Jamaican Independence Day or rather How I found religion

Dinner Party Guests

Last Thursday was Jamaican Independence Day. To celebrate, I decided to have a party Saturday night and make the few Jamaican dishes (and Jamaican inspired)  from my father’s country that I know. This year: Jerk chicken, grilled corn with lime-chili butter, mango salsa with deep fried plantain chips, watermelon-feta-basil salad and pigeon peas with coconut milk rice. And Red Stripe. Copius amounts of Red Stripe  — the greatest beer in the world ;).

Now, I don’t throw parties for one reason: my place is not clean enough. So this year, I finally — yes *finally* got religion and hired a cleaning woman. And let me tell you folks, I understand now why people tell me their favorite day of the week is the one which the cleaning lady comes!

Walking into my house today I felt like my living room was jumping up to hug me!  I had ALL kinds of guilt about a cleaning lady upfront. I had never had one and my parents certainly never had one. It just wierded me out (kind of the same way that the cleaning woman at work 20 years my senior INSISTS on calling me Miss Cidell even though I’ve spent the last year asking her not to).  Some of the weirded out is because I’m black, some of it because I’m just one person, a lot of it that I’m cheap, and most of it because my mom kept a house of five *sparkling* with a full time job.  All I can tell you is that when I saw my  bathroom bathroom floor so clean I could eat from it –  all that guilt went away.


A lesser miracle of sorts also happened Saturday night. For my 30th birthday my parents gave me a painting of myself. It’s based on a photo of the GREATEST hair day of my life when I was 21 and visiting them in Tennessee (Memphis to be exact). It’s about three feet by four, a good 20 pounds and hung in my living room. In the middle of Saturday’s dinner party I heard it come crashing down from the wall hitting my hardwood floors! It was so loud it sounded like someone had kicked the door in!

The hooks holding it the last three years all snapped! And, beleive it or not — it was totally undamaged! Not a single piece of broken glass, not a HAIR out of place and still a reminder of the best hair day ever.