My Truth: Celebrating Women


By Cheryl Smith, Publisher

“My friends ask what do I see in you.” Every time I sing those words from one of my favorite hits from the tantalizing Temptations, I say to myself, “I wish someone would say those words to me!” He wouldn’t have to worry because I would have told him, “go be with your friends.”

You see, I’m a firm believer that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, and you can’t believe everything you see. Just look at posts on social media. You see something that looks outrageous, but the remarks below the picture clearly illustrate that what you see, others see entirely differently.

You’re thinking “WTH” while others are typing “beautiful,” “absolutely gorgeous.” A lesson to the wise: don’t judge. Live your life, because no one else should and you shouldn’t try to live anyone else’s’! You have your own journey and as many have said, they don’t look like what they’ve been through, so there’s much you don’t know when looking at a person you don’t know. After all, like The Temptations say, “beauty’s only skin deep.”

Recently, there was a beautiful message on social media. A woman, The Stay At Home Chef, responded to a critic with a classic “clap back.” When the rude, insensitive person hiding behind a post wrote the Stay At Home Chef telling her that her gray hair made her look like a hag, she talked about her life challenges and how she felt blessed to still be alive. Her message was so poignant. Then, I heard a quote from former NBAer Dick Garrett, who said, “Mother Nature and Father Time are undefeated.”

So, you can Be the Person that the Stay at Home Chef talked about and think before you talk and make your life count, or you can be a total waste.

Sometimes, what you see is not totally what you get, so you can’t judge a book by the cover.

Which brings me to My Truth. At first glance, you see beauty, regalness, and so much more! In this instance, the beauty is more than skin deep. I always refer to her as the most beautiful woman in Dallas. I’m talking about Opal Johnson Smith. A proud 1954 graduate of Prairie View A&M University, she served as Miss Prairie View A&M and she has the distinction of having an auditorium named after her at her Alma mater.

The youngest of eight children born to Professor Wayne Wright and Elsie Johnson of Nigton (now I could write about that name but I digress), young Opal was 15 when she graduated from high school and 19 when she received a degree in mathematics from PV. Now she is definitely PV royalty. Her father graduated from Prairie View Normal, then went on to Tuskegee where the one and only Dr. George Washington Carver mentored him. Her mom entered PV then took a break to be at home with the children. That break lasted for 35 years, and then, she went back and graduated, walking down the aisle with her youngest son.

It’s not a surprise that Lady Opal entered the field of education. Her Daddy was the principal, math teacher, basketball coach (undefeated for 10 years, including beating the number one school in Texas, Houston Wheatley) and janitor in Nigton. Under his leadership, the school also won academic awards. Now, Lady Opal served 35 years in the Texas public education system, during which time she amassed numerous awards. Her love for PV is unwavering and admirable! Also, her stories about her parents are endearing and inspiring. She describes her Daddy as calm, rational and very loving, and her mother as good looking, creative and sassy.

If you know Lady Opal, you see a combination of her parents. She said her parents instilled in her that “we have brains, we can learn, we can improve ourselves.” Deeply spiritual, she believes it is important to “step outside myself and love others, help others.” Lady Opal was a brick house before The Commodores knew what to do with one. She was every woman before Chaka Khan ever held a microphone. Joseph Smith saw it all and together, they bonded, married and raised a family; and showed their love for PV.

When she walks into a room, she doesn’t have to say a word. But when she speaks, it’s with a humble and loving spirit that is a joy to behold. So, in this instance, as the popular group, The Dramatics, sing, “what you see is what you get,” she is the real thing, beautiful inside out. Lady Opal has a gratitude journal that she writes in. In mine, I would write that I am so grateful for Opal Johnson Smith.



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