I remember learning… how to cross the street as a child while holding the hands of those two beloved giants, as we shopped in downtown Gary, Ind… I remember learning how to get my older siblings' butts torn off their bodies when they made me mad. Just think of it, a plotting, steaming mad 3 year-old tyrant! Oh by the way, getting back to me has always meant getting even; with just a little extra topping and one's favorite nuts sprinkled on top… Yes, yes, yes, I remember learning my ABCs before starting kindergarten, under the tutelage of my sister, "Drill Sergeant" Jo-Alice Hicks, who took it upon herself to make sure that I didn't embarrass the family. (Or was it her ego?)… I remember learning how to tie my shoes, how to shop for groceries, cook and bake, just by being on the scene, underfoot, during those years from 5-9.

Now I say this because as I reflect back on all this, I see the formulating of what we call in the streets, a "peeping hand." Just peeping those things at such an early age really paid huge dividends later on in life. Chef Jeffrey E. Hicks, Sr…. I remember learning how to ride my first, brand-new, fire-engine red, fat whitewall-tired, Montgomery Ward bike. Yeah, I also remember going into the house to take a nap, feeling gloriously elated, only to wake up to the 8 year-old spirit crushing news that my "wicked sister of the west" Annette, had gotten on it, (Thief! Woman Driver!! Thief!!), and totaled it, bent beyond recognition, fork and all…

Well, wrapping up the segment of I remember learning: how much my mother and father really loved me and how much I really love them, by being with them and experiencing that awesome love (I can feel it now!) first hand. And God, I thank you for that, yes Lord, I thank you for that.