Adventures of a HAWT Caregiver & DOPE Pop – Channeling Chef Pop

Today I felt transported back to my childhood, to my teens, and then my young adult years. On a Sunday when Pop began cooking early and the delicious aromas filled the apartment. When I would visit from college and after I officially moved, one of my favorite requested Trinidadian meals was Cou-Cou, Stewed Fish (King or Red Snapper) or Salt Fish, Callaloo, and Fried Plantain.

Early December Pop requested to prepare this meal. However, after doing the shopping I was informed that the gas in the building would need to be shut off indefinitely. So as not to waste the Red Snapper (cause it cost a grip at Whole Foods), I seasoned it and off to the freezer it went. Well, the gas was FINALLY (Yeah, that’s another story) restored a couple of days ago. And, wallah.


Here we have Cou-Cou, Stewed Red Snapper, Callaloo, and Fried Plantain. You have to understand the significance of this moment as this is the first time I’ve ever prepared Cou-Cou and Callaloo. Yep! And, my brother Greg said “This is better than a lot of places sis.” “You ever thought about opening a restaurant?” You can cook sis. When you want to.” Yeah, cause I’m not a consistent cooker.

What I know is I’m a good watcher and cooking is in my blood after all with my Trinidadian and Bajan roots. My father and mother never gave me lessons, however, DNA and roaming in and out of the kitchen served me well.


I would imagine Pop was watching over me today to give a measuring nudge here and there. However, for the Cou-Cou I did look up a Bajan recipe as their Cou-Cou (main ingredients are corn meal and okra) has a very nice texture. While seemingly simple, similar to grits, you can easily go left when preparing Cou-Cou. It’s all about the proper liquid measurements and consistent stirring. And, I went out on a limb with the Callaloo, going from my memory of watching. Callaloo is spinach and okra with a piece of smoked Turkey. Pop would use pig tail. A cousin puts crab legs.

For my meal, the textures and the seasonings are perfect. And, the fact that the fish was marinating in its seasonings for a few weeks… Ooooo Weeeee!!! Tasty! Perhaps I’ll create a new tradition, and have this meal become my annual New Years Day meal in honor of Pop. I’m sure he’d loved that. Bon Appetit! Enjoy! 🇧🇧🇹🇹 #BeDoLove #FindYourZen #LivingOutLoud #BeDoLoveSAVOR #BonAppetit #IChefToWriteAboutIt #BirthAndLiveYourSoulFULLPurpose #Yummylicious #Yummyliciousness #Foodie #FoodieLife #FoodPorn #ExpandYourPalate #Trinidad #Barbados #WestIndianFood #CaribbeanFood


“Cou-Cou consists mainly of cornmeal (corn flour) and okra (ochroes). Because these main components are inexpensive, the dish became common for many residents in Barbados’ early colonial history. Cou-Cou derives from the island’s African ancestry and was a regular meal for those slaves who were brought over from Africa to Barbados. Traditionally served on Fridays, Cou-Cou and flying fish is Barbados’ national dish. In Trinidad and Tobago, Cou-Cou (or coo-coo) is often prepared alongside Callaloo and either stewed or fried fish. In Ghana, a similar meal of fermented corn or maize flour eaten with okra stew and fish is known as banku, a favorite dish of the Ga tribe in Accra.” —Wikipedia

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It is Well with Pop’s Soul – Part I – Adventures of a HAWT Caregiver & DOPE Pop


Well, here we are. My brothers (Terence, Gregory, and Alec) and I had the honor of releasing our 91 years young father while at home Friday, December 25, 2020 around 4:05pm to depart and be with The Ancestors and to joyfully become our personal Angel!


As my brother Greg put it, “Pop went out like a man’s man.” I’ll add that Pop transitioned as the magical spiritual warrior that he is. Yes, Enric Quentin Boxill embarked on his new assignment on Christmas Day. “CHRISTMAS.DAY.Y’ALL!!!” As my dear friend and spiritual midwife La Tonia said “What an elegant departure is all I keep hearing… So classy!”


