My daughter mornings into the kitchen. Stands in light stratum from the back door window. When she turns, I see she is wearing a shirt inscripted with one word. Kale. I can’t escape the laughter, as I look down and point at my shirt which reads Collards. We are in the midst of a t-shirt battle, a vegetable stand-off, before the coffee is ground and rivers our lips. Hers, a gift from the boutique grocery store where she works. Mine, a token from my sweet sister; a faded green material with block letters. Hers a Kelly and script. My vegetable, a piece of my childhood. My Southerness. Steeped and sizzled in fat back and served on New Year’s Day, plated at Granny’s with homemade chow-chow, and a staple during hard times. Briny and robust. Her leaves have quercetin and kaempferol and half of the vitamin alphabet. All hail kale. Raw kale, kale pesto, kale wraps, kale chips, kale sips, and even kale dips. She is the cook in this multigenerational home. A healthy cook. Kale is revered. Has its own refrigerator drawer, a dog-eared cookbook. Fat-back does not dare cross the threshold of this home. Does not putty the eaves and nooks with sass and Southern splatters. Collards are scarce, too. No collard wrap, spread, not on salad or bread. Collard must be content to have my memories, my faded green t-shirt.
As I write this, I am suffering from a wee bit of sciatica. I hate it when my body betrays me.I’ve always been healthy, so when Mother Nature knocks me on the head, to remind me of who is the boss, I pout for a bit. It has been an usual week filled with highs and lows, but upon reflection of the past seven days, I notice that for me it has been a week filled with strong women, and yes that includes, Mother Nature with her crazy winds, rain, and reminder to me.
Shakira kicked off the week with a nod to her Lebanese and Columbian cultures in the Super Bowl half-time performance. In a show filled with violinists, a Champeta dance, and the “controversial”(to the buttoned-up way too tight and uninformed), amazingly beautiful zaghrouta. She defines what a strong, intelligent, and passionate woman can be in less than ten minutes. If you have time checkout her # ChampetaChallenge on Instagram.
As a mother, I find much to be proud of in my strong daughter, who despite working full-time, has returned to school to get her Masters. She is wise, hard-working, and incredibly funny. I am honored to have old friends such as Carol Cabrera and Kim Hughes, to reach out via text, and new friend/colleague Kasey Elliott to vent to when I’m fed up with work. These strong women impact young people daily. They literally change the world.
On Thursday, Christina Koch returned to Earth after 11 months aboard the International Space Station. Her accomplishment will go down in history, and she has also become the envy of “no peopling” people all over the world.
I want to honor Nancy Pelosi. I actually want to embrace and kiss her, but she’s too dignified for that. And despite what appalled conservatives are saying, she is dignified. She politely and neatly, did what every intelligent woman in America has wanted to do at least once(and probably more) to a man-splainer...she shut down a racist, ignorant, bullying, child haring, self-serving, lying, cheating man by shredding his “manifesto of mistruths”.
Lastly, I would like to mention Amy Klobuchar. If you have not decided on a Democratic candidate, please consider her. She has a winning record, Midwestern common sense, and the chutzpah to stand up to Trump.
I don’t have a poem for this week, but consider all of these strong women and the ones that you know, to be sonnets of power, grace, and wisdom.
In July of 2017, I purchased the 1938 Cape Cod home in Virginia. This blog will recount how this home has helped me to deal with loss, to handle stress, to become a better me, and how moving here inspired me to begin writing again.. Shout