This Sunday, I had the opportunity to visit my grandfather after church. Before the visit, I made sure that I purchased his favorite Jamaican newspapers. He loves to be informed about what is going on back home.
As soon as I walked in the door, I was overwhelmed with nostalgic childhood memories. The old leather recliner that my cousins and I would fight to sit in; We would always watch “The Land Before Time” and R-rated movies (without our parent's permission) on his floor model television He always kept his freezer stocked Neapolitan, Grape-nut, and Peppermint Ice Cream. Then he would ask if we would like some and then complains that he cannot have any. “It too much suga… De peppermint and de grape nut get stuck inna mi dentures.”
It’s too much sugar! The peppermint and the grape-nuts get stuck in my dentures.
This time it’s different. My cousins and I are no longer fighting over his recliner. I sit on his love-seat and watch as my two boys fight over the recliner. This time, they are asking for ice cream while my husband is watching a football game on the flat screen that is now on top of the floor model television.
This time his beautiful black hair is entirely silver and gray. This time we all need to speak a little louder so that he can hear what we are saying.
“Babi, What har you doing wid yourself these days? Har you still dancing?”
“Baby, What are you doing with yourself these days? Are you still dancing?”
This question stung like a bee. I have not danced for over a year now. Although I have not had a Sickle Cell crisis, the disease has taken a toll on my body. Every time I try to dance full out, I lose my breath and my stamina. The older I get, the more challenging it is for me to dance.
After critically thinking about my response, I decided to just simplify my answer with a lighthearted joke. “I don’t know grandpa; I think I’m just getting old!”
“Gyal don’t you know de olda de moon gets de brighta it shine!
Don’t ya know de longa you age rum de betta it tastes!
You go bak an dance, okay!
“Girl, don’t you know the older the moon gets, the brighter it shines!
Don’t you know the longer you age rum, the better it tastes! You go back and dance, okay!”
You go back and dance, okay!”
That was the most significant yet most simplistic piece of advice I have received in my life. I realized, things never changed at all. Although my grandfather is getting older and his body is failing him, he continues to be young at heart. He continues to offer words of encouragement.
I am going to follow my grandfather's advice. As long as my heart beats, I will dance to its rhythm.