Big Mama Emma

Big Mama Emma 


She’d been born in Mississippi at a time when her twelve sisters and brothers were younger spending most of the time helping to care for them with her mother while her charcoal black, Cherokee Indian dad ran his own smoke meat house and supply store. 

House mom 

She was stern with us, 
a wiz in the kitchen, 
with a needle and thread, 
anything domestic, 
a master of so much, 
she didn’t really teach us girls how to do the cooking. 
Her meals could never be topped or duplicated. 
Measuring tools were in the cusp of her hands, 
kneading the dough. 
Molding baked goods was within the strength of her wrist. 
She was miles ahead of us 
so why bother! 

When she wasn’t doing that she’d be sitting at the kitchen table reading scripture. 
She’d learned some words in her life and used that to plow through miraculously. 
We all taught her a little. 
And she wasn’t embarrassed. 
Not one bit. 

Sundays she’d wear beautiful hats, 
furs around her neck, 
and lovely dresses and shoes. 
She knew just how to whip herself into shape… 
into an elegant woman who would sit at the front of the church in the pew next to the pastor’s wife.

Jeri Brown, 2016