Bassy - Love Vine
September 9, 2005
Another of my heroes gone

Ah would ah been nine years ole at the time; ah was walking to Sion Hill when ah reached Richmond Hill Gardens ah stepped on ah small branch, right away ah felt something stuck me just above my heel, and instantly me whole foot went stiff with cramps!

It was ah thorn from one ah those long white kashy that broke in my flesh. Like ah car with ah puncture tyre, ah pull-aside, sat on the long wall where the Croppers uses to live and start ah bawl. Ah gentleman and his family passing in ah car, spotted this distressed kid sobbing. He immediately pulled aside, enquired what’s wrong; when ah told him “ah kashy break in me foot and it gone in deep, ah can’t even see it”. He took ah look at the foot, told his folks to step out the car and wait while he took me to the Hospital. He had to be ah important person, ‘cause when we got to the Hospital, the Nurses and Doctor like they all knew him and treated us with great courtesy. Ah frightening experience but they patched me up and my new friend who became “ My Hero” took me back, picked up his family and dropped me off at Sion Hill. Ah don’t think he ever recognized me after but ah uses to mek sure ah salute him whenever he passed in his car. {{more}}

About fifteen years after that prickly incident, ah went to wuk at the Surveys Dept that shared the same building with the Veterinary Dept headed by Doctor Earl Kirby. Then Doc asked for ah volunteer to help him co-ordinate the location of his Carib Stones and pottery sites, something that ah later discovered was his second love. Chief Surveyor Wason before sending me to Doc, promised me that it would be exciting, then he told me “ Earle Kirby will teach you a lot ah things you need to know about life!” Indeed he did. Ah introduced me-self to Doc and reminded him of the story of ah “lickle boy with the kashy in his foot” Man was he ever happy to meet me again. Wittingly he said to me: “ How can I ever forget that incident, do you know I had just got married and you actually interrupted my honeymoon?” Ah learned then that Doc and my Dad were classmates, that too helped, ah became like ah son.


So ah joined Doc and Morrison Baisden who was already in-doctor-inated into surfacing evidence of our rich Ancestry. It didn’t tek me long to overs that Doc’s passion foh unearthing relics, tools and artifacts of the Caribs and Arawaks could not be contained. He will suddenly get “de vibes” as he uses to say, and we would head foh Yambou or Rabacca, then Doc would head straight to ah spot and say “let’s dig here”; bet yuh last dollar within minutes we would find pottery.

At times ah couldn’t tek the long haul, so ah would find ah excuse to stay home. Early one Sunday morning he phoned foh us to go somewhere, ah wasn’t up to it, so ah mek up ah lie and told him ah had ah bad Die-ah-rear. That was ah mistake, with the customary laughter in his voice he said: “ Oh chuts, that’s nothing I have the real thing for that at the Office”. When ah got there, he opened ah bottle ah white emulsion stuff, Cattle medicine and poured me ah dose. Now ah didn’t have Die-ah-rear, but ah had to tek ah sip, believe me ah didn’t have ah bowel action foh days, the trick ah tried backfired on me!

When the Volcano erupted in 1979 it was Sir James, Doc, his wife and I who were among the first to climb the mountain. But one of the best trips ah made with Doc was up the Ole Rabacca. We walked and walked until we came to the edge of ah steep cliff near ah beautiful water-fall. Then he pointed to ah huge metal pole on ah platform with ah few chain links. He explained that there was once ah bridge across the Rabacca, and we were standing on the southern side of it. Recently ah was able to purchase ah ole painting of that Bridge at Noah’s Arcade. Now ah don’t want to hear that the New Bridge across the Rabbacca is the first ever.

But Mr Wason was right, ah did learn ah lot bout life from Doc. Ah learn about true Patriot-is-him. He lived foh posterity, never charged ah penny nor received ah farthing foh his efforts. Even after retirement, Doc continued collecting ancient relics. Almost single-handed he created ah Museum at the Botanical Gardens and lodged all his works there. His Museum has attracted the attention of many students of Archeology from near and far. Doc himself had gained International recognition foh his wuk in that field. It is ah pity that today his Museum is in shambles

Doc had the H’s, Humility and Honesty. He was Frank and Principled. Ah good sense ah humor and extremely thoughtful. Doc would walk foh miles to help ah Farmer save the life of his animal and never charged ah cent. He was ah scientist that had respect foh Folk medicine. Once we went to see ah sick cow, after examining the animal, Doc who sensed that the Farmer would ah administer his own medicine already, asked him if he had given it any herbs. The Farmer then disclosed that he had pound some bush with Epsom salts and gave the cow; “Very good” Doc said, “ now watch it and see, allow the bush to work out her system foh ah day or two, then give it some of these tablets”.

Doc’s walking legs finally gave out after he fell and damaged his hip. He spent his last days confined to bed where he continued to be ah resource person on almost every subject. Doc’s passing is like ah well run dry, we will all miss the water!


Vivil France was de Cultural Icon foh Victoria Village and Stubbs. Vivil played ah mean Rolling Drum and led ah Bun Drum Band foh all seasons: Christmas, Easter, August, Dance, Mock Hanging, Wedding and Funerals. His Band was the pride ah the South Windward district foh many years. He brought down his band to compete in the Bum Drum section during the 1977 Carnival and placed third. The next year when he came to register he told me: “Skipper ah have ah surprise foh all yoh town people this year, ah will run the others out ah town”! He joined with ah fellar name Quashie and together they brought down ah compliment ah Winding Donkeymen, Monkeymen, Boozie Back and Chinese Dragon Dancers. And he won the first prize. Then he would always bring back his Band on Tuesday to add variety to the Mardi Gras. Vivil was ah very skilled mason who traveled on ah small motor-cycle, which reminded me of the Flintstones vehicle. He had more stuff on that bike than ah truck: tools, lunch-kit, materials and sometimes ah pinion rider. He never speed nor got damaged either. Ah guess he will be given ah chariot now, no more ole Joe-lappy! May he rest eternally.