Before Grits Were Grocery Part II

11 May

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I’m sorry. Let me introduce myself. I’m Ty. I’m 10 years old and you already know Robert Jr., the one we call Casa. He’s 7.

We live with our mother, Lisa, and our father, Robert Sr..I don’t how old there are, my mother won’t tell me.
Our town is a small one. Daddy says it’s good to not live around too many people. Our town is on a small island right off the coast of South Carolina. My granddaddy gave it to us–the house not the island. Our nearest neighbor lives a short distance away and they have a little girl my age. Her name is Mackenzie. Mama says she’s a tomboy–whatever that is. All I know is she can catch frogs and crawfish better than Casa and me. She can run fast too. But not faster than me. She ain’t scared to climb all the way to the top of the Chinaberry tree either.

One day when the three of us were sitting under the plum tree eating green plums with salt, outta nowhere Casa says, “Mackenzie, I’m gonna marry you and we can eat green plums and climb trees all the time”. Mackenzie jumped up and smacked Casa across his lips and took off running toward her house. Casa sat there for a minute with his hand over his mouth. When he finally dropped his hand, he had a big smile on his face–“She loves me.”, he says. I just shook my head and said, “Let’s go, Casa. It’s almost suppertime.”

When we got home, daddy was in the kitchen cooking and we just stood there trying to understand what it was we were seeing. We had never seen daddy cooking before. Daddy turned around and said, “Don’t just stand there like two drunken possums. Go wash your hands.  Supper is about ready.”
“Okay.”, we said in unison, snapping out of our disbelief. 

The thing about daddy that I could never quite say how was that he was a man for sure—but he didn’t tell the world that and did he didn’t need big muscles or a big booming voice for it either. He  just was a man whenever he showed up.

“Where mama?” ,asked Casa.
“She’s not feeling well.  So, I decided to fix supper while she rest.”, said daddy.
“What’s wrong with her?”, I asked.
“She’s just a little tired is all.  Now go wash up. We’re having fish and grits. And, I know how much you two love fish and grits.”
We ran upstairs to wash our hands…..We did love fish and grits. But, Casa went to mama’s side and tapped her on the shoulder. “Hey mama”, Casa said as he rested his head on her stomach.
“Hey, baby. You hungry? Your father is making supper tonight.”
“Yes, mama. I’m real hungry.”
“Well, go wash your hands baby and go eat.”
“Mama, you okay?”
“Yes, Casa. I’m just a little sleepy. That’s all.”
Mama rubbed Casa’s head and reassured him that she was fine and for him not to worry about her.  Her job was to worry about him.
Casa didn’t believe mama, but his stomach with those green plums rolling around in it spoke and convinced him to go get some of that fish and grits. 

We sat eating and enjoying each other while daddy told us his many fishing stories that held us captivated. Those stories always made supper so much better. But, mama was missing and her laugh was missing and Casa was not all there either. After three pieces of crispy Florida Brim and daddy’s creamy grits, I was as full as a tick and about to blow. Casa was just finishing his second piece of fish when he looked up and mama  was standing there grinning. “Look at my beautiful men.”, mama said. “Hey, baby. You feeling better?”, daddy asked.
“Yes. Just looking at you all down here has made me feel brand new.”
“Mama, you want me to fix you a plate, the grits are still hot?”, I asked.
“Okay, Ty. But, not too much.”, she answered.  We sat with mama while she ate and daddy cleaned up. Casa was beaming with that Casa smile.  

The next day Casa asked me about mama and if I think she’s telling us the truth about being tired. I really don’t know and all I do know is they love us a lot and there are some tadpoles that are waiting for us to come and rescue them. We found ourselves out back down by the little creek that ran by the house looking for tadpoles when Mackenzie came over. “Hey, Casa. Hey Ty.”, she greeted us. “Hey Mackenzie”, we both said.
“What y’all doing?”
“Just looking for some tadpoles. You wanna help?”, I said.
“Okay”,said Mackenzie. But, I know where some are–Let’s go. We raced to the upper part of the creek where it pushed up out of the ground and joined a big pool before taking it’s journey to the ocean. 

