If you ask my family about the relationship between my grandfather and I they’d probably have many stories to share. They’ll tell you he couldn’t pronounce my name and instead of calling me SaShay, Shay or Sash, he’d call me, “Sausage.” I smile at the thought because only he can call me that. My aunts and cousins always found that funny but let’s be real, if your name required an obstacle course of the tongue, he lose for lack of participation. I like to think he calls me “Sausage” because he really likes sausage or he knew I’d be hard on the outside but soft where it really matters. Or maybe he wanted to teach me no matter what people call you it doesn’t define you.
Listen, I love my granddaddy.
My granddaddy and I are partners in crime. We’d go on adventures to save high yellow damsels in distress. His mackmobile – a classic Cadillac or Lincoln Town Car—smelling of cigars and conquest. Always the good guy, never the villain.
I remember at three years old my granddaddy was assigned the responsibility of picking me up from headstart. Now, my granddaddy is a smooth cat, smooth talking and walking. I mean this brother would pick me up in style, his mackmobile blaring a cassette tape of the King of Soul, Otis Redding. I’d sit, strapped into my car seat, with less teeth in my mouth than my age, whistling “The Dock of the Bay.” Since I barely had any teeth (story for another time), I’m sure I sprinkled countless amounts of saliva on the back of the passenger’s seat. There was sure to be an adventure between the time I left school and my Ma got off from work. Even a nap was an adventure if it meant me spending time with him.
A snack for my granddaddy and I was usually at his favorite spot, Kentucky Fried Chicken. We’d cop a bucket of original recipe chicken and biscuits. Y’all ever put some honey on those biscuits? Anyway, he’d give me the drumsticks, for me it was the less difficult to navigate and I could hold in my little toddler hands. I was kinda impatient as a kid and I’m a similar adult. I’d like to say I’ve grown tremendously since then but I’m human, I’m flawed. My granddaddy, who I called “Damndaddy” just wasn’t getting the job done. I’d finish a drumstick or a biscuit while he was eating and I’d get irritable not understanding why he wasn’t handing me another piece of chicken. At the time, my eyes were much bigger than my stomach.
I starting crying. Apparently, all the folks starting looking in curiosity or pure noisiness. One woman walked by me and asked what’s wrong. And I replied, “My Damndaddy won’t give me no chicken.”
While most people were waiting on gifts that symbolized love, appreciation and hopefully commitment, I was looking forward to seeing my granddaddy on his 70th birthday and I did. S/O to my main man, Edward Butler. This poem is dedicated to you.