Friday, July 17, 2009

Out Of The Fence

I gazed at the sepia print. It was all faded except for what it stored. I closed my eyes. My senses took the cue. The memories began to take life.
I could hear the crickets chirp like mad. They must be happy the weather was beautiful that night. I felt the cold breeze caress me. I shivered. It was beginning to get cold. Mother Agnes insisted I should wear my sweater. I did grudgingly but as soon as I was out of the convent door, I took it off and hid it behind the hibiscus bush which lined the pathway. I was wearing the dress that my dad bought for me. I did not want my sweater which saw better days to upstage it. I had not worn a new dress for a long time. I wanted to completely delight in the pleasure of wearing one. A car stopped in front of the gate. The driver waved at me. I did not have to worry about the cold any longer. As he had promised to Mother Agnes, Eva’s father sent their family driver to fetch me. 
Almost everyone was there when I arrived. This was Eva’s graduation party. It was an exclusive party just for us, her friends. It would have been a sin for anyone of us to have missed it. As had always been, everyone was looking beautiful. They were all dressed up to the hilt. I would have been surprised if they were not. Either I got numbed from the constant experience of feeling small each time I could only ogle with envy as I see how money could help transform you from looking ordinary to fabulous or I have learned from those experiences how futile it was to moan about things you could not change. Whatever the reason, I no longer felt intimidated. 
The party was really fun. We played games, danced, sang and laughed our hearts out. The clowns and a magician hired to entertain us were a hit. We even had our pictures taken as a group. We were really relishing every minute. We had not even realized how hungry we had become until Eva announced we were moving the party to the garden. It was time to eat. I had seen that garden a number of times but that night it looked different. It was like a fairy land. Beautiful flowers were everywhere. Lights of every imaginable color and shape blinked at every nook. I saw ladies dressed like fairies. It was like a dream. I caught sight of this one very long table enough to seat all of us. Whoever set it up must be one good artist. It was all covered with lovely white laces. The flower arrangements were simply exquisite. The glasswares sparkled and looked so dainty like they were going to disintegrate at a touch. The china which must be pretty expensive exuded beauty and elegance.The cutleries glistened like they were bathed in gold. The thought that I would be using them sent chills into my spine.
The array of mouth watering food were so beautifully laid out like they were only meant to be gazed upon. God! I mumbled! Would I end up just gawking at such a culinary ensemble? I can't eat with all those intimidating silverwares. It was not that I did not like to use them. I just did not know how. I did not even know what the use is of those different forks. Why should eating be so complicated? I had always eaten with my bare hands. It was what everybody did back home. I could recall my father telling me that eating should be an act of communion with your food. You got to involve all your senses. You must feel your food. Touch it with your bare hands. Talk to it and give it thanks. I could not remember now if that was exactly what he said particularly the "talk to it" part. But at that moment, all I could think of was to find a way out so I would not make an spectacle out of myself. The first thought that came to my mind was to tell everybody I was not hungry and that they could just go ahead and eat but I knew that was a moronic excuse.
My instinct for self-preservation led me to do the unthinkable. I run to Eva. I did not pause to catch my breath. Time was running out. I did not wait for her to speak. I told her of my dilemma as she listened intently. I know she remembered the time I provided the comic relief when she invited me once for a weekend dinner while her dad and mom were away. I had my food splattered all over as I tried to use my fork and knife. I would not want any encore. I suggested to Eva that she ask everyone to eat with their bare hands. It would make the event much more memorable for everyone. What a nerve! I was expecting her to tell me I was crazy but she seized on the idea like it was brilliant. I breathed a sigh of relief. Eva and I ate with our bare hands so many times together and she had fun but we knew we were going to have problems with the other girls. Eva suggested we ask the help of Nicola if the plan was to have a chance. Of us all, Nicola was the most adventurous. Appeal to her adventurous instinct and you could let her jump down the cliff. We took Nicola aside and told her of the plan. I saw her face light up. She was in. We wanted Nicola to pass on the idea as hers. She would love that. She did not waste time. She requested everyone to go wash their hands and wash it pretty well. Rarely would you question Nicola when she would request you to do something. It was not because she was the tycoon’s daughter and only heiress but because you would always be curious to know what she had hidden under her sleeves. It took almost half an hour before everybody was back. All eyes were focused on Nicola. Everyone was anxiously waiting for what she would explode. The explosion did not come. She casually requested everyone to get seated so we could say our grace and start eating. Everybody was disappointed. I was beginning to be worried. Eva and I looked at Nicola. She gave us a wink. She signaled to one of the ladies dressed liked fairies for assistance. She pointed on each dish she wanted on the table and requested her to put some on her plate. She then gathered her flatwares and gave them all to the lady. This done she started to eat with her bare hands. Count on Nicola to put on a show and get the attention. Except for Eva and myself, everybody's jaw dropped in shock. All their lives, they were taught to always act befitting of their social status. Only the commoners ate with their bare hands.It was a mark of someone who smelled of sweat. Nicola, an epitome of high society breeding, had crossed the line. I glanced at Nicola. I burst into laughter. She looked silly in a funny kind of way. Maybe one should not really eat with her bare hands when wearing an expensive silk dress. But she was getting the kick out of it and when on the roll, Nicola could be contagious. I looked at Eva. She threw all her cutleries up on the air. I did the same. Soon there were shouts of glee as forks, knives and spoons rained on the ground. Everyone dug on their food with their bare hands. Their faces all smeared with sauces and the laughters that ensued said it all. My friends were riding high on every moment of their adventure out of their fence.

