There are hundreds, if not thousands, of nicknames and/or terms of endearment that are bestowed upon patriarchal figures around the globe. Pops, Old Man, Papa- just to name a few. Well my family was no different! Children growing up in the Mays household referred to our father as Black Rambo. The reasoning behind the name will be revealed and further discussed throughout future volumes in a series I have affectionately named Chronicles of Black Rambo. For now, let’s just talk about some of the things that made that man great!

He was a provider. I watched my dad work all manner of jobs in order to make sure his family was taken care of. He drove taxi cab for a little bit. He was an over-the-road truck driver for a while. Black Rambo would be gone for weeks at a time leaving Mom outnumbered 5 to 1 with children less than two years apart. I cannot imagine what it must have been like for him to leave his wife and small children for weeks at a time. I like to think that he was just willing to do whatever was necessary in order to put food on the table. After a while, he secured a job with a local construction company, and was able to come home every night. My mom was a hard worker as well. She would walk quite a ways to and from one of her two  jobs and still come home to cook, clean, and tend to her family. Growing up witnessing my parents hustle, combined with a strong desire to no longer be poor, was the foundation for a solid work ethic.

Black Rambo was an avid bowler. His children and half the kids in the neighborhood learned how to bowl because of him. He was really huge on family! Black Rambo made sure that, as siblings, we understood the importance and value in looking out for one another. Now don’t get it twisted. My brothers and I would fight like cats and dogs! Any one of us could have literally just had a scuffle with one another and legitimately still be mad, but please believe that anger would swiftly be redirected toward any outsider that had ANYTHING out of line to say about one of us! We siblings are still tight to this day. These unbreakable bonds are a direct attribute to our father.

We lost Black Rambo to a heart attack back in 2006. It was all of a sudden, and no one was remotely close to being prepared for his death. However, in his own way, he had instilled certain values in us that prepared us for LIFE!

What nickname did you/do you have for your father?

What are some of the things that made him great?

What characteristics do you see in yourself and/or siblings that can be attributed to your father?

Comments (3)
  1. Raised by my maternal (adoptive) grandparents, my father was “Daddy.” He was our provider and an all around mans man. He maintained cars, built houses, built my home church (I’ll send you pictures). He was quiet. Slow to anger and even when angry it was a fake curse word like “Foot” or “HOT Dawg!” So much of me in him, thanks to nurture over nature. Changed my last name from Russell to Rheaves, and I wouldn’t change a thing. Love me some him!

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