This week I can’t seem to find the time to write, so I will continue to showcase some of my culture inspired paintings.
This one is entitled “Caribbean Woman”
We are known for our exotic beauty, our full figure, ( don’t know what happened to me on this one) our kinky hair, our firm discipline, and most of all, for our unique style and delicious food!
Father Pierre closed the book to say: “With that being said, I have an assignment for you both to complete together.”
“TOGETHER?” We yelled. “BUT THAT’S IMPOSSIBLE!!!”
“Sister Marie! He said in a firm tone. “Open the book on 1 Corinthians, verse 13, and start reading!”
“Yes Father, she humbly answered.”
“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become a sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.”
After she read the first sentence, she slowly closed the book, hung her head down. I could see her body posture sinking downward, while she remained silent. Meanwhile I was swinging my legs, while I whispered Father Pierre’s sentence, since I thought it was a nice one to engrave into my memory: “With that being said! With that being said!” But Father Pierre glanced at me for a second, and I knew exactly what that look meant, so I stopped. Instead, I grabbed the little statue of Saint Claire which was on his desk, and kissed it. Then I whispered, “I love you Saint Claire, but I also love Mother Marie too. Immediately, I turned to glance at the picture of Saint Michael’s painting on the wall, to my right. I tried to imitate his facial expression, while I whispered: “Annnn-d, I love Saint Michael, and Saint Rose, and Saint Altagrace, and; but Father Pierre gave me a stern look, this time I shut up completely. Just then, I could not help but question in my mind: “I wonder what it would be like to get a butt whooping from a Priest?” I had never heard anyone one of them whopping a child before, it was always the nun who were mean.” But as I was thinking, I heard a noise. When I turned to look at Sister Marie, I noticed she was crying.
“What’s wrong Sister Mor, I mean Sister Marie?”
Instead of answering me, tears gushed down her cheeks, like a river rejoicing from the rainfall. So I got up to grab a tissue from the box which was on Father’s desk, to wipe her face.
“Please don’t cry Sister Marie. I promise, I will never call you “Sister Morte again.” (Which means Site Dead)
But she did not respond, instead she kept on crying.
“I will wear the white sock you want me to, I promise!”
But, she kept on crying.
“I promise Sister Marie, I promise. But you have to know, the only reason I don’t wear the uniform sock is because my stepmom didn’t buy me a white sock. She only brought me “one pair of navy sock, one blue skirt, and one white shirt to wear for the school year. I told her you didn’t want me to wear the blue sock, but noooo – she refused to listen to me! But, If you stop crying, I won’t’ wear any sock at all. Because, I sure don’t want to see you crying again!” I kept on wiping her eyes, but somehow what I thought were comfort words were causing her to scream instead. By then, Sister Marie was not just crying, but she was howling. I think the whole school could have heard her. She even got up to grab more tissue in order to wipe her face. So I slowly got up from my chair, and walked toward Father Pierre, and whispered in his ears:
“Father, I think you need to sprinkle some holy water on Sister Marie, so Count Dracula may leave her alone!”
Father answered “With that being said” let’s try to sit down quietly for a few second, so the Lord may continue His course in this session.”
“The Lord? Where is He Father?”
“You can’t see Him Yet, but I’m sure Sister Marie can sense His presence as well.”
“Wow!” As I kept on turning around, to see if I could spot where the Lord was standing. But I did not see him. So I concluded, it was because I was too young, and went back to sit down. When I turned to look at Sister Marie, I noticed she had stopped crying. In fact, her whole demeanor had changed. Although I couldn’t pinpoint exactly what had just transpired, I had enough sense to resume: “Whatever it was is beyond my league of understanding.” But, Father bent over, and whispered: “It’s not tangible my child.” I guess he was able to see through my inquisitive mind, also understood the fact that, I was too young to pinpoint the presence of conviction, and the zest of remorse.
So after he recited a prayer, he said: “I want you ladies to prepare a theatrical play on the theme of “Love, with this scripture. The other children may participate, however I want the two of you to play the role for the major characters. Meaning, each one of you will share your input about this scripture before the whole school. Then he turned toward me, “Angel, I will notify your parents. For you will need to meet with Sister Marie at least twice a week after school, for the rehearsal.”
Sister Marie remained quiet, while I thought it was the opportunity of a lifetime. But when I realized the play was about love:
“Father! You want us to write a play about love?”
“Indeed my child!”
“But, how could we do so, when I’m but a child, who’s never been in love; and sister Marie is going to die, just like an old rag, who’ll never get married either?”
Father took a deep breath, shook his head, and then smiled.
“I know you are a little girl, and Sister Marie has never, and will never be married. But, I guarantee you, “If you search deep within your heart, you will discover the type of love I’m referring to. And, I know you have more than enough of that precious love, to share with the whole school.”
I smiled, even blushed for a couple seconds. After I thought for a few minutes, I replied:
“Oh – I seeeeeeeeee! “But, Father, what color is that love? Is it also red?”
To be continued.
Father Pierre pleasantly answered, “Good morning! And good morning to you both! But what is going on between you two again?”
Sister Morte held both of her hands together, as if she was about to say a prayer, she promptly answered, “Father, I highly recommend we transfer this troubled child to a more suitable school.” And I strongly recommend some major penance for her, or I fear she will be a lost case.”
Then I also placed both of my hands together, as if I was about to say a prayer, before I said: “Father Bald head, I think you should return Dracula’s wife back to him. If not, Sister Morte will suck all the children blood from this school!”
“Who is Sister Morte?” Father answered, as he refrained himself from laughing.
“Dracula’s wife Father. Don’t you know, all the children are complaining about her. We all refer to her as the “Nasty Unpleasant Nature” Nun.”
“Oh my child!” Exclaimed Father Bald Head. “You must not speak so unpleasantly of the servant of our Lord. She is considered to be the spouse of our Lord. Whatever misunderstanding between you two, I’m sure with prayer, it can be resolved. Don’t’ you think so little angel?”
“Little Angel?” Sister Marie, I mean Sister Morte yelled. Immediately after she took a deep breath, she said, “Father, this child is far from being an angel. I’m afraid she is as stubborn as a mule, and she’s the enemies’ offspring, therefore all the prayers of the Saints couldn’t possibly transport her soul back into the light.”
” I was so infuriated by her statement, I decided to take matters into my own hands, so I yelled back: “Well at least I’m still a child, and only had my first communion so far. There’s still hope for me!!! But I bet you had your six sacraments, and.“
“Ok, both of you, in- MY – OFFICE!” Father Bald Head said impatiently.
