Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Happy Food Times!

(This is not my Grandma, but she is "representing"!!!!)

Oh Happy Days!!!!!!

I was young, between 7 and 12, riding on a hot Trailways bus full of strangers who snored and smoked as I traveled from Memphis Tennessee, where I lived during the school years as a child, to Winona Mississippi.

This was always the most exciting time of each year for me.

My childhood memories are sketchy at best and non-existent mostly. However, there is one person and one piece of my life that is seared into my soul and my heart.

Tama Boyce Lee.

My Grandma, the single most special person in my life. You see, I knew this would be soul searching when I set out on this quest to understand m relationship with food, I am beginning to cry as I am writing this since my love for my Grandma is immeasurable and I miss her so much even though it has been over 17 years since her death.

Two! Three! Oh man! I would become so excited to go see Grandma. “How many weeks can I go?” I would ask my Dad, “Two, three weeks?” The answer never mattered, just the fact that I was going was enough.

Unconditional love to me is rare and when tested . . . It becomes not so “unconditional”. But, let me tell you about testing! I was the master tester. I was an adventurous little boy, afraid of nothing and getting into everything.

Her poor home. It was my battle ground. Many a cowboy and Indian battle was fought there with vengeance! The SAP tree in her front yard sent many an outfit to the garbage and the creek on the other side of the tennis courts beside her home, well let’s say I know every turn as do the many shoes that were sacrificed to that dirty ditch.

I could go on and on about the joy that I felt when I was with my Grandma. Her absence . . . Here I go with the tears again. Her absence in my life . . . It is large. I will probably share more in later rambling about her, however onto the reason . . .

When I would talk to Grandma on the phone before coming down to Winona, she would ask me, “Baby, what do you want to eat when you’re here?” Oh man!!!!!! She could cook! AND I COULD EAT!!! I would ask for fried chicken, that steak that has the bone in the middle that looks like a T, mashed potatoes, butter beans with mayonnaise on the side, like my Uncle Bill likes them, corn casserole, biscuits, corn bread, oh her cornbread! Pie, apple pie, peach pie, oh, meringue!!!!! Forget the apple and peach, I want lemon or coconut! Don’t forget root beer!

Remember, I would go and stay with her for two or three weeks. One would think that my beautiful grandma would prepare my requests throughout the week or weeks, NOOOOOOO! Woo Hoo! I would get off of the bus, we would go home and there it was! Everything I requested over the phone, and more!
I would sit at the dinner table eating all of this wonderful homemade food, while staring across the kitchen at the pies on her counter. The smells, oh the beautiful aroma of her cooking would just float around her whole house.

There is no doubt in my mind that my Grandma spent DAYS preparing this feast for me. And she was in her 70’s when doing this for me, meaning, she was no spring chicken, but she could sure fry some chicken!

All of this for me.

I was special to her. I know I was special to my Momma, my Dad, my Mom, my Papa Edu, but I was really special to Grandma. Or at least she made sure I felt as though I was the MOST special thing in her life.

I was her little baby and she was my life.

That alone is my most special memory of, me and food. I agree it wasn’t a productive one and may be a big key to my difficulties with food today and I am realizing a bit of that as I write. I will explore this realization more, but it truly was one of my happiest experiences with food.

To my Grandma,

I know you’re in Heaven. I know you look over me. I know you are crying with me right now.

I love you so dearly and I miss you so much. I wish you could hold me just one more time. Rub my belly or kiss my head. I never knew there would be such a void in my life when you went away. When you were alive, I hope you knew how much I loved you.

Look after my friend Carlie up there and know I am the man I am today because of your love and belief in me.

Your baby,

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