Today was a quiet day. I often come by to help her in work in the garden or can fruits and vegetables- though Ma Gee is a lot faster than I at doing what needs to be done. On canning days the house is full of women who call her Ma Gee as well as daughters. This was a day in which it was just the two of us sitting on the front porch listening to the “sounds of life” as she calls it.
After about an hour or two of watching her dogs chase the birds and squirrels, and seeing the trees sway to and fro she pulled out her Bible, this was my cue to prepare the lunch I had brought from home.
“This world is too stressed, Nettie.” She began, as I set up the place where we would eat. After placing the food in the oven to be heated, no microwaves in her house or mine either for that matter, I turned my attention to unfolding the table. There was a table made by her late husband that was folded behind the chair I sat in; it was big enough for two people to place their plates on. I spread the table cloth over the well kept table and arranged the eating utensils and napkins, cloth of course, in their proper place. Ma Gee did not allow paper plates in her home no matter how many guest she expected.As I was putting the pot-roast and mashed potatoes both smothered in gravy on the plate, Ma Gee entered the kitchen.
She always had a pitcher of fruit punch in the refrigerator and she always poured the glass; presentation was everything to her. By the time I had sliced a few tomatoes that came from her garden on to the plates and was ready to carry them to the porch she had topped off the glasses with slices of apple. It was a feast fit for queens. Ma Gee prayed over our meal and we began eating.
“Of all the people who come and visit me, you are the only one who will come and just sit.” She said breaking the silence.
“That’s because..” I began but she interrupted.
“I know why you do it child, I know that you enjoying learning from me. I also know that if you were not here you would be doing something else. The older we get the more valuable our time becomes and some people see what we are doing as doing nothing.”
“True Ma Gee I do enjoy learning from you but I also know it is important to refresh your mind and the only way you can do this is by listening. People don’t listen anymore.”
“No they don’t. Which is why I don’t watch a lot of news.
Again there was silence as we both finished our meal and watched the birds. That was my day.
A FRONT PORCH STORY- according to the world of NETTIE. All rights reserved; do not use without the permission of Marsha L F Randolph