Thursday, September 11, 2008

Home Sweet Home

Grandmother has an old ceramic plaque that hangs over the firplace in her room. In it are an elderly couple sitting in a one room house in their rocking chairs. The plaque is brown with age, and I don't know how long it's been there. 45 years? It is titled "Home Sweet Home".

This is my third day here. On the first day she was awake and talking to me. I thought, as soon as we get some time together I am going to ask her about that plaque.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Humanitarian Crisis

I hope I spelled that right. I have not learned to spell check yet. I can tell I have gotten use to my words capitalizing my i?s.
I just met a Belgium gentleman. He he is a professor of Humanitarian Crisis at a University. He has studied Guatemala a lot, but focuses now on the Congo. Why do we say the Congo? He follows where the Red Cross goes. I think that would be an interesting job. Why did i never know about such studies when Iwas at the University?
After much searching I finally found a church where candles were lit. It was at the convent. The Catholics light candles and pray for causes. As long as the candle burns our prayers are heard. Only I needed to buy a candle at a store and bring it to the church. Since i left without money, it was too late. After some thought, I realized my grandmother may never let go of this world if she knew a candle was burning for her in a Catholic Church. Perhaps i will be selfish and tell her i did anyway. That way i can hold onto her a little bit longer.

Churches & Saints

I have passed my time in the local spanish churches. I have hoped to find solace there. Instead I find myself mesmorized by the devotion and rituals of the Mexican people. I have at times in the past found peace, esp. in the churches throughout Mexico. There is normally a great sense of peace and love I feel, but not this time. Taxco is famous for it´s Zocalo Church- Santa Prisca. It has lavish carvings on the inside and out. The inside carvings are painted with gold. And it contains the most disturbing figures of Jesus with matted dreadlock wigs. It is VERY SCARRY. I watched as young and old visited during my time. Each praying to every figure in the church. I know they do this every day. I looked at the figures wondering how the Catholics came about praising souls long after they have left this world. I wondered where the soul of Mother Mary is now. I repeated my Hail Mary´s and Our Fathers´changing the words a little. I could not say ¨pray for us sinners¨especially. It sounded like such a degrading request. Like it was written so we do not forget we are sinners. I don´t think sinners are nice people. How can i feel good about the light of God shining in me and my brothers and sisters if we are all sinners?
For a brief moment I wondered should my grandmother be cast as a saint? I though of how she raised her family during hard times and devoted herself to her religion. I thought how she loved me despite the fact i never married Paul. I thought of all the love she had for all her extended family. 7 children, 20 grandchildren and more than forty great grandchildren and 2 great, great granchildren. She knew all thier names. But I don't think my grandmother is a saint in the church´s world, not even in my world.
My Dad once brought her to visit me in the Caribbean. I took her to my friend Lisa´s house. Lisa is married to an West Indian and has 4 children by him. My grandmother was polite. I remember Lisa had just cleaned her house and was talking how hard it was. She said to my grandmother-"you know", referring to the fact my Grandmother had kept a clean house with 7 children. My grandmother remarked-"oh, but I had 2 black women to help me." I thought maybe my grandmother gave up a bit of her prejudice feelings while visiting the island. That she saw the good in all. Year´s later when i visited her at home in Mississippi, she made a point to tell me how wrong she thought it was that my friend Lisa, married a black man. I still don´t think I was wrong I still beleive for a few moment while in a different place she forgot about black and white.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Waiting for the call

All year I have known this day would come. If the phone rings at 3am I get up to check. But today when I woke in my small stucco room in the basement of Agua Escondido Hotel in the mountains of Mexico, I had no idea today would be the day.
My grandmother has decided to go to bed and not eat. I cannot blame her she is 93. October she will be 94. She has been taken care of by a black women during these last few weeks. This is something my Southern bred Grandmother would and has had a hard time with. As much God as she accepted she could never change her feelings for the black race. Even though she was on the Jury for the trial of the infamous Civil rights activists killings that took place in the 60´s. Later to become the movie "Mississippi Burning¨. My grandfather did not talk to her for months after the decision came back-guilty of conspriacy.

The most vivid memory that comes to mind is the morning she had to tell me that my maternal grandmother had died. My Mom was in England at her Mom´s bedside. My grandmother was making me oatmill. I never ate the oatmill.
I wish I could thank her. I don´t think i have ever thanked her for all she is to me. Can she feel my love, wishing her onto peace?
A women who gave her whole life to her family. A women who had to put her first born to rest before her. A women who bore 7 children. She told me once her happiest days were when her children were all at home. Awomen who had her own garden until a couple of months ago.

May peace be with us. I miss you grandmother.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Give me oysters and beer every day of the year...

And I'll feel fine! A says we don't eat oysters enough. "We need to eat them every 3 weeks." At least he knows we can't afford it everyday!
It was a great day. The family spent the day out by the pool- grilling oysters, fish and listening to Margaritteville on Sirius.
I'm really not a huge Jimmy Buffet fan and I'm definetly not considered a Parrot Head, since I've never seen him in a concert. I have seen him play, well sorta. He sang "Cheeseburger in Paradise", twice forgetting he'd sang it once.
It was in the late 80's and I was on the Isle of St. Bart. So was a lot of European sailors. The sailors were doing the Sant Lauirent race from France. Jimmy was partying. My girlfriends and me? ...we were touring the island during it's off season. Jimmy sang at Le Select. The bar he went into looking for a Cheeseburger in Paradise. Me? I discovered goat cheese on a pizza!