Friday night has always been a special night for our family. Growing up In Haïti, whenever we heard my Mom screaming, “Get in the car, I said!” My siblings and I would run to my father’s Ford, station wagon, while we pushed and shoved our tiny bodies, just so we can occupy the best seat. Because we knew, it was movie time. Yes, my father would drive us to the local, or should I say the ONLY drive-in theater in Haïti.
Now that we are older, both my sister and I continued with this fun tradition with our own children. Every Friday night, we would meet at the Regal Theater. And, quite often, we arrived there about an hour earlier, just so we can enjoy a scoop of ice cream prior to the movie.
You heard right, for our family, it was all about the ice cream, not popcorn. So let me explain the ice cream selection process for my family. Or, should I say particularly for my sister. Because for me, it was just a matter of pointing my finger toward the same flavor I normally chose every Friday. No, I don’t like adventure when it comes to my ice cream. Food and wine, yes. But, once I find my comfort zone with a certain flavor of ice cream, I can pretty much order the same one throughout eternity.
However, my sister, my niece and my daughters, waiting for them to select a flavor, was like watching the movie previews.. I always made sure I ordered first, because I knew I needed something to preoccupy my mind and my mouth, while the rest of the family start traveling aboard through their imagination. So, once the clerk would hand me my boring vanilla/chocolate or Rum raisin ice scream; he would say:
My loud mouth daughter Cassie would step up, then say: “Which one are you getting Tatie, I don’t know what I want!”
My sister would answer: “I don’t know. This week I want something exotic, darrrre-rrring typppe!”
My niece: “Wow Mom, look at that orange looking one!”
My sister, shaking her head, smiling like she was a child watching a Disney show:
“Mm! Must be a new fla-vvvor; about that “grreeeeen leeeeking – one over there – Looks daring, you think?”
Meanwhile, I’m imagining the poor young clerk thinking “For God’s sake, when those turtle creep are going to order?”
“Turtle creep?” I would answer, as if I was reading his mind. “For your info, they are the three stooges!”
As if they were oblivious to all the other customers waiting to be served. They don’t even realize how the poor boy was wishing he was from another planet.
“Is that a new flavor? “My daughter asked as loud as she can be.”
The clerk forcing himself to smile, raised his right arm before he made a U-turn toward the opposite direction.
With his fashion flair, one would assume he was a girl. Pointing at the light green flavor, he said:
“Are you referring to “thisss” One?”
“Yap!” My sister answered.
Suddenly he was excited. As if that particular flavor reminded him of a pleasant love affair.
“Wowww!” He whispered with a nice smile. “D’you like to taste?”
His body posed like a model in a fashion show. He continued, “This is one of our new flaaa-vor!! Mm-Mm! Like it! Let’s see! Haaa-yes! It’s the “ Mustachio- Jumbalaya – Meringue –Salsa – Domingo – La Vida flavor!”
The three stooges as excited as the clerk, totally surrendered to his enticement. So I groaned though my teeth, “Oh my God, here come Cinderella wicked step mother, and her two villain sisters!”
After he gave my sister a tiny spoon to taste. She yelled: “Yes, yes, yes!” Oh Yes! I’m in Heav-ven!!!”
“Really Tatie, it’s that good!” My daughter responded.
“You like it Mom?” My niece replied.
“Like it? I love it! Give me two scoops!”
Then, just when I thought my torture was over, my niece pointing her finger, “But Mom, what about that hot pink, almost red one, all the way in the corner over there?”
As my sister starts walking toward there, she said, “That’s an inter-res -tinggg color! What’s the name for that one?”
I answered: “Murder, she wrote!”
While the clerk smiled, our brief eye contact confirm our silent torture. Just then, he finally realize the name of the game. So, he placed his hand on his chest, as if he was tenderly caressing himself, while the other hands was held on his hip, over his blue green paints. Then he said:
“You know, it’s interesting you should call it “Murder, she wrote.” Because, I thought it was something like “The Bloody Mary – Dracula type flavor. But the name is actually “Vengeance.” “How-e-vveeer, for you ladies, I will call it “The silent killer.” What do you think?
“Awwww!!!” My niece replied. “In that case, give me a scoop of that one too!
I would follow up with “Me four!” But, mine is the same rum raisin you served me earlier!
“You so boring!” They would say.
If you think watching them brainstorming the names of the ice cream was painful, wait until you sit among them, while they dissect the flavor from the two scoops of ice cream.
No wonder Halloween is celebrated in October – This is the Month when the witches show their true colors!!!