So both of us folded our arms almost simultaneously. When we realized we had the same habit, we both dropped them as fast as possible. We suddenly attempted to walk forward, but accidently bumped to each other. So, there I was standing in front of her, with my head up, staring at her. I felt like a tiny aunt crawling on a giant tree. Father stood there with his hand crossed, as if he wanted us to realize how much we had in common. Sister Morte finally raised her chin, then turned around, as quickly as she could, and started to walk toward the direction of Father’s office. Then, I refolded my arms, as I followed her. Father remained behind us.
As we entered his office, he instructed us to take a sit, as he pulled a book from the shelf.
“You sit there child!” Sister Morte said.
“No, you sit there, I want to sit in front of Father.” I answered her.
So Father silently got up, pulled both chairs, and placed his chair in the center. Now we were all sitting behind his desk, next to Father.
“Please read this passage.” As he pointed his finger on a particular paragraph, he gave the book to Sister Morte.
It reads: “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.”
Then Father instructed her to: Give the book to Angel, so she can read the following sentence. So, I gladly grabbed the book from Sister Morte, then read:
“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.” Immediately I raised my head and turned toward Sister Morte and yelled “You see, I knew you were salty, even the book said it Sister Morte. With a smile I said, “But I’m a light, and.”
Father interrupted “The PURPOSE of this reading was not meant for you both to pass judgment on each other! As he lowered his tone, “But rather for a reflection on self.” Let me read the third sentence.”
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
After he was finished, we both remained silent. Almost speechless, as if we were ashamed. And to justify the shame and the guilt which evidently prickled my heart, I slowly whispered:
“Well she is the salty one!”
Sister Morte turned to look at me, but did not say a word. Then as Father closed the book, he said “With that being said, I have an assignment for you both to complete together.”
“TOGETHER?” We both yelled. “BUT THAT’S IMPOSSIBLE!!!”
To be continued.
It was the custom of the old folks in my family to leave a cup of coffee on the side for our ancestors. They believed if they continued to feed our ancestors, they would remained strengthened, since the chief family members were somehow ordained to protect those who were still alive. Looking back, I was about two years old, when I started drinking their coffee. In fact, I also thought they would need help with the large plate of food reserved for them as well. Eventually both, my grandmother and my aunt found out about my innocent venture, so they thought they needed to teach me a valuable lesson. But from what I heard, they were the one who were left intrigued.
I’m told I was four years old when this incident happened. Apparently, for three consecutive days, I was enjoying myself while feasting on the ancestor’s food. Afterward, I would walk outside to yell to the old folks: “Mm-Mm! Gran Do, the spirit said the food was good!” “Gran Do, who was my grandmother thought something was strange. “This is strange!” She said. “The ancestors sure ate that food fast – They usually would send a visitor, or a beggar to ask for some food, or the food would remain till completely dried out.”
Of course, I was too young to understand my grandmother’s concern, so I just kept on eating. But after three consecutive day, my grandmother cooked a dish named “Chaka,” which was a blend of corns, beans, squash, coconut, you name it – it had it! On that day however, while I was eating the bowl of Chaka, I fell asleep, with the bowl right on top of my chubby stomach. So Gran Do who happened to walk inside the house, saw me snoring my heart out. The bowl of Chaka spilled all over my body, my whole face, and my hands were bathed in Chaka. Now Gran Do who didn’t know what to think, decided to call her older sister.
“Now, don’t know what to think of this Sis – You think the child has been eating the spirits food?” She asked auntie.
“Don’t know Sis – Don’t know! But she’s been telling me she ain’t hungry for dinner. I was going to give her a laxative on Saturday!”
We need to find out, before those spirits get angry at the child.” Gran Do said.
“Well! She is family, sure they won’t hurt her, but we can still test her to see if she’s the one eating them food. She loves fish you know, so let’s make some fish tomorrow and place it on the ancestors table again.”
But Gran Do answered: “I will make some fish all right, but will teach her a lesson. Will put all the pepper and the salt I can put my finger on, in that fish – “Have to teach her a hard lesson, or this child is doomed to be too much for us to handle later on.”
“Well, what do you expect Sis. Both on her mamma and Papa side are Moses – Didn’t you hear what the priest said in church? That Moses man from the Big book opened the ocean with his little finger, and killed all the Gyptians? That’s a lot of power for one man. For all we know, he’s probably the one eating all the food through that poor child – The child is unusual, must say!”
“Well – don’t care sis. After I’m done with her, some of that power should leak through her tongue, nose, even her ears, because she’ll be screaming “HOT through her butthole!”
So Gran Do and her sister did as they had planned. In fact, the fish was seasoned with so much hot pepper, that tears dropped from their eyes as they were cooking. Finally, after they served the ancestors the large fish, which they placed on their special table, the old folks sit outside waiting. About half an hour later, I ran out of the house, with the plate of fish, screaming my heart out: “Gan Do, THE SPIRIT SAID THE FISH IS TOOOOOOO HOT – HOT – HOT – HOT!!!”
Both Ma Do and auntie dropped themselves on the floor, as they could not stop laughing. However, since they had already prepared some cold lemonade, they decided to show me some mercy, so they both rushed toward the lake, the direction they saw me take off. But when they arrived there, they were shocked to see my whole body lying flat on the ground, with my head toward the lake, under the water, while the plate of fish was still next to me. When I eventually lifted up my head, it was just to grab another bite, then to dip my whole head under the water again. I continued the same process, till I ate the whole fish. After I was completely done, I sunked my whole body under the water while I rinsed the wood plate which held the fish. The old folks stood at a distance while watching me in action. I finally walked toward them, and when I noticed them, I handed the plate back to then, and said:
“Mm-Mm! Gran Do and auntie, the spirit love the fish, but was a bit too spicy. The spirit said, you can make some more tomorrow!”
“Auntie shook her head in disbelief, then turned to Gran Do to say: “Sis, is she an angel, or a demon? I think we need to place her in a box, send her back to her papa, and have Jonas write a note: “Return to Papa!”
“Ma Do answered, “Are you crazy? The child has enough fire in her to destroy Satan and hell three times over. Besides, whether she’s an angel or demon, with her on our side, should guarantee us a good post in heaven, or hell. “So I say she ain’t going nowhere!!!”
Auntie answered: “You sure right Sis. – You sure right! In this case, let’s make her some more fish tomorrow, she sure liked it!”
“She sure did – But with just a little pepper!”
But tomorrow after I ate the fish, I said “Did you old folks forgot how to cook? The spirit said “Not enough pepper!”
My father owned a convenient store in Haïti, a small town, about forty-five minutes from Port-Au-Prince; the Capital of Haïti. During the summer, our family often spent a few days vacationing there, since there was also a house right behind the store. But I recalled one particular weekend, my aunt and I went up there alone, since her mom (Aunt Sawsaw” was the one in charge of the store. I was probably 13, while she was 18 years old.
