Helen is my parent’s fulltime maid and cook. She works from eight to four everyday. She cooks breakfast every morning most mornings and cooks lunch for mom. I will occasionally go over for a chicken, ham, or tuna salad sandwich loving Helen’s cooking. Dad will often come home from work to eat a sandwich as well. “Salad” sandwiches on whole wheat bread are mom’s favorite lunch so that’s what she mainly requests.
Another main job of Helen’s is keeping my parent’s numerous clothes washed and ironed. She has routines like us all and has certain days for certain tasks. The first thing Helen does upon arriving is to take the trash out and start the laundry. Monday is for changing and washing all the linens on the beds in the five bedrooms in the house. Tuesday she cleans, dusts. and polishes all the numerous antiques and furniture dad has collected over the years. Wednesday she vacuums the whole house and mops the kitchen and the hardwood floors. Thursday is cat litter day which she hates and I would, too! lol Thursday’s are also reserved for cleaning the four bathrooms in my parent’s house. Friday, she only cooks one big afternoon meal as dad gets off after noon some time. Friday is Helen’s easy day before she is off for the weekend.
Helen was cooking supper a moment ago as I went over to check for any more mail – excited to get a letter from George to read.
“Helen?” I asked warily hoping for the best as the Kitchenaid mixer was whirring full of boiled potatoes. “What is on the menu today?”
Mom and dad are both on diets and Helen has been cooking the most bland diet food which disappoints me so much. I love her Southern meals and Southern cooking. I know it’s a stereotype in the South, but older black women just know how to cook well and cook in the Old South tradition.
“I talked your daddy into letting me fry a whole chicken,” Helen said with a vigorous grin. Helen gets to take home a plate of food for her and her husband as well every Friday so she is tired of the diet fare as well.
“Hot damn!” I replied jubilantly!
“I am sorry about your mail,” mom told me walking into the kitchen just then ever serious as always. “You know I would never do that to you.”
Helen started to listen in intently. She can be very nosey about our family business and affairs – a real busybody at times.
“I know you wouldn’t, mom,” I replied. “That’s why I love you. Dad is just nuts. You and I are the sane ones!”
“Do you think I am really sane?” mom asked.
“They’re ain’t be nothing wrong with you Mrs. Martha,” Helen chimed in. “You just be depressed and sleep too much. You be needin’ more to do.”
I smiled and echoed Helen’s thoughts. “Dad is the one who’s crazy. He scares me and is bat shit nuts!” I exclaimed.
“Don’t say that about your daddy,” mom said scolding me.
I apologized, back peddling. I shouldn’t have said that in front of Helen and mom.
“Mr. John just be lovin’ you too much,” Helen said, adding her two cents.
“I will be over later with your plate of food,” mom told me. “Get you a few iced teas out of the fridge in the basement to take home to drink with your meal.”
“I’ll be sure to put a breast piece on your plate, baby,” Helen told me as I was getting ready to leave.
I smiled – so excited about having Southern fried chicken for supper tonight. Helen was also cooking her fabulous mashed potatoes and fried chicken gravy along with some of the best biscuits in the South. I can’t wait for mom to get here about three this afternoon with my plate of food. I told her to bring an extra plate of food for Stacey to eat later when she gets off of work. She has never eaten Helen’s cooking, and Stacey loves Southern cooking like me having grown up eating it. She has said her grandmother, whose house she lives in now, was a wonderful Old South style cook.