Excerpt of I Too Will Sing A Song
“Auntie, how long ya know Gamma?” Sharon asks as she place’s her hands under her chin, and resting her elbows on her knees.
Roberta feeling the sincerity of little Sharon’s question, replies in a compassionate tone,
“We noe each other foe a long time baby”
“Do ya feel real warm inside foe Gamma?”
“What ya mean real warm inside bout Gamma?”
“Jake say dat, when ya feel real warm inside foe somebody, dat means ya love dem ta death come.”
“Well I’s guess I’s do love yo Gamma Like dat!”
Roberta lifted her head towards the heavens with an amazing bright sparkle in
her eyes and smiled, then directed her glance and attention towards Sharon saying,
“I‘s do remember when yo Gamma was a very young pretty girl, but dat was when we’s was com'in up in da Plum valley of Mississippi some years ago.
Yea indeed, dat was a long time befoe dis day.”
Sharon sat there with much anticipation to hear the story as Roberta began to reflect on her younger years.
“I’s remember dem days as if it was just yes’taday baby.”
Roberta placing her arm around Sharon, embracing her closer as she began to reveal the story.
“When we’s was com'in up in dat Plum valley of Mississippi, dae says dat a
old Mandingo slave who was brought from Africa give it da name Plum valley.
It was called da Black soil land of Mississippi at first. Dae called it Black soil land cause der was so many slaves dar - dat da dirt turned black and rich from dem strut’in around on it.
Dat ground was so rich, dat when a seed of cotton was planted in dat ground- it seemed like it pop up over night, an'a it could be picked da next day.
Anyway, der was dis ole slave owner dat had a lot of dat land, an'a he’s got a hold of dat ole Mandingo when dae first got him off da boat from Africa.
Dae took dat African to dem rich black soiled fields of cotton dat da Ole Mas'sa owned, and put him ta work in dem fields pick'in dat cotton.
Dat ole Mandingo slave had dis ole pouch full of some strange seeds dat he bring wit him from Africa, and dae say dat every time dat Mandingo dent ov'a ta pick dat cotton, he planted one of dem strange seeds.
After a time of dis go’in on wit dat ole African pick'in an'a plant'in, Ole Mas'sa woke up one day, an'a all his cotton was'a gone! Nut’in but plum trees was in dae place.
Ole Mas'sa got so angry an'a mean wit dat Mandingo, dat he took hold of dat Mandingo an'a put a chain on his arms an'a feets so dae can hang him in one of dem plum trees he planted.
When dae got hold of him, an'a slung dat chain up round dat branch of one of dem plum trees, dat ole Mandingo got’a talk’in in dat African talk, an'a it got’ta light’in an'a thunda'in so - dat da sky turned so dark dae say, dat da lighting was da only thang dat Ole Mas'sa had ta see by when it cracked in dem skies over dae head.
After da dark was over dae head foe a little while, a little piece of light peeked from da darkness dae was in, an'a Ole Mas'sa seen dat Ole Mandingo just vanish in da thin air.
Ole Mas'sa was so spooked when he see's dat, he ran down through dem trees of plums yell’in like he was crazy an'a vanished too!
Dae say dat Ole Mas'sa, an'a dat ole Mandingo when da season come foe dem plums ta bloom, dae be fighting an'a run'in around dem plum trees while Ole Mas'sa be try’in ta hinder da bloom'in of dem plums.
Dae say dat da African Mandingo be chase'in Ole Mas'sa around ta keep da bloom’in of dem plums ta com’in like it pose too!
All dem slaves dat was liv’in in dat valley back den got’a hold of dem seeds, and just kept on plant’in an'a pick’in as if Mas'sa was com’in back da next day.
Every year since dat time when dem plums be right foe pick’in, dae have a big plum festival where dae be hav’in bushels of big sweet purple plums, an'a plum jams an'a pie’s dae be sell’in in bunches.
Dae be hav’in a picnic, an'a dae food will please yo taste buds an'a make yo little tummy happy.
Da little chil’ren be run’in round dem plum trees just'a laugh’in an'a sing'in
“Ole Mas'sa run, run, run, dat Ole Mandingo is plant’in dem plums.”
Roberta blithely began to sing the song “Ole Mas'sa run, run, run” clapping her hands and rocking side to side, and little Sharon clapping along with her as she patted her little feet and nodded her head to the harmony of Roberta’s words to the song.