PARENTS, I FEEL YOUR PAIN.
Trust me on this one. I gave birth to four witches!!!
Honestly, I strongly believe my third daughter must have been the ruler of hell during her past life.
And, I must have been her partner!!!
God’s sense of humor never cease to amaze me!
Oh! So you’re really looking for the definition of “Chill – Rain?”
In my book, it stands for “CHIL-DREN!”
The word “Chill” in the dictionary means:
So when you have children, you are inviting a rainfall,an outburst of all of the above. Trust me. I know what I’m talking about.
Now, I’m not saying not to have the little rascals. But, my advise to you: “Wait after you’ve enjoyed your life.”
Like my second daughter. She’s been all over the world and still traveling. In fact, she’s creating her own country, just so she can find the next spot to travel, since she’s been EVERYWHERE!
Or, you can do the alternative. Wait till you turn fifty to have the brats. Why? So they’ll practically raise themselves.
Yap! It will be like a 50/50 investment. You boob would have already been ruined. Your chin dragging, you really don’t have nothing left to lose.
In their late twenties, you know, when their horns are visible to the world, their smart mouth echoing before your face, you’ll at least have the satisfaction to say:
“What did you say your name was child; who are you?”
“Ma, it’s me!”
“Your daughter, or your son!”
“Really! I had children? Now what do you know!” Hihihihi! (After they left)
Or, lets say they come to you and say “Mom, I’m so hungry!” After, you’ve just spent your last dime, and filled the fridge with all sort of goodies.
You can answer them “I just came from the doctor, my taste bud is completely null. Going forward, you going to have to cook honey!”
Then wait till they get out of your private space, which is your room. Stretch your body comfortably on your bed, grab your favorite book, and start reading with a satisfying smile on your face.(Don’t regret it either!!!)
And about when they go in your purse and take your favorite lipstick, or your closet, borrow your new pair of Italian shoes, which by the way, you will never see AGAIN! Why? Because, they don’t feel you deserve it!
Tell them: ” Oh dear, I sure hope you don’t catch my infection, just came from the dentist!”
As for the shoes, let them believe your foot is so badly infected, they shouldn’t even sit on your bad!”
You see old age give us one advantage over this young so called smart generation, who think they can treat like crap, after we’ve sacrificed our lives for them. That is, “We can act as crazy as we wish! If they are not worthy of our genuine kindness, and love toward them, don’t let them take any more advantage of us. If you have to, tell them “Your back, your jaw, your ear, your ass, even breathing hurt.”
When they show you an expensive dress or pants they want you to buy, you should be suddenly blind.
“Hone, I wish I could see, bu I’m losing my sight. The doctor just told me.” Then pray for forgiveness!
When they ask you to remember something, you are no longer alert!
“Sweetie, you forget how old your mother is?” Then sight, pitifully! As if you truly regret not enabling them.
Yes, its time that we fight back! This generation has the capacity to be either “A mother’s curse, or a blessing!”
However, if indeed, they are a blessing, is there anything we wouldn’t do for them?
This has been my experience. My apology, if your children are exempt from this serenade!
As for me, in view of my past experience from the children I sacrificed so much for, had I not be strong, I could have dropped dead!
Therefore, while I will continue to pray for them, I will patiently wait for them to gain maturity. I know the day will come, since I taught them well. I trust the Word of God which promised me “Train a child the way they should grow, and when they get old, they will not depart from it.” If God is not a liar, my children will find their way back to wisdom, love, and respect, even the Godly success I’ve prayed for.Thankfully, they’ve all earned their Bachelor and Masters, with the exception of one, still struggling.
But meanwhile, if they ever disrespect me again, and think they play with my love:
Mom, can you do this for me? I will answer:
“I don’ t know you from jack, who the hell are you?” Will be my answer!
Two of my girls have no filter whatsoever. I try not to take it personal whenever they spur their mind in the open. Frankly, the apples couldn’t have fallen too far from the tree.
One day during dinner three of my daughters were conversing among themselves. While I – could – hear- everything.
“Gosh, if Mom dies now, who’s going to cook this dish for us? We don’t know how to cook it; and, last time we ordered from the Haitian restaurant, it tasted nothing like Mom’s.”
My third daughter answered.“Oh crap! You are right! Then you better learn how she makes it before she drops dead on us!”
Acting as dumb as a mule, I said. “I’m so tired, with all my body aching, I feel as if I’m about to drop dead.”
“They all promptly yelled “Oh no Ma, you can’t die yet – We don’t know how to make the Legume!”
