Tuesday, August 02, 2005

ole folks

i love my grandma. she is a trip, okay? we have a long distance relationship - i live several states away from her. but i make it a point to see her everytime i'm in her town, and no i don't call maybe as often as i should, but i do call when i think to do it. she is a spunky southern woman who has lived a lot of life. when i talk to her, my speech pattern changes. i speak slower, to match her what's-the-hurry pace of words. my chameleon mouth lets my southern accent slip out. and when we talk, it's like i'm sitting behind her, greasing her scalp, parting her soft hair with her pink comb, like we used to do when i would leave the hood to spend weeks with her at a time for any given summer.

we talk about the family (how so-and-so is doing, who we got to pray for, who don got in trouble, who looked happy and healthy at the last family reunion). we talk about life (learn the hard way or take advice) and love (watch out for the mean folk). we talk about karma (what you sow you will reap). her health (7 pills in the morning, 2 at night, some aches here and there, but exercise keeps her going). my parents (laughing at how they bug me all the time to make sure i'm okay). my involuntarily postponed love life (pray on it and don't rush, men my age ain't hitting on nothing, i need to be with an older man instead of one my age). her retired love life (she has a life and she's too busy for some dude to even be an afterthought).

we make each other laugh. and it's cool to share womanhood, which is a burgeoning adventure for me but an accomplished art form for her. we've gotten past sundaes at mcdonalds and sitting still for barrettes on my plaits. now we get down to men, my age and her age, having trouble peeing right into the toilet. we talk about maintaining plenty of things to do and places to go - to keep us busy cause single women with no husbands have to stay on the move. funny how things don't change between my twenties and her seventies. it amazes me that a woman raised in rural virginia in the 30s and 40s is so much like a woman raised in urban new jersey in the 80s and 90s. i guess womanhood is womanhood. faith is faith. love is love. family is family. men are men. life is life. what's lucky for me is her wisdom becomes my wisdom.

she makes the seventies something to look forward to. and she gives me perspective. in the grand scheme of life everything works itself out and comes full circle anyway in one way or another. no point in buggin out about any job or bill or relationship (or the lack of any of those things). it's all just life playing out, and as long as i stay on the ride, life will keep on playing out. there's something beautiful that happens to you when the threat of catastrophe shrinks down like boiled collards. you feel stronger. and confident enough to slow yourself down just enough so people know you ain't in no hurry.