Both my Grandma’s have given me advice that has never left me. The strange coincidence is, as Hollywood as it may seem, both gave me the advice as I delved into large bowls of soup they had made for me!
My late Grandma, Evelyn, made me a bowl of lamb’s-neck soup. She was feeding me while my mum was away for a few days. The soup consisted of a whole lamb’s neck, marinated, placed in a bowl (Both my grandma’s assumed I was ‘skinny’. The bowl probably could have fed four – but I ate it all to be polite!) with potatoes and other vegetables, along with the natural gravy produced from roasting the lamb. DELICIOUS! I’ve probably missed some ingredients out but this is 20 years ago and I’m glad I’ve remembered what was said, as opposed to what I ate! LOL!
Not too long previous to this, I was helping to clear some furniture out of my mum’s home and I’d taken to trying to break it down using various methods, founded on rage and infused with a little Bruce Lee, applied with a small hammer!
After trying to demolish a dressing table for about 20 minutes, my Grandma came over, told me to (Insert Geordie accent here!) “Hang on, Pet!” and then proceeded to remove four or five screws from inside the dresser with a screwdriver. I remember her easing the top off and the remainder collapsing into a neat heap on the floor (As I still stood there, hammer in hand, feeling stupid!). She turned, said something witty and left me to take the rubbish to the bin.
Return to soup scene.
A piece of potato dropped from my fork and splashed soup over my top. I was more disappointed in the mess I made than frustrated but the words seemed timely, nevertheless.
“The problem is, Pet. You’re too aggressive. Take time to think about it and the problem won’t seem so big.”
I pictured myself standing in the garden, holding the hammer, again and felt just as stupid but the words never left me.
That’s not to say I became Gandhi overnight but, without doubt, over the years, I’ve become a lot calmer and lot more clearer thinking and, in many situations, it has paid dividends.
R.I.P Evelyn Rogers.
My Grandma, Linda, on my Dad’s side of the family put me up when I moved out of my mum’s at 18. I lived with her for about 2 years.
One afternoon, I came in from the gym with my top off, feeling big but, really, looking anything but!
(Insert Jamaican accent)”Darren?”
(Grandma)”How yuh body t’in so?!”
(Me)”I’ve just come from the gym!”
(Grandma)”But yuh look like crab leg!”
I was then told that I looked thin like ‘leather’ before being told that I was to be fed – a lot!
Saturday soup is the soup of kings, man. I don’t care what anyone says! Basically any meat and vegetables in the house, boiled with dumplings, yam, dashine, plaintain. Mmmmmmmm. The Lord is kind!
While sipping on the soup, my Grandma asked me about work and we spoke about it for a while. She told me how I should appreciate employment and proceeded to share some of her time, living in Jamaica, with me. Pretty fascinating stuff but then she gave me some advice I’ve never let go of (Even if I haven’t practiced it 100%!).
“ALWAYS have a steady job and develop a trade [Hustle] in case times get hard. And save 25% of every wage packet.”
I’m still working on the saving of 25% of every wage packet but I’m definitely in a position to begin climbing in that direction.
In terms of employment, I’ve ALWAYS held down some form of employment, ever since working for Reed Temping Agency at the age of 16. On the side, I’ve done numerous things. Whatever helped ends meet and whatever helped me to meet the requirements of my responsibilities. Washing cars, selling books. Now, I’m a Personal Trainer and that will continue, as I look to develop it into a personal business. In today’s economic environment, simply generating income just doesn’t cut it anymore. Ownership of assets is the ONLY way to ensure stability in old age.
I was able to see my Grandma, Linda, over the Christmas period. I hadn’t seen her for just under 5 years. It was such a special moment to me that, even though she has battled illness that has robbed her of her memories, she was able to recognise me. I could have cried. But, unfortunately, that just wouldn’t have been the Robinson way! LOL!