Saturday, August 27, 2005

My favorite Momma Story. Share Yours.

For the record, to this day my momma still denies this entire story. As if I have any legitimate reason whatsoever to make this whole thing up 22 years ago and still stick to it today. I think she’s embarrassed, but this is one of my greatest memories of my momma’s love for me. Even though at the time, I wanted to build a spaceship and soar to Mars to live out the rest of my days. You’ll see why.

Do you remember field day or play day? It was the day when all the kids in the school got to play competitive games against other classes. It was so much fun because you got to go outside all day and do nothing but play. Well, it was play day and Kidd Grown was in the 1st grade. I had on a yellow jumper and my favorite pair of tennis (Pro Wings, I’m sure of it.)

I was always a fast runner. I could beat all the girls and boys in the first grade. I was so excited about play day because this was my chance to show the entire school how close to the speed of light I actually was. I had dreamt about it all week. Anyway, this story isn’t about me running, but I have to build up to the climax of the story by painting a mental picture of how excited I was about the greatest day of my life.

Now, we were poor growing up so I never really had what the other kids had. This bothered me sometimes because my momma always bused us to predominately white schools, and those kids had everything or at least I thought they did. I was never jealous of white kids, but they did have one thing that I secretly coveted. No it wasn’t their hair, skin color or nice house. It was their lunch boxes. They always had a cool lunch box – The Muppets, StarWars, The A Team, Charlie Brown, Garfield. You know? I wanted a lunchbox so bad I didn’t know what to do. (this is going somewhere, I promise)

Not only that, but they always had cool, nutritious lunches. I was on free lunch, so I always had to eat the cafeteria food, but I had always dreamed of one day brining my own lunch. They would have peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, fruit, those little Frito-Lay bags of chips and a Capri Sun. Wow! What a life.

Anyway, I’m still getting hype over play day not only because I was about to show out, but also because the cafeteria was closed so everyone had to bring a lunch that day. You do not understand. This was my chance to finally carry a lunch box or brown sack and pull out my little white meal.
I took the letter home to my momma believing that she knew what the deal was – go out and buy your daughter a lunchbox and fix her lunch exactly like the white kids. I mean, duh. Didn’t she know how big of a deal this was?

Anyway, didn’t happen. Momma must have been so stressed out because she totally forgot to even get me a lunch. That morning she told me that she would bring my lunch to school. I thought how cool that would be. Not only was I going to run fast, but I was going to have the lunch of my dreams delivered to me. Finally lunch came. Our class was in the lead, but the relay races weren’t until after lunch. We all went in, and everyone pulled out their lunches. That day we got to eat in our own classrooms. (Thank God.)

My momma hadn’t showed up yet. I was getting worried, and everyone including the teacher started offering me some of their lunch. Being the shy and modest kid that I was, I denied their generous offers. I knew that my momma would come through. Low and behold, she appeared in the door. My smile went from ear to ear. But then, I noticed something that wasn’t right. Slowly, my smile began to dwindle back to its original position.

It was a familiar object that I had seen before. But, never quite used the way I expected that it was being used at this particular time. To my recollection, I always remembered it carrying groceries or being shaken vigorously to coat pork chops in flour before frying. Why in the heck did momma have a grocery sack? This wasn’t a small brown bag either like the one I had wanted. This was a full-size grocery sack! As I looked closer, it even had the grocery store name on the side, UNITED Supermarket. I could not believe it.

My teacher welcomed my mom into the room and to my seat. She looked so proud, but she was in a rush so she had to suddenly leave. I didn’t really pay attention to her because I was still trying to figure out what in the heck was a brown UNITED sack doing in her hands. Ooh, no-no. Are those grease stains? Yes. No she didn’t. She got one of the sacks that she stored in between the oven and refrigerator. I recognize those stains from anywhere.

All of the kids turned and looked at me when she left. It was so synchronized. My teacher, for some strange reason, was so eager to help me unpack my lunch. The first thing she pulled out was a jar. Jar, J-A-R, jar. As a matter of fact, it was a Miracle Whip jar with the label half-way pealed off. Inside the jar, was some ice-cold pink Cool-Aid. Are you kidding me? Cool-Aid on play day? What happened to my Capri Sun?

The next sight was the killer. Out came a large plate sealed with Reynolds Wrap heavy duty foil paper. It was not a Tupperware type plate with compartments, but one of those old plates that your momma still has in her cabinet. The one that has no mates to it. This was the ugly brown plate that none of my siblings and I ever wanted to eat off of. I don’t even know why we still had that stupid plate in our house anyway.

What happened to the sandwich bags? By this time the entire hallway could smell the aroma of my lunch. Everyone was standing over me as my teacher unveiled my lunch. It was some Hickory smoked sausage (fried of course. We didn’t have a grill back then.), green beans, sweet corn and a Mrs. Baird’s dinner roll. THIS WAS NOT LUNCH! This was dinner.

My teacher made the dumbest statement I had ever heard her make, “Ooh, I’m jealous. Everyone, Saki has a good lunch. See children.” She was trying to be funny. I know she was. She knew that wasn’t right. I was so embarrassed. How was I supposed to eat this and then run the race of my life? (I told you this would all come together.)

I’m not going to lie. The food was good, but I didn’t finish it. I was too mad. Needless to say, I didn’t run the race of my life. I came in second place. I had too much grease in my belly, I guess. I didn’t get my moment of coolness with the white kids that day either. It was just another day filled with a series of misfortunate events. Momma tried though.

Now, I’ve put my story out there. What about you?

Charlie Brown,

Kidd Grown


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