I’ll start by saying; “It was a warm and windy afternoon” because all good stories about memories start that way.
This is not that kind of story. I am much better at throwing away memories than keeping them.
I’ll not feed you things I can’t remember.
It was a weekday, my siblings and I were home from school. We ate lunch and had pretty much nothing to do.
Now, opening this memory leads to a thousand more, because now I remember why both parents weren’t home and how emotionally draining it was for everyone. It leaves room for me to muse on how going through the same experience produces different emotions and people. Grief is not always a great bond-It can make strangers of friends.
We (my siblings and I) mostly my siblings because I am the youngest and they don’t practice democracy decided to fry yam.
Yam is a staple in our home. You can eat it with oil, vegetables, pepper soup or pepper sauce, the possibilities are endless.
Rarely do common sense stand in the way of food; We fried some yam and settled down to eat. I stood to eat my share. I was hyperactive as a child and it earned me the nickname “soldier” which only my parents used. Halfway through it, my dad walks in on us eating fried yam that we were not allowed to eat at the time. We braced for the questions, they never came.
We got a smile, and praise for our eating ability. We were not expecting him to but, he joined our feast of yam.
He didn’t stay long, dad did not have the luxury of spending long moments at home with us at the time. After he left, we talked about how things would have turned out differently if my mom had walked in on us. Mom was the soldier in the family and she gave what you deserved.
I think about that yam moment a lot. I don’t have space to feel all the things I should feel so the few I feel and remember are quite intense. I think of the look in my dad’s eyes. I think of his voice and the exact phrase he used. I think of my siblings and how they held so much together so we can have moments of normal.
I think about fried yam and how it first meant just food, then, memories and now, a symbol of love.