One thing I love 'bout my family is that we close-knit. For instance, I have dozens of cousins and we don't distinguish with labels like first-, second-, or third-; every single one ah dem is just plain ole cousin. That's how I like it. A next thing: there's nothing half 'bout brothers and sisters, neither.
And is nuff ah we, plenty ah we. All over in England, Canada, the U.S.- in more than ten states; all over the West Indies-one ah we even lived in Costa Rica, a few in Africa.
My Uncle Stuartie used to call the family, "the Tribe." See, in a tribe, the whole village raises a child and throughout my life my Granny and aunts helped grow me, even some of my teenage years. When I was born and my mother continued her schooling, my Granny, Jah Bless her, tek mih in an' mind me. I mean, I went to live with her and she took care of me. So, for my few toddler years, 'til I was 'bout four, I was raised by the tribe, the village. And Granny, is the Matriarch.
In November Granny will be Ninety. In her time, she has read current news articles declaring: How To Survive The Great Depression, A Hundred Years Since Emancipation, Germans Blitz London, Fidel and La Revolucion, The Collapsing of British Colonialism, National Independence, Federation Folds, and CARICOM Lives. She's outlived dozens of Prime Ministers and Presidents. She limps with a walker now, but I see photos that could've made magazine covers- one with my late Grandfather back in the days and, truss mi, Barack and Michelle couldn't stand next to dem.
She chastises me:
"Why you talking so? Speak English, proper English."
But Granny, the damn English don't even speak proper English.
Everyday I remind myself that its she one who labored over the stove for me, regardless if I was behaving:
"hard ears"; "boderation"; "schupid; like yuh doan have no sense, or wah?"; "mannish"; or like I don't "have no manners."
Wait, side note. My Great-auntie just fight mi off a piece a buns and ask, "Is you one have mouth?"
So, the Elders in my tribe are pushing up in years and now its time I mind them. I been visiting with them here in ATL, and my recent days I been cleaning ceiling fans, helping turn mattresses, boiling ginger, opening guava jelly bottle/jar, grinding up pepper with a grinder (not a blender, an ancient grinder). Sometimes, right when I'm concentrating on writing, one of them screeches out my name, pushing my annoyance button, 'til my vexness turn up. Through clenched teeth I reply boyishly, "Yes, Granny." (or Auntie) Truss mih, is all love because when its all said and done, they are my biggest supporters, they have loved me without conditions nor obligations, and for the longest time.
And I am thankful. I am grateful I have people who cherish and share a bond from all over the globe. This is my Tribe. And I love it to Life.
Bless up Uncle Stuartie.
Never gone! Never Forgotten