I was born and brought up right her in The Village. She wasn't. But I was. Now I just moved into this house about a year ago but I came up just two blocks over. My mama schooled me on cookin' and book learnin' every day right in that kitchen.
Hand me another box. Cain't fit all these in this one or it's gon be too heavy to lift out. Be sure you wrapin' each dish with newspaper too. These the ones my mama gave me. She passed away fifteen years ago. Hard to believe it's been that long.
"So what did she say to you?"
Little Miss Ann come callin' me. I calls her Fassy Annie 'cause she got a little priss about herself. Got a lotta proper in her speakin' too and she always wearin' them suit kinda clotes with her shirt tucked in and pulled out just a little and a little cuff in her pants. Oh she thank she is the cutest thang goin' on! Always around her click, click, clickin' in her heels. Who wear heels alla time that mean any good to anybody? Nobody, that's who.
"Excuse me, Ms. Dean. I was wondering if I could meet with you tomorrow at noon so that we could discuss a few things?"
What do she thank I wanna discuss with her? Here she is tryin' to kick me and my kids out onto the street and she wanna discuss with me? I tell her she can come over at noon, two, three, fo' five six, don't make no difference to me 'cause I done said all I have to say.
"Well okay, I'll see you at noon sharp. You have a blessed day." Have a blessed day. What do she know about havin' a blessed day and how can she tell it to me when she is tryin' to put me out? I guess I don't know about peoples. And she is supposed to be a preacher. My mama always did tell me to watch for womens who was preachers. It ain't the way God meant for it to be. Don't ask me, just read yo Bible all the way through. It's shol in there.
Wrap up the China separate from the plain ones then tape that box real good, baby. Anyway, she come over the next morning clickin' up my walkway with them prissy clothes on switichin' her tail. Oh I will tell you.
"Good morning, Ms. Dean. How are you doing today?"
Yes she did ask me that.
"Well I guess I'm doin' just fine for an old lady with nine children who is about to be kicked out her house onto the cold streets by a young preacher gal who got herself a husband and only two kids and a house to live in. Yeah, just fine."
"That's what I need to discuss with you, Ms. Dean. May I sit please?"
Now I didn't say yes and I didn't say no but she don't know 'cause she shol didn't wait around for no answer. Just sat right on down where you sittin' now. Come to think of it, I think she even dusted off the chair 'fore she sit in it.
"Ms. dean, I'm not out to do you or your children any harm. I really want the best for you, but I would like fo ryou to clearly see my side of this. I rented this house to my Uncle Topper and he invited you to move in."
"Thas right, Topper, God rest his beloved righteous soul INVITED me to move in. INVITED! You and yo family ack like I forced my way in like a thief in the night." What I told her.
"Well ma'am, when he passed away six months ago, what did you expect? Did you think that you could just stay in my house rent free?"
"Would you just stop it with all that rent free? I told you that I would start payin' you some money soon as I could. I looked you right in your face and told you."
"But you never completed the application I sent you, and you never paid me any money." She said to me with a little bit of extra priss.
"Because I told you that's just too much money to be askin' from somebody that got nine kids. I don't know what kinda mother you think I am, but I gotta think about my kids, don't I? They did teach you about that at preachin' school, didn't they?"
"Let's just stay focused here, please? I certainly understand that you have children, but I'm asking you to understand that getting money from my properties that I rent out is how I take care of my children. This is just business for me."
When she said that I felt my pressure risin'. I sure did. She could tell it too 'cause she started gettin' up right then and headin' to the door. She know better. She shol ain't completely crazy.
"Ma'am, I have already filed the papers to have you officially evicted. I'm sorry that it had to be this way."
"Yeah right, you sorry about kickin' me and my nine kids out."
Sunny, you want some more pie? Boil some water and we can have some peppermint tea too. Well, goin' on, she was good and out the door by the time I told her where she could go with her papers. I don't care nothin' about no papers. I only care about what's gon happen to me and my kids and now here it is almost November and 'bout to be rainin' real good. Lady preachers, I'll tell you. Just then she stop clickin' on the walkway and turn around.
"You know, Ms. Dean, I wasn't going to say anything, but since you insist on being really nasty with me throughout this whole process I will give you some words of advice."
Words of advice? For me I know this young gal ain't talkin' to me.
"Perhaps you should be more concerned with yourself than with your children who are all grown except for you sixteen year old twins. They are all living here with you. Don't you think they should be on their own or at least working so they can help you out?"
I told her "looka here Miss Fassy Annie, you don't know what it is to be me. My son Marvin done broke his two legs in a car accident. I'm his mother and I gotta take care of him. Who else gon do it? you gon do it?"
"Well couldn't he go and get some kind of public assistance?"
"Public assistance? Them people don't be helpin' nobody. Only thing they tryin' to offer him is some funky ole two hundred fifty dollars. What he gon do with two hundred fifty dollars? Then he gotta go down there every month and get it. How he supposed to do that huh? The William and barry both been to jail and it ain't they faults folks don't hire folks that's been to jail. Alla my children got situations to be figured around. You think you got my whole life all worked out, don't you? But you don't really know nothin'. Every time I turn around seem like the good Lord just testing me. Seem like He don't want me to have nothin' and nobody. He took my mama when I wasn't nowhere near ready for her to go. Took my youngest baby Pearl when she wasn't doin' nothin' to nobody."
"I remember when Pearl used to braid my hair in your kitchen."
"She sure did. Sure sure did. I got a picture somewhere 'round here of when she first put your hair in those plats. She went on and had herself a real good business platin' folks hair. Pour me some tea now, sweetheart. My baby Pearl was somethin' else. That's enough. Thank you, baby. What somebody wanna come run up behind her stabbin' her in the heart and killin' her for I just don't know. Every time I look up and then down He takin' one and another of my boys to jail for no good reason except they just tryin' to make it in this world. He even took away Topper. I know Topper wasn't noways mines, but he took one look at me and shol gave me and my kids some place to live and now look what happen once again, he got token from me. And now you."
Now I shol didn't mean for Miss Fassy to see me breakin' down like that but sometimes life just gets real hard and the stuff that's been building up in yo chest come out. You don't never know when it's gon happen. It just do is all. Everybody always wanna see something all worked out but it don't be sometimes. It just be what it is.