Bammy, as my beloved grandmother was called, held tea parties with me every time I came to visit. This started at about the age of four and lasted until I was in my early teens. It was a natural that I would write about this memory as both a writer and a genealogist. Although the memory was cryptic, it was still very vivid to me. Everything from the lace dollies to her love of country rose pink screamed of femininity.
In Poetry class in Fall 2011, we were asked to write about either something scary or naughty. Nothing would be more naughty to me than having my beloved barbecue in grandmother's parlor where our teas were held. Besides, I was hungry when I wrote it, and it intertwined my two favorite things.
My Private Picnic
It’s cozy, quaint, and unassuming
Pink walls, lace dollies, upon every surface
On your left, and want to dab your mouth
but they can’t, they can’t, being hand tatted
On a shelf above, dolls: Barbie’s,
hand-painted porcelain, collectors,
foreign – big and small – and on the mantle,
halfway down, a bucket of TX barbeque
you don’t want to be caught eating here
no, no you don’t. Not in Grandma’s parlor,
beef falling off large rib bones – tangy sauce,
dripping from every succulent bite, guilt arising,
with every drip of sauce and sweat. But inside,
I am turning like the spools that are indented
in her small music box. Playing simple tunes
and melodies we all enjoy from our childhood,
memories of lost generations. They chime
with nostalgia like a Norman Rockwell painting.
Yet, a puddle is emerging on my grandmas
pristine floor. Pools of sweat and sauce
visually betray my crime. And this
is where proper tea is served
for elegant young ladies
or dolls or grandmas
that sit beside the glass
and soulless eyes that stare down upon you,
each sounding footstep drawing nearer to the door.
Laurie Epps is a non-fiction author, essayist, editor, and poet living in Anderson, South Carolina. A seeker of beauty, her is dream is to travel the world one day and tell the many stories of those she meets. To read more of Laurie's stories visit her Tuesday column dedicated to writing at: http://thewriteconversation.blogspot.com