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Boss of the Sauce

I've never been the one for holidays, but if I were to pick my favorite it would have to be Thanksgiving. There's nothing like walking into the house and smelling the clashing of sweet aromas that fill my nose will love. I'm already salivating before I put the key in the door to enter my parent's house. I picked up some rolls and eggs from our hometown store Wegmans on Wake Forest Road.

It took 18 years since we moved to North Carolina for Wegmans to make its way to the Tar Heel state. I remember growing up and getting muffins from Tops grocery store and grabbing the famous Boss Sauce from Wegmans. "The boss of the sauce," as my older cousin would say that stayed with 11 other siblings in Buffalo, New York.

My mom and sister waited outside upon Wegman's grand opening. The line wrapped around the building, the anticipation resembled the drop of a new pair of Jordan's. Wegmans started in Rochester, New York as a kiosk on the side of the road, somehow my family got interviewed and were on live TV. I applied for a job at the company and while waiting for my turn, the grand opening was on TV on a reel showing all the cities and I saw my family once again. I thought that to be a good omen.

I didn't get the job though.

As soon as I stepped foot inside my mom put me to work, as I knew she would. Petting the dogs and washing my hands I start to set up the table putting placemats out on the patio. She wanted me to use the etiquette I learned in college and place the forks and glasses correctly.

We were only having family over, I never understood why she always wanted to go all out. As a kid, we used to wipe off the plants when guest came over to stay, regardless of who it was. It's an inside joke to this day, and I still catch my mother wiping off the plants. Although, she has graduated to live organisms gardening in the yard and having pots throughout the house.

After I set the table I helped clean off the island and tidy up the living room while the rest of the family put their finishing touches on their specific dishes. I haven't upgraded to having a designated dish to prepare but I'm proficient in the kitchen and can fill in at any given moment.

I took a second to watch and imagine which family traditions I'm going to implement, taking ideas from here and there molding my own. Putting my daughters and future kids to work teaching them their way around a kitchen. I plan on learning a wider variety of meals so that I don't have to cook the same thing for at least two weeks. I also want to show my daughters and future sons that a man should know how to cook, at least the basics.

My uncle, aunt and cousins moved down from Rochester earlier this year and they came over to celebrate. He was always one of our closest relatives and I'm grateful to have blood in close proximity. I can go over and knock just to check on my little cousins and wrestle with them as if I were ten years old again.

I do understand, to an extent, those who don't want to move places without having someone they know or family around. It's nice to have security, but I think the adventure of a new place is exciting. The opportunities looming around every corner, and I like to think about the new relationships that I will create. It really does excite me, that's a major reason why I apply to jobs in other cities.

The food was as delicious as it smelled, I took some pills for lactose intolerance so that I could eat my sister's famous mac and cheese. My mom made all the sides, my dad made the sweet potato pie and yams, and my older brother over the stove cooked his signature pineapple upside down cake. My younger brother took care of the salmon. Our cousins brought the turkey a side and a native dish that reminded me of Taj Mahal in Germany.

Learning that it was made with some of the same spices made sense and brought me back to basketball overseas. I truly enjoyed my time out there, I wish that I could've stayed longer but my plans to fly out Amelia and her mom so soon may have been detrimental.

People say everything happens for a reason. Maybe so.

It was Thanksgiving so football played on the TV, I forget who was playing since I wasn't playing much attention to it. I enjoy watching the sport more when I know someone personally on the field, like my brother when he goes to play rugby professionally. I think that will be an awesome experience and I pray that it helps propel him to his ultimate goal of hawking on the gridiron.

Night fell early, and we finished up with dessert and conversation. The dogs yapped at each other all night long having to leash and separate each one. I left following the footsteps of my cousins having to take a similar route because I had to pick up a package for a friend.

A female friend, that really is just a friend. Which is a rarity for me honestly, sometimes it's hard for me not to cross that line just cause I want to. It's good to have a friend of the opposite sex though, has helped me with insight on other women or how I should approach a situation.

I started to pick up video games again for decompressing and while I was playing online I received a text from the group chat. One of my family just had a positive Covid test result, the night of Thanksgiving. I didn't fear that I would contract to virus, I just knew that I would have to quarantine and stay at home for awhile. I was hoping that it wouldn't affect my part time job.

The rest of my family has already received their results and are negative and I believe that I am too. The thought of having it is unsettling because it affects everybody in different ways, and I did not want to be taken out by a virus. By something that is out of my control, I already have to deal with that enough.

The time in quarantine reminds me of when the virus first took over the world, I found myself with ample time to wind down. Staying on the go seven days a week essentially my body often drifts off to sleep if I sit down for more than five minutes. Working two jobs and being an entrepreneur gets exhausting at times, along with coming up with ways to be the best father I can be.

I received a response from Amelia's mom this weekend but nothing came of it but bitterness and anger. I've been doing a lot better by holding my tongue and letting her say whatever it is that makes her happy. I just want to be in my daughter's life and she wants me out of it continuing to mention Amara and her mother.

It's obvious she is still upset about the whole situation, she probably regrets leaving. Who knows though, I just want my daughter and this time is giving me a chance to learn how to file for joint custody myself. Lawyers left a bad taste in my mouth concerning my daughter, I feel like I can only trust myself to fight the right way for her.

I'm learning joint custody is not that hard to get either, but I'm going to have to prove a lot in court. It's all going to make me a better person at the end of the day, everything happens for a reason right?

Now I'm in quarantine, I missed two key workouts with the professional basketball team in the area. I wanted to get acquainted with a G-League coach that I knew would be running the workout. Last time I was with him he had me doubled over gasping for air, and all that know me know that I'm prideful about how good of shape I'm in. After that day I had to readjust where exactly does my standard of "in shape" lie when it comes to the G-League and the NBA.

I'm going to get back on my game though and I'm excited about it. The trainer and part owner of the team reached out to me to check in and make sure I was still feeling healthy. I told him I was and he expressed that he is happy to have me back and hopes that I get well soon. Makes me feel good that I'm still wanted in that organization, it's going to be fun donning a jersey again. I'm going to make sure it's memorable, want my daughters to see me on the court and hopefully it'll influence them to the game.

Hopefully.

Amelia and Amara, daddy loves you.

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