I opened my eyes. Looked again at the faded photograph in my hands and smiled.


  1. Isn't it just magic the way a photo will bring back such juicy memories? I love this story of your youthful gusto, solving a problem in such an unthinkable way and giving everyone the gift of trying something new.

  2. Thank you Sharon (Ritergal)! I just got this published and was thinking of snipping some parts away when I got your comments. You were the first one to read it so I thought if you liked it then there is no reason to make any changes.:) You continue to encourage me and I am glad.

  3. Great story. Riveting, as usual. Quick out of the box thinking.

  4. Thank you Kesh and her mom! I am glad you like the story. It's knowing that someone is going to read my story and likes it, keeps me doing my best to make it worth her time.

    Thanks for keeping me company.

  5. I love reading your blog Grandma Julia. I often eat with my hands when we're at Indian and Ethopian restaurants. I still haven't gotten the hang of forming the rice and scooping up the meat/veggies, I manage to get it mostly in my mouth. But it's still fun.

  6. Well written, I loved the "mouth-watering" food part... I just love a story with food in it :)

  7. What a delightful memory!

    I am left tossing this one around in my head like newly found shiny coin. I am wondering how many times have you retold that story to friends and family, inspiring laughter and joy at your bright spirit, and that of your dear friend.

    I am reminded of a similar story my own great grandmother used to tell of her younger days. She and some friends of hers left for Mexico one day for a day of adventure and thrills. Loving avacados and finding them so cheap, they bought several cases to bring back.

    While going through customs, they discovered that they wouldn't be able to take the avocados across the border. So, my great granny and a few of her best friends, sat on the side of the road eating ever single last one of those avocados.

    She would end the story by saying, and to this day, sixty years later, I HATE avocados!


  8. Thanks Jackie! i hope tpo see youb back.

  9. Thanks Lizy! I don't know how many times but I always tell my story when I find a listening ear. I still laugh when I tell of this story. Count me to retell it whenever I have the chance. :)

    Looks like your granny is a kindred spirit. I wont venture a guess as to where you got that spunk. :)

  10. Disturbed, thanks! As always you are an inspiration. Hey! Why don't we co-author a blog on food stories together? LOL.

  11. Disturbed, thanks! As always you are an inspiration. Hey! Why don't we co-author a blog on food stories together? LOL.

  12. It's requires some skill Ki and yes it's fun. Speaking of fun, it is fun knowing you are always there to keep me company. Thank you so much.

