“Baby I’ll eat whatever you put on my plate, you know I ain’t fussy. You know years ago back in 06, 07 I used to take care of your great- great grandmother and it wasn’t easy to cook for her. She was a great cook, the best. That’s where I get my skills from.”
Cameron chuckled then continued on.
“Since she cooked so well, she expected to have her food done right. So I had to work hard and follow her recipe and direction to a tee. But you know me, I ain’t that fussy. Just don’t feed me no beets.”
The elderly man stuck his tongue out over his bottom lip and made a noise the sounded as if he had just tasted something that disgusted him.
“I can’t stand beets. Your great-great- great grandmother made me eat beets once as a boy in Philadelphia. That was the last time. Your great-great grandmother wouldn’t eat any kind of bean or pea ever. Not black beans, pinto beans, black-eyed peas, lima beans, spring peas, chick peas, string beans, red kidney beans, chili beans, baked beans…”
Kammy interrupted her grandfather as politely as she could for fear of him going on for several more minutes naming every pea and bean known to man.
“I’m sorry to interrupt your story Grandpa but, do you want ribs for dinner tonight?”
Cameron scratched his gray goatee then licked his lips and smiled at his granddaughter. They shared a laugh at his silliness, then he answered.
“Yes baby that sounds good, real good. Mmm uhm! Now what was I saying, oh yeah. Well to get her to eat a bean or a pea every now and then, I would slip them into my famous neck bone soup. The recipe called for it anyway. She loved my neck bone soup.”
Cameron paused and then stared off into the distance as he reminisced about his grandmother and all of the meals they shared through the years. He still missed her but hoped to see her soon.
“Your mama used to love that soup too when she was a little girl. Her and your auntie Kamani used to tear it up but your mama loved it! We used to sing a song about it, wanna here… it here it go!
Neck bone soup, neck bone soup; everybody talkin’ ‘bout that neck bone soup. neck bone soup neck bone soup; grandmamma sick go get her some neck bone soup neck bone soup neck bone soup; raisin’ all ‘dem babies on that neck bone soup”
Grandpa Rascoe rocked side to side in his chair as he sang the song in the harmony of the blues classic “Down Home Blues”. His granddaughter just shook her head at her crazy grandfather at first but by the third verse she joined him in the chorus. She was grateful to have this time to spend with her grandfather, helping to care for him in the winter of his life. Duties and responsibilities that some would view as a burden, she relished as an opportunity to gain from the treasure of wisdom her grandfather possessed. Cameron was receiving what he had given and gained from. He was the primary caregiver for his grandmother in her declining years, completing his daily tasks with love and enthusiasm. Now he was receiving the same from his grandchild and he could be no more appreciative for her kindness and dedication to his care. But she just better not serve him no beets.