I see this pic and I'm reminded of going grocery shopping with my grandfather
when I was this boy's age. In Montreal we'd go to a friend's backyard and pull up collards and turnip greens, then go to a few butcher shops to get fresh rabbit, coon, chitterlings, hog maw, gizzards, bacon, whole chickens, whole turkeys, and go to fish markets to get catfish. His girlfriend made all the cakes.
My mom always favored the catfish, My favorite was the chitterlings and the coon. Until my sister and I found out that coon was short for raccoon and that chitterlings were pigs' intestines. And that hog maw was the pigs' stomach lining. I stopped eating the coon when my grandfather's girlfriend's daughter told us that raccoons eat everything they see, and that they even gnaw through buried coffins and eat dead bodies. We stopped eating hog maw too. My sister and I never stopped eating chitterlings since we watched our grandfather, on many occasions, clean them until they were squeaky clean. And they were so good with Louisiana Hot Sauce.
I learned alot from my grandfather. And not just about cooking.
He loved his daughters (my mom and her two sisters) and he demanded respect, and he received it. Though he and my grandmother separated when my mother was eight, he was a full-time father and he supported them financially and emotionally, 100%.
Even if we were wrong, my grandfather wouldn't allow our mother to yell at us in his preference.
"Shut up Jean. Leave them kids alone," he used to say. My sister and I were little. We loved it. We used to playfully tease our mom because she had to be nice to us. Even if we were wrong. My mother never once, in her life, talked back to him.
"yes Daddy," she used to say.
My sister and I used to repeat to her; "yes Daddy,"
and giggle amongst ourselves.
I miss him.
From the day he retired to his death,
he cooked full time for a retirement home,
and every holiday meal at his home was interrupted by homeless people knocking on his door, asking for a meal.
And he always stepped away to make a plate full of whatever we were eating.
If I could be half the man he was, I'd be glad.
I respect the elderly anyway, but also, every time I see an older male, I always think 'he's someone's grandfather. I hope that whoever they are, they are appreciating him and learning as much as they can about life from him.'