How else is Pop magical? My brother Greg, witnessed Pop take his last breath at the same time I was logging on to our family Christmas Zoom gathering. It was perfect as being with family at that time allowed for the blow of his passing to not be so intense and dramatic. It was easy and graceful, just like him. And, if you’re wondering, we decided it was best to wait until after the zoom to share the news. My family says the Oscar should go to me.


How else is Pop magical? Pop was a masterful OG charmer. The ladies (and men) loooooved Pop. When he was in the hospital followed by hospice care, the nurses loved taking care of him as he was easy, gracious, and often had them blushing. Well, as he was prepared to exit my place, it was done by whom? Women! The hospice nurse came to declare his death. Followed by two Black young ladies arriving from the funeral home to carry him off. My brothers were in awe after realizing no men were coming behind them to support them. I was like “Pop is something else.” 🤷🏽‍♀️


Pop fought a good fight against cancer, going way past the time the doctors predicted. Pop had shown that “It’s Still a Wonderful Life,” despite the trials and tribulations. And, it is indeed well with his soul. Our family is so blessed and grateful to have had Pop here at least through this Christmas. God is awesome.

It will always be an honor to have been of contribution to Pop with providing a safe space for him to live and breathe. As my divine assignment has come to an end (with the exception of working on arrangements), I pray and desire that I too can live my life with the peace, the ability to inspire, ease, fun, wonder, love, and grace that Pop mastered. As my dear Bison friend and client, Marcia Watts said, “Pop was living even as he was transitioning. That’s the lesson I got from him, is to live.” I pray and wish that for us all. As Pop would say, “Have a good day. Be safe. Don’t work too hard. Love!” Be blessed. Be grateful. Be safe. Be well. Enjoy. Peace. Live. Love. PS: Pop is being cremated. And, we’ll inform of arrangements as they are developed. #BeDoLove #91YearsYoung #CareGiversMatter #CareGiver #CareGivers #FindYourZen #LivingOutLoud

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Adventures of a HAWT Caregiver & DOPE Pop – Happy Holidays


Pop has always had a love and appreciation for card giving. He and my mom both, selecting perfectly beautiful and thoughtful cards. An art form I am grateful to have inherited. (tee hee)


Pop: I want to send Christmas cards.

Me: Okay. (Thinking that’s nothing unusual.)

Pop: I want to take a picture.

Me: 👀 Okay. (Seems like Pop has gotten comfortable with my picture taking. 😆)

Pop: (pause) That was easy. 😆😆😆

These beautiful cards were mailed to family and friends and received without delay.


Our family is so blessed and grateful to have Pop here for another holiday season. God is awesome. Pop has shown that “It’s Still a Wonderful Life,” even as he’s gone toe to toe with cancer to live and love another and another and another day. Through it all, Pop is such a loving and dope example of how to walk with grace, perseverance, fun, laughter, thoughtfulness, ease, joy, and boundless love.


Thank you all for being such a wonderful source of support for Pop, me, and the Boxill family, especially during this challenging year. We look forward to better days ahead in 2021 and to reunite with love and joy.


During this holiday season, please love up on those who may be struggling, especially the caregivers in your life. Someone needs your love and support today and always, especially during this pandemic.


Wishing you and your loved ones peace and joy during this holiday season and in the new year!


– With all of our love and gratitude, Pop and The Boxill Family


PS: Be blessed. Be grateful. Enjoy. Peace. Be safe. Be well. Love. #BeDoLove #91YearsYoung #CareGiversMatter #CareGiver #CareGivers #FindYourZen #LivingOutLoud

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Adventures of a HAWT Caregiver & DOPE Pop – Boxill Family History Time

It’s so crucial to tap into your elders for family history. And, it’s never too early. My Cousin Crystal recently reached out to gather the elders in order to collect the Boxill family history in order to digitize and archive.


Today we had a zoom that included Cousin Sylvia (not pictured-audio only), who is Pop’s 99 year-old first cousin. Pop who is 91. And, Aunt Vilma, who is Pop’s 87 year-old sister. We are so grateful and blessed that they are still here, present, focused, and able to contribute. We were able to collaborate on collecting a lot of information. The holes will be filled in during part two.


