Grandma’s Hands…

great grandma

My great-grandma and my aunt…

My great-grandmother raised me when I was very young. My mom was a young mother who had dropped out of college and was recently divorced (Dallas, my biological father, was a drug addict and an alcoholic, but my mom tells me he was also a very good writer, hmmm). My mom left Dallas’ Harlem apartment and moved back into her grandmother’s basement.

It’s strange how the basements of our mother’s houses are strangely recuperative and good for helping us muster our focus for the future. While my mom got her shit together and returned to college her grandmother became my primary caregiver. I can remember her like it was yesterday that she spoke to me because in my mind it prA’li was.

I remember her food most of all. I still hold her scrambled eggs to the highest esteem. No one has since come close to her ability of softness without runniness. My great-grandma’s peanut butter sandwiches would be cut into four pieces so unbelievably symmetrical you would have to pull out a micrometer in order to detect a difference.

I don’t find any shame in returning to my mother’s basement because I know that it isn’t the proximity to the boilerroom that keeps me warm but the love that comes from being close to the old ladies.

lil darry

26 Responses to “Grandma’s Hands…”

  1. BIGNAT says:

    this post makes me miss my grandama an her cooking was on point man. she came from st. thomas my mom to so grandma could get down. grandma gave me one of my biggest life lessons. young nathaniel was quick to tell people off if he didn’t like them fight them as well. till one day grandma told me. you don’t have to like someone but you have to respect them. even if you don’t get along with them. i was thinking it can’t be that simple. i fired back if i don’t like them why and she would stop me and say try it. i thought it would not work but it was that simple.

  2. khal says:

    i miss my grandmother, but i miss her more during the holidays. her christmas dinner was the truth… and she passed on the 29th of dec, 1995. RIP grandma and all the family members we’ve lost.

  3. Solidarious54 says:

    love those ladies who told us how to live well out loud

    rip gram

  4. Props to Bill Withers and… the naked Major Taylor Jr?!

    Speaking of strong black women, ever see this?

    Nina Simone “Ain’t Got No Life” live–

    Ain’t nobody taking those doorknockers!

  5. nerditry says:

    Mom’s basement = metaphorical womb.

  6. Mark Dub says:

    Beautiful post, D [ll], and beautiful song. That shit literally had tears accumulatin in my eyes. No pause. Your posts make the 8 hour work days seem a bit shorter. Thanks.

  7. Tiffany says:

    As always, Nice DP…

    Happy New Year every one!

  8. Tony Grands says:

    Salute to the great grams’….

    The house I’m raising my son in, is where my greatgrandmother raised me. She was a virile little old lady, too. We used to walk EVERYWHERE, so believe me when I say these females today, what with their “independence” & liberation & fake nails & neck rolling are weak & flimsy in comparison to a woman who picked cotton as a child. Who knew segregation personally. Who fled the south to come to Cali & find piece/peace of mind. I’ve seen my greatgrandmother back down vicious dogs, big ass men & all things between. That was the only person I saw my father bow down to, ever in my entire life, & that dude called his own father by HIS FIRST NAME!

    She was so hardbody that, a few days before she passed, she called a young TG, & let me know, personally, that she was tired & ready to lay it down.

    Don’t get me started on the eggs, complemented by the most exquisite grits, ever.

    God bless mine, & yours, & all of ours who spent @ least some time with us on Earth.

  9. the_dallas says:

    That comment reminds me of when my dad spoke to me a week before he died. He was ready to return to the essence. I didn’t want to hear that at the time but he told me that it had to be.

    You miss folks during the holidays so much and it feels a kind of way not to have them around. I came up on this video in the strangest of ways but there is nothing wrong with me thinking about my great grandma.

  10. Tony Grands says:


    That kinda stuff is hard to hear, because you know damn well they mean(t) it.

