NYU Black Renaissance Noire Spring 2015 - Page 24

By PARNESHIA JONES Congregation Weir, Mississippi, 1984 Sara Ross, great-and grandmother of all rooted things waits on the family porch. We make our way back to her beginnings. Six daughters gather space and time in a small kitchen. Recipes as old as the cauldron. Aprons wrap around these daughters; keepers of cast iron and collective. Lard sizzles a sermon from the stove, frying uncle’s morning catch into gold-plated, cornmeal catfish. Biscuits bigger than a grown man’s fist center the Chantilly-laced table of yams, black-eyed peas over rice and pineapple, pointing upside-down, cake. The fields soaked with breeze and sun move across my legs like Sara’s hands. Chartreuse-colored waters, the hide-and-seek in watermelon patches, dim my ache for Chicago. Peach and pear ornaments hang from Sara’s trees. Jelly jars tinted with homemade whiskey, guitar-stringing uncles who never left the porch still dream of being famous country singers. 22 Toothpick, tipped hats and sunset linger as four generations come from four corners to eat, pray, fuss, and laugh themselves into stories of a kinfolk, at a country soiree, down in the delta. BRN-SPRING-2015.indb 22 3/29/15 11:41 AM