May 23, 2019
I spent some time with my auntie and uncle in Tyler, Texas. Ever heard of it? Didn’t think so. It’s so quiet and open, and all we did was eat and sleep and hang out with not a care in the world or any hard plans (except dinner plans of course). It was a breath of fresh air to go to the grocery store and find that an avocado was only $0.60 instead of $3.00 like in my neighborhood market here in Manhattan. I felt like we were stealing when I saw the grand total at the register! I just haven’t seen such low prices in such a long time that it was hard to fathom that it could even exist!
My auntie lives in this big beautiful home on a few acres of land. And in the backyard, there’s a nice covered patio, then lots and lots of grass and then a wall of trees that leads into the woods. And there’s a little garden too! On one of the days, a big thunderstorm came. It was HUGE. I love the rain so I was very excited for this. I got my book and went straight outside and sat down on the patio and watched the wind whip the trees around and the rain fly every which way. I gazed in amazement when lightning struck across the grey sky. And one of the thunders was SO LOUD that I ran up in that house so quick! Haha Honey I got scared exclaiming and out of breath, “IS EVERYONE OKAY!?” just to realize that I was the only one that the thunder scared! It was very exciting.
In the middle of the week, I met up with more of my family. So basically, my family is very large. There are so many of us that I cannot count them all. My mom is the youngest of 11. My dad is the oldest boy of 10. One of my great great grandparents had 26 children—with the same person!! They are the Hendrixes. And y’all, I am not joking when I say I am straight up related to Jimmy Hendrix. ANYWAY, a bunch of my family came down to celebrate my little cousin who gradated from college in Houston. Five of my uncles were there, four aunties, quite a few cousins, my parents, and my last living grandparent: My Big Mama.
I need you to know that my Big Mama is AMAZING. She was honored by Bill Clinton during his presidency for the work she did as the first black woman mayor of Tollette, Akansas, building city infrastructure and fighting for equal rights. She also ran a day care for free for children and elderly for 30 years. She gave birth to twins. And triplets. And then a few other kids (my papa being the oldest boy). Her home is humble but endless. HOW? I DON’T KNOW! After the graduation in Houston, we all drove to Tollette and slept at her house. EVERYONE HAD A PLACE TO SLEEP. How?? I honestly couldn’t tell you. It’s magic. There were even unused rooms. We made breakfast, lunch, and dinner in her home. My mind is seriously baffled at how they fed all of us. And like, they weren’t scrawny portions. YALL, I ate my face off. I straight up gained ten pounds. And one of the best parts about being in the country is that everyone will look at me and be like, “Girl, are you eating?! You so skinny!” My jaw is on the floor. But I will take it honey! My clothes were so tight by the end of the week and still I was asked why I was so skinny.
The day after my cousin’s graduation was Mother’s Day. So we were all gathered. (And yes! My mom came too!! And my sister and brother in law!) I met one of my uncles for the first time ever!! His name is Uncle Kevin, and he’s a straight up badass black belt who lives in Alaska. Upon saying hello, he scooped me up and threw me over his shoulder. WHAT?! I had so much fun hanging out with him and learning all about him and his life in Alaska!
Mother’s Day rolled around, and there was so much love. We were in the middle of nowhere at my dad’s home church where he grew up. Before service, my Aunt Red (one of the twins) asked me if I wanted to sing. I politely declined. They’d already asked my mom to play piano for the service since the regular pianist was sick. So she was on the keys before I walked in the door. Church started and my Aunt Neecy (one of the triplets) walked in late and sat down next to me. She says, “You sanging right?” I said, “Uuuummm, no. I don’t think so.” And then she beckons to her sister (Aunt Red) who is sitting in the pulpit and mouths and gestures to her that I am definitely singing.
And so I sang. And I’m so glad I did.
After service, the pastor’s wife came up to me and said, “Are you married?” And I said I was not. And she told me about her son in his 30s… For the not first time, I started to think…what if I moved to Arkansas? My gramma owns so much, maybe I could buy some land from her? What would I do for work? I don’t know… maybe I could be the weather girl? Maybe I could do something having to do with the Clintons, since that’s where Bill is from… I don’t know. Basically, I’m in my Saturn Return right now, and I’m just figuring it out all out. Ha.
I just want to say that I love my family. And I’m so grateful that I got to spend some time with the ones who were there. My cousins are hilarious. My uncles can throw down in the kitchen. My Big Mama is the definition of a Matriarch. My parents just fit right in. And I got to hang with my sister. My heart is full. And I still don’t really want to start my own family. But who knows…
Maybe one day.