It was back in early December of 1984, and I was in NY to spend the Christmas vacation with my relatives. My mother, step-father, and brother would join us the day after Christmas. Till then, I was enjoying every moment and all the perks of being in Brooklyn NY. No school, going out to buy the latest in G.I. Joe action figures and comics, but most importantly checking out the latest cartoons that were gracing the channels at that time.
One cartoon that I would become a die hard fan of was Voltron, at that time there were two versions. The first was the one with the Lions that could be seen twice daily (mornings and afternoons) Monday to Friday, the second was the one with the Vehicles that could be seen on Saturday and Sunday mornings just before Transformers. As luck with have it, Voltorn was part of the cartoon lineup on Channel 11 WPIX NY( long before it became the WB and then the CW). Which was one of my favorite channels to watch. On this particular afternoon I had been eagerly awaiting the commencement of the latest episode, after going through the entire day doing any and everything to pass the time till the cartoons came on. I read books, watched shows on PBS, and even the WPIX Afternoon movie while waiting for Voltron.
With the afternoon movie out of the way the Magical Garden with Paula and Carol lead the way into the cartoons. First up was Tom and Jerry, followed by The Super Friends, Heath-Cliff, before getting onto Voltron. As the introduction was now starting my grandmother told me that we would be going to downtown Brooklyn to do some shopping. That was the one thing that I did not want to hear. Especially not as Voltron was about to begin. I told her to go on ahead and that I would stay home by myself. That idea was rejected, and instead I was "Ordered" to get my coat and be ready to leave in ten minutes.
I was left with only one option. I had to stall. Every time my grandmother came to call me to leave I would ask her for five more minutes, just another five more minutes. Normally I liked watching the commercials, but this was the first time I wished that there were none to get in the way. Thankfully I managed to see the entire episode, from beginning right to the aftermath with the battle against the guest Ro-Beast. And good thing too, as my grandmother was ready to loose it. Needless to say during the subway trip to downtown Brooklyn I kept quiet and was one my BEST behavior with my grandmother. When we went into Mays department store to spend an eternity on the floors dealing with clothing, curtains and mats. I kept quiet and did not even ask to go up to the 4th floor to the Toy Department to look around.
By the time we finally exited Mays with several bags worth of shopping it was close to six in the evening and dark like midnight outside. Did I forget to mention that it was also cold? Well it was!! So ma asked if I wanted something to eat? I was surprised by this, after all the stalling that I did to watch Voltron and delay her shopping she was willing to still feed me? Yes, I replied, and we set out looking for someplace to get something to eat before catching the bus back to Bergen Street. At the time we were in the vicinity of the Brooklyn campus of Long Island University where my youngest aunt was a student at the time, and in this area there was a wide variety of places where one could get something to eat. We crossed a busy street to a Burger King, only to walk past it. Okay, I said to myself, maybe we'll be going to the McDonald's close to the mall by LIU. We headed in that direction, but did not even get close. We went into the mall and my hopes rose, as this was the mall that had the great tasting pizza. Nope not even close. We went through a few stores then back out into the cold.
Not too far from the bus stop was a hot dog vendor, and that was what my grandmother got me to eat. Before I could tell the vendor what I wanted on my hot dog, ma told her to put mustard and beans on it. Back then I did not like mustard and would not eat anything that had mustard on it. There we stood, with a whole bunch of shopping bags, me with a steaming hot hot dog covered in mustard and beans. Ma then told me to hurry up and eat it all, as no eating was not allowed on the bus and she did not want to miss it. As if to drive it home, she pointed out the bus that was five blocks away ans creeping ever closer. With no other choice, I began to eat as fast as I could. Ignoring the burning heat from the hot dog and the toppings I finished it when the bus was still two blocks away. As we boarded the bus ma told me, "The next time I tell you to get ready to go down de road, get yuh self ready to go!! Yuh real lucky this time!!" The hot dog with mustard and beans was punishment enough, added to that was the extra long walk from the bus stop for several blocks back to Bergan Street.
Thankfully there were never any repeats of that type of incident with my grandmother or any other family member. By that time I head learnt how to set the vcr to record whenever I had to go out with relatives, or to look out for the repeats on weekends. Kids today have it so good, in that they not only have the option of catching repeats on weekends. They can also check for the episodes of their favorite shows on the net, youtube or saving it on their DVR. As a footnote I would not eat anything with mustard till I was seventeen, as long as there was ketchup in the mix then it was okay.