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Sadness to Gladness to Gladness to Sadness or…Dear Lord please stop the madness!!!

Glad…

Cooking red kidney beans and coconut rice requested by your sister who is, inappetent and lies dying from breast cancer in a hospital bed.

Sad…

You deliver the goods on the 2nd day of her request and she dies on the third day without tasting a morsel.

SAD…

You do not cook red beans with coconut rice for a long time…

Glad…

…until you decide to make the coconut rice for yourself and buy the red beans subconsciously at Key Food.

Sad…

…when you realize the beans you bought are the red kidney beans you avoided for who knows how long because you have yet to recover from the red kidney beans and coconut rice incident from so long ago when your sister died from breast cancer.

GLAD…

…because your daughter who avoided red kidney beans like a deadly virus, accidently eats the red kidney beans mixed in with the coconut rice you made, because her mind was discombobulated in a strange way which is normal for her on any given day, but not on this day when her mind went far right instead of staying centered.

Glad but Sad…

My tía Nina (Bernice) died from breast cancer so long ago and mom, my mom did not take her passing lightly. I was by her side when the midnight call came letting us know Nina passed on. Mom cried, cried and cried, as I cried, cried and cried ions later when I lost Pi. I did not cry for my aunt at the time, as I was the crutch to hold my mom upright. I did not visit my aunt Nina (Bernice) during the hospital stay. My memories of her were meant to stay in the past, before the cancer: beautiful, dressed to the best, makeup and hair perfectly coiffed. At times, I say, bullshit to that excuse that acts as comfort when fear probably allowed that excuse of not visiting acceptable.

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Mom and Nina were not the best of friends when they reunited in America after going their separate ways in Honduras. Mom, was sent away with an aunt who lived in Jamaica to be raised in a culture that didn’t accept the ‘coolie shitting callaloo’ looking Indian girl,  while Nina stayed in Honduras, going to school and perfecting her spanish language skills. Once the sisters reunited, got over the female drama, they traveled all over the Caribbean and became quite close.

My tía Nina (Bernice) always paid attention to me while the others (the Honduran aunts and uncles) had no time for the Jamaican blood that ran through my veins and made me the ‘other’ in their eyes.

Ma and Tia Nina in Ja096

I was not aware of the red kidney beans and coconut rice that transpired between them. Actually, I found out today. Mom cried when she told me how upset she was about Nina not eating the comfort food she requested before passing. I reminded her, how happy I was to eat it yesterday. SIMG_1538he smiled…and made another pot of it for my weeks’ lunch…

 

Out of gladness comes sadness and out of sadness comes gladness…

Tia Nina018 (2)

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Foods we once ate…and in some cases continue to do so

Oh, food the family ate, back in the day before the pyramid guide and nutrition hysteria.

Here’s a sample of what was:

Curried Lamb-made with the cheap curry found in A&P

Curried chicken with Perdue Chicken before chickens were put on a so-called healthy grain diet

Curried beef-I guess at this point curry put on just about anything

Carolina white rice smothered in Heinz ketchup or was it Heinz ketchup with a dash of rice?

Devil’s Underwood spread on Wonder bread

Chef Boyardee-spaghetti and meatballs or ravioliEgg salad-saturated in mayo- the Hellman’s kind

Uneeda biscuit crushed and placed in a bowl with milk added

Beer with pep milk and sugar- I found this combination quite strange-maybe it’s a Jamaican thing

Olive loaf and spiced ham on Wonder bread, lathered in mayo-the Hellman’s kind

 

Oxtails in gravy with Lima beans

Pigs feet with white beans in sauce

Scotch bonnet peppers pickled in vinegar

Bread pudding

Fried cakes (Johnny cakes) with ketchup

Whole wheat bread lathered with mayonnaise, American cheese and tomatoes

White bread toasted, buttered and sprinkled with sugar

Raisin bread, lathered with mayo-the Hellman’s kind, American cheese and tomatoes

Canned sardines in tomatoes sauce with a side of Carolina white rice

Canned sardines in oil on top of Saltine crackers

Liver, fried and smothered with onions

Cow foot (YUCK!)

SPAM slices, fried with eggs over easy

What foods did you or your family eat?

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