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!!!”
I drove near little Haïti yesterday morning to shop for some fresh veggie. I was surprise of the surge of energy I felt suddenly. All along, my eyes were constantly tickled, while my lips played hide and seek with an ease smile.
I knew partially why. Perhaps, it was because I was in my bain. In the veggie isles, while I smelled the cilantro, parsley, thyme, habaneros peppers, I was pampering the fresh plum tomatoes, and red bell peppers in my hands. It felt like an endless love affair.
Yes, I love to cook. In fact, the culinary ecstasy which I became familiar with, since my youth, has been the only husband I’ve managed to keep so far. Gladly to say, we still interact like bread and butter.
“Listen!” I usually tell him. “I’m the one cooking here, and you know very well I don’t like to use measurements!”
“Ah bon! YOU berder makre me taste goord, ann look enticirng too!”
“You are so conceded, with your French accent!” I would yell back.
“Bien suuure! Don’t you kneur who I’m R’AM!” (“Of course, don’t you know who I Am!”)
I would turn, while shaking my head to reply: “Who are you Mr. Culinary. Have you not realized, you are nothing but dirt?”
He would be furious of course.
“DERT! How darre yuu! I R’Am the arroma everrryone long for worlwide. “Irr, Irr, satisfy evveryone culinary buzz DAILY. And, you darre call me dert?”
“Big deal Culinary breeze! But, technically, you are dirt. Therefore, before you raise your nose so highly, keep in mind, all your “Arrroma” ingredients are from the ground. The dirt. So for once in your lifetime, try to master the art of humility.”
By then he would calm down. Then answers pensively: “RAh! I nerver thought of that. “Good thing I R’Am from France then! Thank you mon Amour (My love) for pointing this fact to Meu!”
So, as I continue to peel my potatoes, I would acknowledge this fact: Yeah!” I must admit. The perfumes from France are among the best inventions!”
Raging: “Allo! Wrat do you mean by theirrr Parfum – And about the Art Culunaire- La patisserie???”
“You know what I meant my love!”
At last, as we both smiled, once again, “It would be love at- first- sight.”
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!”
I went to get my eyebrows done today. But, during the whole time, all the ladies were speaking their native language. The only English word I heard, was when she asked me “Just eyebrows?”
“Yes.” I answered her with a smile.
But, she was already saying “Chunyoungching,” to her two partners.
I gathered they must have been talking about someone by the name of “Chung.” Because the conversation went somewhat like this:
One lady said: “Chungching-chiiiiiiiing!”
My helper answered “Dongdonngdondond H’r! Chungchinggg-rrrrrr!”
The younger one was eating from a bowl. As she got up, she said, “Honnnng-Hing-hin-ghing rrrrrrrrrrrr-Chunghing!”
I don’t know how she had managed to say all of that, with her mouth full. But, she did. NO, I’m not lying.
Ok. So I’m lying. The truth is, she didn’t exactly uttered those words, but what I heard sounded just like them.
Of course I felt compelled to participate. So, that’s when I said “Hongggg-HING-rrrrr!!!”
The three ladies remained silent for a few seconds as they starred at each other. Then I heard:
“Ohmyguy-youthink we’re fo-rom China! We are fo-rom Viet-Naame. Not China!”
Although I understood what she meant, I thought I would tease her. “You’re from Viet-Naame? I heard of Vietnam, but where is “Viet-Naame?”
“Naaaa! We fo-rom whereyoujustsid! “Viet-Naame!” The older one answered.
I responded back, “Ididnotsid “Viet-Naame.” I sid, “Vietnam!”
While shaking her head, she said:“Yah-yah! There-there! Youuu-Justsidit!”
Finally the younger lady turned around, after a glimpse, while laughing she said, “Hayhoyoooow-YING-hoiyyy!” To the other two ladies.
Without a doubt, I knew she had just said something about me. So, to scare her off, I slowly uttered the following sentence: “I – would – be – careful if I were you. I speak Murong- Chinese-Tay-Nung-Hmông and French!”
