I was always snatching pictures of my daughter, even in her choir robe. She enjoyed church—thank goodness—for its social outlets and not for the cult like lure religion can be. There are so many things in life I wish I could still teach her. I would love to tell her the story of Job. Again. That virtue is not always rewarded. That no matter how ‘good’ one is, one is never exempt from disaster, havoc, pain, or tragedy. I would teach her the awe of Job’s story. It is by far the best story. A good story.
But I’m so giddy because she enjoyed church for the girls, and the boys, and the dressing up. She loved to sing alto and was very serious during choir performances. She was excited about Sunday school and carrying her Bible and gloves. She had gum, pencils, a notepad, lip gloss, pictures, perfume and small tithes in her Sunday purse. She never allowed what others taught to be the gospel. She questioned everything, all things and refused to settle. She was the center.
My favorite time was seeing her pray with open eyes. I could never take my eyes away from her. Oh! To be so in love.
Survived! I did. The holidays were so depressing and yet so much fun! I don’t know exactly what bi-polar is, but I think that best describes Christmas and the New Year as I experienced them. Our weather jumped around from 70s to 30s, lots of sun and lots of cold. All of my plants are dead except our rose bushes and our mint tea. The annis tea is still vine-y and green too.
The days in between were excellent. My mother made me a “birthday-christmas cake” and even went so far as to decorate it accordingly.
December 29th began as a usual day. But then...
Gera and I woke up at 9:00 a.m. Saturday. We washed, had green tea, eggs and chorizo in spicy green salsa. He went to work on a small kitchen cabinet project and I made my morning, daily weekend calls: my mom and my aunt. I wanted to make some tea cakes. My grandmother, Big, had an out-of-sight recipe. Fortunately, I still have it (and thanks to the archivist).
(Note to me: Do a blog on the history of tea cakes...are they cookies or cakes? include recipe)
I started baking but not before my Aunt sent me to the store for her. She wanted some eggs, honey sweet cornbread mix, and a rabbit.
“Go over there in the deli, in the corner they got’em over there for $2.99 lb. And get me a small one,” she said. “I don’t won’t no damn big one cuz they not tender. Not like the small ones.” Her rabbit cost $4.34.
I knew she was going to eat it. When we were younger and didn’t know any better, we ate their cow tongue sandwiches, pig’s feet both pickled and boiled, pig ears, chitterlings (the intestines of the pig) with hot sauce, fly swatters, and yes...Bugs Bunny too.
I will not cry!
I was again unusual and the day was then definitely---unbeautifulusual. I separated our food items in the buggy as if separating good children from bad children. I added to my pile: Horizon organic milk, chicken, carrots and mole.
On Sunday, Bugs was fried to a golden brown crisp. Then smothered in gravy. My Aunt tried to ‘cut’ me a piece. I said “That’s okay, Auntie.”
I did not cry!
“Gul, you sho you don’t want to try ‘im? You used to.”
She can never send me away without cannisters of food. I went home with leftover Christmas dressing, collards, candied yams, green beans, corn and a bowl of chitterlings.
It's May 2012 and nothing has changed since November.11. I am all smiles at my relationship and myself. My honey and I continue to amaze each other on a daily basis. We're still ever so 'in' with each other. I completed my MA in literature last May and I'm teaching four college English courses to really smart students. I am hopeful to enter a doctorate program soon. This way, I can run out.All is scary good.
upon hearing your voice life again expands like moon crest like pomegranates swell to the sun and you are patient because god calls
when he came for you this morning you were bent into the flower bed singing black hymns so he left you alone until this third afternoon but even then he found you elbow deep in jewel weed with a mouthful of figs from a nearby tree again he waited because each time seemed to him an inconvenience and a wrong moment
and it was your persistent humming that drove him up and back until he could get his timing perfect he waited another day or so until
your gardening tools rest into porch corners your paring knife shines deeply into a drawer your hair comb lies slanted in a shoebox your wedding band hides in the mattress your fishing rod stays stolen
the sound of your voice desires to sing or hum but this time is perfect he has covered you like lavender-colored silence but he has also added streaks of olive green and pink because this is what the other soul-folk has told him to do and he has become tired in the process and therefore begins to rush sonances of your body he finds you the least complex when you are not outdoors digging in that garden, humming hymns and thriving and for a moment he questions his own timing its perfection and everything goes accordingly until he finds you have buried fruit peels and wandering jew petals underneath your back this does not anger him but it tilts his agility to deliver you and in his own questioning and presence of smells that he cannot privilege all this over powers his choice all this reels his otherwise perfection into letting you go
when i see you sitting in the plush squares of limitless St. Augustine your eyes are lit like crystal warmed soil releases from each of your hands
how did i get to this point this point of knowing you for you are nearly a century old