Now Mammie sit by that old iron pot, and she sets ‘er on the boil. Now and then the child’un gone and play awhile, till the air get thick and gritty like some ol’ mash done Mammie made. They play an’ play an’ screamin’ fits through ev’ning and the light gone away. That be Tuesday, thru and thru.
I know this Mammie once, you see, when she was bubbly and pretty, her shiny breasts all their to greet’ya. I swears it again e’rytime I see ‘er, but that ain’t been some while. Still, I smel her dusty apron, that pot a’boilin’, and heaps-a-bacon grits sizzlin’ on a fire. I miss them grits, like I miss my Mammie.
See, she wa’ dead when I done came by. Flat on the floor, eyes shot up like she saw some ghost. No tellin’ who dun it, or if it weren’t just life that did ‘er in. Too many grits, or wild child’un. They took the body on a Tuesday. Lord God in heaven know where she lay.
I still wish I saw those chil’un. But they done gone away just the same as Mammie, seems. How do a family go away so quick? I miss them chil’un, like I miss them grits. Like I miss my Mammie, suppose. Kinda all the same.
Every time I thinka Mammie, I’m sitting by a pota tea. I threw out my old tea pot, see, and got myself an iron’un—heavy, like the woman her-self. No breaking it. Just one day, it stop workin’ and then you stop drinkin’ tea. Like you done never had grits like Mammie’s grits, like child’un can’t be loved so much as them that as she gave life.
I’d like to ‘member her. She don’t had no fun’rel, you see, not hardly any words or thanks unto th’Lord, and she was a God-luvin’ woman. I’m a white old Dixie, might as well be black, her best friend, and I ain’t done nothing. Black is as white forgets, they told ’em when they broke her house with axes. Better for it, that filthy cur, and down went it like Mammie to the earth. Most beautiful house I ever did see, if only cuz it was Mammie’s house. Least it done gone down where Mammie went.
Lord God, I’m the saddest white bitch rockin’ on the St. Charles. I miss ya, Mammie. God forgi’me, but I don’t know how you done lived this life. I’d be done with it, soon as the pot boils, but then you get to thinkin’… who gunna drink that tea?