Snow white glittering flakes, fell on my face.
I’m surrounded in white. The trees layered in ice, like a world of clear crystal.
Is this heaven? But, as the cold breeze softly blushed my face; I was forced to take a deep breath.
Mmm! Tasted like a glass of pure, crystal clear water, from the spring behind my Gando’s plantation.
“Nature’s at its best.” I thought. A Breathtaking site indeed. What a wonderful feeling, could it linger forever?
But, twelve hours later, when I stepped out from the plane. The smoggy hot air nearly suffocated me, with a slap, right on my face.
“Dawn it! “Why the hell did I come back here for?”
However, later on, when I walked in the living room, a familiar face welcomed me home, while a sweet kiss landed on my cheek.
“Hi Tatie!” My niece said with a smile. “Be careful, the floor is wet- how was your trip?”
A few steps away, I spotted my childhood hero. She was standing in front of the kitchen counter slicing her favorite veggies. The aroma from the grilled steak, suddenly stirred up my culinary sense.
“Miss you Sis!” I told her. “Is this for dinner, or work?”
As she turned her cheek toward me, her smile reciprocates. “Did you have fun?”
“Yes, but I.”
To my surprise, before I could finish my sentence, I saw two tiny little legs, running toward me. He held his arms open wide, as he yelled: “TATiiiiiiiiiiiiiieeeeee!”
It was my niece son. My three year old grand-nephew. He tightly held my legs for a few seconds, with his head bent backward, his lips pointed upward, so he could give me a tender kiss.”
I had missed the little charmer. But now I see, the feeling was mutual.
As I sit down among my therapeutic bunch for dinner, I silently gazed at my three heroes. Contentment filled my heart, before I whispered:
“Now I know why home is called “Home, Sweet Home!”
I’m taking a few days off. Going on vacation.
Well, let me rephrase that. I’m making myself believe I’m going on a vacation, but knowing my friends, I will probably be glued in the kitchen cooking everyday. But, the great thing is, I’m looking forward to give the snow there, a night mare. Although my interaction with it may only be with my noes and eyes. The fact is, we really are not the best of friends. Last I heard, the snow was allergic to me, and I won’t beg to differ on my part.
Let me show you what I mean: For a few days trip in the cold weather, I have managed to borrow three wool coats, five shawl, three wool hats, innumerable leg warmers from my sister, daughter…
I personally brought a pair of boots, sweaters, sewed myself some wool panties, gloves and sax. Now, the downfall is, I realized shaving my hair was a bad mistake for the cold weather. So, I had to buy myself two wigs and sewed them together. YES I INTEND TO WEAR THEM TOGETHER, do you have a problem with that? Gosh!
Where was I, before I was so rudely interrupted? Yes, since I”ve always wanted to have long hair, bleached “RED or BLONDE,” yes, you’ve guessed right. They are red and blonde. You have a problem with that too? My goodness! Some people are so judgmental. LOL I just can’t wait to see my girlfriend’s face.
So you see. I will be too busy trying to pose as a crazy reddish blonde woman so I won’t have to cook everyday, for me to find the time to write.
Ok. So I’m just kidding. But, What I’m serious about is I really won’t have the time to write. I plan to pray in my spare time. That’s unless I have a vivid dream about God and the angels. I will have to write about that. Particularly if God decides to offer me a sit on His left side, since Jesus already occupies His right side. I’m not picky. But, I sure wouldn’t take an eternal offer to sit on his footstool. Hell! This is the earth. Who want to remain here forever?
And yes, I will be back in a few days. Hopefully, by the time I leave, the snow and I will probably learn to digest each other. Of course, let’s hope it will not be under some dire circumstances, when neither one of us wouldn’t have a choice in the matter. You know what I mean! When one’s body is shipped in a frozen box!
But, rest assure, upon my return, ALIVE, I will have some exciting stories for you guys. But, meanwhile I’m leaving you with this cute little story below to read. Enjoy, and will ready you all in a few.
I just emptied my storage, and have boxes piled up so high, even my curious young nephew couldn’t find me in their midst.
