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“A Stepfather Real or Not?”


Father & Son

Father & Son (Photo credit: jeroenadema)

By Heddy Keith

Stepfather, stepfather, stepfather…

A real father or not

A real father –a biological father

Is a real father, the father who gives you life, or the one that teaches you how to live that life?

A real father teaches you how to behave in public

A real father teaches you to say yes sir, no mam, please, may I, thanks you, and no thanks.

He teaches you to say good morning when you wake.

He teaches you to give thanks for everything you have.

He teaches you to be respectful and mind your manners.

A real father teaches you to be polite and say excuse me when you walk in front of someone.

He teaches his daughters to sit with their legs closed.

A real father teaches you how to drive a car and how to take care of that car.

He says, hey you can’t let everybody drive your car.

And be careful where you buy gasoline, some gas has water in it, and always turn your radio off before you start your car.

Raise your right hand to say thank you when someone lets you pull in front of them.

That’s what a real father teaches.

Real father or biological father who taught you?

This poem is dedicated to my stepfather Robert E. Thomas WWII veteran 1909-2010 who He taught me how to live my life.

Crystal Staircase


By Heddy Keith

“Life for me ain’t been no crystal staircase.”

It’s been hard, strong, and long.

There have been times when I almost wanted to give up—but something inside kept me strong.

Many times life knocked me down, but not out.

I’ve been down, down, down, but never out.

God always saw me through it all—to another day God, my source, my strength, and my shield.

My ancestors gave me a childhood filled with love and nurturance.

My family’s support was essential for me to make it through life’s challenges

Challenges gave me strength and courage to face unseen obstacles that suddenly appeared from nowhere.

Yet, life for me ain’t been no crystal staircase. I’m still moving, shaking and making the best of my experiences.

Mama’s Eyes


By Heddy Keith

When I looked into Mama’s eyes I saw love. Love for family, friends, and even strangers.

When I looked into Mama’s eyes, I saw a strong Black woman with plenty of love to share.

When I looked into Mama’s eyes I saw strength. Mama was strong. I never knew she cried. I never knew her pain, her hurt, or her emotional ups and downs.

When I looked into Mama’s eyes, I saw hate. Hate for a man that she once loved. How could she hate Daddy? He was so handsome, smart, and charming—all the women loved him!

When I looked into Mama’s eyes, I saw resentment.  I never saw or knew she cried –from a broken heart.

When I looked into Mama’s pretty brown eyes, I saw the love she had hidden behind the resentment and hate as Daddy lay dying on a hospital bed. I thought she hated him. I never knew how much she loved him. I never knew her pain.

When I looked into Mama’s eyes, I saw myself and I understood there’s a thin line between love and hate. Then I knew that hate, resentment, and fear stepped out boldly in front of love. When I saw her love stained with pain, I saw a reflection of myself.