Nanny’s kitchen

The floor was red linoleum. The walls
cream above the molding and red 
running down to the floor. There was
one window over the table where we
ate weekday dinners. Where 
Nanny sat and minced lettuce, carrots
and onions on a piece of newspaper before
adding mayonaise... or was it Miracle Whip
to make her signature salad. 

A stranger surprised Nanny at the 
kitchen door while she was held the same
knife. Looking right at him, whatever
she said made him leave, quickly.

The little refrigerator with creamery ice cream in
ice cube trays and glass storage bowls
with cloth caps. On top sat the radio that
played soap operas sometimes. A small trash can with
step peddle to open with a tiny amount of trash and
garbage, mostly being cut up for the birds.

During heat waves, my mother and
her sister dragged their mattress down
to the kitchen and slept on the red floor
between the open doors of kitchen and
living room. A small cool in the Detroit
summer of heat.

The summer we stayed there, my sister and I 
sat evenings with Poppy. While he drank a big
glass of buttermilk, we played Sorry! 
Eating Ritz crackers with
grated cheese.

Summer Saturdays Nanny and our mothers washed
the dishes, a pan of dishwater and a pan for
rinse water, while my cousins and I
played outside in the backyard. Never
being asked to help. Giving them time 
alone to talk.