“Tatie, look at this!” “Tatie, Tatie, where are you Tatie?”
“I”m here, in between the boxes.” I answered him like a little child.
After he climbed on the tallest box he said “Where are you Tatie, I’m tanding on top of the boxes, and I till can’t tee you.”
“Oh! That’s because you are not wearing your glasses dear.”
“Glasses – What’s that Tatie?” He said as he laughed with his shining smile.
“Well, honey, you are only three now. So, give yourself half of a century, then for sure, you won’t have a choice but to carry a few in in your pocket, ok.”
“Ok-té Tatie. But where are you? Are you intide the boxes Tatie.”
“No. I’m in between the boxes, they are just too high for you to…”
As he laughed, he said, “You are too tmall Tatie, because I ture tan’t tsee you.”
“Or, maybe it’s the other way around honey.”
“I said, “Maybe it’s because YOU are too small.”
WHAT? ME. TOO TMALL? NO. I’m not too tmall Tatie. I’m a BIG BIG BOY!!!”
After I catered an event, I felt like a truck loaded with potatoes run over me. I was so exhausted, my brain and body were screaming for rest. Within a second, I was roaring like a Parasaurolophus Dinausor.
What’s that noise Mamma? My nephew asked my older sister.
“That’s your great auntie snoring, she’s from the Mesozoic era.” She answered him.
When I finally woke up a couple hours later, both my nephew and my sister were glued in front of the glass door, staring at the backyard.
“What are you guys looking at?”
“Look at that! They are feasting on something Sis, but I can’t quite figure it out.”
While my sister was puzzled, my nephew was repeating “Roar-Roar-ROAW!” My heart was suddenly palpitating.
I knew now iguanas were snitches, and I would never attempt to feed them again.
Although, it was meant to be an experiment. I honestly didn’t expect them to eat the broiled beans I purposely spilled on the grass for them earlier. I accidentally over cooked them for my recipes, and our fridge was ready for a trip to Zimabwe. So I thought “ I can’t throw them away. Therefore why not feed Mother Nature’s children from our backyard. After all, they’ve been part of our family since our children were very young.
So it came to past, after they had tasted the beans, they must have love them. Because they had called every member from their family, and perhaps even from the neighborhood. Our whole backyard was filled of them. I counted twenty two. I was about to suggest we should play some music, so they could have a party, but I didn’t know how my sister was digesting the fact that I had just inspired the iguanas from her backyard to drive to the Iguana’s naturalization office, and file for the Haitian citizenship. So I kept my mouth shot.
At last, when my sister finally stepped from her hypnotized state, she said “They are feasting Sis. I can’t believe it!”
So I answered her “Don’t you think it’s about time they start eating some Haitian food Sis. They are our extended family!” My sister turned to give me “the look” but I guess the whole incident was too hilarious, so she just laughed instead.
As if that was just the icing on the cake, my niece showed up, and shockingly said “What’s going on?”
‘Yes. YOUR TATIE decided to feed the iguanas some Haitian food today.” My sister answered in an unbelievable tone.
“Cool! Did you throw some over there too Tatie, because they are having a ball.”
“Yes, but those beans were very spicy ones,mingled with some pork meat, and I didn’t rinse them as I did for those ones here.” I replied.
“Well Tatie, our iguanas are now Haitian for sure; they are eating our spicy food. “What are you waiting for Mom, grab your camera and take a picture, this is a historic moment for our family.” As my niece laughed the moment, she grabbed her phone to call one of her friend. “Listen, our Iguanas are no longer American citizens…”
As for my young nephew, he kept on smiling back at me, while saying “Roar-Roar-ROAR Tatie!”
As we walked away I thought “Maybe I should fried some plantain, since I use vegetable oil anyway. “Well, they might prefer them steamed, since they are health conscious; probably why they are Ve-ge-te-rian. Then it down on me: “Oh! That was before they ate some beans and pork meat. Oh well! Our iguanas ate some meat, there is a first time for everything!!!”