  13. That was a beautiful memory! I shall definitely come back here again to read more.

  14. I ran across your site today through Entrecard, you write wonderfully, thanks for being online. I'll be back

  15. Thank you Babs! Do come back. I would be delighted to have your company.

  16. Its a wonderful read, really very good one.Thanks for droping onto my site, thats why i came in and read such a beautiful post.I also write, perhaps you would like reading my stories at
    I'll drop in more often and would be waiting for your next post.

  17. Thanks Patricia! I will do my best to continue deserving the compliment. I will look forward to your next visit.

  18. I was able to totally picture the party! Thanks for the sweet read! Susan :)

  19. That is very kind of you Enigma. I would drop by your site for a visit, that is for sure. I look forward to having you here again. Thank you so much.

  20. As always, I delight in the pleasure of having you here Susan.You are an inspiration.

    By the way, thanks again for the beautiful compliment you made on me in your blog.:)

  21. Hello dear name is Dot but most people now me as Picket...I have read thru your entire blog and I was amazed at how you take the reader back in time with you...I loved you story and I loved the life you put into it...I too believe a photograph can transport you back in time to that very moment....what a beautiful testimony to have lived 90 yrs and have so much of life to share with others...God bless you dear friend and please come by and visit me at my blog anytime...I would be honored!

  22. My friend Picket, thank you so much. It is friends like you that keeps me inspired to share my life story for whatever it is worth. I hope you continue to there.

  23. Good morning sweetie...I was so thrilled that you can to visit me..I grew up always being close to my grandparents..they lived in the same little rural community in the country and we went there every weekend for Big family gathering and some of the best southern cooking you ever tasted! I use to stay with one of my grandmother's every summer..she had every farm animal you could imagine and keep 4 gardens going all the was alot of work but to me it was like going to Disney land and most of my aunts and uncles lived all around also, so it was just paradise for me..Out of about 60 cousins I knew I was always the 'favorite' lol lol but the memories I had sitting on the porch and shelling peas listen to my grandmother tell stories and watching how she kept her house so clean even though we had to go to the creek and gather water in huge black pots to boil so we could wash clothes for her...she had the whitiest sheets and the most beautiful feather beds in the whole town..I have such a love and respect for anyone that has survived thru the years of good and bad in this life and have lived to tell about it...I believe they have so much to offer this world...God bless you Grandma Julia...hope you have a beautiful day today and thanks again for coming by!

  24. I accept your offer... but can we make it about poisoned food or a person choking on food? ;) coz it has to have a disturbing theme you know :)

  25. Hello,
    came by again .And thanks for visiting my other blog.Its still not complete, i am building it.
    Actually i had been ignoring it, but your comment there seems to have geared me up.I hope soon i'l have more posts there.

  26. Thank you so much for coming into my blogging world through entrecard. I feel privileged to read your thoughts and memories. You have such a grand way of writing stories. You brought me into your life. Thank you. I look forward to all your stories.

  27. Your blog is remarkable to read. I look forward to coming back often. What an amazing gift you have for sharing you memories.

  28. What a great reason to blog! I really wish I had been able to get my Grandma to start a blog.

  29. You have a very interesting blog. I would not have found so I am glad you visited my blog.

  30. What an amazing story! Thank you!

  31. Grandma, you're an amazing writer. I will be back often.

  32. Such a lovely memory... very nicely said. I love it. I wonder what my memories would be when I will be her age? ( I hope I will reach her age) Great thing to look forward to. Thanks for sharing.

  33. I wish you a beautiful day...

    Liebe Grüsse

  34. this is really a very nice read.

  35. Subscribed! I'll come back to read you daily.

  36. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  37. Hello, dropping by again.
    I have updated my post.Would be great if you could visit me and let me know how you think it is.

  38. Lovely story -- I felt I was right there in the moment! You have a beautiful way with words.

  39. Oh! :) Such a nice story, I've been dreaming of making my own memoir, but this is so amazing. I think you have a lot of wonderful memories, and I want to read all those :)

    I grew up eating with my bare hands, that is how poor people of my country eat their food, and yes I don't know how to use fork and knife properly too.