One interesting fact is, while I speak often of Trinidad, it wasn’t clear to me until recent years that my great grandparents on both sides of my family (Boxill and Clarke) were from Barbados. It sheds a bright light on why I also love Barbados so much. It’s the best of both Caribbean worlds.


Thank you Cousin Crystal for getting us together today. Pop really enjoyed the time. He was dropping some nuggets to include the dramas. We all got em. They were surprised at how much he remembers. I can’t wait to hear more from the elders and other family members and to see what is created.


Afterwards Pop said “You people are getting old. The older you live, the longer you live.” 😆 🤦🏽‍♀️ Be blessed. Be grateful. Enjoy. Peace. Be safe. Be well. Love. #BeDoLove #91YearsYoung #CareGiversMatter #CareGiver #CareGivers #FindYourZen #LivingOutLoud #Trinidad #Barbados

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Adventures of a HAWT Caregiver & DOPE Pop – Thanksgiving Day Morning Pop Talk

This morning at 7amish, I check on Pop as I exit the bathroom. Pop says “Let’s have some coffee together.”Mind you, I thought I was going to get a nice quick zzzz. Thinking if I drink coffee right now, that’s it, I’m up. Maxwell House coffee break won with our favorite mugs.

I give thanks and am grateful today that on Thursday, November 26, 2020 Pop is still with us, sipping coffee, dropping nuggets, taking ish, and laughing.

He’s going from topic to topic. The Supreme Court on NY church/synagogue court case. Flynn. Rush and Freedom of something medal. Obama “Amazing man. He had the love and everything else.” Sean Connery in TMC movie late last night with Ossie Davis. Tonight’s NFL game cancellation. “Big game. I was biting for that one. That’s alright. I’ll pretend the Steelers won.” Now he randomly requested “Laurel and Hardy.” And, now we are watching the Macy’s Day Parade in between Pop’s family/Trinidad/steel pan history nuggets. How appropriate as he was talking history the parade’s Caribbean masqueraders and steel pan performance came on. Pop: That’s beautiful. Turn that up. 🇹🇹

Oh, and Pop declared he was getting ready for Thanksgiving. I guess it’s a Howard kind of day. HUUUUU… U Know!!!


Happy Thanksgiving! Be blessed. Be grateful. Enjoy. Peace. Be safe. Be well. Love. #BeDoLove #91YearsYoung #CareGiversMatter #CareGiver #CareGivers FindYourZen #LivingOutLoud

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Adventures of a HAWT Caregiver & DOPE Pop – Honoring Pop the Army Veteran

Picture was taken when Pop married my mom.

Something very special and magical happened this past 9/11. Pop described it as “AMAZING” and “BLOCKBUSTER!” Before I go into detail, first I’d like to say thank YOU and Happy Veterans to all the veterans.

The Montgomery Hospice & Prince George’s Hospice did a beautiful thing by honoring Pop with a Veteran’s Pinning Ceremony this past 9/11. It was a celebration and recognition of Pop’s service in the Army and is typically done in person. However, due to COVID it was via zoom, which worked out great to allow for family and friends from near and far to join in.

Michael Oliver (the veteran’s volunteer) led the celebration with engaging Pop and sharing details of his service from my covert pre-interviews. Read more about it below. And, review the full zoom recording here and excerpts in the image and comments. It really was nice.

Also during the ceremony, which included Micheal’s thoughtful acknowledgment of Pop’s service, our nurse Christina was on hand to present the items, which consisted of a certificate, pin, star, and blanket. [at 0:08:00 of above YouTube video link] And, Chaplain Renee [0:25:23] and Travonne our Social Worker [0:31:30] were also in attendance. And, we got a chuckle out of how Pop almost got kicked out of hospice. [0:31:25] They really are a professional and caring team. Sidebar: We took the time to acknowledge Christina for her amazing service as a hospice nurse and the way she loves up on Pop always with a heart warming smile. She was pregnant at the time and we gifted her with a card and baby gift. She’s currently on maternity leave and we miss her. [0:27:21]

