Sunday, April 23, 2006
I get teased a lot about my Texas and Houston roots and my unabashed pride and love I have and continue to express for my hometown. Well, I have a lot to be proud about.
It was one of the few cities to desegregate without the violence that took place elsewhere. It has a long history of distinguished African-American leaders from Norris Wright Cuney to Barbara Jordan and Mickey Leland. That torch has been ably picked up by US Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, former mayor Lee Brown and other African-American leaders who continue to serve not only their fellow Houstonians but have garnered attention at a national level as well.
It is home to The Ensemble, one of the best African-American theater groups in the country. It has spawned a long list of hometown musical artists that cross several genres of music from jazz to R&B, hip-hop and gospel. Joe Sample, Yolanda Adams and Beyonce Knowles all call the city home. Hall of Famers in several sports such as Mike Singletary, Darrell Green and Clyde 'The Glide' Drexler played in HISD schools before finding their way to the pro ranks and having distinguished careers.
I grew up in South Park scarfing up Blue Bell ice cream, Harlon's barbecue and Frenchy's chicken. Hanging out at AstroWorld. Spending summer days at the beaches in Galveston and Freeport. Watching Astros and Oilers games at the Dome and Rockets and Comets games at Compaq. Checking out the TSU 'Ocean of Soul' which was the inspiration for every Black high school band in the city. Field trips to NASA.
Grooving to Kirk Whalum at Midtown Live in the early 80's. Watching the classic high school games between Yates and Wheatley, Kashmere and Booker T. Washington, Forest Brook and Smiley. When my generation entered high school it became my beloved Jones Falcons vs Sterling and Yates. Madison vs Sterling and Yates. Worthing vs Madison.
The University of Houston's Phi Slama Jama. The 'unbeatable' Houston Rockets winning the NBA championship in 1994-95 and the joyous city wide celebrations it set off followed by the Comets WNBA dynasty from 1997-2000. The Astros finally making it to the World Series last year.
And how could I forget Mattress Mac and his late night commercials for Gallery Furniture 'saving you money' and the man who the Melvin P. Thorpe character in 'Best Little Whorehouse in Texas' is modeled on, Marrrrrrrrrrrrvin Zindler, Eyeeeeeeeeewitness News?
Yeah, I still have much love for H-Town. Could y'all please FedEx me some Frenchy's chicken and some Blue Bell homemade vanilla ice cream?