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My granddaughter, Madison, generally comes, almost every Friday night, to spend the weekend with her Granny and Papa. I have never seen a child who loves vegetables as much as Madi. As her Papa cooks, she sits at the kitchen counter and wants a taste of each and every spice I use, no matter what the taste or how hot it might be. I sprinkle a little bit of each spice onto a paper towel; she wets her index finger and laps it up, always asking for more.

She loves sour candy and I guess that is the reason she loves Collard and Mustard greens.

Knowing Madison was coming tomorrow night; I jumped in the truck and headed to the Harvey’s Grocery Store to pick up a few cans of spinach, collar and mustard greens.

Walking down the can food aisle, I see an elderly black woman looking through various bottles of spices. Behind her are two young men which appear to be in the late teens. The young man pushing the shopping cart cannot seem to get around the woman as there was a large stack of cans in the aisle-way. All at once he yells out, “Lady, can you move your black ass so we can get by here please.”

The woman said not a word. She smiled at the two boys and then tried to move over as quickly as she could.

“Do you think that was necessary?” I yelled out at the boy.

Without even tuning around, the boy held up his middle finger and continued walking.

“Why would you do that?” I asked the boy.

“Because that’s the way it is old man.”

I could feel my blood pressure begin to rise.

“No! That’s not the way it is. I’m fixing to show you the way it is you retarded idiot,” I said, as I headed toward him.

The boy began pushing the cart down the aisle as fast as he could and turned the corner. Just as I reached the woman’s location, she reached out and grabbed me by the arm.

“He’s not worth it. Just let them go on,” she replied.

I tried to pull away but she would not let go of my arm.

“The next thing is going to be “nigger” or “nigger lover” so just let it go,” she stated, as she patted me on the shoulder.

Saying nothing to her, I turned around and began looking for the canned collard greens. Finding them on the top shelf, I began placing the cans, two at a time, into my shopping cart.

“I see you like greens,” the woman said.

“They are alright I guess. These are for my granddaughter. She loves any type of greens.

“And you feed her that terrible stuff?”

I stood there shaking my head having no idea what to say to her.

She reached into her purse and handed me a small notebook and pen.

“Write your name and address down on this note paper,” she instructed.

After writing down the information, I handed her the book back, finished my shopping and returned home.

Friday afternoon, at about 2:30, Madison arrived at our home. At around five o’clock she and I were in the kitchen preparing mashed potatoes, gravy and pork chops. Hearing the dog barking, I went to the front door to see if the UPS package I was expecting had arrived. Sitting in the driveway was a small blue Honda car. An elderly man and a young boy were walking up the concrete walkway.

“Can I help you?” I asked, as they reached the steps of the front porch.

The man held out a large Pyrex bowl covered with tin foil.

“Are the gentleman who helped my wife in the supermarket yesterday?”

“I guess. Oh, you mean the spice lady.”

“Never heard anyone call her that before but that is a good title for her,” he said, as he winked.

He held the large bowl toward me and said, “A bowl of greens like you’ve never tasted before, guaranteed.”

I reached out, took the hot bowl and sat it down on the small porch table.

“Thank you very much but that was not really necessary.”

“Yes, it is very necessary,” the young boy replied.

“How do I return the bowl?”

“Just consider it a gift from the spice lady.”

“Well, thank you very much.

I watched as the two of them returned to their automobile and drive away.

Carrying the greens inside, I placed them on the counter and continued preparing our supper.

That night at supper Madison ate five helpings of greens.

“You had best save room for ice cream and cake,” I told her.

I don’t want no desert Papa, just want more greens.”

As she was eating, she began to tap on my arm and began to talk.

“Don’t talk with food in your mouth, I told her.

When she finished swallowing she said “Papa, you remember when we went to that family reunion thing last year and you looked at all that Kentucky Fried Chicken and you said “I guess all the good cooks are all dead now?”

“I remember that saying something like that.”

“I think one forgot to die,” she said, as she jammed another large fork full of greens into her mouth.

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