So my Papy is back in town. Yes, I’m referring to my Father. I’ve told you before how he was a character. Haven’t you read my story entitled “Am I the one to be most pitied?” That story was about a love note I had received from a certain Romeo during my pre-teen years. While my Step-Mom thought it was ground to lock me up at the nearest convent. My father on the other hands took the time to examine all the facts, before he finally released his verdict. Of course, I had to reassure him I was not the one who forced the young Romeo to write me. And he agreed with me. So, he boldly voted against my mother’s request. Honestly, that was a first. Usually, even if my Mom started fussing from New years til Thanksgiving, my father would remain silent. At last, in order to get my father to react, my Mom would say: “You see this Passite? You see what I mean?”
Her first attempt would fly right over my father’s head. Papy would keep eating, with his head hung down, his eyes focus on his plate, while he carefully performs a triage. At last, after another annoying plea from my mom, he would finally say: “Mhn!”
You heard me right. “Mhn!” Would be his answer. Then he would keep on eating.
Now you are probably wondering what was the crime we committed. Or, perhaps I should clarify when I said, “We” I meant to say, what my poor siblings, and “not so poor me” committed?
Most of the time it was NOTHING. Occasionally according to her, we were not sitting properly on the table. Oooptidoo!
The most common one was after she forced us to eat the nasty foods the maid prepared, she would asked us “If we wanted another serving?” A simple answer “No thank you” was like saying: “Hell no! We don’t want this nasty food!”
Well! Let me be clear on this one. My siblings probably didn’t mean to say “Hell no!” But, I certainly did. In fact, most of the time, the detestable look on my face was enough to condemn the maid, and anyone who dared talking to me to hell. My younger brother was very good at detecting those historic moments, so he would profit from annoying me. He also knew he would better remove anything throwable as far away as possible from me.
My Step-Mom on the other hands would give me the look, before she asked me again:
“What wrong with your lips I said?”
“I hate cornmeal for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Why do you even cook this stuff?” Would be my blunt answer.
After she turns her face toward my Father, expecting a reaction, she would say: “Oh yeah! Passite, you heard your daughter?”
While Papy’s body was seating on the chair by the table, his mind was traveling all the way in Spain, therefore, he apparently did not hear my answer. So the poor woman would have to make another plea to him. That’s when he would force his mind to lend back in Haïti, in our dining room area. He would then give me a passive look, one can easily read on his facial expression “So what?” By then, my lips would be hanging across the table, could hardly be scrapped off my siblings laps.
Which would make it apparent for Papy to notice my discontentment. “What’s wrong with your lips?” Papy would finally ask me.
“NOT-TYING! I would answer. With my mouth still stuff with the cornmeal I was being forced to eat.
“So you understand what I’m trying to say here? My Mom would deliberately yelled just to get a reaction from my father. Perhaps she would hope he would swing his hands across the table and grab a hold of my lips. Unfortunately, this happened only once. And that day, I think it was probably because he hated the nasty food too.
For prior to his explosion, we all heard him murmuring “Chhhrr! Chhhrr!” Which was his way to show his discontentment on the table. Perhaps, when he realized I had beat him to it, he decided to teach me a Lesson. “The honor to rate the nasty food served in this house is mine, and not yours.”
After he had pulled my lips that day, I had to forcefuly restrain myself from saying: “Shuut!You’ve been complaining about her nasty food since the day you got married, with no positive result, about time you let me handle it!’
But, being the angel that I was, I didn’t want risking spilling the cornmeal still stuffed in my mouth on my beautiful dress. After dinner, my older sister and I had some major plan. (I know you want to know what we had planned. So I will tell you. But keep it a secret. We were going to sneak out of the house, catch the tap-tap to the the Rex theater in the ghetto neighborhood, so we can watch Sissi L’Imperatrice, by one of my favorite actress, Romy Schneider.) Of course we were forbidden!!! Why else would we be sneaking out of the house? Gosh! Do I have to clarify EVERYTHING TO YOU! Trust me, it was all worth it!