Pop and Nurse Christina

The funny part is the event was a surprise. I told Pop we were having a zoom and requested that he wear a button down shirt. Nurse Christina came as if only to do her visit. When it’s time for the zoom he comes out in a hoodie… I was like, Pop… He went and changed

The cool part was Pop wearing his nearly 70 year-old Army jacket and my brother Greg reminiscing about it. They were surprised that I’ve had it for quite some time. [0:22:11]

A very special moment was my cousin, Sargent First Class Santina sharing her thoughts about her joining the Army and being inspired by Pop. She is often the youngest and most decorated in the room. And, Pop was in awe and proud of Santina’s rank position in just 14 years of service. [0:20:09] She also chimed in to explain the star that was one of the gifts and how they are usually stars from an actual flag that’s gifted to veterans. [0:13:05]

Sargent First Class

It was truly a beautiful experience. So much so that immediately afterwards and the days proceeding the event, Pop was still expressing his amazement of it all. Feeling like how did he deserve such an honoring. [0:32:25]

About Pop’s Service:

Enric Q. Boxill came to the U.S. on March 6, 1949, joining his mother and sisters who were already living in Harlem. Two years after arriving here and a few weeks shy of turning 22, Pop was drafted into the Army, serving two years from May 22, 1951-May 23, 1953.

When Pop was asked why he joined the Army, he said “I was told to.” If not, he would have had to return to Trinidad. [0:00:03]

When he joined the Army, he wasn’t a U.S. citizen. During those times he would have had to serve at least three years before becoming a citizen. [0:18:00]

His basic training took place at Ft. Nix in New Jersey. And, he served in the Special Services Unit 4077 at Ft. Myer in Arlington, VA. There he first delivered the Daily Bulletin on the base. And, later he worked in the Post Office doing change of addresses for officers passing through. [0:02:50]

This particular base was a stop for enlisted celebrities and athletes. He saw celebrity soldiers like Eddie Fisher (Debbie Reynolds father and married to Elizabeth Taylor) and Vic DeMoan. And, he would run in the morning with a boxer in training so he could get the good eggs and not Army eggs. [0:03:45]

At that time the troops were segregated. All Black units existed until just before he stopped serving. The majority of Black troops had duties other than combat, such as kitchen duty, orderlies, etc. [0:05:27]

During his spare time, on occasion Pop would travel into DC to listen to jazz greats such as saxophonist Gerry Mulligan. Probably visiting the U Street area, also known as Black Broadway back then. [0:02:50]

Shortly after Pop was drafted into the Army, his brother Clive enlisted in the Air Force.

Watching the recording last night filled me with gratitude for the moment and for Pop knowing he is appreciated and loved. Peace. Be safe. Love. #BeDoLove #91YearsYoung #CareGiversMatter #CareGiver #CareGivers FindYourZen #LivingOutLoud #VeteransDay #Veteran #ArmyVeteran

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Morning Pop Talk – Music Soothes…


Bless his heart. I thought Pop went to sleep for the night. Next thing I know around 2:30am I’m awakened to him yelling and cussing 🤬at the top of his lungs as he just heard the I won speech. As I went for a late night relief 🚽, I stopped to check on Pop and calm him so he didn’t also wake the neighbors.


Well fast forward to almost 7am and Pop is now practicing self-care while listening/napping to classical music 🎼 🎻 🎹 . See/Listen for yourself here: And, be like Pop. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. And, practice whatever self-care works for you. I think I’m going to try my hand at baking some Banana Chocolate Bread Pudding Cups.


As Pop would say, “Have a good day. Be safe. Don’t work too hard. Love!” Peace. 🙏🏾

#BeDoLove #MorningPopTalk #91YearsYoung #CareGiversMatter #CareGiver #CareGivers #FindYourZen

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Adventures of a HAWT Caregiver & DOPE Pop – GO VOTE!