That Saturday morning, when aunt Sawsaw had to run some errands, she left my aunt and I alone in the store. But, since she knew how much we loved sardine, she gave us a long lecture before she left.
“You see that box of sardine on the shelf up there?”
After we looked up, we said: “Yes Aunt Sawsaw.”
“Now, whenever I come back, if I don’t see it right at the same spot, I better find the money in the cash register. “Do you hear me?”
“Yes!” We both humbly answered.
Immediately after aunt Sawsaw left, we climbed on a high chair and grabbed the last box of sardine. After we seasoned it with some lime and hot pepper, we ate it with some fresh bread, and avocado. In fact, we even had some cookies for dessert, plus some soda to seal the deal. “If we were going to get in trouble, it might as well be all worth it.”
Well, to be honest, this was not my reasoning. Because, even at thirteen, I was still very gullible. In fact, everyone knew I could not lie for a million $$$. So my aunt being aware of this fact, and out of fear that I would end up telling her mother the truth, made it her mission to rehearse the whole scenario with me prior to her mother’s arrival. Yes, we spent the whole day rehearsing.
“Listen to me! ” She said. “I know you don’t know how to lie, but you must try to remember what I’m about to tell you, or we’re both in deep trouble! “Whenever my mother ask you about the box of sardine, even if she waits till next year or five years from now, you must always give her the same answer: “We sold the box of sardine right after she left.”
I answered, “Yes auntie.”
“Again, if she says, “Where is the box of sardine?” You are to answer:
“We sold it and placed the money in the cash register drawer.”
If she says “What did you girls ate while I was away?” You must answer:
“We ate some peanut butter and bread, and had some lemonade.”
Two hours later when aunt Sawsaw finally arrived, her first glimpse was the high shelf. Of course the sardine was gone. Then she said “Oh! I see the box of sardine is gone?”
I promptly replied, “Yes auntie, we sold it to a fat lady with a red dress, and the money is right in the cash register.”
She said: “I see. Mm-Mm!”
A couple minutes later, when my aunt came to greet her, she said: “So you girls ate the sardine?”
My aunt answered “No mom, we sold it to a young girl, right after you left, and the money is in the cash register drawer.
Aunt Sawsaw said: “I see. Mm-Mm!”
About four hours later, right before bed time, aunt Sawsaw called me: “Nadège, grab the comb, come and scratch my scalp so I can tell you some tales.” (It was common in our Country at night to listen to the old folks sotries prior to bedtime.”
“Ok aunt Sawsaw!”
I rushed toward the room with great anticipation because I loved to listen to her old stories. But, just about fifteen minutes later, in the midst one of her story she stopped, then after she stretched her arms, closed her eyes as if she was falling asleep, then said,
“So, with what did you girls ate the sardine again? Did you girls broiled some plantains and had some lemonade?”
I answered: “No aunt Sawsaw. “We ate it with some bread, had some cold soda, and some cookies for dessert right after you left!”
“Idovia” was my maternal grandmother’s name, but we called her “Dodo.” I must admit, she was a unique character. One thing for sure, she didn’t bargain with nonsense, and her tongue was as sharp as a two-edged swords. Furthermore, her fearsome stares were like murder attempts, so everyone knew not to piss her off whenever she was having a bad day.
After reading this story, you should pretty much sum up my Grandmother’s character. Enjoy!
“Now, Dodo what is it I heard you cursed the priest during your confession?” She was asked by one of my great uncles.
As she pulled her donkey toward the gigantic mango tree, she did not even bother to turn her head back while she murmured, “Is it your damn business whether I cursed the priest or the angels?”
Her cousin replied, “You think you’re a tough old lady, but one of these days, the Good Old Lord will bargain with you couzin!”
After she tied the donkey, she slowly walks back toward him. Her bow legs were notable, which made her look even shorter standing next to him, but she was always fearless. She then placed both hands on her hip,
Yes, I’m as tough and raw as a steak, and stubborn as a mule. The Good Old Lord created me just like that, you have a proble with that? “Besides, that damn priest was asking me about my grand-daughter; had nothing to do with my confession!”
“Now cousin, he was just asking you about Angel, he probably missed the child since she’s been gone, what’s wrong with that?”
“Oh please, he’s not about to find out from me! Why the hell he wants to know anyway?”
The old man felt annoyed by her behavior, slightly raised his voice. “Now Dodo, you went to confession, instead, you end up sinning even more. So why even bother?”
“Oh please! Lived to be one hundred one years – Seen all the shit and neat in this life, cursing a priest won’t make any difference.”
After she rushed to grab a large piece of wood, she said “Now, don’t you raise your crocodile voice on me either, or I will bust every dry bone in your body.”
Since he knew he was tramping on thin ice, he started walking away. Standing at at distant from her, he said,
“Can’t imagine what could have gone so wrong so early in the morning; just five in the mornin’ cousin.”
She yelled, “Your face is what’s wrong cousin! “It’s bad enough you’re drinking my coffee at five o’clock in the mornin’ – but you show up here with your shirt looking like dirt buying filth to talk about my damn business!”
He yelled back, “Your coffee? Couzin this is not your coffee! Remember, I planted, harvested and even grilled the coffee beans before I gave them to you.”
After she snatched the cup from him she said, “AND? Still wasn’t no damn coffee till I broiled the water and add the sugar. Then I had to serve you in my damn cup too! Plus, while you’re sitting here farting on my chair, I have to stare at your face, looking like a bee nest.”
“You’re sure one mean woman – don’t know how the hell you got married!” He said.
“What can I say couzin? “Been in training here in hell since I was a little girl, and just about to transition to heaven now; away from you. Ain’t an easy task either!”
“Heaven?” Her cousin answered. “ If I were the Good Old Lord, I wouldn’t let you live one million miles from me; you’ll probably take over!”
“Damn right I will! – After I marry Him! Now get off my land before I bust your lips!”
HEAVEN CAN WAIT!
We were left both astonished and inspired by Smartgirl -Americannow story. We had laughed so much, our laughter reservoir had dried out. When we were called for dinner, let’s say my auntie had prepared enough food to feed the whole population in Haïti. Between four to six plantains, plus some veggie, and a bucket of rice for each one of us. Those of us from the city were not accustomed to eat as much. Our dinner usually consisted of a small salad, a plantain, and some rice. But when she realized we did not finished the whole tray of goat, she had convinced herself that we all needed a laxative; which by the way she gave me that same night prior bed; I had diarrhea till I filled up the four corners of the world with…
The following morning during breakfast, she mentioned how I used to dream when I was a little girl. “If we even sneezed inside our bedroom, Foufoune you used to dream it,” she said. Then she asked my father, “Does she still dreams?”