Ok, so back on the table. I decided to shut my mouth. Besides, like I said, I could not speak anyway. My mouth was still stuffed with the first spoon of cornmeal, and I didn’t touch my plate since. I figured, all I had to do, was to hold it in my mouth for thirty more minutes, by then, my father’s anger would cool off, and if my step Mom even attempted to make me finish the nasty cornmeal, Papy would then say:
“Oh-Ooh! If she doesn’t want to eat, let her be!”
And yes, it occurred AS-I-PREDICTED! I was home free. Didn’t have to eat one more plate of cornmeal!
So what was the purpose of this story?
Well! I said earlier, my Papy has been back from Haiti for a couple of days now. But, now he is so old, whenever he is eating, he falls asleep. I have to wake him up.
“Papy, wake up! You are still holding your bread in your hands, try to eat!”
“Oh-Ooh!” I forgot!” He answered back with a smile.
Before I know it, he is closing his eyes again. So, I have to remain on the table next to him, to make sure he eats his meal. While silently I remind myself, “My Papy was not always like this. Now, he seems to be the child, here I’m the one watching over him; cooking and feeding him.” I’m so thankful for this honor.
All along I hear him whispering: “This food is nasty!” I laugh. Because with his taste bud impaired, he can’t taste anything. So EVERYTHING TASTE NASTY, for him.
When he is finally done, I purposely asked him: “Papy, how was the food?”
“Mchhrr! Mchhrr! Good! Good!” I knew then, he didn’t want to hurt my feeling.
So I just smiled then thought “After all, he’s giving me a taste of my own medicine!”
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.
Of course, the expression on the older angel face is totally me, although in reality, I’m the younger sister.
While I’m the naïve – inquisitive-troublesome addicting type. My sister on the other hands, is the disciplinary – knowledgeable about everything my brain could never comprehend.
Yes, I’m the artist, and she’s the handy man special. She’s aware of every talent I have, points out all my abilities, while I have to remind her of hers. But one thing for sure, we have so much in common, it’s almost unbelievable.
For instance, I will show up at her house with the same exact dress, or jewelry she just purchased. with the exception, while she may have shopped at Macy’s , mine would be from the thrift shop. Sometimes it’s the other way around too.
I will pick up the phone wishing to tell her about a movie I just watched, while she’s texting me the following message: “Sis, you have to see that movie I Just watched!” Lo and behold, it would be the same movie.
I recalled when I brought a couple Louis Second chairs, my sister sit there and assembled them without a drop of sweat. If it were me, after five minutes, the whole box would be in the trash. That same day, she changed my door locks, after she assembled my wood bed. I asked her, “Sis, why don’t you exchange your nursing job for a post at Macy’s, in the Furniture department?
She gave me what I call “The look.” Yap! That look is her special signature. Even my children are familiar with it.
One day while we were cooking together, I asked her, “Sis, I have a piece of land, do you want to build the house there for me?” She knew I was serious, so we both busted into laughter.
We were not any different in our younger days. We always enjoyed each other’s company. Early in the morning, we would sneak out of the house for our nature walk. We would climb the grass hills, breathe the fresh air, smell the flowers, and sit on the ground, just for the heck of it. It was like a natural instinct we shared. We didn’t’ really have to say much. Just like my father. We had that gift to remain silence whenever we choose to. “Well, for me, it could be challenged when I’m angry!”
Quite often after my volleyball practice, we would sneak out of the house to go watch the classical movies. At the old theaters, located where my father referred to as the “Peuple area” (The commoners area). Although we were forbidden to wonder there, it didn’t make any difference to us. Because we truly enjoyed watching the older movies featured there, instead of the Friday night drive through event, our other siblings looked forward to…
Honestly, I think I was sent on earth to annoy my sister with my genuinely strange questions. For instance, one day I thought it was Ok if I asked her:
“Sis, do you think this herb is really poisonous?”