Pop thinks his first time voting for the President of the United States was for John F. Kennedy in 1959. He hadn’t voted prior to that because he wasn’t a US citizen (Became a citizen around 1954.). I asked what would he consider the most important election for him. His response was Lyndon B. Johnson in 1962 because of the Civil Rights movement. Last night I watched “LBJ” on Amazon, which provided some great perspective. Check out Pop’s video for more on his thoughts. He’s concerned that he may have committed treason. 🧐😆

And, with this probably being his 2nd most important election, Pop was clear he wanted to vote in this election. Needed to vote. So off I went to obtain his ballet mailed from Kings County (Brooklyn). Earlier this month, I mailed his ballet and dropped mine off at the Maryland State Board of Elections because I wanted no parts in random ballet box shenanigans.

I’m grateful to have been present to support Pop with completing his ballet. To include catching him, placing an x instead of filling in the bubbles. There was no room for having his vote not count. And, I’m relieved that both of our ballets were received and confirmed.

So to Biden and Kamala Harris, Democratic candidate for the Vice President of the United States and our Howard University Bison Crew, “HUUUUU… U Know!” Enjoy! Love! VOTE! #BeDoLove #91YearsYoung #CareGiversMatter #FindYourZen #LivingOutLoud #InTruthAndService

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Adventures of a HAWT Caregiver & DOPE POP – Yummylicious Pastrami Reuben

My yummy version of a Pastrami Reuben.

I fell in love with pastrami as a young girl. Pop would on occasion treat us to pastrami from Katz Delicatessen. Arriving home with it deliciously sliced and wrapped in the white butcher type paper. Since Pop’s Katz trips were on occasion, I would get my in between fixes with the neighborhood bodega’s pastrami hero sandwiches, warmed of course.


Fast forward, here is my version of a Pastrami Reuben. Previously, when out, I would always substitute the rye bread for something like sourdough. This also occurred with Patty Melts. The rye was just too much for my palate. Now look at me? In 2020, marble rye has become my new culinary BFF, as a result of a recent visit to The Bagelry in Silver Spring where the marble rye bagel was recommended for the reuben.


My version of a Pastrami Reuben has pastrami (over corned beef), guyere cheese (instead of Swiss), cole slaw (prefer over sauerkraut), thousand island dressing, and caramelized onions (added touch) on pan toasted buttered marble rye bread. I happened upon the Capital Baking Company marble rye bread (Giant’s deli counter) which is so good with great texture, thickness, and flavor. Hmm… Hmm… Good… with lots of yummy drippings (what slides down your hand). 😋😍 PS: Pop approved. Bon Appetit. Enjoy! Love! #BeDoLove #91YearsYoung #CareGiversMatter #FindYourZen #LivingOutLoud #BeDoLoveSAVOR #BonAppetit #IChefToWriteAboutIt #Yummylicious #Yummyliciousness #Foodie #FoodieLife #ExpandYourPalate #Pastrami #PastramiReuben

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Adventures of a HAWT Caregiver & DOPE POP – Liming with Pop

This was me and my cool a$$ Pop exactly 50 years ago today in 1970 at the annual Labor Day West Indian Day Parade on Eastern Parkway in my beloved Crown Heights, Brooklyn. I was almost three months shy of my fourth birthday. I am posting it today on Labor Day in honor of my family and friends, and especially my father and mother (both Trinidadians). After carnival in Trinidad (the crème de la crème of Caribbean carnivals), Brooklyn’s is next in line across the world. This parade has grown to now play host to at least 1.0 million revelers. Of course due to COVID it’s not taking place in its normal format. However, the New Yorker’s West Indian spirit is not to be stopped from celebrating/liming in their own way.

Pop and Aunt Barbara supporting Uncle Clyde with his costume at Brooklyn’s West Indian Day Parade in the 1970s.
Aunt Barbara and Uncle Clyde at Brooklyn’s West Indian Day Parade in the 1970s.

I noticed something interesting, when I went off to Howard University and in my later years. It became the one time of year my dad ALWAYS wanted me to come home. Not Christmas. Not Thanksgiving. Not his birthday. But, for the weekend of the Labor Day West Indian Parade. So much so, he’d attempt to entice me with, “I’m cooking cod fish and coco this weekend.” And/or he’d ask “You coming up?” “You here?” And, when I didn’t travel, I could feel the energy of his pout as this event has been steeped in family tradition for many, many years.