What they heard almost caused them to stop breathing. They yelled together: “Hunnnngg! YOU DO?”
“Ah-ha! So you ladies WERE talking about ME-weren’t you?”
After they all laughed, the older woman told me, “Hunnnngg, you so fon-ny! You kom back again, we give you diss-Kont. “You Kom back, Ok! Wa-yourname?”
I answered, “My name is Nad…”
“Wa? Hunnngg – yournameis-wa?”
“No. My name is not “Wa.”
After she laughed her heart out, she said again, “You so fon-ny!”
“Really?” I answered her. “I’ve been told the contrary.”
“Hong?” She said with a serious look.
“Never mind.” I answered her. “I will be back in a couple weeks. But next time, can I pay with my jar of pennies?”
“Pen – hunnngg! Letseee!” She turned to confirm with the other lady while speaking Vietnamese.
The middle aged lady looking frightening started to walk toward me. “Waaaaaaa? Pennies? How much?” She asked me.
I answered, her “About if I bring you ladies a five gallon jar full of pennies!”
“FYYY GALLON? Hooooooong!”
“Got you!” I said. While I laughed my heart out.
“Hunnngg – you so fon-ny!!! “See you net-time, ok!
“What? You want to set the time?” I answered her.
“Nonnn! “I said “Net –time. Net. Net. Not appoint-mend!”
While I walked out, I just had to say: “No appointment? Then, let’s forget about the net. I will just bring the fish.”
“Hunnngg – You so fon-ny!”
I honestly had one of the best time of my life! Therefore I know I will definitely go back.
I sought for humor but tears showed up. I yelled, “Where are you my cherished friend? Come here! Come and help me stop this hailstorm falling like lava spring from the wound.”
Humor answered, “Sorry dear. I’m having my own crisis today!”
“Are you serious? But you are humor, what could possibly be wrong with you?”
“The thief stole my laughter box, then glued my lips.”
“But, you are talking…”
“This is a recording, DUMMY!!!”
So my God-mother came to live with me when she arrived here, in America. Although I felt honored, the decision was not mine. On Thursday afternoon, I received a call from my mom. When I answered, “Hi Mellie, how are you?”Yes, this is my Mom’s nickname, which I gave her. So, after a brief pause, she answered me.
“Listen, get ready to pick up your God-mother. She’s arriving here from Haiti tomorrow afternoon, and she’ll be living with you.”
Mind you, I was living with a “husband.”
Yes, I said a “husband,” simply because we were legally married. Need I say more?
“Ok!” I answered my mom. “By the way, thank you for the extended notice.” I think if she knew how to say “My pleasure!” She would have. Instead she answered, “Good, call me once she arrives!”
My childhood memories with my God-Mother are nothing less than pleasant. So I was looking forward to seeing her. Therefore, if it meant for me to sign a divorce paper, I would have gladly done it, considering the bumpy phases during our relationship, divorce was already projected.
Unfortunately, he did not object when I gave him the news. In fact, he only made one complaint “You could have given me enough time to get drunk one more time, without having an old lady staring at me!”
Mind you, my God-Mother lived in a Town about forty-five minutes from the City. During the Duvalier Regime, they had running water, electricity, beautiful waterfall; I even recalled a nice aquarium. Unfortunately, when the “Other” regime took over Haiti, over the years, they had managed to sell everything our country owned to foreign investors. The civilized neighborhood have to rely on their diesel inverter. Therefore, for the majority of the villages, the people could not afford this commodity.
By the way, keep in mind, my childhood nickname was “Foufoune.” Somewhere in one of my post, I told you guys what my nickname meant. Believe me, no child would wish for a nickname which stands for “Virgina.” So My god-mother calls me “Foune” instead. Thank God for mercy.
I on the other hands, call her “Ninn” For God-Mother.