Papy answered “not as often, but quite often she will be pre-warned me of upcoming danger; like a car accident we just had.”
Then auntie yelled “Titletales, go fetch some herbs, make some tea – Foufoune’s dreaming angel is not well – “Don’t know what happened to her gift? But, will fix that for you too my girl!”
“Do you still see angels Foufoune? She asked me.”
“No auntie, I see demons now.”
“Titletales, get some herbs, she’s seeing demons now – don’t know what happened to the angels!” Then she called me toward her and said: “Now you’re still pure aren’t you?”
“Yes auntie, still pure. “
“Got to keep that closed up, till you get married, here me? Know, you city girls think differently, but OMG! Do you remember Secret’s story? “Hope you learned from her!”
Then she turned her attention toward my father. “Gineer, my girl was but five years old when she kept on telling me, “Auntie, I see Secret holding a baby boy, right here under this mango tree.”
“Not possible my girl!” I answered her. Because I knew Secret ain’t know no man yet, fact we were looking for a husband for her, but she had bad luck. Just gave her some tea a few months ago. But, my girl would not stop. She kept on telling me bout the same dream over and over, saying: “Auntie Mangotree, I saw Secret with a big baby boy. And, you were calling her another name too!”
“So I thought to myself, Secret has been getting heavy lately! Although I thought it was the effect of the cleansing tea I was giving her to clear out her bad luck. But, low and behold! That same afternoon, Secret legs were wide open. “Heaven was shitting! Yes, heaven sure was shitting, when she popped forth a fat baby boy! Imagine how shocked I was? So I almost fainted. then I said: “You ain’t pure no more child! Now, we changing your name to “Secret – It’s-all-over!” Afterward, had to drink some tea to heal me from that shock. But thank God, the baby papa married her, so she wasn’t lost after all. So her name was changed back to Secret again.”
Papy said: ‘But why did you guys called her Secret anyway?”
“Because her Mamma was just eighteen when she had her in secret too – and she never got married after that either!”
“Foufoune come to auntie so I can examine you. “Turn around and let me see your ass!”
After I turned, while she was touching my butt, she said:
“Now my girl, you can’t go around with your Papa’s ass; flat as an iron! You’re a girl, and you need a little chunk of ass – “No man is going to marry you if you have ass like your Papa’s – You knew that since you were five years old. You use to turn your new sax into ruffles and sew them in the back of your panties, and dresses. “Gineer, we couldn’t hide the needles from her, they were her best friends. “Remember for my Mamma’s funeral, we were dressing her up, when she finally open her mouth to speak again. She had stopped speaking since the day Mamma died. “Auntie MangoTree”, she said. “When I walk I want my butt to say: “Vip-Pip-Vip-Pip – Doum-Boum-Doum.” She sure did Gineer! Then Foufoune walked all the way to the cemetery, with the lace ruffles half sewn in the back of her panty, hanging behind her chubby little legs. And she was shaking her butt, while talking to Mamma: “Look at me Great auntie – Look at me! I’m shaking my butt just for you! All along she was repeating:“Vip-Pip-Vip-Pip – Doum-Boum-Doum! Vip-Pip-Vip-Pip – Doum-Boum-Doum!” And, shortly after, everybody started laughing – So much so, we forgot it was a funeral. Foufoune had even the priest laughing. Then I said, “She was the last one who saw Mamma alive, and she hadn’t spoken since. But Mamma made sure she brought our girl back to us. “Yes, Mamma wouldn’t have it any other way, for humor was Mamma’s gift!”
“But you know what? I have to thank the big tall lady standing right in the ocean. Her name is Hattan.”
“Papy looking puzzled, then said: Who?”
“You don’t know her Gineer? You lived in the strange land, and you don’t’ know the Mother of the land? She’s a tall, green lady. And, she’s holding some fire in her hand!”
“Oh! You mean in “MAN “HATTAN?”
“Now Gineer, when I went to see her, she did not look like a “Man,” they even said she was a woman!”
“She’s in Manhattan, I said!”
“No Gineer, (Meaning engineer) she’s in the strange land. Auntie took me to see her before I came back here! I remember that morning as crystal clear, when she told me:
“Now I know you have a smart head on your shoulder, because since you were four years old, you would cry like a baby for your Mamma to let you pump her breast milk. But’ we found out two years later, after you bought your first set of goat, you were actually selling your mamma’s breast milk, to the dry breast mamma’s, so they can feed their newborn baby.”
“Really? I don’t remember that auntie.”
“Yes you did! In fact, when we asked you: “Where did you get all that money Girl?” You answered: “You guys thought I was retarded when I was pumping Mamma’s milk! “But, I was taking care of my business! “So that’s when we changed your name to “Smart-Girl”
“So what was your name before then?” My sister asked her.
“I just said it. My name was “Girl” before that! – My Mamma had nine boys before she finally had a girl, so she called me “Girl!” Like I was saying. Auntie said:
“I’m taking you to see another Smart girl, and she’s the mother of this strange land. You can talk to her, whenever we get there.”
When I got there, OMG! No wonder she’s called the mother of the land? She was a giant! But when I saw people walking in and out of her, I thought that was too disrespectful. Instead, I stood outside all day talking to her. So I said:
“Beautiful Smart Lady, my name is Smartgirl, and I’m from Haïti. It’s and Island down there on earth. “I see how you take care of your children, they have nice house and food all over the place. I’ve even spent hours picking up some quata and thyme (quarter and dime) from the ground since I’ve been here, and I have a few buckets filled with them now. I came to your country because back home they always said, anyone name American will never have to live in poverty. “You see, I would stay here because auntie is going to get me the green paper the Igration (Immigration) asked for, but I don’t want to stay. “It’s too damn cold in here! “Oh! I’m sorry for cursing front of you too! “So I want to go back home, but I want to live just like your children when I get there. So, I’m changing my name to Americannow, so you can help me too. Now, I have to tell you folks, and that’s an honest confession: “The moment I was done talking to her, this thought came to mind: “Why not go back to Haïti, and turn my people to Americannow too!
So I went back home with a plan. My mager friend had already told me I could send stuff to Haiti by boat. So, I started shipping the boxes of coins to papa, and all the empty spaghetti sauce, and alcohol bottles I had collected from all the stupid Haitian. I sent a message to auntie: “Heaven came down! Sale all the bottles, and help the poor. Save the rest, coming back home soon!” Do you remember what else I sent you auntie?
Auntie answered: You sent that thing that make the strange sound “tra-tra-tac, and “
Oh yes! I sent a typewriter, a camera, and the big light machine. I can even make a copy of my hand with it. I don’t remember what it’s called.”
Papy answered: “Are you referring to copy machine?”