The look she gave me was as if she was about to chew me, after she would sprinkled some salt and hot pepper, plus some lime juice over me. I told you about her signature look! The she said:
“WHAT DO YOU THINK NADÈGE – What does it say in the BOOK? “Don’t you see, POI-SO-NOUS!!!”
Another day after I read the story of Charles Manson, I asked her:
“Sis, was Charles Manson Racist? How come all his wives were white?”
My sister answered: “Nadège, Would you like me to drive you to see him, so you CAN ASK HIM THAT YOURSELF?”
Me: Sis. “Do you think I have a disability? Sometimes, I think I’m retarded.”
Well, If you really want to know how my sister responded to this one, check out the younger angel facial expression. Seriously, that was her, asking God, “Why me dear Lord – “Do I really have to be my sister’s keeper?”
On the other hands, my facial expression would look just like the older angel. You can tell I’m the busy body type, can’t you? I think I was asking God “What trouble can I get myself into next – Or perhaps what would be my next career I explore?”
To my surprise, before I knew it, I realized she heard me. “Nadège, I don’t care what you think, but you need to take some writing course. “And “YOU,” hé-é-é, need to go back to school and earn your degree. PERIOD!”
Yap, that’s how she talks whenever she gets aggravated with me. I used to feel hurt whenever she gets angry, but I realized not too long ago, other than my father, she’s the only family member who genuinely can put up with me. And I know she’s the only one who truly loves me also. That’s all that matters to me.
Ok. So now I’ve told you I’m practically the driven force behind my sister constant angered brainstorming toward God. Yes, I’m known to annoy the crap out of her; not willingly. This is just the way I’m.
My inquisitive mind is always storming and frowning, it never rest. Believe me, I wake up in the middle of the night just to wonder, “Mm! I wonder if I sit in front of this plant, if I could witness its growth.” And this is probably the type of question I would ask my sister if she was awake!
You see, I read all the rules from the book, “ How To Be A Self Made Pain In The Butt!” Don’t’ tell my sister I told you so!
I hope you understand what I’m trying to convey here. Just in case you don’t get it, let me give you another example. I’m also a pain in God’s butt. Yesterday, since my sister was tired, I realized I couldn’t annoy her. So I turned my focus on God. I thought with all the craziness going on here on earth, I should definitely figure out a way to help him out.
So I reasoned, “Most people don’t believe in that hell “boooo” anyway! But, I bet you there must be a way to get them to believe God truly exist, and even cause them to fear Him.” Who knows, the world may become a better place!
Immediately this brilliant thought crossed my mind. So I said:
“God, since we are living in the last days, I figured a way which you can convince all your children that you are still alive and worthy of reverence.”
“REALLY? “ God answered.
“Yes Lord! But, did I sense I little doubt in your voice?”
“He answered, “That’s because I thought I was the one with all the answers! Nevertheless, go head my child; creativity is highly welcomed in my realm.”
“Creativity?” I yelled back at Him. “Are you kidding me? I’m talking about brilliance here!”
When He realized how annoyed I was with His tone of voice, He kindly answered: “Go head my child!”
“Well Lord, you said in your word “You ordered the sun to shine on both the just and the unjust.” Bad mistake!
“You think so? “ God asked me.
“Of course Lord. Why do you think they take you for granted?”
God replied: “So what are you suggesting dear?”
“Wait God, don’t be in a hurry! Besides, you shouldn’t be anyway. You have eternity ahead of you. “By the way, don’t you get bored God?”
“Never mind your excellence! “So this is my suggestion:
“Block the sun from shining on the unjust. If you could cancell their electricity as well, even better. (If I were you, I would even turn off their water as well. But, those fleshly spoil brat will need to bathe.) Then, on the third day after a few major lightning from you, (make sure to strike their window, ripped off the roof from their house too) yes, let your thunder be heard so loud, even 50% louder than what you accustomed to. “And I bet you, even the most stubborn atheists would start peeing on themselves. Yes, they will scream their lungs out, “OH GOD! Oh God HELP US!”
