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!”
Two of my siblings are on their way to visit Papy, (our Father) since he hasn’t been well. The fact is, while I’m looking forward to seeing them, I doubt their feeling are reciprocal toward me.
Yap, you heard me right! Last I heard, I’m considered like an atheist, and a member of Babylon the great, and lastly one of Satan’s offspring.
Unfortunately for me, according to the Jehovah’s Witness teaching, my soul is now doomed for the pending destruction, with all the other unbelievers.
Why? After I was suffocated with “THEIR VERSION OF THE TRUTH,” I had enough sense to say “Hell no!” Thankfully, afterward I took off running at the speed of lightning when I decided no religious organization will further determine my eternal destination. And because of this fact, my siblings were provided with an allergic prescription, just for our future encounters.
The last time my” Holy” siblings and I had a loving conversation was back in 1988, prior to the three elders visit, from the Jehovah Witness organization. I had just walked in from a prayer meeting when I saw them walking toward my front door. They held a manila folder, which apparently kept a record of my spiritual encounter during my insane years with their organization.
“We’ve been informed that you are currently visiting other denominations, the churches from Babylon the great, is it true?”
“Yes, your honor it is!”
“Do you understand this action on your part is ground for reproof? So do you intend to stop this venture?”
“No Sir. In fact “My soul is rejoicing in the Lord, and as long as they have not asked me to sacrifice my soul to Satan, or to join your future master in Hell, I see no reason to stop joining their prayer group.”
“In this case, you must renounce your title as a “Jehovah’s Witness.”
“My pleasure your honor!”
“You must write a letter with the following… request, so we in turn will submit it to our headquarter in New York.”
“My pleasure Sir!”
What I was instructed to write: “As of today, I no longer wish to be part of Jehovah’s organization.”
What I wrote: “It has come to my understanding, for the past four years, I have been part of Satan’s organization here on earth. So today I’m boldly renouncing my association with the Jehovah Witness organization. Instead, I’m joining the true army of the Living God Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth!” Yes, I still hold to the fact that Jesus Christ died for my sin, and yes He is my Lord and Savior. Furthermore, I believe in the baptism and the gifts of the Holy Spirit, contrary to the teachings of your organization. I believe in the fervent prayers of the body of Christ, and those I once called “The unbelievers,” are now my beloved brothers and sisters in Christ.”
After the elders read my letter, the expression on their face was by far one of the most memorable event of my life.
As they stood up together, they pointed their hands toward me, to recite what they believed to be their final decree upon my spiritual walk:
They said: “Whatsoever we bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoe…”
Unfortunately for them, all along I was negotiating with the following thoughts:
- Remember even Jesus had tantrum?
- So you think you only inherited your civilized paternal side…?
- Grandma Do, would season this nonsense with some lemon and hot pepper for a feast, and top it with some Rhum!
- Finally I said: “ I know you’ve asked us to die in the flesh, but I’m not there yet, so please forgive me.”
“Child, only God is your judge! So, get those ignorant punk out of your house!”
“YOU PUNK – GET OUT- OF- MY – HOUSE!!!” I yelled.
I still recalled how my sister answered me that day:
“I have nothing in common with an unbeliever! Don’t bother to call our brother either!” I was honestly wounded by that. We grew up together, and I loved her very much. But, her arrogance prompted me to answer her!
“Ok. If you ever decide to knock on heaven’s door, I will make sure I drag the latter under your feet, so you can fall back on earth, where your freaking religion claim you’ll be spending eternity!
As unbelievable as it may sound, the Jehovah’s Witness teachings were not the only poison which almost summoned me to the hospice department. Now after years of exposure with other denomination, I’ve learned to set my own religious standard. I will boldly worship with other Christ believers, while I’m there, I will dance and praise God as if it was my last day breathing. But I hold firm this belief, my spiritual walk will remain a personal journey between me and my Lord, and no one will ever have the chance to deter me again.
Meanwhile, I intend to love genuinely, forgive abundantly, while I embrace the wisdom life has to offer. And, whenever I damn please, I will feast with a glass of red wine and laugh my heart to healing.
And while I dance my traditional Kompa, to the beat of the drums from my homeland; if anyone dare to question why? I will answer:
“Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn!”
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!”
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.
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!”
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!!!”
While mother lived in New York, I lived with my father in Haïti, who was truly family oriented. Probably why I have twenty-seven siblings, although I’m yet to meet all of them. So, the dinner table was always the time for our family history, from his side of the family. But during my summer vacation, my father always made sure I would spend at least one day with my grandmother. He would drive to the countryside, to a City by the name of Duvalier-Ville, which was the nearest to the village where my mother’s family lived. The drive was about an hour from Port-Au-Prince, the capital of Haïti, where we lived.
Driving to Duvalier Ville was not as challenging, compared to the walking distance to my grandmother’s house; which is referred as “Dodo’s plantation.” No matter how many times we’ve been there, we could never remember the direction to her plantation. It’s not like she had a specific address. And, asking for a street name in that area, was like speaking a foreign language to those country folks. A typical direction from one of them will probably sound like the following:
“Walk straight, till you see the woman with the pink dress after the big white rock – You will see a skinny donkey to your left – The dry muddy river to your right, or the malnourished girl with a fat stomach running around… or “You may also run to “Tifédé” who stole a basket of plantains just last week!” Imagine this? So any wise person would ask for direction, wouldn’t you think so?