  11. getthesenets says:

    backbone of the community

    but if you call your grandma ,mom…and your mother,pam,……….you’re going to jail

    everybody knows this…and hates chris

  12. Tony Grands says:

    “backbone of the community”

    ^^^My first cousin was trying to tell me how our grandmom doesn’t like him. I had to breakdown what that woman has done for our family for the last 60 something years, & how it’s amazing to me that she’s still alive. I had almost forgotten up until then how many generations she’s overseen, now she’s there for my kids, my uncle’s & aunt’s kid’s, her own grown kids, & this grown ass nigga mad because she ain’t got the energy to be chasing after him. Backbone, indeed. I’m going to call her today.

  13. getthesenets says:

    Word, TG

    I used to get mad at my sister and later my bro for having my mom watch their kids when she should have been resting or handling her own affairs…BUT…. the world we live in…. you can count the people who you can fully trust to watch your kids on one hand and have 4 fingers left to spare..


    my maternal grandma stayed with us for a few years…..never knew my paternal grandma

    As Black men…..we just don’t live as long as women……and I think it’s been like that for a while….

    wife chosing is THE most important decision a man has to make in life because at some point she’s gonna have to hold things down when you’re gone.

  14. Tony Grands says:


    Yeah, my grandmother raised all six of her drug addict, alkie, jail bird kids, & then their kids because of obvious reasons, with the exception of my bro & I, because my mom knew better. She’s old, strong, but too old to be watching anyone but herself these days.

    My maternal grandma passed when I was a baby, but I heard she was a beast, in a good way. & fuck all that “it takes a village” shit…these days, the village will have your kid strung out, locked up or dead. I know all too well that I can’t leave my son with everbody, blood relation or otherwise. My twins don’t live with me, so whatevers, but my son stays close to me. He can’t even visit a healthy amount of his “family” without me there. Yeah, like that.

  15. Tony Grands says:

    Real talk, backbone of the community. Too bad more of these younger women don’t realize how pivotal their existences truly are…

  16. $ykotic/Don McCaine says:

    Got a n*gga tearing over this sh*t.

    My granny had a heart attack when I was young and when she came home from the hospital she told me to get my sh*t together. In real strong words. She died 3 days later.

    Sh*t broke my heart to see mufukka’s fighting over the belongings and $ like savages @ a Macy’s one day sale.

    Sh*t reminds me on how when I 1st moved over here I had to Timberland talk to this dudes bladder for talking slick about my moms. Clown ass fool pissed all over himself.

    Respect the old earths.

  17. BIGNAT says:

    “Sh*t broke my heart to see mufukka’s fighting over the belongings and $ like savages @ a Macy’s one day sale.”

    that reminds me when my grandma was alive and i would only see some of my family members when she came by. that shit made me sick we suppose to be fam but you don’t even call when grandma not around. asking her for money, favors and shit. she would do it to and it was because she loved the fam. i just didn’t like how they went about doing it.

  18. Tony Grands says:

    See, I have a problem with the whole concept of, if I’m related to someone through blood, I’m supposed to put up with certain shit. Fuck that. Just because somebody is my cousin/uncle/aunt doesn’t mean they get a pass. You do foul shit to me, ain’t no magical feeling that erases it. I have a brother, but I swear to God, there’s 3 dudes who are my BROTHERS, & have proven it time & time again. If it wasn’t for the glue of grandparents, I wouldn’t talk to half of the people who I share a common geneology with. & I don’t ask anybody for shit, including my mom, so that can never been thrown @ me.

    “Tony only comes around when he needs somethin'”

    No dice. Wrong Tony. You must Danza or Montana. Not Grands. Life ain’t no Tyler Perry movie, where all’s forgiven over cheap liquor & a pot of gumbo. Some motherfuckers are just not for me. I forgive, & leave it there. No need to fake funk.

  19. the_dallas says:

    $yk what up mayne?

    I can say I have been blessed to know the love from many old Earths in my lifetime. I think some of thyem had to protect the kid on his array of foolhardy missions. I stayed nearly getting merc’ked for a few years. Not on no sucker shit neither but by getting involved in shit over my head and under my ethics.