Celebrating with my Brooklyn St. Mark Massive on Eastern Parkway.
My nephew Clive holding down family traditions. At 2019 West Indian Day Parade in Brooklyn.

In the 1940s-1950s, both sides of my family (grandparents, aunts, uncles) migrated to Harlem from Trinidad. The first Caribbean carnivals in NYC took place in Harlem and then moved to Brooklyn. Pop said the parades could have been larger back then, but many did not claim their Caribbean roots as a result of stigma and/or unhealed wounds. But, not my family as they would participate and play mas from Harlem to Brooklyn with Trini pride.

While growing up in Brooklyn, me and my immediate family lived four blocks down the hill from the parade (Crown Street bet. Troy & Albany). My grandmother lived one block up from us on Carroll Street. My great aunt’s Helen and Sybil lived down the hill. And, my Aunt Vilma still lives down the hill on Brooklyn Avenue. Growing up I would attend the parade with family and family friends. That is until I got grown enough to attend with my friends. Lol But regardless of how family branched out, it was always our tradition to connect at the same spot on de parkway. This is on Eastern Parkway & Brooklyn Avenue, which is right at the corner of our family church, Church of St. Mark. This always preceded and proceeded with a stop at my Aunt Vilma’s house, which is considered Labor Day liming headquarters. And, even up until last year, the tradition was still intact. It is such a lovely time.

2010 Trinidad Carnival playing mas with Tribe.
2010 Trinidad Carnival with my Trini tribe playing mas with Tribe.
2010 Trinidad Carnival with my Trini tribe.

Three people who I loved to watch their flow through the years were Pop, Aunt Vilma, and their first cousin Joan (would come up from DC). Even into their 70s-80s years of age, from visiting the Pan Yards, to the Steel Band Panorama, to Kiddie Carnival, to J’ouvert, to the parade, they would go. I loved experiencing their enthusiastic, energetic, and loving connection. Now fast forward to the 2000s and my nieces and nephews are carrying the torch. Last year, while Pop was in the hospital I attended the parade. It warmed my heart that my nephew Clive was upholding the family tradition of jumping up and enjoying the parade at our family spot at Eastern Parkway & Brooklyn Avenue. It truly is in our DNA and threw example to embrace our Trinidadian Roots. To include my pilgrimages to Trinidad for Carnival, participating in the DC and Baltimore carnivals to play mas or mud band, and feting from sun up to sundown. To even corny rituals with friends, such as Lisa and I never letting the day go by without a 🎶Mondaaaay on de Parkwaaaayyyyy!🎶 shout out. 😍🤣 And, because of my pride I loved the opportunity to introduce friends such as Margo (RIP) to the experience.

Me and Margo (RIP)at DC Caribbean Carnival.
2013 DC/Baltimore Carnival playing with the Mud Band. That tank top was white.
2013 Baltimore/DC Caribbean Carnival. RIP Camesha.

I thank God for blessing me with these roots for it has enriched my life in profound and joyful ways. As you can see this has been in me and of me before birth. Who knows what the future holds for the parade in Brooklyn and even in Trinidad. But, one thing is for sure is that Caribbean folk will always lime and fete like none other. And, I hope you will find time to exhale and have fun in your own traditional and new ways. Enjoy your day, however, you intend to celebrate. Be safe. Love! #BeDoLove #CaregiversMatter #91YearsYoung #CrownHeightsBrooklyn #WestIndianDayParade #wiadca #wiadca2020 #TrinidadAndTobago #JumpAndWave #SweetTAndT #SocaIsInMyBloodItsInMyVeins #PuffBallsDontCare

🎶Trinidad! Trinidad! Where my people…🎶 — Naya George, Trinidad (Right Hand)

“Lime” is a word used in Trinidad and Tobago and throughout the Caribbean as a synonym for “a gathering” or “to hang out.” To lime (liming)is to simply pass time and enjoy yourself, with your tribe, in whatever way you like!

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