Round Table Discussions

by Vanessa Richardson

She moved deftly around her spacious kitchen like a graceful dancer. A small smile gracing her seasoned face. She was preparing tonightís dinner. Although she lived alone she always cooked healthy servings. She never lacked company. Her children or grandchildren never failed to put in an attendance to her home. Some would stay over for several nights. She didnít mind this; in fact she utterly adored it. It gave her a sense of purpose. It was rewarding to be able to feed and catch up on current events in the lives of her babiesí.

She called them her round table discussions. There is something to be said about healthy food and good conversation; itís rejuvenates the soul. She loved all her babies including their pet dogs and cats. They were a family. Family and faith was the foundation is stood on. Material things were fleeting.

"Hey Grandma," The sound of her granddaughtersí voice made her pause. So begins the first round table discussion. She offered up a small prayer of guidance and continued to mead her sourdough home made bread. Behind her she heard her refrigerator open. But remained silence. When you lived as long as she had; youíre able to discern a personís mood. Right now her grand was in a dour mood.

The octogenarian began humming an old time tune under her breath all the while kneading her dough. Veronica kissed her grandmother on the cheek. She snagged an apple from the fruit tray; she stood watching her grandmother perform her culinary magic in the kitchen.

"Youíre making sourdough bread. Yummy, yummy my favorite." Grandma looked up and smiled still humming. Veronica watched her grandmother knead the dough into formation. Grandma made three short thick loaves; turning she placed them in the oven. She moved on to her next of peeling white potatoes. She sat down with a heavy sigh.

"I have got to lose me some weight. My knees arenít like they use to be. I use to stand for hours on end with out feeling any type of aches." Veronica silently seated herself next to her grandmother. Her granny was 125 pounds soak and weight.

"You donít need to lose any weight, granny. Youíre perfect the way you are." Granny eyed Veronica and smiled. Veronica silently joined her granny in peeling the white potatoes. The two working in comfortable silence. Veronica tilted her head, sighing loudly. Grandma lifted one eye brow but remained silent. It wasnít long before Veronica finally spoke.

Swallowing hard Veronica raked a hand through her hair in frustration. "Grandma, I have been feeling funny lately. I can not describe how I feel exactly." She said absently. "I wake up in the morning with this feeling and lie down at night with this feeling." Her large doe eyes filled with tears. "I feel nasty on the inside."

Grandmaís heart stilled for several seconds. Veronicaís choice words were forming many scenarios in her mind. Experience taught her to never jump to conclusions. Patience was not born or inherited. It was a disciplined act, one must work at it. So she waited and was soon rewarded for her patience.

Veronica stirred, pushing at the many micro braids. She closed her eyes trying to formulate the words in her heart. Tears began coursing down her cheeks.

"I need help. I can not think straight. It is a chore for me to get up in the morning. Of late I have been asking why I am here. What is the purpose of my existence? I feel nasty on the inside." Veronica shook her head pointing at her heart.

Grandma continued to hum softly. "Something is out of order, little angel of the field," Grandma never looked up. She continued peeling the layers off the potatoes.

Veronica rested her forehead on the table. "I know. I feel there is something I should be doing, but I donít know what. It is as if life is passing me by." She closed her eyes and swallowed. She felt lost and confused. "Grandma, I am 29 years old. I had--have so many goals and it seems that none of them has come to fruition. The more I try the more, I get knocked down. It is too much."

"You see human beings are design rather uniquely and if something on the inside is out of order it throws us all off track." Grandma arrested Veronicaís eyes. "You got to get to root cause of the matter. That requires dealing with our situations." Grandma paused. "The good and the bad ones," The potatoes were now peeled. Grandma began to cut them up into small chunks.

"I donít feel like I am good enough, granny. I want this nasty feeling to go away. It clings to me like a spiders clings to its web. What do I do?"

Veronica leaned in close anxious to hear her grannyís sage advice. Her grandmother flashed a smile at her. "We have layers in our lives that need peeling away. Hurt, rejections fear and doubts make for a nasty recipe. Nasty. There is a root to everything. We need to get to it. The good water it. The bad. Get rid of it." Veronica averted her eyes some how feeling chastised. She wasnít ready to deal with her issue. It was too painful. She was tired of the nastiness. She wanted to feel like she belonged. She wanted to live not exist. In her mind she knew her granny was right. It was her heart that was rebelling as sheíd been hurt too many times.

"It is a nasty feeling being weighted down by negative things. You know what the sad thing about it is?" Grandma scoffed, hitting the table hard with one hand. "We donít have to keep that nasty feeling. Baby, happiness is a choice we make. You just have to make hot pursuit. Go after it." Grandma began to pick up speed as peeled the potatoes. "If you want something bad enough you go after it. No pain no gain. Failure is nasty. Doubt is nasty. Confusion is nasty. All those layers must be peeled away. No one and nothing has the power to make you feelÖnasty." Her grandmother smiled stood up placing the potato chunks into the boiling water.

"I have been making meals for many years now. I know the process each meal goes through. If I deviate from the ingredients, I know the outcome will be different. Creation takes a plan and processing. The process is well worth the end results." She went to the oven and pulled out the sourdough bread." The three loaves where perfectly golden brown, the smell aromatic.

"Youíre feeling the heat now Veronica. You have the ingredients to be successful. Faith and family. Prepare your master piece. If it is ruined try it again, until it comes out just right."

Veronica stood up and hugged her granny. "Thank you, grandma. I know what youíre telling me. I am sorry, I canít stay for dinner I have something-- I need to get started on." She broke off a huge chunk of sourdough bread, smiling at her granny she turned and left."

"I have a feeling everything is going to be all right." Granny started humming again. "Hey, grandma." The voice sounded weak. She didnít turn around. It was her grandson Oscar,. from the sound of things, he was in a bad way. She smiled, offering up a prayer of thanksgiving. It was good to be needed. She began humming; waiting for her grandson to start their discussion.


Round Table Discussions by Vanessa Richardson

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