“Gineer, you are a smart Man. How did you know? This is exactly what they call them too! “But I thank God I did that, because the day the tall blue eyes men came to the house, to ask me for the green paper; I only had a chance to get my money from under the mattress. But at the airport, when I walked through that machine, they had to pull me aside to ask me:
“What do you have on you?”
I answered them: “None of your damn business!
“They said: “Do you have over $10,000.00 on you?!”
So I answered them: “And why would I want to share this information with you – so you can have the Mafia come and rob me? I saw that on your TV one day, so don’t’ think I don’t I know what’s going on!!!”
After that, they placed me in a room, almost turned me upside down, in order to shake me like a yoyo. After they made me angry, “I took my bra off, and you know what else. After I bent over, I asked them:
“Do you want to see more?”
They all ran out of the room and told me: “Get dress! Get dress PLEASE!”
I looked at them and said “You Dumbo! It’s a good thing I’m getting a free ticket back home from you guys. I could have given you the green paper you asked for, instead I choose to give you a white piece of paper so you can sheep me back home for FREE!”
Then one of the guy who held my passport said: “Your name is Smartgirl, but you should have been called: “Smart mouth too!”
So I answered him: “No! For your info, that’s my little cousin’s nickname! “Even the angels call her by that name!” As she turned to me to say:
“Foufoune, I was talking about you!”
After we all laughed our heart out, my father finally asked her:
“But, how much money could you have saved in three years?”
“Hihihi! Papa was shipping me some mangoes and plantains, which I sold to the stupid Haïtian who lived there.” So between my three panties and my two bras, I had $25,741.03!!!”
Then she turned to auntie to say: “Auntie, did I tell you I saw “Richboy” working in a store there? He had a blue uniform on, and had to stand aaaall day on his feet. “So when I asked him:
“How much are you getting paid to stand on your precious feet for sooo long Richboy? He answered something like “A minus wave!” (Minimum wage)
“So I cursed him out, auntie – I sure did! “Why would you come in the strange land to freeze your butt off, while working for a minus something, when you have over twenty acres of land full of chicken, goat, plantain and shit?” “Anything with the sound of minus, can’t be profiting you that much?” He must have been embarrassed because he kept on looking on the floor. “That’s when I knew, I would rather save my money, in order to get the hell out of that strange land, before I freeze my but off, and go coucou like all the stupid Haïtian who lived there. “You know, most of them had to work two jobs just to pay the bills. And, whenever I saw them, they always look like a needle pen wrapped in a comforter. Honestly I could never understand what they were saying to me; They will say:
“How-how-how R-R-R You-hu-hu-hu?” Because their butt was freezing!” I would answer:
“Am-am N’ot Fa- ah- ah – ine! Because my but was freezing too.”
“So what type of business do you have American?” I curiously asked her.
“Hihihi! My name is not American, It’s “AmericanNOW!” “When I first came back to Haïti, I just place a sign in front of my front door: “DO YOU WANT TO BE AMERICANNOW?” The same day, I had over 400 people in front of my door. In fact I had to hire some helpers right away!
“But what do you do?” I asked her again.
“Wait! I’m telling you. “When they came in, I told them: “I just came back from the strange land, it’s not worth going up there, unless you want to go to school. “Told them about Richboy working for $5.00 an hour. Everybody said: “What? Now heaven is shitting!”
So after my speech, told them “The only way we can break this poverty spell off our Country, we will have to do the followings:
- First, let’s add Americannow to our name, we will be living just like the American, the only exception, “Our butt won’t be freezing like them.”
- We have to be willing to change our mentality – work together, in unify there is power.
- Let’s find a way to market our resources, the other Islands are already doing that, even though they are selling nothing but CRAP!
So for those who agreed, I only charged them $100.00 for the paper work. I gave them a green piece of paper with their picture on it. I also teach them how to speak their new language for free. But I call it “Frenchglish,” since there are many words I couldn’t even pronounce! We all had lands full of plantation, plus cow, chicken, goats… you name it. So we decided to open an “AmericanNOW Supermarket” just like in the strange land. With cool air and everything.
“You mean the Supermarkets in the City are for you guys?”
“Of course! We have four of them now. Finally coming to the Country side now! Have you noticed the “Rich People Freezer” near the back? I know you guys like your escargot, which we pick up for free around here. But only one thing, we don’t deal with foolishness. Anyone who refuse to let the country progress, we will blow their heads off! This is how we deal with the robbers. First, they must ask them these three questions:
- Are you hungry or homeless?
“If they are hungry, feed them. If they are homeless, send them to the shelter. “Give them this address for a job offer.”
“Then tell them: “Next time we will blow your head off!
- Is your child, your mamma or papa sick in the hospital?
“If they answered yes, send them to bill care.”
“If they said: “What the hell are you talking about? “Blow their heads off.”
- Do you or your child, or your younger brother, or sister want to go to school, perhaps you don’t have the money to pay …?
“If they say “yes” sent them to school care.
“If they answered: “Why the hell do I want to go to school for? “Blow – their -heads – off!!!”
The Americannow entreponor (entrepreneur) have zero tolerance for bull shit! After over 200 years of independence, Haïti must move forward!”
“Excuse me again for my bad language, Mr. & Ms. Gineer, auntie and the children! “Sometimes it’s only fitting to say a good “Shit!” Learn that from the Strange Land too!!!”
Is that my Foufoune I see?”
‘OMG! It is you Auntie Mango tree! Me said you always wore white, so I always didn’t stop.”
“Who is Me? And yes, I always wear white!”
“You have a blue dress on auntie?
“I do? You sure it’s not white?”
“Auntie, you don’t know who “ME” is? We saw him on our way here, he said he was my uncle!”
“Oh! You must mean Mama’s neighbor. But his name is “Put-ME-Down” my girl! “It’s a long story, first come and give me a hug! Cant’s see too well, but can tell, seven of you are standing in front of me?”
“Yes, Auntie. My sisters and bro are here with Papy.”
“Gineer is here too? Oh my! Now I understand what Titletales was saying. She rushed here like a storm, to say “Heaven came down! Heaven came down! “Kill the white goat, wash the mangoes, we need some coffee and bread. “I will go fetch the buckets for the shit and pi!”
“So I answered who is coming?”
“Don’t know auntie, but must be very important people!!! “I’m Just the messenger – Ain’t telling no tales either!”
I gave auntie a big kiss and a hug. As she held and kissed me, she said: “OMG! Just skin and bones – Now Gineer, hope you don’t think you’re leaving today, got to take care of my girl before she leaves.”
Then she asked me: “Foufoune, have you had your laxative this year? Bet you haven’t – Titletales, bring here the coffee, the mango and bread, and go fetch me some herbs and the oil for the laxative. My girl needs cleansing, she’s nothing but skin and bones!”
