Today is August 12th.
I have dreaded today for a few weeks now.
There is something about knowing I have lived a year without my sweet Daddy.
I have told myself that I would relive every painful moment of his loss just to feel a glimpse of his presence again.
But that is not to be.
And so I sit in my house and I would really just love to curl up in a ball.
And then the phone rings.
“Cheryl, do you still want some okra?”
It is Mrs. Irene.
In Smitherman terms, this means you are about to get a truckload of okra.
Reagen and I like to laugh and call it “roka”.
Koli Nichols’ twin girls were eating fried “roka” last year. Janie had eaten all of hers and started side swiping off Ellye’s plate. When Ellye informed her to “quit eating my roka Janie”, it has been roka ever since for us too.
So I head to Blocton in the middle of the day in the middle of August to cut me some roka.
I have not cut any in about 40 years, but it will “come back to you” real quick like.
The prickly itch.
On a day, when “you can’t buy a breeze”, I am in the middle of 4-100 foot long rows.
Me, my clippers, and a 5 gallon bucket.
Before long, Mr. Bobby comes to check on me.
My face is so red that he wants me to come sit down and rest before I leave.
I am thankful for the offer of his golf cart ride back from the garden.
“Let me show you a little trick”, he stomps the gas and we make a loop up the road and back. He chuckles and tells me that is how he cools off after he has been messing around in the garden.
The breeze did feel wonderful and reminded me of riding with the windows down.
I go home with “a mess of okra” and enough corn for several households.
I come back to church tonight and my granddaughter Hadley is sleepy.
I rock her to sleep and I think about today.
She has my Daddy’s eyes and she feels like lead when you hold her.
I smile and think about the fact that if you look at the numbers when it comes to DNA, I have 12.5 % of Daddy in my arms right now.
I will take it.
Thank you Mr. Bobby and Mrs. Irene for breaking up a long day.
And if you like “roka”, come on over…