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His Homesick Discourse Sat, Apr 30, 11:02 AM (7 days ago)
Coming from a background of growing up in the country where growing your own garden was common, doing chores consisting of picking buckets of tomatoes, squash, okra, cucumbers, and zucchini, Life was country.
When I came to prison in 2013, they stripped away the grass and home which turned into a chain-link fence and concrete. The sunshine turned into a lightbulb on the wall or a smudge of sun, shining through a water-stained foggy window.
The food turned from farm-fresh vegetables and fresh meat to processed meat and canned foods, not to mention the group of people living around you. The feeling of despondency can be stronger than ever when sitting in your bunk staring at a cement wall that is now sweating from the heat and moisture in the walls. It wasn’t in the bunk that I felt a sense of home or in the halls.
The fights that I was in over the years never gave it to me. Working out on the rec yard did at times but the institutional thought of a person trying to get down on me by skipping me in a set always disrupted me. Working while incarcerated would do it on occasion, but you always have that racially divided cloud in the air that no one discusses but they know it well and understand it. They always look at life events as an effect of a white or black thing, not a person but their color.
It was when I first hit Garza West. I was already in medium custody because the officer caught me with hooch in my locker. So, I was now living a lower than low life with all the knuckleheads. Weeks went by, and the summer heat started to beat down on us all day and all night. I would lie in bed, sweating nonstop, only to wake up in a pool of sweat on a sheet-covered plastic mat. This is what happens when summer rolls around, but at the time, I didn’t know prisons operated this way. This is the same time of year that the fresh vegetables start rolling in from the fields.
I don't even remember what they had for the main course that day. I didn’t even worry about the three layers of skin that the hot food pulled off the roof of my mouth. I didn't remember the three minutes they allotted for us to eat before an officer screamed at us to leave or get a disciplinary case. I do remember that moment when I saw those freshly cut zucchinis in water that they scooped onto my blue tray, giving me a glimpse of home.
When I sat down to eat the scalding hot zucchini, my heart and mind stopped to cherish the slice of heaven. Since they had deprived me of fresh food while in County Jail, I knew this was the closest to home I had been since I came to prison. As I bit into the fresh zucchini, the whole noisy chow hall turned to classical music as my mind raced back to the memories of eating fresh vegetables around the table, while smiling at my family. I was there in my place at home for just a moment. To this day I still eat my fresh vegetables slowly and easily if they aren't rotten. Yes, in prison they cook and serve rotten food. They always take me back to the days when I grew up on the farm and cooking and eating with family.
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