“Yes auntie!” Answered the young girl.
“Bring the buckets here too, just in case those City folks need to shit and pi!”
“Yes auntie, washing them now!”
We all sit down, as coffee and bread were being served to us. A young man carried two large bags of mango, and placed them before us. After auntie was informed about my school grades, she said.
“Now Gineer, thought you were in the strange land, don’t live there no more?”
“Papy looking puzzled, “Strange land?”
“Yeah! You know, where money is falling all over the ground! Then she turned back to ask Titletales who was sitting on the floor, not too far from her.
“Titletales, what’s Smart-girl new name again? She just came from the strange land.”
“Oh! Her name is American-Now auntie!”
“Exactly! American-Now was sent back here, because she didn’t show the green paper they asked her for.”
“Green paper? You mean the green card?” Papy said.
“I don’t know Gineer! “Where is she anyway? Let me have her tell you her story. Oh! Here she is!”
“Oui auntie. Good afternoon everyone! “She kissed everyone of us, went on to kiss auntie as well.”
“Come and tell these folks why the tall white men sent you back from the white people’s country – You know she’s a business woman now! “Tell them about your business too!”
Amerian-Now was wearing an American Flag top with a jean. She laughed then said:
“I went to the strange land up there three years ago. After the plane dropped us, I saw the cloud, (snow) I realized I did not want to stay there because it was too cold. “You see aallll those clouds up above our heads, they are heading straight to that strange land. It gets so cold over there that, even when I was wearing ten panties, and three stockings, my butt was still freezing. Couldn’t feel my nose one day, and thought I was dying. “Hell! How was I supposed to breathe without a nose? I thought to myself.
While I lived there, I saved auntie Coucou over $100.00 in electronic bill. (Electric bill). “After I told her one day: “Now, why do you need to pay that extra bill for the fridge, when you have a freezer right outside your door and your backyard?”
“Auntie said, “Now we can’t use outside to keep our food freezing?”
“Why not? Leave everything up to me auntie, and I promise you, your electronic bill won’t be so high by next Month.” So I kept all the meat and the juice right under the cloud that fell in the front porch, and they were never spoiled either. “Even when I made my lemonade, I just went and grabbed some cloud, blend it in my juice, and it was so cold, had to soak my teeth in some warm water afterward. Damn! Oh! Excuse me you all for cursing. “I learned a few curse words while I lived there.”
As she turned toward auntie Good-Mercy, she said:
“Auntie, I forgot to tell you that too. “People curse over there like rain falling. They fart and burp on people like crazy too! And, nobody will say a damn thing to them. Oh, excuse me again for cursing.
So one day, I was seating on the train, when that woman kept on burping and farting right next to me. It was so loud, everyone could hear her. So the last “Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr,” she did, I turned to her, and said:
“Didn’t your mamma taught you some manners? “You don’t “Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr” on people like that, and don’t even say “excuse me!” Then she looked at me as if I was crazy. So I said: “Keep on looking at me like am crazy, I will turn you into a cow. You already sound like one anyway!” So that’s when a pretty white lady said to me:
“Which accent is that from?” I answered her:
“Do you see me cooking? Besides, even when am cooking, I don’t use any of the accents you white folks use here; they no good for you. Sometimes, I may use a tiny piece of Maggi, but that’s about it!”
Then she looked at me as if she didn’t understand, one word I said. So another tall black man said: “Oh, she was not referring to the accent, as in seasoning, she wanted to know where you were from?”
“Then why didn’t she just asked me that? Even If I told her we season our meat with lime, and hot pepper, she still wouldn’t know where I was from! Well, I’m from Haïti. It’s on the ground, down there. You guys are up here in the sky, but we are an Island from down there. Everybody started to look at me funny. Finally, I heard one voice asking me: “Did you say, you were from Haïti?”
“Yes I Am Mam!” I answered her.
“And did you just say you were going to turn that woman into a fat cow?”
“Yes I did. If she doesn’t stop “Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr on people!”
OMG! Auntie, everybody started running to the next section of the train. I had the whole space to myself!
“When I realized it was because they were afraid of me, I laughed and thought to myself: “Shuut! If I had that much power, I would have turned them into $1,000.00 bill, not a cow!”
After she laughed herself to tears, she continued: “And people from the strange land talk very different from us too. One day a guy asked me “What’s up?” I turned and looked at him. “What’s up?” You asking me? You should tell me what’s up. You are the one from the strange land up in the cloud, aren’t you? I’m from the Islands, way down there!”
That was the day, I was on my way to the store to buy some oil to cook for auntie. When I got there, guess what I saw? Some yam, and some mango, plantain and avocado for sale. But those damn things were so expensive, they were asking over $1.00 for one mango.
“You mean, a whole green Dollar? I would never eat a mango again!” Screamed auntie. “We sell these things for two pennies, and the strange people are – “Oh! Maybe it’s because they have to plant them in the cloud. Do they taste the same as ours?”
No Auntie, they get them from Jamaica. I don’t think they know how to plant them in the strange land. The avocado was even more expensive. So I took one, and went to the lady who was doing the ringring with the little machine in front of her, then asked her: “Are you crazy? Why are you charging a dollar for each mango? That’s too expensive. In my country, I shit and pi on those stuffs. I can even get you some for free, but you guys will have to pay for the plane ticket for them.” Suddenly, everybody started laughing. I didn’t know what was so funny either. So, the pretty white girl answered me:
“Please go speak to the Mager, at custom service.”
Then Papy said: “You mean “the Manager, at the Customer service?”
She answered as if it did not matter:
“I guess so Gineer, but I said what I heard. So when I went to custom and asked for the Mager, they answered: “Who?”
I answered, “I want to speak the the Mager, at custom service!”
But, thank God, he was standing right there. He turned and looked at me. Then, heaven came down!” I could hear my heart beating;“Bip-Bip-Bip,” and almost fell out of my chest too. “Never seen a good looking white boy like him before. But, he had a strange name. His name was John. So after he kept on saying, “Can I help you?” I finally came back to myself. Because I was already thinking of all the cute children we could have together. So she turned toward auntie to say:
“Now, auntie I know you taught us to keep it sealed till we get married, but I tell you auntie, I wouldn’t wait till I get married with him.”
“I can see why? Because when he came down here to check our lands, at first I thought he was God, and I’m not interested in no man either.” Auntie answered while laughing.
“He came to Haiti?” My father asked.