Mackenzie kicked off her shoes and got into the middle of the shallow pool, with it’s cool water swirling around as it came out of the ground. Casa and me got in the pool as well. The water felt so good in this hot sun that we forgot all about the tadpoles; they would have to be rescued another day.

I’ve had a few people make comments to me personally about the “switches” in part one. It was a fact of life in southern homes. My grandmother had switches all over the house during the summers when ALL of her grandchildren were running around and making mischief. She rarely had to take them out as a look from her was all it took for us to straighten up and fly right as she would say. In this story mama loves her boys and would never abuse them in any way. I put the “switches” in mainly as a symbol of discipline that was a last resort. These people though not wholly real are human. Thank you for reading my little story and please continue to visit and share. 

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9 Responses to “Before Grits Were Grocery Part II”

  1. diaryofanegress May 13, 2013 at 4:51 PM #

    Nice story. As for the switches…when we were growing up, the switches were made of bamboo chutes! LOL! No abuse, just discipline.

    • hunglikejesus May 13, 2013 at 7:23 PM #

      Thank you Sista for sharing that with us. I know it’s common for switches to be in the houses of Black folk. At least when we were growing up and maybe, just maybe if those switches would have stayed in the house and put to some good use we would be looking a little different now. But I ain’t one for gossip and you ain’t heard that from me.

      Thank you for checking up on Ty and Casa and mama and daddy, they will be around for a little while as I love the feel of this family. If you have any suggestions or if anyone has any suggestion go ahead and let me know and we’ll work those in.

      Again sis, thank you.

      • mary burrell May 16, 2013 at 7:21 PM #

        I love this. The sweetness, I really want to see the Gullah country. The sweetness of childhood. The love of the family. I was always getting the switch from my grandmother. That was what she did. I can stlll feel my legs stings. OUCH!

        • hunglikejesus May 16, 2013 at 7:52 PM #

          Hey Ms. Mary, I’m glad you like my little family. Someone is talking me into making it into a full length book and not give it away. I’m considering it seriously, but I’m really lazy and thought of all that work makes me sleepy. If I can find some good software that will help me with punctuation then maybe I’ll go ahead and bring Ty and Casa and mama and daddy to full life.

          I grew up in “Geech” [Gullah is what outsiders call it] country and it’s a world unto itself. Probably a lot like growing up anywhere. We had our own culture and speak and the ocean played a big part in most lives. Now water freaks me out but I love photos of it and writing about it.

          I know switches and grandmothers go together like fish and grits, but maybe not for all people. I’ll continue to include real life into my writings as it’s all I know.

          Thank you so much Ms. Mary for stopping by as per always.

          • honeytreebee May 19, 2013 at 3:00 AM #

            Awe Jesus…
            You the real cosy, lovie type. This is a great story love the family. On foggy rainy days I could sit with a cup of tea and a nice throw and get all involved in stories like this.

            • hunglikejesush May 19, 2013 at 4:59 AM #

              That is the feeling I was going for. A story that is just a story, no message outside of we are a family that loves each other. So if that’s what you got then I was successful.

              Thank you for stopping by.

          • Amarie May 19, 2013 at 6:22 PM #

            I really enjoy reading your stories and yes please make it into a full length book so that i can buy it lol. Including real life into your writings makes for a better read in my opinion. It reminds me of my childhood where i too would go looking for tad poles and climbing trees with the boys. This just put a big smile on my face:)

            • hunglikejesus May 24, 2013 at 9:20 AM #

              I’m sorry Sista for not answering your comment, it somehow got past me.

              Thank you as always for stopping by. I’m really thinking hard about writng this thing all the out. But that is so much work and I’m so lazy, just thinking about it right now makes me sleepy. We’ll see what the future holds together I reckon.

              So you were a Mackenzie huh? That’s funny I had a lot of Mackenzies’ around when I was growing up. So glad Ty and them can put a smile on your face. I’ll be back really soon with part three.

              Again. thank you very kindly sis.

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