My granny would grind cocoa beans and make cocoa sticks rich with cinnamon and all the good spices and send them from her home in St. Vincent to my mom in Barbados. She’d instruct my mom, “Send some for Maquita in New York .” I’d boil my water, drop in my cocoa stick, add some milk and a lil sugar and it’d make for the best homemade hot chocolate in the world!
I last saw my grandmother this month three years ago when I visited her for a week on the idyllic island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the place where my maternal navel string is buried. She’s not one for much chatting, but y’all know I’m little chatterbox, so I sure got her chatting. We talked about everything from how she currently spent her days to reminiscing about her childhood and young adult years. Most of it was marked by hard work, parenting, scarcely an idle moment, and every day spending time reading her Bible and giving God thanks.
On the penultimate day of my visit, while in the nation’s capital, Kingstown, I called and asked granny to make me her famous Johnny Cake (aka dough boy). It was almost 5 o’clock in the evening, “She responded, uh now yuh uh call fi Johnny cake? Is late, yuh see di time?” Anyway, she said to bring her a few pounds of flour and she’ll bake ’em for me.
Almost three hours later I got back to her house with about 10 lbs of flour. 🙈 But before I could step inside, I was greeted by a delicious aroma coming from the kitchen. Granny had gone ahead and used whatever flour she had and made me not one, not two, but three large Johnny cakes, that way I’d have enough to take some back to NYC. It was the best Johnny cake I’ve ever had. And not merely because of granny’s skills and secret recipe, but because my grandmother made everything with love.
As I left her house that November afternoon, I repeatedly hugged and kissed her, told her that I loved her and that I’d soon see her again. My grandmother looked me in the eye and said, “Girl, yuh nah see me again.” And then she too said she loved me.
Granny was right. This morning, I awoke to the heartbreaking news that my grandmother, Doreen Peters, 87, a dedicated wife of more than 50 years (predeceased by her husband) a loving mother of 11 (predeceased by one son), a doting granny to countless of us, a matriarch of her village and more than anything, a devout woman of faith, went quietly to be with her Lord and saviour.
So on this Thanksgiving Day, I give thanks for this incredible woman that helped impart in me a spirit of generosity, selflessness, strong discipline, work ethic and enduring faith in God. This woman who was the best mother to the best mother I could ask for, Victoria Peters.
Granny, I will miss you sorely. I will miss calling you and hearing the excitement in your voice when you realize it’s me, I will miss your laugh, your soft spoken voice and you always encouraging me to keep the faith. I love you to infinity. Say hi to my granddad and my Uncle Moses . May you Rest In Peace and rise in glory. 😢😘
~ I Keep it Irie ~