Saturday, July 11, 2015

My mother's birthday was this week
she would have been 92.
There are some questions I wish I could ask her -
when you grew up along the bayou in New Orleans,
what did you see?
who took care of the horses
that pulled the wagons in town?
and what did the horses eat?
did people keep them at their houses
and did everybody have a horse?
or was it like calling for a taxi?
were the streets and roads already paved?
if somebody had a car, where did they get fuel and what did they use?
did you have any chickens or ducks?
on a hot summer day
how did you stay cool?
did you have frogs in your yard?
were they all alike?
how did you let your friends know they could come and play
before you had telephones?
did everybody have electricity?
how do you bake a cake without electricity?
where did the man
with the block of ice in his wagon
get the ice?
how did they make ice on a hot summer day?
Did the newspaper just have local news?
When and how did they get news from far away,
say Washington, District of Columbia?
Did you ever see anybody
turn cotton to cloth?
What were the candles like,
and who made them?
Where did the artists get their paints
and what were paints made of?
How did you let your aunts in Mississippi know you were coming to visit,
or did you and your family just show up - surprise!?
Were there any wild animals in town
like bears or alligators
wildcats or moles?
Happy birthday, Mama!
When are you coming back?!

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