I thought the Lord was so proud of me when suddenly I saw a beautiful rainbow shine forth. So I said, “Wow Lord! Is it because of my suggestion, or the South Carolina Flooding?”
God answered me: “No dear. Your country was my next judgment site. But with your brilliant idea, I sent the rainbow, in order to remind me to hold off the flood gates against the land. I will use your idea instead. See you soon!”
“What? Well, Lord, in that case can I bring my sister with me?”
“No dear. She already did her penance during her lifetime with you!”
“Oh Lord! Is this how you repay me? Shuuut! Next time I will keep my mouth shot!”
Then my sister answered: “That would be a first!!!”
I once heard the following quote: “Your sister may drive you crazy or inspire you!”
In my defense I will say: “I inspire and drive my sister CRAZY!” Right Sis?
Ok. I must be right. She just gave me “The look!”
“Hey, stop laughing! I proudly live up to my title!”
My older brother is a rare character. By the time he was eight, he was already immune to the belt, pinch, slaps, and shoes, pots swinging or swirling toward him.
My mom had secret agents from different background, tracking his whereabouts, on a daily basis. Therefore, whenever I saw the merchant of rice, beans, or even the milk lady who often said, “Now that boy of yours was with some dirty feet little boys, and they tried to drink all my milk.”
I was reassured, he couldn’t have been too far away. Perhaps, ten miles cap. So the ten P.M. whooping will be mild.
But, if the report came from the mango, banana, cow or goat merchants:
“Mmm! Saw your boy running the river, with some dirty feet boys, good for nothing!”
I knew he was in DEEP trouble. He must have traveled to the country side where my grandmother lived. I’m talking about over twenty miles away.
By the time he finally came home, after midnight, he would find my mom sitting on the patio with the belt.
Although I was about five, I was not able to sleep until he came home. Because, I always felt a sense of duty to plead on his behalf.
Whenever he was finally getting a whooping, I was always in tears, screaming my heart out: “Please, please, don’t hurt my brother!”
But wait until it’s my turn. Do you know what he was screaming, while he jumped for joy? “Don’t hit her where she can’t die Mamma. “Hit her right there, behind her head. In the back of her head, MA! ”
I recalled the night he showed up with a large bag of pennies. When my mother asked him.
“Where did you get this bag from?” He replied.
“From the cemetery!”
His tiny ear almost got chopped off by my mom’s nails. She was pulling it so hard while she said, “YOU GO BRING IT WHERE YOU FOUND IT!”
He answered back, “But, it’s too late Mamma, the zombies might be up by now!” (LOL I made that one up, he didn’t really say that)
Anyway, later on I heard my mother telling a neighbor the story. The woman in shock exclaimed, “Oh my God! An evildoer probably did a ritual against someone with hose pennies, and the boy went to touch them? For sure now, bad omen will follow him!”
I was playing with my doll on the patio. I couldn’t stop laughing. I felt like saying, “Yeah right! Like the devil would hurt his own son! BUT, since I had just got a whooping for smart mouth, I kept my mouth shut.
Now looking back, I think my brother was just being a boy. Well! An unusual one. I think even the priest felt the need to intercede on his behalf 24/7.
At one point, my brother thought it was funny to run off with the bag of communion bread, simply for a good laugh. I think God must have graced him, since he was an altar boy.
My intercession on his behalf started as early as I could utter my first word of prayer. The fact is, for the most part, he was a good brother. I don’t recalled him hitting me even once. He bugged the nerve out of me. Killed my dolls, ripped their clothes. And while I was eating, he also enjoyed running off with my meat, or the whole plate of food, although he didn’t even like to eat. I recalled times when he protected me as well. But the day he grabbed my little brother’s bottle from the crib, and drunk all his milk, not even my prayers were able to help him out.
Yes, this is the truth. In fact, to replace the milk, he attempted to feed my brother a bottle filled with water instead. But, my brother kept on crying. Then, while he tried to grab the large can of powdered milk from the cabinet, the whole can fell off his head. Imagine my mother’s face when she walks in, to find my older brother, leaking the milk from the floor, with the empty bottle lays on the floor next to him, while my baby bother is screaming his heart out of hunger.
