For Grandma Shirley
The cassette whirred into the radio as Grandma Shirley cranked her ’98 Toyota Corolla. The rusty green paint and flapping cover on the inside of the door needed Jesus now more than ever. The car is paid off and she still drives it like the ignition isn’t fighting to stay on.
Oh, ain’t nothing wrong with it. You just gotta turn it a lil harder, she snapped.
I didn’t ask Grandma Shirley many questions as a boy because any woman that could feed 30+ people was superhuman to me. Though I did wish she’d get rid of that trash bucket, it worked for what she needed.
How in the hell does she know that’s enough? I often asked myself.
In the backseat, there were tin pans of mac and cheese, baked beans, dirty rice, collard greens, and yams for the cookout. Everyone didn’t cook because… there was always a lot of us there and it was a big responsibility. Imagine having to cook for so many people with different taste buds. Between her, Auntie Nita, and Auntie Sylvia, they were like the Avengers but Chefs.
Everybody was at the cookout: aunties, uncles, nieces, nephews, boyfriends, girlfriends, family friends. Everyone was welcomed since there was more than enough food to go around.
Great Grandma Louise’s house was the best place for every cookout because it was the easiest to coordinate and most convenient. No matter which side of town you came from, you’d find your way there.
Grandma Shirley’s ’98 Toyota soon gave out and she replaced it with a dark gray 2001 Saturn Ion 2. I still can’t drive and this car keeps Grandma Shirley moving from day to day.
What happens when the food you make no longer fills you?
It gets old, eating the same old soul food and learning something new is not as easy picking up an iPhone when you’ve had a Samsung galaxy.
The world can move so fast and forget some of us in the passing of its waves. I can still hear the cassette tape winding out sound through the speakers.
Every Woman, every man.
Join the Caravan of Love
Stand up, stand up, stand up
Grandma Shirley got a 2014 Nissan Altima and it’s white. The brightest she’s ever had.
Nothing was wrong with the Saturn.
It was just time to let it go.