    Anyhoo, the saddest shit is when one of the pillars of a family passes and all the ne’er do wells crawl out of their holes in the ground. When my mother’s mother passed my folks had to buy her headstone because she hadn’t made a provision for it. Meanwhile my mom’s sisters were looking for a payout.

    Same shit when my dad passed away. People came up top thinking the funeral program was a lottery ticket. My own brother included. Sadly, momdukes enables son to the Nth. Oh well, when the mother bird is gone I hope all the other birds have learned to fly or they will end up hawkmeat.

  20. $ykotic/Don McCaine says:

    No doubt y’all.

    In Jan ’09 2 of granny’s daughters died. One week after each other. Out of 7 kids only 4 are left.

    I’m neck braced up, rolling around and mufukka’s want me to fly back east and sign papers because it was found out that I had possession of certain things. Never mind the come and mourn factor.

    I was told “I’m hurting”. Seriously. More than me? Poppin’ oxymorph’s in a wheelchair twice a day? FOH.

    Cutting to the chase my ex-wife’s family donated for the funeral costs. 2X at that. And my relatives know that if they show up @ my door w/o invitation they will get introduced to the yammie with the extended magazine edition.

    Realest sh*t I ever wrote online. It’s fukked up when cats you never met in life help put things into perspective for you.

  21. BIGNAT says:

    you right grands you can’t choose your fam but you can choose your friend. as i get older my friends are more like my fam we get together for thanksgiving christmas hang out just to be around each other. i am not seeing some of my fam unless somebody dies. like my brother keeps telling me our family is big you need to stay in touch with all of them. the way i see it less niggas in my circle friend or fam.i am less likely to get stabbed in the back. i learned that the hard way i don’t need everyone i know to know where i am at all the time feel me.

  22. Tony Grands says:

    “like my brother keeps telling me our family is big you need to stay in touch with all of them.”

    Fuck. That. Shit. I know who has my back. I know who truly gives a shit if I eat, bleed, almost die, get out of pocket, etc. Like you said NAT, I’ll see niggas @ weddings, or funerals. & maybe not funerals, unless it’s mine, because I’ll have no choice in that matter. If by off chance one of my relatives does stop by, only the children are allowed over my thresehold. Real shit, the grown people catch me @ the door or honk in the driveway.


    ” It’s fukked up when cats you never met in life help put things into perspective for you.”

    Shit, to be honest, DP & $yk, y’all cats already know what it do. I talk to you cats on a personal level outside these threads. I barely talk to 80% of my family, especially after I got out of the hospital. It’s easier to play the fool when you juiced up & can’t see straight. When your boy touched down from Kaiser, 127 lbs, couldn’t walk, liver shot, doctors appt’s every other day, thearpy, rehab, 8 pills a day, pissing on myself, coming down from being asshole drunk for 10+ years, wife doing nurse’s work, the whole 9 effing yards, I found out who’s the real & who’s the fake. After that, I keep the grass cut. I can see the snakes coming a mile away. No denying them when we look alike, so my job is halfway done on that end.

  23. getthesenets says:

    i hear you ……….i don’t do the fake smile stuff either….