As my brother got older, he developed a great sense of humor. I recalled the period when he thought he was, “The ladies’ man.” He had a birthday celebration every week. Beautiful girls while they brought him his birthday gifts, kissed him on his lips, would say, “Happy Birthday honey!”
Surprise, I would answer: “Who’s birthday?”
Then, he would give me, “The look,” like saying “You better shut your mouth!”
Before he answers, “Oh baby! What have I done to deserve you?”
I often felt like answering: “What has she done to deserve you?”
Yap! This is my first older brother number one. Has he changed much?
Well, I love him too much to tell you the truth! Besides, he’s a working progress. In church every Sunday.
One day when I asked him “Why he was such a faithful church attendant?”
He answered, “I can’t afford not to Sis. I must seek forgiveness now, for my pending sins. ”
There you have it! This is older brother number one.
On the other hands, my second older brother who now lives in Colorado, was the complete opposite from my elder one. He seriously had no sense of humor, although he was the kindest among my brothers. The only two things which mattered to him were me, and his food. My older brother was scared of him too, because he knew, he had no problem slapping him. Everyone knew not to bother him.
In fact, he was always so serious, I think his lips were glued with the Letter “U.”
I love my third brother who now lives in North Carolina. Although for a while we all wondered about his true nationality.
Working for the airline company, he traveled extensively. Therefore, whenever he stopped here in Florida, I often overheard his conversation with the ladies.
One morning, he might be from Jamaica. Don’t be surprise if by the same evening, he was from Trinidad instead, and spent his whole life in England. Lastly, although I lived in Florida, before he leaves, I might have relocated to France. During another visit, I may just find myself living in Africa!
So imagine whenever he says “Baby, I want you to say hi to my older sister!”
“Hello!” Wow! You live in Africa?”
“Yap! Wherever my brother wish me to be dear; since I never have to pay my relocation expense!” Is always my answer.
There you have it! The stories of three of my brothers.
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?
In the field of the heavenly task, I was assigned a young protégé. The first house we travelled was a multi-millionaire, known for his brilliant invention. Disguised as a beggar, we knocked on his front door.
A man dressed like a penguin, with a superior pose, opened the door. “How may I help you?”
So I answered, “It is mighty cold, our journey is mighty far, we beg for shelter till early morrow please.”
“Let’s see what the master!” As he walks away. “If look could have killed…” Hope you know what I mean.”
“Who is it?” We heard. But the butler did not answer. Instead, he kept on walking with his head straight, as if it was held by an invisible cast.”
Meanwhile, with the door closed, we stood in the cold. The snow blistering, we turned into a snow man.
After a few second we heard, “Why bothering me with such nonsense? Throw them in the basement!”
So we slept on the cold floor. Not a cup of coffee or tea was offered to us. But in the middle of the night, the butler was kind enough to bring us a blanket, along with a candle. On his way back, his steps paved the way to a large whole, but he kept on walking. So with my magic instinct, I restored the floor right before we left.
“Why did you even bother to fix the floor, after the way we were treated?” Asked the young angel.
I answered him, “Things are not always as they seem dear.”
The next house we visited, was a poor farmer, with his wife and four children.
“We boiled some water for your bath. Afterward, come and dine with us. Although a small chicken, but I’m sure will do.” Said the wife, while she served us a cup of tea.
The husband who remained quiet during dinner finally turned to me, “John and Nathan will sleep with us. Their beds are pretty comfy, hope you both will be warm.”
But around midnight, we heard a male voice, weeping in the living room.
“Why God – Why? I used our last coins to buy this cow – Now that it’s dead, how will we survive – how will we?”
The young protégée bitterly plead: “Why? Could you not have prevented this tragedy on this kind and hospitable family? While You’ve withheld you blessing from them, yet you’ve shed your kindness on the unworthy millionaire”
The older angel replied “Haven’t I previously stated: “Things are not always as they seem?”
