I grew up a daddy’s girl, so it is only fitting that I should have three daddies.
Artie McMahan was the one who raised me, the one who struggled to keep me clothed and fed, bought me pretty dresses with tiers of ruffles, showed me off to his friends, and listened without yawning or allowing his eyes to glaze over, as I read out loud, for what must have seemed like hours, from my very first school book featuring those alien creatures, Dick and Jane, and their spotted familiar, Spot.
Look. Look. It is Dick and Jane.
Dick looks like a fool.
Jane’s socks are all run down in her shoes.
My mother's pissed-off in-laws floated the notion, which soon became community folklore in Tucker, Arkansas, that my actual father was one, Cal McPherson, a married man ten to fifteen years my mother’s senior with a house full of kids of his own. But, as my mother once quipped, “I was present at the time. I ought to know who impregnated me.” This is a paraphrase, of course. My mother cursed like the creative, free spirited person she was, who grew up in the rural, agrarian community and therefore was thoroughly familiar with animal husbandry.
Later, when she was in a rest home, mostly blind, no kidneys, and somewhat delusional on alternate days, she acknowledge McPherson was my—Godfather.
“You know,” she said, “His wife decided she didn’t want to be married no more and she just upped and left him and took the children with her.”
“Did she beat you up before she left?” I asked. But my mother didn’t answer. It was one of the days she got to be delusional, so she just batted her eyes behind her lop-sided glasses and looked confused.
My third daddy was a superstar, which is only fitting because by the time I was twelve, I knew those two rubes who raised me couldn’t possibly have been my real parents. My real daddy was some rich, handsome, and famous person like Langston Hughes, and my real mother was glamorous, witty, and equally famous, say like—Zora Neal Hurston.
Terris the Great
Terris “The Great” McDuffie, Negro League Baseball pitching ace and all around lady’s man was handsome, charismatic, famous, and rich. And he was my daddy too! That’s what his son, Terris, told me four years ago when he stumbled across my website. By the way, Terris the son, or T2 as I sometimes call him when I’m not lavishing him with “sweeties,” “darlings,” “sugars” and “honeys,” is also handsome and charismatic although he is yet to become rich and famous, and his lady’s man days are long since over.
A Gathering of Terris'
T2 has a son named Terris and the chain remains unbroken. We have a sister out there somewhere. Her name is Terricyn or Terricine. She was born in 1940 in Los Angeles, California. I’m waiting to stumble across her website.