I praise and thank my wife Deborah, as she watches news broadcasts and reads newspapers with discernment and provides me with nuggets I use to write letters to the editor or opinion columns.
Once she showed me a newspaper article about Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr., a Cleveland Clinic cardiologist who, according to the 2003 article, prescribed his cardiac patients a plant-based diet and a cholesterol regulating medicine.
Other cardiologists had abandoned these patients beset with dire medical conditions. However, they derived strength from Esselstyn’s example and his knowledge. He embraced the plant-based diet he advocated for his patients. The patients’ regimen infused them with robust and radiant health. However, a few sheep grew rambunctious, strayed from the flock, their cardiac events and surgeries chastened them, and they returned to the flock. Intrigued, Esselstyn and I enjoyed a 45-minute phone chat.
I told him I was an Akron Fire Department lieutenant/paramedic which resonated with him, as his son Rip Esselstyn worked at the time as an Austin, Texas firefighter. Esselstyn also agreed to talk with the department’s paramedics, even waiving his honorarium. This experience with Esselstyn compelled me and Akron Fire Department fire medic Roger Turner to write “Matters of the Heart” published by Fire Engineering. The article empowered firefighters to make themselves virtually heart attack proof.
“Marc, come and look at this,” Deborah said.
WSFA was airing a story about Wes Hardin, a Dothan resident who’s painted over 50 murals in southeast Alabama towns. That’s all fine and well I thought, but what’s the point?
However, Deborah knew when I learned Hardin painted Eddie James Kendrick, a tempting Temptation with a dazzling smile, my delight would soar.
My brother Glenn and I played every sport. However, our basketball fervor bordered on fanaticism. We played under a broiling sun, played at night, which made getting bashed in the face with a basketball inevitable, shoveled snow off the court, played with our coats on and until our fingers felt like icicles.
Only two things exerted sufficient force to break the basketball stranglehold. The exceptions: any televised appearance by “The Hardest Working Man in Show Business,” “Mr. Dynamite” and “The Godfather of Soul” — James Brown.
In his mid-60s physical prime, Brown captivated — the processed pompadour, swathed in a three-piece tuxedo, patent leather boots gleaming — and he gyrated across the stage with power, pace and precision. In Gary, Indiana a young Michael Jackson, devoured and imitated Brown’s every move.
Berry Gordy’s star crammed Motown roster included: Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross and the Supremes, the Four Tops, and Gladys Knight & the Pips. However, amid these luminaries, one group seized the pre-eminence — the emperors of soul; the Temptations.
While the word “swag” avoids a precise definition, it’s real, and the Temptations epitomized it. Kendricks designed and selected their stage attire, which ranged from gold lame, purple vines or blues, warm pinks, hot reds and everything in between. The group executed its elegant choreography while they harmonized at the David Ruffin conceived four-headed microphone. Thus, to see the Tempts at their apex — what an auditory and visual bonanza — extraordinary. Their swag birthed the Temptations Walk, a salute to their prowess as dancers.
The Kendricks devised harmonies, were lush and luscious as strawberry parfait. My first album purchase was the “Temptations Live At The Copa.” The cover shows the Temptations crooning at the four-headed microphone while Kendricks caresses a song, perhaps “With These Hands” with such delicacy the females swooned.
One thing’s for sure, Deborah and I will drive to Union Springs and celebrate Kendricks — to paraphrase a Temptations song — for the way he did the things he did.