Written By: Kierra White
July 14, 2015
Stranger in the photo March 25, 2015
My grandmother is a sweet woman and is not a voodoo priestess. She stands 5,2 with a rich brown complexion, black hair intertwined with
silver streaks and dimples deeper than the Grand Canyon. She has the most sincere laugh and would give help to anyone who needed it. Great food and laughs fill my memories of being in her home. She always made sure she gave us enough to eat, wouldn't object to giving us seconds and when she was in a good mood, third helpings. I also think of her variety of named wigs like her straight jet black Cher, blue bob Imani, brown curly Fran, red wavy Samantha, gray afro Brenda, and purple braids Helga. She even would spontaneously take my brother and I to Chuck E. Cheese where we were allowed to eat all the pizza our hearts desired and play in the ball pen or tunnels until we were tired enough to fall asleep in them. She was also religious and gave me money and kids Bibles for Christmas every year. She held church in the parlor of her house for friends and families who wanted to worship together. All in all I thought my grandmother was a pretty good woman until one particular trip to her home when I was seven.
I remember the long drives it would take to get to her house. I remember crossing an endless amount of bridges to get to her home, an even more endless amount of streets and dirt roads. I remember knowing we finally arrived by the dust that would fly up when we entered zigzag that would finally bring us to the front of her house. It was red. A fiery red with charred
bricks and a dingy yellow rooftop. She came out of the house and said her hellos to our mother whom then said her goodbyes to us and was on her way. The trip to grandmother Julia's house had begun. When we went it the furniture was exactly how I remembered. A table stand on your left when you first walked in along with a couch smack dab in front of you and another couch parallel from it across the living room. I remember always being awestruck by the fact she had a fireplace which I'd never seen anywhere else besides the movies. It was late and she led us into the kitchen to eat some dinner and get into our beds. In the room that was connected to hers which had religious scripture posters all over the wall and a Bible on the dresser drawers. She tucked us in tight and gave us our goodnight kisses. But little did I know she had devilish plans for us in the morning.
The day began normal. She woke us up and made us brush our teeth and take baths. We then went to the kitchen to pray and ate a hearty breakfast of eggs, bacon, pancakes, French toast, potatoes, waffles,sausage, grits, and orange juice. She told me she had something special planned for my brother and I. At seven I believed it must have been some kind of party simply because we obviously were her favorite grandchildren. After we ate she told us to get dressed in these clothes for the special evening. I ran to the room to pick out the fancy outfit. It wasn't spectacular. The outfit was..plain. It was made of white cloth, resembled a potato sack, and wasn't the least bit fancy. When I put it on it immediate engulfed my body because of its size. Why was she excited for us to get dressed in this? Whatever the case, I put it on and went to the living room. I turned the tv on and had only been watching it for about twenty minutes when the doorbell rang. I got up and answered and saw a lady standing in the door with a peacock hat on
her head and blue suit outfit. My grandmother came behind me and let her in and they went into the kitchen. After a while a whole sea of people began to show up and would disappear into the back room. What was going on? When they came back they were each wearing the same white cloth sack I had on. My grandma told me to go to the back room and wait for her. The days devilment was about to begin.
When she emerged, she looked like Marie Laveau. She had a white turbanlike hat on her head and beads on her head and wrists. Now i knew what she was up to, just like the stories she told me from the Bible about people killing children for God's favor. I couldn't believe my sweet grandmother would do such a thing. She put oil on my and my brother's heads and let us out into the hallway. Shock. When we walked out the door, a line of guests stretched from the front of the door, to the kitchen, and all the way to the living room. They were clapping and chanting gospel songs as my grandmother led me into the bathroom with her hands in my shoulders. They were loud and hard their eyes glued to me. They had loving smiles on their faces but I was well aware of their plans to sacrifice me. Water. I heard it running hard in the bathroom and saw my aunt, apostle, smiling and waiting for me. I guess it was a family affair. All that was missing from their voudou session was a blaze of fire which I figure they couldn't make since we were inside.With my grandmother behind me and my aunt in front, they said a few words over me and all of their minions in the hallway bowed their heads. They laid their hands palms up while they did and uttered more words over me. At first it was plain but the words became more and more incoherent. All of a sudden they broke out into this Germanic jibber jabber I couldn't understand and began stomping their feet. Suddenly, they began to speak normal again and regain their
composure. They opened their eyes and lifted me up and began to place me in the water. I only hoped drowning was a peaceful way to die. Before my head was completely in they said some more words over me and told me to close my eyes. I did and then they laid my head in. I wondered how long it would take before I passed on to become one of the Lord's angels. While I was preparing to go to the room upstairs, they pulled me up. I guess they changed their minds and were thinking of a quicker way to take me out. When I came out the tub my grandma was talking about how I was "baptised" now. whatever that meant. They suddenly dried me off with a towel and sent me back into the room. Their minions in the hall were quiet now and weren't clapping or singing. They pulled me close and gave me sinister kisses.
When I went into the room a change of clothes was on the bed for me. I changed and sat on the bed and waited for them to finally do me in. I dreamed of heaven being filled with cookies, cakes, and chocolate brownies. As I sat and waited, hours began to pass and the sun was going down. Suddenly I began to hear goodbyes and cars starting to gear up, then drive away. I guess they decided they couldn't go through with their rituals and decided to go elsewhere. I heard silence and then my grandmother's steps coming toward the door. She told me to come out and sit at the table while she was cooking dinner. She had changed too and was out of the white cloth, her hat was gone, and her beads were off. I went and sat the table. She cooked all my favorite foods. Ham, collard greens, yams, green beans, red rice, macaroni, broccoli, corn bread, and lasagna. I was overjoyed. The more I ate, the more I started to see her less as the women who considered sacrificing me and more as my grandma again. After I was done she made me
take a bath and get in my pajamas. We prayed and she kissed me goodnight. As I fell asleep, I thanked God for allowing me to narrowly escape being slaughtered for his grace that day.
As time passed I began to see the goodness in my grandmother and that she wasn't trying to sacrifice me after all. Her dimples and good food helped me to see her kind ways again. The surprising trips to chuck e. Cheese didn't hurt either. I even began to love her wacky qualities. I began to enjoy the kids bibles every Christmas as much as I did the money she sent along with it. I even began to anticipate seeing her new wigs and their names when I visited. I was just happy she wasn't friends with papa legba and own a pair of chicken bones, and have graveyard dirt stuffed in the closet.