“Are you girls kidding me? Is this the only reasons you want me to stay alive?”
“No Ma. But, this is most of the reason.” The second one answered.
“In fact, all the kids from Tatie’s (Aunt) neighborhood would feel bad if you die.”
Then they all answered together, while laughing: “Just because of your cooking too!”
The second one replied again, “Besides, we are so used to hear you saying “I’m dying.” We don’t even take you seriously anymore.”
“About if one day I really drop dead, after I say that?”
She answered. “Then we will say:
“Oops! I guess she really meant it this time!”
With children like mine, why wish to die? Indeed, I was served a cup of my own medicine that day. But, like I said, I tried not to take them seriously. Considering..
I’m fifty… and just now learning how to “sugar coating’ my words. I have a hard time understanding why people have to be fony, or hypocritical. No, I’m not like my children. I’m just not a hypocrite. I actually have an allergic reaction whenever I sense this tendency from anyone. I will withdraw myself from you completely. In fact you won’t even remember if I exist. My philosophy is: “If you don’t mean what you are saying, don’t say it at all.”
My husband on the other hand, had no problem calling everybody “YOU STUPID!” Particularly when they miss pronounced his last name. In fact, my third daughter’s first word was stupid! Seriously. Soap or herbs couldn’t wash that word from her mouth.
I always dreaded the doctor’s visits with my husband. He refused to understand our last name was unusual. Imagine being a nurse, who went to school in California. You were unfortunate enough to stumble on your next patient file, with the following name:
Cassendre Revangué Kouakoua. Yes, that was the name of my second daughter.
Therefore, since you could not pronounce the French/African STRANGE NAME, you’ve never even heard of before. You decide to walk toward the patient lobby, while holding the file, you are try your best to say:
“Ca – Ca – ssen-drè RE – KOVAKOVA?”
The father who happened to be my ex-husband, with both his hands on his pocket, he stood up. While he walks toward you, he’s staring at you, from your toes, up to your head. Before he says:
“Have you ever been to school or NOT?” “STUPID!!!”
You answer kindly: “My apology Sir, but I don’t know how to.”
“Well! Don’t you know how to read?”
Meanwhile, where is his wife, who happened to be “ME?”
Hiding behind him, with my purse over my head! Since my daughter was too heavy, I couldn’t possibly use her as an umbrella.
So do you see what I mean?
Ok. Sorry folks. I’ve had a writing block this week, so I could not make myself write for a good laugh. So yesterday I asked my humor friend to help me paint something funny. Then I realized I didn’t have to rock my brain to hard when Gando came to mind.
Yes, Gando’s real name was Idovia, and she was my maternal grand-mother. She is the old lady with the large wood spoon, about to slap the crap out of her husband. Well, from what I recalled, she did not beat him, but she sure had not problem slapping others who played with her money. That old lady was a business woman, shipping plaintans and coffee all over Haiti. But, for as long as I can remember, she was always grinding coffee beans, which although she sold, but I think she probably drunk most of it. I’m not talking about the American coffee either. My grandmother coffee was like the Cuban expresso which she drunk probably six LARGE WHITE FULL cup per day. I had no problem helping her out, and I think I was five.
The tall young/old man in the painting is her husband. Yes, my grand-father was like a giant. He always held a machete, and for the life of me, he must have lived inside the banana plantation. I don’t recalled seeing him anywhere else. The first time I saw her, I thought he had just arrived from Africa.
And the river in the back, do I need to say more? It was like a paradise!!!
Yes, the little girl with the light blue dress standing by the river, way in the back of Gando’s house, is ME!
Enjoy – Waiting for your feedback!
The story I’m about to tell you is about a little girl, who believed in honesty at all costs. Of course, a blend of true and friction. So enjoy.
During my visit to my great auntie’s, I heard a few stories dated back from my childhood. I was trying to see, how far back my memory would serve me. So, I asked her to share them with me.
“If you knew Mamma?” She answered me. “You were Mama’s little friend, before she passed away. In fact, you were the last one who saw her alive. You were a tiny little thing too. Chubby, light skinned girl. Pretty little girl indeed!
That morning, you ran out of mamma’s room screaming, from the top of your little lungs: “Give me some lemonade and lots of ice! Great auntie is going away. And, where she’s going is very ho!”
“Now, I know Mamma wasn’t going anywhere. At least, she hadn’t told me anything yet. So I answered the pretty thing, “Mamma not going nowhere my girl; so where you got that from?” After you puffed up your lips, with your hands on your hip, you answered me: “Yes, Great auntie is going to hell!”
