^Big Daddy on his 87th
When we were younger, we being 2 of my older male cousins and myself, we lived a simple life. Enjoyed the hell out of it.
Basically the day started like this…you’d wake your ass up, we didn’t sleep in. Weekend or not. Either you woke up to the sound of the floorboards creaking, or our granny yelling “Get up!” Go to the basement, take a shower aka wash yo ass. The bathroom in the basement, it was more of a cellar, brick walls, peeling paint, mildew…Cement floor, small gated drain right under your feet. Up above you, pipes & wires, the insulation and those floorboards that woke you up in the first place…yeah, spiders too. The shower hangs in a fashion that is too old to describe. I mean, the house was built in the earlier part of the 20th century by my great-grandfather, “Big Daddy”. This shower was usually as fast as possible, not a pleasant thing. It was lit by skylight from a ground level window, low water pressure, cold ass concrete floor. At least they got tile in jail.
Go outside, hang that one-piece zip up or sometimes two-piece button up, on the clothes line and let it air out. Grandma Abbie hated “musty”. Go back inside and get some breakfast. Big Daddy, would make the best oatmeal I’ve ever eaten to this date. Nobody really knows the recipe or if he has one. I just remember a can of oats, a stick of butter, sugar, and a boiling pot on a hot stove (Don’t try to recreate it, ask me about my mom and our oatmeal story). Shit, we didn’t care what was in it. Oh yeah, a toast sandwich… Jelly & bread basically. The whole breakfast was good as hell! The only bad days were when we had to eat cereal. Corn Flakes… No not Frosted Flakes…no Tony, no Tiger, no Grrrreat! in a bowl of skim milk, a poor combo. Tasted like corn flakes on the cob!
So after breakfast, make up the “pallette”, since we didn’t have a real bed, just a bunch of soft stuff (foam, pillows, teddy bears) and covers on the floor. Who cares what it was made of, it was comfortable. Clean up the room, wash ya ass, and get ready to go play.
Playing basically consisted of one two things, inside or outside. If inside, we watched cartoons, played SEGA Genesis …need I say more? NBA Jam, Sonic, Captain America, WWF Royal Rumble, Pac-man… oh yeah, we got our nintendo on too. When we played outside, it was the usual. Tag… or the tag remix, “Freeze Tag”, Hide and go seek, 4-square, foot races, wrestle, dodgeball, monkey in the middle, push the wagon down the hill….whatever we could come up with.
We had this plastic picnic table with the seats attached, we ate lunch on this table. One of the favorites was the “Big Daddy Special”. Toasted bread, lettuce, a slice of cheese, mayo, and bologna (remember to peel off the red ring). Sometimes it was a hamburger instead of the bologna. Man, we damn near toasted everything. I bet you’ve never toasted a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? What about a grilled cheese? Yeah I’m talking about making the grilled cheese in the toaster. Lol, we always had to unplug to toaster too, I guess Granny thought it would use power or something, maybe she was scared of fire. She used to always say “Anything manmade may not work” But back on topic, so you eat your food, drink your drink and come back in to the kitchen. Wash the plate off and RINSE the cup out REAL GOOD, fill it with water and sit it on the counter. You’d damn near get cursed out if her cups tasted like soap. Only God know’s what kind of germs were in the those cups. Then back outside to play more.
Maybe you could come in and get a snack or something, and no not snacks like Little Debbies or Hostess. A snack was more like vienna sausages, saltines, vanilla wafers, ramen noodles, or fig newtons. If you got thirsty again, you drank from the hose. Sometimes she gave us bottles of water…. by bottle, I mean alcohol bottle. RUBBING ALCOHOL! “rinsed”, filled, and refridgerated. Something I’d never do nowadays, those bottles clearly say something on there about do not use for drinking.
And I remember when my cousins would get whoopings, Grandma Abbie would send you to the davenport (couch) or the bedpost to get her a belt. Ok, so pick your weapon of choice. She’d whip a few times and if she didn’t like that belt, she go back and get her belts. Belts is plural, that means ALL of them. Whip you with all the belts at once. I only got the whooping 2 times in my life, once for stealing, once for something stupid. My cousins got them all the time. See, being the youngest isn’t always so bad. Damn I’ll never ever forget when I stole water balloons from Kroger. I know that security tape has to be on Youtube somewhere.
We all loved to go places with Big Daddy, car wash, bakery, grocery store, etc…He kept a clean black Cadillac, never more than 3 years old. These were the best trips (except the one when I stole water baloons and gum, cost me 3 individual ass kickings, needless to say that’s the last time I stole. I mean got caught lol). Along the way we would play “Guess the temperature”, he’d check the temp outside on the dashboard (this was considered a big luxury back then), and whoever was closest got something like $1. Get to the store, do the shopping, use the coupons. Besides, he had A/c….and so did the stores we went to.
Back home. Still outside, playing, damn… I’m tired of playing, I want to sit the hell down. We didn’t come in the house unless you had to “drop the duece”. She hated the sound of the door slamming. If you were lucky enough to have to take a shit, you took your time… It was A/C in the house too. If you took too long, she hit you with the “Stay in or stay out” line, but the door stayed locked, until dusk.
When the sun finally went down, the street lights came on, it was no longer 200 degrees outside. We would come in and watch TV or listen to 92.7 with SuperDave. (My Flint peeps, remember “Don’t say Uh”?). We were usually sleep by like 11pm. At around 1am, Big Daddy would come and wake us up to go to the bathroom. Go pee, and in the dark…no need to “waste power”. Don’t miss, or you’ll be on hands and knees with the ammonia in the morning. Then go to sleep, head to toe, do it again the next day.
These were really the good ol’ days, only if I could go back and do it again…just for one day. The funniest thing about it is that my great-grand parents were not poor. Very far from it…all this time, it was a front. I think, maybe that’s how they ended up with savings like that, by pinching pennies. Two of the most inspirational people in my life!
Yeah, I left out plenty of details and stories, but you should get the idea.
May two of the most influential people in my life,
Rest in Peace
Abbie and Roscoe Roberts
Juelz Santana – Good Times
This song is one of the best Juelz has made. He really connected with this one!