At 4 years old and knowing you've already lost one brother but never understanding why, you wake up looking for something. The house is quiet, you go looking for your mama and the door is locked. Everybody is still asleep and you start walking through the house and you don’t see for what you know you need and even at this young age, you know what you see shouldn’t be.
My Granny, the one stable person in my life and the sole bread winner, sold liquor as a means of survival and her children entertained (my momma, aunts and uncle). Early in the mornings before going to her domestic job, she would share toast and coffee. This was our special bonding time. I distinctly remember my granny's uniform, which was a checkered dress, white collar, stockings and white shoes and she kept them so clean, starched and pressed.
My granny was very mild mannered until it came to Friday and on Fridays you got a chance to see her turn into a business woman. She took no prisoners, too many grown folk under one roof. On Fridays there was always chaos and confusion, cussing and fighting amongst the adults. My only uncle is still in prison today.
She had four children and I don't know how many grandchildren, but at this time I remember 6 grands all staying in a four room house. I don't remember a wedding, but they were all married, at one time or another. And during this time period, I was always wondering from where came all these babies, all these grand children and my momma had nine boys.
You walk into the kitchen and there are empty cans, glasses, cigarette butts, a dirty dish or two and every once in a while, a drunken person or two on the couch, drunk, knocked out.
Being a curious child and hungry you start rummaging through the debris. You see a half full beer can and feel you have the opportunity to experience what you’ve seen the adults enjoy so much. You take the can feeling the weight of it contents and decide to take a slug. Knowing that it is taboo you proceed with caution, making sure nobody is looking and with great anticipation you quickly put the can to your lips and turn it up. But it doesn’t come out as you thought and all of a sudden your mouth is filled with spit and cigarette butts. How disgusting, even more so than eating mullet fish every Friday and because you were sneaking, you couldn't make any noise or tell, so you gaged silently. That's how my oldest brother died so young.
Lesson learned from this, don’t touch or drink anything you don’t know and all the stuff that felt so right back then, how wrong we were. Ain't you suppose to feed your children first?
Even as an adult today, we take these valuable lessons for granted. Now, where is my momma?
(((your inner voice.com))) My momma's locked door