I arrived at the airport with great excitement. From a distant , I saw a pretty round face, dark skin old lady walking toward me, with her hands over her eyes. I recognized her by her fair long grey hair. Once she saw me, for a brief moment, she stared at me, she hesitate before she said.
“Oh, my Foune, is that you “Pitit-Mwen?” Meaning “Is that you my child?” All along, both her hands were hovering over her eyes, as if she was annoyed by a midday-sun.
“Ninn, yes it’s me! I’m so glad to see you, been over ten years.”
“Yes, my child. Been asking for you, but no news. So I called another child your name. I often tell her, “You’ll be my Foune number two, just so my heart wont’ continue to bleed!”
All along, I couldn’t help wondering why her hands was still covering her eyes, so I asked her:
“Ninn, why are you covering your eyes!”
“Can’t deal with all this light, Foune. I almost went blind when I stepped out of the big boooom.”
As she laughed, she reminded me of the little old lady from the “Looney TunesTweety Bird.” In fact my children said the same thing before they started calling her “Ninn” as well.
“Ninn, what is the big boom, are you referring to the airplane?”
“Yes Foune. The big car. I saw the sky while I was inside. “When they told me to get out, I thought I was going to walk in the cloud. Look at all this light – why don’t they send some to Haiti?” Oh my God, look at this!”
“Ninn remember we had electricity in Haiti when I was younger!”
“We had what? What is tri-City?”
“E-lec-tricity; we had light, even at your house.”
“Oh! Yes, we did. But now, we only see the light when lightning strikes. Yap! We’re going backward! No water either, all the rivers have dried up, now we have to buy some fish, and the plantains look they suffer malnutrition.”
“Wow, Ninn – that’s unbelieable! Why are you stopping Ninn? This is called an escalator; try to step on it, and it will take us downstairs. Just stand on it, don’t walk.”
“I am not stepping on this stuff!”
“Ninn, you have to. Just step on it, and stand. Don’t move.”
She answered, “Now, folks told me about those crazy stuff in this country, but Foune, I’m over a century old, Am not about to step on this crazy thing, moving like a river, but don’t see no water; can’t fool me! I’m over a hundred years old now.”
Nin, you are not over a century old, Gando was older then you. You are probably in your seventies now. And try to stare at the light for a moment, they won’t hurt your eyes.”
“Yes they will. Many people came back to Haiti, wearing some brown or black thing over their eyes. Because they said, the light from here, caused them – There you go! You see that woman over there, she’s wearing one of those stuff.”
“Oh, you mean the sun glasses Ninn!”
“Sun? Why they call them Sun?”
“It’s a long story Ninn. Let me just give you one pair to wear.”
Thank God I had a pair of sun glasses in my purse. After she wore them, she started to laugh.Yes, my Godmother was wearing a pair of Sun Glasses at eight O’clock at NIGHT, because of the light.
“Now look at this! The whole world is dark now! Those white folks sure know God, to invent something like this.”
“Ninn, by the way, those glasses were probably made by a black man, working in the factory.”
“No child, can’t be. This thing must be from the white man. Just like the big Boom and all the cars in Haiti was made by them.”
“No Ninn, in this country black people invent things too. Anyway, let’s walk on the escalator.”
But, she was too busy turning in circle, with her eyes upward, starring at every light. Myself and everyone else could not stop laughing. Just when I though I would look for an elevator, a young Haitian man CARRIED HER down. She held herself like a little baby, while all along she was saying, “Now son, don’t you drop me. Am about a century old now, haven’t fell not once!”
People stood still, to listen to my God-Mother telling me, “There is no way in this heavenly Country she was going to step on something that just slides like a river, but she could not see the water. She would have felt much better riding on a donkey instead!”
I could not stop thanking the young man who carried her down the escalator. With a smile he finally answered me:
“Trust me, I’ve been there too. This was my first trip to Haiti because I wanted to meet my Mom’s family. My grand-mother made me eat, drink and bathe me with so many herbs, by the time she was done, I thought I was a tree!!!
To be continued