“Grant me understanding then. Perhaps, even discernment please – For I’m yet to see the light through your reasoning!”
Then the elder answered “I hid the wealth which was bursting its pathway from the ground, being the rich man was not worthy of such honor. Therefore, even that which was once granted to him shall be taken away.
But, pertaining to this man, could the grief he suffered over the cow, be compatible to the one his family would endure if he dies – being that he is the main bread winner? Last night, during the midnight hour, I bargained with the angel of death who was commissioned to claim his soul; so he settled for the cow instead. Learn this: “Things are not always as they seem. ”
“But, how will they survive?”
“The sparkle of life travels with hope; and where there is love, there also lies the strength to survive. “
THE GOOLD OLD DAYS!
Growing up in Haïti, my Father was not only a good provider, but he was a creature of habits as well. We faithfully went to the Drive in Theater every Friday night. We had Ice cream every Sunday. And, he always made sure we went to church every weekend. Unless, he was driving us to the Country Side.
No, I did not say he himself went to church, rather he made sure we were in church. Yes, we believed in God. I’m sure my Father did too. But, to be honest, God had nothing to do with our faithful church attendance back then.
Of course, we greeted him with the sign of the cross, once we arrived at the Church! Don’t you think it would be disrespectful to walk inside a man’s house, and not even devote one second to say at least “Hello!”
For a fact, the most pressing reason why my sisters and I looked forward to Sunday Mass, was just so we can check out the latest fashion. Yes, we practically wore a new outfit every Sunday. For that purpose, we needed to keep up with the latest style. As for my brother? Well! I think he was pre-occupied conversing with God about all His gorgeous female creations!
So, let me share with you our typical conversation during ongoing Mass:
|My Older Sister||Me||My younger Sister||My Brother|
|“Look at that yellow dress to my right, center bench!”||“The one with the lace, or the belt? Because the lace one is mine for next Sunday!”||“Which one? Where? I don’t see anything!”||“Beautiful! She looks cultured, got to have her number!”|
|“Oh! You like the one with the lace? That’s pretty too!”||“Yeah! I can sew it with the blue fabric Papy brought me? Will wear my hair up!”||“Where? Which one? Don’t see anything!”||“OMG! Is it Angel day today? Look at that face? Truly made by God’s hands. Am dying here, DYING!|
|“Now, that’s a purse! Look at her matching shoes!”||“LOOK AT THE JEWELRY and the scarf! I bet you they are from Paris! Her mother own “La Trouvaille Boutique!”||“Don’t see anything! Oh! Talking about her? She’s in my school!”||“OMG! I’m in love! Wonder if her brother will give me a hard time?”|
|“Amen! While she kneels down. “Wow! He is cute!”||“Amen!” While I kneel down! “That ugly boy is staring at me, how freaky is that?”||“Amen!”
While she kneels down.” I wonder if the soup is ready at home!Oh! She’s in my school too!”
|“Amen!” While He kneels down. “Please Saint Altagrace, if you make her look at me, I won’t bug you till next Sunday!”|
|“It’s time for Communion let’s go! Take a good look at the dress for me ok?”||“Check out the front neckline, and any details as she walks by!”||“Is Thomas waiting for us outside? I’m hungry, hope we have some French bread!”||“OMG! She was right in front of me, she smells like fresh roses! But her brother was too close, couldn’t ask for her number!”|
|“So did you see that dress? Definitely my next Sundays outfit!”||“Oh my God, how gross? He asked me for my number!”||“His sister goes to my school, his the colonel son!”||“Who asked you for your number? How dare him?”|
So, at last while at the dinner table, while we’re sipping our traditional Sunday soup; if Papy were to ask us:
“What was the subject of the Mass today?”
“My older sister would answer: “About God’s infinite grace and providence!”
“My younger sister: “I think it was about the life of Saint Augustine, I was too hungry to listen.”
Me: “It was about God’s creations, all the beautiful jewelry, fabrics, flowers, and that ugly boy who winked at me.”
My brother: “Yes! His graceful beautiful providence left me charmed!”