“Now my girl, you stop talking nonsense, you hear me!” True enough, as I walked back to the house to Mamma. OMG! Don’t you know when I called Mamma, she was dead. I realized then, Mamma’s journey had ended, here on this side. It was a shock to everyone. But I think you blamed yourself for not giving Mamma her last glass of lemonade. Because, you kept on yelling: “I told you Great Auntie was going to hell, now she left without the cold lemonade.”
The poor girl refused to eat or say anything else, till the day of the funeral, when she heard Father Big-Ear saying:
“Now, we don’t need to be sad at Make-a-Choice departure. Because she’s in a much better place than us. She’s in heaven with the Lord!”
You immediately jumped on your foot, and stepped up the bench. With your tiny hands on your hip, you happened to pull up one side of your dress, to reveal the little ruffles you had sewn on your pantie earlier, so your butt can look big. They were all hanging behind your chubby little legs. Everyone was wondering “What is that hanging behind Here-I-Am daughter’s legs, under her dress? But, you did not care. You walked straight on the Altar to ask Father Big-Ear permission to speak.
“Sure Angel! Go head!” Father answered you.
So you said:
“Great auntie, does not like when people lie on her. So, I have to tell you what happened. Because, she sure would not be happy to hear she went to heaven. NO. She told me, she did not want to go to heaven.”
How I know that? It’s because that same morning, I was laying down on her fat tommy, right after we ate some good, spicy fish together. So I said to Great Auntie, “I dreamed you were going on a long trip. You were packing all your stuff. When I asked you “Can I come with you?” You answered: “Not now my girl, you are much too young!” So after auntie heard my dream, auntie said. “My time is up my girl!”
“What’s that mean auntie?” I asked her.
“It means, I’m getting ready to live this earth.”
“You’re going to heaven?”
“Oh no honey, I don’t want to go to heaven, it’s too cold up there.” My legs always hurting me from ism illness (Rheumatism) because of the cold. You see all the white cloud from up there in heaven, my girl? They are as cold as ice. And, being from the Island, I would rather go somewhere hot.”
“But Father always said, the only place hot, is in hell great auntie!”
“Then, I rather go there!”
“But your butt is going to be on fire Great auntie!”
“Child, I’ve been good, so I’m sure God will turn it to paradise for me.”
“So let me run and get you some cold lemonade, so you won’t feel the heat then!”
“Ok my girl!”
So, I ran out to tell Auntie, “Auntie Make-A-choice is going to hell, so we need to make her some lemonade with lots of ice! “But nobody believed me! “And, when auntie went back in the room with me, auntie Make-A-choice was gone. She left home without the cold lemonade. Mm-Mm! So please don’t lie on auntie again.”
Everybody had a great laugh that day. We had forgotten it was a funeral. The priest wanting to encourage us to attend Mass, interpret Angel’s dream as a form of warning from the Lord. But I still prayed for Mamma every day since her burial, although I did not know where mamma’s soul went.
But one year later, after we had a mass for Mamma, I was seating right here under this mango tree. I must have dosed off to sleep, when I saw Mamma standing in front of me all sweating. I forgot she was dead, so I said to her:
“Mamma, you seem mighty hot dear, sweating all over the place, do you want some lemonade and ice?” She answered me:
“My butt is constantly on fire, and you think a cup of lemonade could help me out???”
That’s when I realized my girl was telling the truth. Lord have mercy – The girl sure was RIGHT! Mm!!! Since that day, Dodo and I went to church every Sunday. Then we started going to confession every week as well.
But on our first confession, Dodo sure cursed the poor priest. When Father Big-Ear asked her, “By any chance, are you related to angel? He was referring to my girl, for that’s how they called her at the church. So Dodo answered him.
“What is it to you if she’s related to me or not. That’s none of your damn business! I’m only here because I don’t want to go to hell. So, why the hell do you want to know, who the hell is my family?”
Then the priest answered: “Well, it seems to me, you’ve already made your acquaintance with hell. So why the hell are you running from hell, by coming here for confession?”
Then Dodo answered him: “Since misery loves company, I came to drag you with me!”
So when I heard the commotion between them two, I had to rush and drag my sister from there, because knowing her, I knew she was ready to strangle the poor priest.
When I kindly asked the priest to forgive her. “My sister always had a smart mouth.” I told him. But he just answered:
“I’m used to it my child. I know smart mouth runs in the family my child. Because Angel was here every day, confessing on behalf of her family!
To Be Continued.