  24. Shonquayshah says:

    i usually don’t tell my age, as i feel that everywoman should have SOME type of mystery about her…these young chickenheads…smh…anyway, i am standing at the top of the hill, and as i look back and see how my GREAT grandmother held it down, raising 3 girls without their 3 different fathers (same shit, different day) i am in awe of how this college educated woman managed to keep everyone afloat, and my grandmother, a mother for the first time at age 15 managed to raise not only my mother, but damn near everyone else’s child in the family, not to mention foster kids! and my mother, Lord help, work her way up from a damn 2.50 hour filing position to a six figure salary WITHOUT a degree and retire at age 51…i mean…i got some big ass shoes to fill…i know it will be on me, with or without a man (most likely without) but i digress, all i am gonna say on it is..if you know the way, go the way, and if you don’t shame on a ni**a!
    at these pilfering motherhuggers after funerals, i saw on another website today…ni**a’s will steal the sweet out of sugar!!!! “so true, so true!” as one of the old mothers down at the churchhouse put it.
    i recently had to put some of my family members on blast after the death of my brother this past summer…death and funerals can bring out the worst and the best in people, you can sadly use it as a gage of who your “real” family is…anyhoo, here is an edited version of the letter that i had to send to my relatives on the west coast…i know they were prA’li like damn, girl, tell us how you really feel….writing is GOOD for the soul i say…i swear i read and re-read this several times and everytime i read it, i feel like a spiritual feather duster is cleansing my soul…a soul swiffer! ready, enjoy and take a tip…you may have to put someone on blast in letter form one day. if you do, you can rest assured they will definitely KNOW how the eff you feel!
    Hello, live and direct from ***** ****, Texas! Nov. 21,2009
    Hello cousin –
    I have started to write this letter numerous times, however, when I think about things, I mean really think, I start to get upset. But I think that enough time has passed to where I can say what I really feel, and I pray that you take all of these words and thoughts with love because I am being very sincere.
    First of all, I am still grieving over the loss of my beloved brother. I am sending you the program like I said I would. Please note that it says ‘PRIVATE SERVICE’ read: No riff-raff invited!! Take it like you find it and leave it like it is. Meaning, if that does not apply to you, then you will in no way be offended.
    Secondly, Please, Please, Please, like that old James Brown song…will you tell that skallywagged, ex-crackhead, oops, I forgot, once a crackhead, always a crackhead, ******** that she can bow down and kiss all ten of my stinking toes if she has anything (good, bad or otherwise) to say about me, my mother or anyone else that is related to me by blood. God forbid, but if she ever has to not only watch her child slowly die and then bury them, then and only then , will she have a comment, better yet strike that, I was in charge and if I thought the heffa was worthy to call, then cotdamit, I would have called the bish! What was she gonna do any way? Yeah, right… nothing! Her usual. Good for nothing sonofasoosoo!
    Now, as for the rest of y’all. You best not truck with me, hear? Y’all know how y’all use to clown me about reading so much? Well, what if I told you that not all the time I was reading? A lot of the time I was just listening, and watching. Being the baby, I know soooooooooooooooooo much shit about everybody! But real talk, I have enough class, sense and wisdom to know when to keep my mouth shut! Talking about all that shit ain’t gonna change a damn thing anyhow.
    Now you, ****…I still cannot figure out why you felt it necessary to inform that money grubbing skank *******, yeah I said that, money grubbing skank…about my brother’s death. Don’t you know that stankin hooker is the reason why no one got anything that ****(older relative who passed a few years ago) wanted to leave everyone? She is a hot ass mess and I hope she roasts in hell on earth before she stands before God Almighty on judgment day for all the chaos she caused on this here side of glory! She’s nothing but a bitch and you can tell her I said that. I wouldn’t waste my time, effort, money or breath telling her so. So thanks in advance! There is no love lost between her and me. She did my **** wrong! And she knows she did!
    Whew, okay, now that that is all off my chest, How are you doing? I hope that you and your family are well. Me and my children are doing dandy, Momma and Daddy are doing as well as can be. Y’all have a wonderful Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year, you hear?
    With the most love and sincerity that I can muster,

    Your loving cousin-

  25. Shonquayshah says:

    p.s. them hoes was mad cause i aint call em when my brother passed…if you did nothing for him in life, what will you do for him in death?

    also, dallas, you could tell back then you were “eccentric” on that green hornet rider buck azz naked, not a care in the world! those were the days!

    and bill wither’s grandmas hands’…i played that for my son recently and had him pay close attention to the words…lovely song, so true, so true!

  26. the_dallas says:

    You told them hoes what they needeed to know.

    I’m just mad that after all these years together I had to edit your ‘prolly’ into the official term we use on this site for the contraction of the word probably.

    Don’t fux that up ever again.

    Love ya’.

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