Sunday, 25 September 2022

Eighty six.

My lovely friends, visitors passing through,

Me mother, the great book-gobbler (eating more books than bookworms) turn a new page on Thursday. She turn 86 years old, as we would say.

Me sister had a small party, seven o' we, which was just the right number o' people to make enough noise laughing and talking and eating a nice Guyanese-style lunch. 

Y'know we got to have curry, right? And daal and rice. And chicken that me sister cook in a special Guyanese-style, and pumpkin and I don't remember what else. Me head feel fat with post-lunch syndrome today, pardon me if I don't remember the entire menu.

J., the neighbour across the road who love me mother plenty, visit too, and bring cupcakes.

Me mother receive mo' gifts than I ever get in years. Nightgowns and shoes and sandals and clothes. A tangerine scented candle. Chocolates (which I, the food-police, making sure she ain't lay she hands on every day).

I can't believe that she who was only 68 the year before I start that ol' Guyana blog is now 86.

She mouth useta be so hot. Like pepper...she had a wit that would burn like pepper...and now look!

 That was in Georgetown, in we lovely native land. Trekking back and forth, to and from the courthouse, them street vendors get to know she well.

Now, most days, in the mornings, in she new and foreign land, you gon find she strolling on the street outside she home, chatting with the friendly Mericans, or puttering about in the garden even while she fighting severe back pain. Or you gon find she in a corner of a room reading. 

When she reading, she don't hold back. I does get a running commentary about the cruelty, the goodness of the characters. Or I would get a run-down of the plot. Lawd help me if I don' NOT...want the plot-reveal. 

If the book is funny, she gon laugh out loud-loud-loud. I especially remember one night, when she been in she 70s, she reading and hollering with laughs.

"What tickle you so, man?" I ask.

This, she say,

If I go for walks with she, or we sit on the front porch, and she see something that remind she of a poem, she reel out the quote like magician pulling ribbon from the mouth. 

Musta been the colour of the sky that remind she of this one afternoon:

Y'know, me friends, because me mother love books so much, I think it is most fitting that she-self should be in books too. And here she is, featuring in the very first book that I write:

Well, dear friends, it is 4:16 pm now. Or, as we say in my lovely native land, 16 hours, 16. 

Day almost done. I gon go for me walk and make a small dinner for me mother.

I hope you keeping well, eating well, taking good care of you too.

Plenty lurve, neena.

Sunday, 11 September 2022

Where is your oasis?

My lovely friends, dear travellers and visitors,

For the last two weeks, me mind got constipation. It got bung-up because I so busy looking after medical appointments for me mother, following...accompanying...she to do tests, cleaning home, panicking about books to write. And last Saturday, we been to visit me li'l father li'l brother...and me auntie.

It was three elders in all, them and me mother. The younger ones was Cousin Lis, me sister, me brother-in-law, and me.

The place where auntie and uncle live ain't as boondock-ish as where me mother live, it come close though. And y'know what, friends? It was the most peaceful day I ever find meself drifting into since dunno when. Nothing of consequence happen except for the discussion o' snakes. But that is a normal feature in the conversations of the people of my lovely native land. 

Auntie lay out a feast. Pumpkin with paneer in super-light coconut milk. Fry okro. Shrimps curry. Rice. Daal. A salad with feta. 

As we munch and mmm and sigh and smile, li'l cha-cha make we go eeeek nooo with he stories from back home about snake and cures for snake bites. Them is stories for another day though, they loaded with fantastic details.

Yesterday, mopping and cleaning, I remember the visit. Was such a sweet and simple day.

We wasn't sitting on a high peak looking out on milky mist, smiling like we find nirvana. We didn't have no bling and exciting things to post on Instagram. 

Was only the three elderlies and we, bonding near the boondocks.

It was me uncle smiling a pleased li'l smile the whole day. Cousin Lis fretting about she dear ole car park-up in she garage. She trying to convince she daddy, ex-mechanic, to visit she to have a look at the car, and he protesting passively, "It ain't call for all o' that." He give she a battery charger he did buy. I give them the joke about a former mechanic back home who couldn't repair me car so he announce that me car running on jumbie...ghost.

Yesterday, cleaning bathroom, I think of some people I see online who rush to make selfies on the edge of cliffs. I wish I could convince them that no matter how many exciting places they go to, the thrill does dry up. The road can get mo' rough than anybody can imagine.

I wish I could tell them, sitting in a' oasis near the boondocks mightn't get likes from strangers, but it does fill you' soul with love. I wish I could tell them that life is sometimes, most times, the damn dreary searching for peace in the middle of dirty laundry; it is trying to find we thoughts whilst mopping dust, and being still, contemplating sky outside the window. 

If we understand this, and accept this, then we can start the real work, the hhharrible agony, the pleasure, of moving towards what we truly need.

Friends, I cookin' brown rice. I better don't burn it. Eat well, take care o' you. Plenty love, neena.