  40. Hello, Julia...You know while I was reading your entry, I am relating it to myself. I'm a grandmother too and I was wondering if at your age, I could write as good as you do.

    You write so beautifully and takes the reader to the scene.

    Thanks for sharing.

  41. This comment has been removed by the author.

  42. Damn! LOL. I have been away too long. If not for a young dear friend who labored hard to drive traffic into this site while I was in hibernation, this site would have been declared dead.:)

    I would like to apologize for the long overdue response to all the comments made while I was away.


    OK! What about "Death Finds A Plate" or " No Menu For Angels", gosh! I could not think of something more sinister. LOL


    I geared yourself up? No, I could see from your work you are inspired to write. You geared yourself up. :)

    Etta Rose:

    I am glad to have met you. You are one of my young friend's best argument why I should be glad he enrolled my blog at entrecard. Thanks for coming my way.


    I am happy you find reading my work a pleasant experience. I hope you continue to drop my site a regular visit . :)


    It is never too late. You could help your grandma start blogging. I have a young friend who provides me technical assistance whenever I need it although I have been using the computer for more than a decade now. It is going to keep her mind alive and kicking. She would appreciate it.


    I am glad you came for a visit. I hope to see you again.


    It is always heartwarming to have someone appreciate you work. Thank you so much.


    Thanks for the compliment. I eagerly await your next visit.


    You write so beautifully yourself. I love your writing style. You should meet my friends Disturbed and Bizylizy. I am sure you would be delighted to have their company.

    By the way, I would bet my last penny, you really have a great thing to look forward to.

    I am delighted to have you come my way.


    It is always a delight having you drop me a visit my friend. I always brag about my friend who uses google translate just to keep up with my wotk. I love you Swantje.


    Thank you so much Vee. I hope you never tire of joining me.


    I love it when people subscribe to my feeds. Thank you so much


    Sometimes I find it difficult to do it the beautiful way. LOL. I would keep on trying my best. Just promise to drop me a regular visit. LOL

    I love your blog too. It is the reason I advertise in it whenever I could afford your prize. :)


    You amuse me. Why do I have this feeling you have not guessed? LOL
    Anyway, I am glad you find my stories amazing. I hope you be a regular guest.

    BTW, don't wait until you are ninety before you write your memoir. :)


    No! I never would have guessed you were a young grandma. I had this thought you are a young mom.

    Again thanks for the compliment. Like I have said, you write very well yourself. Just keep your writing passion alive. A lots of published authors aged ninety and over never gave a damn thought if they would be doing it at that age
    but they did

  43. Grandma, I can't help but think that you somehow remind me of my own grandmother (bless her soul!). That was a very brave thing for you to do and it somehow shows how true you are to yourself. I have to say that your father's idea of eating is somehow lacking in our society today. Being a city girl, I've grown accustomed to going to fast food restaurants to eat then dash off to shop. I hope to read more like this and yes, in a strange way, it gave me a glimpse on what my mother and grandmother's life when they were country girls. Thank you!

  44. Hello Metal Munky!

    I am glad you are able to connect with my story. I love those sentences where you mention of your grandmother and mom. I have these feeling, they have such a very positive influence in your life. I hope you keep it.

    Yeah! It is sad that food has been down graded to just a utility status in our society and eating is eating is now just a chore.

    Metal Thanks for the visit. I hope to see you again.

  45. Yes grandma, my mother and grandmother indeed have a big positive influence in my life because of the stories of hardships they went through as poor country girls. My grandmother was a farmer and supported six children and a dozen more grandchildren till the day she was too old to do it while my mother, like you, left the country side and went to the city to work. Somehow, those stories make me value my job (I'm a sonographer by the way) and yet, made me feel proud of being a daughter of a house helper and a grand daughter of a farmer. Thank you and I hope to read more from you. :)

  46. Very well done. You are a blogger and a writer who knows what they are doing. Like you, I also have a website. My blog contains a free novel that I wrote in order to promote my mission of saving Uganda, Africa. is the address and I was wondering if you would like to trade links with me.

  47. This blog is amazing, thanks for another great story!