If you think following the country folk’s direction was strange, wait until you try to understand their indirect warnings. Imagine after you were told, “Dodo’s plantation? Oh – not far at all! It’s right down there!” And after thirty minutes walking through mud, river and mountain, you still have not seen the skinny red donkey, in order to make the right turn. Finally you feel the need to reconfirm the direction. That’s when you see an old man on a donkey, so overloaded with merchandise, it can hardly walk. Although the guy is wearing a wide hot, you can still hear the sweats dropping off his face like hail storms. He pulls a red handkerchief to wipe his face. When he answers your greeting, you noticed he only had two teeth left, but he loves to smile. Then it behooves you to understand exactly what he is trying to tell you. Trust me, it’s a matter of life or death. :Lets say you asked:
“Can you please tell me how far along the way is Dodo’s plantation?”
Note the following chart
|“Oh, Dodo’s house is right down there, not far at all!’||About one or two hours walk.|
|“Oh, you are almost there!||Still have between forty-five minutes, to an hour walk. (If you didn’t have to cross a river first).|
|Oh, you are here, this is her house!”||Meaning you are standing on one of her acres, among her twenty acres of land. For sure, her house is somewhere in between.|
|“You want to WALK to Dodo’s plantation?”
“Now better don’t ride any type of donkey with your girls sir!”
|“It’s a long way- Over 3-4 hours walk. So best to borrow a dog, cow, donkey or horse to ride on.
And if you do borrow one of the above, make sure it is from the right owner. If not, you might be surprised how well you look with for legs, and some fur all over your body. So be warned!
|“Now if I were you, would wait for tomorrow mornin’ –kinda late don’t you think?”||The road is too dangerous to walk there so late.
Chances are, you will run to some zombies, or a cow with a gold teeth, a cat who can speak, or a river, you must ask permission before you cross it.
So you better pray that God will send you some good angels to watch over you. Otherwise you may be the next peace of steak sold at the grocery store the following morning.
So when do you know for sure, you have reached your destination? At one point, between the one to four hours walk, you may see a face you don’t even recognize, but who happened to be one of your family member by the name of “Justlikefoufoune.” She will stop eating from the three dozens mango pile in front of her. She will get up to walk toward you. As she stares at you, with both her hands and face full of mango residue, she will smile then say:
“Now this pretty girl looks just like antie’s Shewasborn daughter? “Is this you Foufouououne?”
Bingo! You are there!
And YES, You heard correctly! That was the nickname my grandmother gave me. And it’s pronounced as “Foofoone!”
If you want to find out what my nickname means? Read part two of Walking To Dodo’s Plantation!
To be continued
You think life would feel content with me just waking up this morning? Of course Not! I don’t know why you are called life when you are squeezing the life out of me! You should be called ‘death, and not life!”
-“I’m freaking tired, of you freaking wrongly accusing me, whenever you are freaking having a bad day!”
“Wow! LIFE, You must be having a bad day too!”
“What do you think? Let’s exchange post for just an hour! I bet, you wouldn’t last one minute!”
“Oh please, you are “LIFE” for God’s sake, how bad could it be?“
“HOW BAD? Are you serious?”
“Jesus! You sound like you are having your menstruation…just like a woman!”
“This is an everyday thing for me Nadege. Remember, I’m LIFE. Blood has to pump out of me EVERY SINGLE DAY! And you people don’t make it any easier either. I’ve been called every name in the book, and I’m TI-RED of it!”
“So, are you confirming being a female? I’ve often wondered about that!”
“Thou! You think God would give this tremendous responsibility to a male? No dear. WE, the female, carry all the load, although the male are viewed as the strong one. Yes, we carry the babies, (male and female) breast- feed them, clean the house, cook dinner, and don’t’ forget both jobs, in the bedroom and the office. While most of the male – will wear a suit, a tie, carry a briefcase, have a meeting; then come home to say: “Hew – It’s been a long day honey!”
“You nailed it LIFE. That’s the damn LIFE we have here on earth!”
“YOU SEE WHAT I MEAN? Why do you have to blame ME? You guys not only called me the “B” word when I’m not even allowed to flirt with a man. Furthermore, I get the blame for every single thing that goes wrong in your life. Do you know how often you guys say: “That’s LIFE! – LIFE is a B!” -I AM Fed UP!!!”
But, I thought you just claimed you were “LIFE? Why are you calling yourself “Fed UP?”
“No. I said, “I – Am-fed –up with you guys blaming me for everything wrong in YOUR LIFE!!!”
“Boy! You have it bad this month, hen? Is there a pill you can take for this anger you’re feeling – because my ears drums are about to burst from YOUR SCREAMING SO LOUD! Damn it! “Remember, I started with a bad day too – Gosh!”
“LISTEN to me you ungrateful species: “ I dropped by to tell you: “I’m “LIFE.” I am paired with tremendous possibilities. I keep company with Inspiration and imagination for you guys sake. I call opportunities to your door steps, and all you have to do is to cease the moment. Although, for my amusement, there are times when they come in disguise. Nevertheless, they are yours to explore. Laughter, humor, pleasant memories, good health, and even gratitude, are all under my jurisdiction. Talents and self-exploration, are my special treats to you. My aura is nothing but light. Yes, I’m covered with the stars during the night, and the sun pave the way for me in the morning, yet not even darkness can blur me from your sight. So why do you guys persist on blaming me – calling my name whenever you are plagued with a challenge from darkness kemp?”
“Hell – Low! Did someone called my name?”
To be continued.