My fondest memories growing up on the ” Ave” in Augusta, Ga was the smell of pit cooked barbecue from my Uncle’s restaurant Perry’s Pig around the corner. I would walk home from school to see the usual older ladies sitting on the porch knowing I better open my mouth up to speak with respect in not appearing to be rude. My Grandmother was one of those fixtures who sat quietly on the front porch in her signature chair waving her hands as people and cars passed by at her home. Our old neighborhood has changed from decorative front porches with flower pots to boarded up windows as my grandparent’s generation has now died out leaving the neighborhood mostly abandoned. It hit me after my Grandma Minnie and Uncle Pap passed recently within months of one another the bittersweet acknowledgment that for the first time in my life I witnessed the lost of a generation in my family , but I pray in some way within the generation of my family we can carry the torch. I reflect in love, admiration, respect, and reverence the lessons my elders taught me.
My grandmother and uncle were the last of both of their siblings. We celebrated with both our immediate and extended families as they both separately turned 90 respectively. My Uncle had a huge shindig dressed to the nine’s in a tuxedo with a lovely blue theme of his favorite football team the Dallas Cowboys. My grandmother had more of a casual affair simply receiving visitors at the nursing home breaking her diet to eat cake and ice cream. I grew up in interactions with my grandparents, senior relatives, and their friends most of my life. I spent more time around my grandparents than my brothers since my single mom worked long hours ; she wanted to make sure I was safe with family while she worked. Most of the elders in my family had friends and family to just pop by anytime to visit. Sunday was the day of the week that family would come over to meet. There was always something cooking on the stove, peas being snapped, and no one could enter or leave without being offered a cold drink. I could always take a plate back home to munch on from whatever fiddles or delicious dessert they had going on from the kitchen. The food my elders would whip up would be mostly if not all be homemade from scratch. I saw how they talked to one another attentively in hanging on to their visitor’s and loved ones’ words. They would dust off a photo album to share memories instead of swipping through a phone. Speaking of phones, each home had an alarm clock, switch dial radio, and a landline. Oh, my I thought as a teen they were so ” old school” in their way of life, and now as a mom of four living in the digital 21st century I miss being in a simpler time in life.
I’ve been told I that I have an old soul all of my life; it didn’t help that I was an 80’s baby with a mature name as ” Mini” in being named after my grandmother. I won’t lie I don’t have an open door policy with vistors welcomed to come by the house without notice anytime of the day. I may have something cooking on the stove,I may have something in the freezer, and I may order out. Pretty much everything in our home is digital, I’ve never had a landline, and for the luck of me I can’t find our old clock. My generation like everyone that follows another is completely different. I however love sitting on the front porch looking at the ongoing activities in conversing with neighbors, being in fellowship with close friends and family, and throwing down to cook a southern classic meal. Family generations unfortunately come and go, but the legacy they leave behind in memories, core values, and traditions pass on to generations to come. My elders taught me the importance of family togetherness in each member holding the responsibility of being an active participant in connecting through effort, care, service of community, and love.