health issues, but not suffering.
For my out of town friends, I understand the need to stay in touch. As my line sister psychologist Vanessa says, “I need to see you and hear you.” We can Skype, Facetime, or Google Video Chat…anytime!