Simply Yaya

I could write all day long about the things I learned from my Momma and never get done. Pretty sure there wasn’t anything she couldn’t do. But the truth of the matter is that I never realized just how much she was teaching me just from me watching. We thought there was plenty of time, I guess.

My momma did something for me everyday of my life. The sun rose and set in Dylan Scott Rice. His Yaya was his world and he was hers. They were always doing something. I wish I could say I was fascinated and interested in their projects, but I wasn’t. I used to laugh at them. From Capri sun purses to soap to clocks made out of old pot lids with buttons, it was like Martha Stewart made over. My momma subscribed to her magazine, and pored over every one, trying to come up with what they were gonna make next.

And cook. Lord, could she cook. Her mushy fried potatoes are the things dreams are made of. Never made a pan of cornbread that stuck in her life. The pork roast she made on the stovetop in her Lodge Dutch oven? I would give anything to be able to fix that delicacy. She only used salt and pepper. It would just melt in your mouth and fall apart as you sliced a serving off. My sister would give her right kidney for one of her chicken casseroles. And every Christmas she made homemade turtle candy to give for gifts. The world needs more Yayas.

She loved to go to yard sales, thrift stores and never met a stranger. She loved old things, cherished anything she had that had come from her family before her, and the stories that went with them. Up until a few years ago I would have told you I was nothing like her. My, how funny things change. But the best thing about my Momma? She was kind. To everyone she met. Rich, poor, young, old. My momma loved people. And people loved her.

We lost her in 2005 at the age of 51 to a massive heart attack. I went to bed one night and had a momma and somewhere before morning I didn’t anymore. 14 years later, it’s safe to say I still haven’t fully grieved for her.

I dove in to doing for others the things she was doing. My granny. My sister. My stepdad. I would go by her house on my way to work and make his bed in the morning. Fill the fridge with food because I just knew he would starve to death. I mean, my momma kept his tea glass full when he ate meals. Finally, one day, JP said, “Kim, you know you gotta quit doing all that for him, right”? “He’s a grown man and will be fine”. Hello, wake up call.

I’ve tried to find a way to honor just what my momma was all about. But how? She didn’t put on “airs”, to be honest she was a quiet soul. But kind. And she loved to share with others. If you came to her house, you ate. And more than likely went home with some of it.

You all know from my last blog post I’m a Pinterest junkie. I see stuff all the time on there and have these “AHA” moments when I see super simple crafts, recipes and hints. I wish my life and my home were as organized as my Pinterest boards. Alphabetized and with clever little names. It’s a thing of beauty. To look at them you would think I have it all together. NOT.

But one thing I can do. I can talk to folks. And I really, really like to. I would talk to the wall if nothing else was around. And I like to help organizations and causes I care deeply about. Like the Michael Scott Learning Center. It’s dear to my ❤️. Like my friend Crystal who is the director. They do so much for so many. Kids, ARC workers, summer and after school programs. Good stuff, y’all. Stuff anyone with a heart would be proud to take part in.

It took one text to Crystal with my brainstorm to get an emphatic “YES” from her. Her mind is a lot like mine. It goes in about 834 directions at once. So what, just what, if we hosted once a month classes at the MSLC and taught simple household things? Fun things. Stuff that Yaya would have done. We decided to call the classes “Simply Yaya”. Because that’s what it is. Simple and in honor of Yaya. And because I needed something else to do right?

Our first class was last Friday night. I sure had no idea what to expect. Except somehow I knew there was gonna be a blessing involved. Me and crystal both knew it. Beyond a shadow of a doubt. We were so right.

Folks from all areas of my life signed up for the class. Most I knew, some I didn’t, but when we came together it was like God himself had made the attendance list. A dear lady whose son went to school with me and served as room Mother’s with my momma was there. She knew exactly what I meant when I described my momma. I could go on and on about every single soul there, but we would be here all day.

Let’s just sum it up and say we laughed, new friends were made and we can’t wait until the next time. Folks that came alone fell in with their table of guests like they had known each other forever. A table of sisters and daughters who at one time weren’t even talking because their family was torn apart by addiction giggled and mixed up brown sugar like nobody’s business. Get back, Devil. No room for you here.

We made homemade butter that we shook up in mason jars, laughing for the entire 7 minutes as we shook and jiggled and complained of how out of shape we were. Young adults were amazed that we could do this! And have buttermilk left over?? Well, I ain’t never.

We made homemade brown sugar like my friend Katrina had taught me last month at Home away from Home farms. We used my handy dandy new blender I couldn’t figure out how to use to to make powdered sugar and we made homemade pancake syrup using the brown sugar that we made. We simply had a blast. And I can’t wait for the next time.

As I drove home Friday night, thinking about the blessings I received that many in the room didn’t even realize, I felt better and lighter than I’ve felt in a long time. My feet hurt, sure. But you know what else? I hadn’t looked at my phone for 3 hours. I felt so liberated! I actually rolled the windows down and hung my arm out the window. True story.

Thank you, Lord, for your blessings on me. I’m not worthy, but I’m oh so glad you did.

I hope I make you proud, Momma. In my mind you will always be young and you will always be beautiful.

Later, y’all……