I like grits; grew up on ’em…as if you couldn’t tell that by the way I talk! Anyway, I have a guy who brings ’em to me out of the Chow Hall so that I can fix ’em in the cell-block…I even eat ’em sometimes, as a snack. Like I said, I like grits. However, my mule got knocked off at the check point and so, at this time, I have no grits.
Monday I went to the Chow Hall for breakfast, for no other reason than, they had grits. They were there…I came. I saw. I conquered a tray full of ’em!
When I got there however, I noticed was that there was no salt or pepper on the tray, a reoccurring problem here at Three Rivers. I went to one of the inmate workers and protested…or maybe whined, I ain’t sure which. Anyway, he went into the back and brought me a handful of both. God is good!
I used the appropriate amount of each and then piled the rest of what I’d been given on my table, for others to use, and enjoy with their own grits. A common courtesy any Southern Gentleman such as I would extend. However, as I was eating I began to contemplate the rudeness behind being served grits without salt. Then I wondered how it was that no one before me had complained. So I looked around me and saw that most of the folks in the Chow Hall were Mexicans…I forgave them, how were they supposed to know, you don’t put sugar on grits!
I looked over at the tables where the blacks sit, and they too were happily chomping away without complaining, on saltless grits…yankee’s, I guess. Point is: not one person before before me…not one had complained, and not one had come over and asked if I would share my salt…you know, like the Grey Poupon commercial, but not one person came!
At that time there were only three white boys in the Chow Hall, I being one of them…and the other two, well…they were “Lames”, alright! And so I just figured that “Lames” eat grits with sugar, and snorted, no harm done. But I have to admit, my mind was beginning to question what the hell kinda people was comin’ to prison these days. Just then the next cell-block in the chow rotation comes in the door and I see three white-boy cons come in, one of ’em a guy we call Cowboy, who’s in his seventies, and…well, he’s a “Cowboy” for God’s sake, I guess, and if anyone would understand the absurdity of eating grits with sugar, it would be him, right?. Anyway, I instinctively reached out and run my fingers, like a gambler over his chips, through my salt pile and then my ample pile of pepper, they would obviously realize that, I, was, the man!. But, much to my chagrin they sat down at the table next to me without so much as a glance at my obvious wealth. And then…it hurts to even say it – they put sugar on their grits right there in front of God and everybody. I couldn’t have been more surprised if the Pope had fallin’ out of the rafters and started singing “Highway to Hell”! I have to admit, the world is goin’ to hell in a hand basket.
When I was comin’ up father’s would talk to their kids about important stuff like, work ethics, drugs and alcohol, about respectin’ your folks and grits…if we didn’t know anything else, we all knew: you don’t hit women, and you don’t put sugar on grits. In fact the only people who were allowed to put sugar on grits were yankee’s and, well…girls – girls under seven, that is. It was one of those things that just wasn’t up for debate…and if you saw someone in a restaurant doin’ it, you just rolled your eye’s and said to ourselves, “They must be Yankees”. And, NO, I ain’t never tried ’em with sugar, and ain’t gonna either! Call that what cha want. Yeah, I know I’ve bitched about this before, but some things are so wrong that they warrant a continued bitchin’.
Last week they put a gay dude in my cell-block. So naturally, we all been poppin’ off amongst ourselves with every joke we can think of…bad ones we only tell once…and God help ya if you get caught talkin’ to the guy – ’cause if you do you’re in for about three days of hardcore ribbing. Hell, I know it ain’t right, I ain’t sayin’ it is…but, well, hell, we’re just boys bein’ boys…or bein’ idiots, maybe. Anyway, we got this old dude in here…NO, I ain’t talkin’ about me, dummy – another old guy. Like I was sayin’… we’ve been given him hell for a couple of days straight over the fact we, think, or someone said, that he smiled at ol’ boy one mornin’…NO, it ain’t gotta be true, you’re missin’ the whole point here!
Anyways, the other day he, the other old guy, was watchin’ one of those channels that shows all them old movies…NO, “all” old dudes DON’T watch them channels, that’s just some of your backwards thinkin’…like I was sayin’, he was sittin’ there watchin’ this old movie with Humphrey Bogart called, “African Queen”. Now, bein’ that the gay guy of recent reference is black, the temptation was just too much for me. So I got everbodies attention and asked him the name of the movie he was watchin’. Of course he fell into the trap and replied “African Queen!” to which I added ” Bet you thought it was about about a black punk in prison!” Everyone busted out laughin’ ( guess you had to be there) as the old guy just hung his head in disbelief that he’d fallin’ for that. Then things got real quiet, you know like in the movies when the guy who was crackin’ on his boss realizes that his boss is standin’ behind him…yeah, it was just like that! In fact, the guy WAS standing right behind me. When I turned around and saw him there he busted out in a belly roll laughter…a girlish belly roll laughter, and pointed at me. When he caught his breath he said, ” You should see your face right now”…the tension was relieved and everbody went to laughing, this time at me. He then walked off, laughing. I felt like an ass, ’cause I really don’t judge folks like that.
Guess I’ll have to admit it here, dudes alright, hell, he probably puts salt on his grits! I still ain’t gonna be overly friendly, though…bein’ a “Lifer” means you’re already suspect! And I damn sure ain’t wantin’ to get any of my own medicine.
Yep. It’s been an up and down unusual week here…Just so you know, I’ve been in a bad mood the last couple of days…my wife, Teresa, has started Chemo Therapy, and in truth, even though I ain’t seen from her in years, I still worry about her…and my kids seemed to be avoiding my questions on the subject, which causes me to be even more concerned…but, my niece has assured me that she’s doin’ GREAT! so all seems good! So, I’m better; guess you can tell that by my upbeat attitude today. So, if you get a moment of spare time, throw up a prayer for her, because, other than her obvious poor choice in men, she really is a saint.
Love you guys, and thanks for readin this mess.
Peace be with you. Mark
Three Rivers, 5-16-17