American-Now answered “That’s what I’m trying to tell you all, Am a business woman now! But first, let me tell you what I told him about the mango when I finally answered him. I said “Now sir, my name is Smart-Girl. I cannot understand for the life of me, why are you asking me to pay so much for these mangoes? In my country, we have over 20 acres full of them. In fact I use to shit and pi on them, when I was a little girl. And my little cousins are still running butt naked all over our land, shitting and piing on them too. Then, I squeezed the mango right in front of him and said: “And those mangoes are not even good quality either. No-no! For god’s sake, where are you getting these crap from?” So when I was done talking, the Mager was staring and smiling at me. My heart went “Bib-bib-Bib” again. Then he said, “You seem to know what you are talking about. Where are you from?”
“I was embarrassed to say I was from Haiti. I didn’t want him to start running like the others did in the train. “So he said: “Are you from Haiti by any chance? “I have a good friend who’s from there as well!”
“Yes, I sure am!” I answered him smiling. While in strange land, they called what I was doing “Flirting.” Because I really, really liked him.”
“Well, they ship them from Jamaica.” He said.
“Are you serious?” I yelled at him. Those things are shit and neat quality, they no good! “In that case why don’t you buy them from Haïti – from my family?”
He smiled, then he said, “Here’s my card, let me check the head something, gelation and custom, and I will get back to you. So please leave me your phone number so I can all you.”
Pappy interrupted her again to say: You mean “Regulation and custom.”
“That’s probably what he said. But, he said something about a head too. I didn’t know what he meant by that. Was it a cow or chicken head? I thought the white man didn’t believe in voodoo? So that was my only concern about the cute Mager.
So Papy answered, “No. He was referring to Voodoo. He meant he had to follow up with upper Management.”
“ I still gave him my aunties phone number and address.” And when I walked away, I realized my but was shaking : “Vip – Pip – Vip- Pip, Boum – Boum!” I turned to look at him, because I was embarrass. But, he was still looking at me! Hihiho!”
“You all know the end of the story. “He came down with another fat looking white man to buy some land from us. Now we ship some stuff back to them, including some coffee. But you know what? I have to thank the big tall lady standing right in the ocean. Her name is Hattan.”
“Papy looking puzzled, then said: Who?”
“You don’t know her Gineer? You lived in the strange land, and you don’t’ know the Mother of the strange land? She’s a tall, green lady standing in the ocean She’s holding some fire in her hand!”
“Oh! You mean in MANHATTAN?”
“Now Gineer, when I went to see her, she didn’t look like a MAN to me. And the people from there even said she was a woman, not a man!
To be continued
Yes. You heard it right. Foufoune was my childhood nickname, and it’s pronounced as “Foofoone!”
Would you like to know what it stands for in the Creole language? Well! I will tell you anyway. It is the private part of a baby girl! Yes, till this day, my mother’s family still calls me Foufoune, a baby’s vigina! So whenever my girls ask me: “Mom, what’s that nickname they just called you?”
“Oh! It stands for “procreate! “I was so beautiful as a young girl, my grandmother gave me that name. Then she would say: “I Hope you have children as beautiful as you are!” Don’t ask me what happened to you girls.”
So now that you have the Haïtian Country folk’s definition of direction, (discussed on part I of this story) let me share with you an actual journey to my grand-mother’s house. The most memorable one, I recalled I was twelve years old. Please keep in mind not all the names mentioned in the story were my actual family members, but there are actual people called by those names. For example, the real meaning of my biological mother’s name is “Here she is!” People back then named their children based on an event, or the baby’s action during their early childhood. So believe it or not, those strange names have profound impact upon our lives, to say the least, our culture.
It was mid-July, truly a sunny beautiful day. We arrived in Duvalier-Ville around ten thirty in the morning. Papy (how we called my father) decided to drive through the dirt road which would lead us to my grandmother’s house. He was driving for about thirty minutes when we reached a dead end. Thankfully, about the same time, an old man on a donkey stopped. So my father greeted him, and asked him for direction:
“Good morning Monsieur!”
“Good morning ouiii!” He answered.
“Could you please tell us how to get to Dodo’s house?”
He did not say a word for a few seconds. Instead, he started walking toward my father’s car, then he stared at my father. He took a long and good look at my step mother, for a quick second, gazed at us in the back.
“You going to Dlodlo’s plantation you said – Are you related to her?”
“I’m taking her granddaughter to see her.” My father answered him.
Sudenly his tone of voice changed, his faced brightened with a smile: “Really? Who the mamma, or papa is? Don’t tell me – Is she Sun’s daughter? Then while he talks to himself, he said: (That’s the oldest one – probably not.) Then she must be Venus, or Mars, or, “What’s her name again?”
He place his hand on his forehead, while seriously thinking. “I forgot her name – But I know the whole family, you know!”
“You do?” Papy answered cheerfully. “ I’m glad we are talking to you then!” But he was too busy thinking, so he did not hear one word from my father. He continued.
“Lets tee! I belie Dlodlo haaa, twel chilren. (Meaning: I believe Dodo had twelve children) I remember Tar, (he meant to say Star), “Neverforget, She-is-here, or She-was-born, or Here-she-Is.” Can’t never remember that one – Hihihi! “I told you I know the whole family.”
Papy interrupted to say: “The third one name is “Here-she-is, because her daughter is in the car with us.”
“You mean, the pretty little fat light skinned baby she had with the Gineer? “Non-non-non! Don’t tell ME that!”
“Yes she is, and I’m the engineer – But the little baby girl you knew is now twelve. – Nadege, say hello!”
After jumping for joy, he said: “Oh my Goodness, now that’s something! Heaven came down! Heaven sure caaame down!!! “ Foufoune is here with you?”
“Hello!” As I raised my hand. And all my siblings said hello to him as well.
“OMG! Now look at Foufoune –Always askin bout you, your mamma tell you? “And you Gineer, sure didn’t know it was you. Bout half blind now, so I can’t see well, and I lost all my teeth since I was a little boy – Look: “Hee!” (He basically gave us a big smile so he can show us he only had two teeth left.) Then he put his head inside the car:
“Where is Foufoune? “I don’t see any light skinned chubby girl here! Which one is she again Gineer?”
I answered: “Here I Am!”
“Now, you a dark girl now! “What happened to all the curly hair you haaad? Now your hair is all kinky, just like your mamma! Child, your father’s has those good and silky hair, and you went and got your mamma’s nappy hair? “OMG! We thought we had a white girl in the family, now you been turned dark on us. “But a good thing you still pretty! “Now you a City girl now!” (While shaking his head and smiiiiiiling) “Oh boy, heaven came down!”
My sister and I were tearfully laughing by then. The guy was all inside the car, while talking his heart out.
Papy finally interrupted to say:
“Your face do look familiar, but I can’t seem to remember your name!”
“Gineer, you don’t remember me? Its ME!”
“It’s you. But, what’s your name?”
Gineer, I’m “Don’t-mess-with-me son, ME! My name is: “Me!”
“OMG! Dontmesswithme and Nadege’s mom were the best of friends! “Wow! You are, I mean, are old are you now?”
“Am about five years older than your first son. “Don’t you remember? M’just turn thirty-fy year-old! “Still very young Gineer, still very young!”
Papy shaking his head. Trying hard not to laugh. Because all along, he is standing so close to Papy’s face, they both can practically smell each other.
Papy finally try to interrupt him, to remind him about the direction.
“ We are trying to reach Dodo’s House early, can?”
But he walked toward the back window of the car: “You don’t remember me Foufoune? You use to run all over the place butt naked. “Gave me a nickname too. Hihihi! Gineer she used to say “Here comes Talk-too-much!” Boy, she had a mouth in her beautiful head, funny too! “Do you still have a smart mouth?”
“So, how do we get to Dodo’s plantation?!” Papy cut him off again.
“Oh yeah! I keep forgetting Gineer. Dlodlo’s plantation not far at all, bout an hour or two walk. Ok. So you start walkin. But, get off the car first, and just keeeep walkin “And when you see the red horse, turn right. “The red horse is always there, aint gone no where, so pay attention to him – “If you want, you can tell him hi too! “I just said hello to him on my way here. Hihihi! “What I was sayin again? Oh yeah! To your right, there is a cow with a gold teeth, just turn left.”
“The Cow with the gold tooth?” We all yelled.
“Yes, Gineer, the cow been have a gold tooth, you’ll se shining goooold tooth! The owner brought it just like that, and he calls him Mark!” Stange name, ain it? “So, as I was sayin, “When you see Mark, the cow with the gold tooth, to the right is a large field of green corn.”
“Hihi! Well, they are not yellow yet, so they are still green.” Keep walkin!”
But, I thought you told me to turn left when I see the cow with the gold tooth?”
“Oh! I did? Let see. The red horse, the gold tooth, oh yeah! You just keep walkin till you see the green corns, can’t miss them! “Then you’ll see the plantain field, not yellow, but green plantain.” Now he placed his head inside the back window to say:
“That’s your grand-mamma’s land Foufoune!” But, keep walkin. “Then cross the river, walk up the red hill. You will see your great auntie dressed in white under a tall mango tree. Yes, she always wear white dress.”
He place his head inside the widow again to say:
“Foufoune, remember “Auntie mango tree? Heard you gave her that name!” “So you all should stop walkin. “You all can go and say hi, then she will give you some coffee first, them some mango, while you waiting for the food to cook. I will send news, so she can have them kill the white goat for Foufoune to eat. You all can eat with her too. “Foufoune, you eat with your folks, ok!” “Hihi – What I sayin again? Yeah – After you leave auntie Mango tree, keep walkin, till you see the fifthy black pigs, to your left. (Running all over the place, dutying all the road, Mm!) But, you gona see a pure white pig too. “Hihi! Yes, he’s pure white. The owner brought it just like that too, and he calls him Pete! Strange name – aint it?”
“A white pig?” Papy yelled again.
“Yes, he is Gineer – Yes he is – Aint lying – His papa calls him Pete. “Was sayin again? “Keep walkin! “And, as soon as you see all the chicken – I mean all colored chicken, aaall over the place – You can look for your uncle “God –So-good” carving his furniture right in the middle of the road. “Mmm! He been cutting all the trees, to make some nice bed too – I even bought one for my girlfriend!”
“You have a girlfriend?”
“Yes Gineer, have a girlfriend! We have seven kids together. ”My wife not too happy about that either.”
“You have a girlfriend, and a wife?”
“Now, you know better to aa this silly question Gineer. “My wife and I got four bigs kids too.”
So imagined us rolling on the floor laughing. I don’t know how my father remained so calm. Finally my stepmother asked him: ‘How long before we get to Dodo’s house after we leave auntie Mango tree’s house?”
“Very soon Maam Gineer, very soon! Bout an hour or two!”
Papy asked him:“You said, after we see her uncle, we?”
“You just mentioned an uncle you brought a bed for your.”
“Oh, you mean uncle God-Sogood?” Yes. You will see him, right in the middle of the road. But, he’ll be too busy to take you to his mamma’s house. Besides, his wife Alwaysthere will probably want you guys to eat with them. I will send news ahead so Jonas (one of your cousin, Foufoune!)can go grab some fish from the ocean for Foufoune to eat. “Foufoune, you share with your folks, ok! “But, by the time you all done eating, do you really want to walk to Dlodlo’s plantation? Gona be dark by then. Your girls may be skin and bones, but some bad people around here still like skinny chicken!”
At last, Me was done with his direction. But, even after he was done he still stood there talking. Papy gave him $50.00, and made us all thank him. He smiled then said: “Boy, you are a big City Man, Gineer! Will come to see you at Dlodlo’s. “Do you still love Mango, and sugar cane?”
“Yes I do!”
“Good. Because your uncle will bring you everything you like. You are too skinny – will make sure you have some meat on that skinny body of yours before you go back to the City. Your sisters and brother too!”
“Thank you uncle Me!” We all yelled.
Finally after he left, we started our walking journey, till we saw the auburn looking horse, the cow with one gold teeth, named Mark. We said Hello, and He answered us back. For he was a fat man, dressed in black and white. He asked us: “Which one is Dodo’s grand daughter?”
Papy answered “Her!” While pointing his finger at me.
“Yap, you been turn dark on us, with kinky hair too, but pretty girl! “But, keep walkin, till you all see the green cornfield!”
“Will send some mango for Foufoune to Dodo’s, hear? “Share some with your folks, here Foufoune?”
“Thank you Mark the cow!”
Yes. We kept on wakin! Saw the field of YELLOW corn, the fifty pigs and the one pinkish colored new born one in their mist. Yes, his name was Pete! Finally, after about an hour walk, we noticed the mango tree from a distance. Under the tree was a light skinned, skinny old lady, with her hair as white as snow. Indeed, she looked gloriously beautiful. However, she was wearing a blue dress. Next to her was a table covered with a pure white embroidered tablecloth, and a few white cups and a coffee pot, covered under a white linen. But my father still doubted she was my auntie.
“It must not be your auntie, because ME said, she always wore white.” So I answered with a smile: “ I may not be able to remember my great auntie’s face, but I would remember that mango tree from anywhere in the world!”
That’s when we heard: Is that my Foufoune I see?”
‘OMG! It is you Auntie Mango tree! Me said you always wore white!”
“Who is Me? And yes, I aways wear white!”
“But, your dress is blue auntie. And Me said he’s my uncle!”
“Oh! You must mean your grandmothers’ neighbor, but his name is “Put-ME-Down” honey!”
To be continued.
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