Bassy - Love Vine
July 24, 2009
Arm-in put jumbie pon Ralph

Ah got to Big Up Darnley Dublin foh forwarding an e-mail he got from ah Trinny source entitled: “A Trinidad to remember”, it’s ah one-dah-full trip back in time, touching pon dem ole time ‘tory, before Cell phone ‘n’ Internet, Nike and Reebuck; before KFC, Soca, Dub, Chutney as in Indian music and not Mango Chutney. De e-mail was also copied to Geoff Edwards, ah town boy from Layou, one who would ah gone on to mek de West Indies team as ah batsman, but he did de whizz-dum ting and moved to Canada to study.{{more}} Geoff he-self couldn’t resist de temptation to add his two sense bit to his ole-time ‘tories one ah which is: “ walking in de house backwards when yuh come home late at night to confuse de Jumbie dat was following yuh”. Young people today ain’t know ah ting bout Jumbie, except Coke Jumbie, or dey might ah hear “All souls and All Saints”, dat is way we did know as “Jumbie Ley Go” when all man was in bed by seven o-clock dat night!

So ah taking up way Geoff lef’ off, because as ah lickle youth man ah had to battle wid nuff Jumbie and Jumbie ‘tory, even today ah still battling wid dem but ah managing.

Ah couldn’t talk bout Jumbie around Granny. “Utter Nonsense” she would say, but in de same breath, she would warn me in her Jah-mek-her accent: “Duppy going lead o-no over one bank one ah dem night”. Talking bout going over bank, ah remember de night when Freddy, de first Panman from de Village dey home under de mango tree practising on he Pan. Apparently he struck ah high note dat might ah resonated like an explosion in his ear-drum, Freddy pitch-way Pan, fell over ah bank, screaming foh help. Was big co-motion and bawling in de family, de only conclusion we came to: “Jumbie bawl out in Freddy ears” he making too much noise in de Jumbie head.

Give me “Uncle Tom” any day, dat’s my great uncle pon me mother side. Originally from Dorsetshire Hill, he served in de Canadian Army in World War 2, got wounded, ah few shells lodged in his back, and in return he got ah good Canadian pension. He knew ah lot ah Jumbie ‘tory, half ah dem he made up, nevertheless he uses to sit us down in de night, (Jumby ‘tory telling was ah night ting) intended to scare de hell out ah we. My problem was after hearing dem gory tales, ah had to walk home alone, in de dark. Uncle Tom say one night he was coming from fishing, when he reach Dark Hole, along Queen’s Drive, he saw ah lovely white puppy, so he decided to catch de lickle stray animal and tek it home. He catch it de first time, de pup jump out his hand, he catch it ah second time, it got away again, when he attempted de third time, de pup stood up like ah man and said to him: “ if yuh only touch me ah third time, see way go happen to yuh tonight”. Yuh know after he done tell us dat ‘tory, when ah was going home, guess wha’ yuh tink appeared in front ah me? ah big white dog. Jumbie or real, ah didn’t wait to see, not even U-same Bolt could ah catch me going back down.

Den he told us about ah musician coming from ah dance 2:00 a.m. Rain pouring, so he went under ah bamboo root to shelter rain, while he waited foh de rain to abate, he started to play his guitar, a voice with ah nasal tone echoed from behind ; “sweet music me breddah, yuh could really play”. De voice continued: “ In foh me lifetime me uses to play sweet like dat too, yuh know”! Needless to say de man dropped de guitar and took off.

Of course everybody heard of the one wid de Police Constable in uniform going up New Montrose after wuking de midnight shift, he saw an Inspector coming towards him, so he smart-up, as he got close, he immediately stood at attention, saluted and said “good night Inspector”, when he peep in de Inspector face to see, no head!

While we cherish our golden period of long ago, we had we superstition and physical darkness to battle wid, but electricity has made ah difference. In dem dark village roads Jumbie ruled de night. Back den Jumbie was ah harmless spirit, now-ah-daize, de Jumbie dem alive and terrible, and ah not talking bout Coke Jumbie, real people in high offices dwelling in spiritual darkness. Dr Slater sware is Jumbie coming through de back ah de hospital from de cemetery, to thief out de hospital linens and medication; ask I-Pa if ah Jumbie Police didn’t slap he. De Airport going good, good, when Arm-in ask foh de Wind, Water and Earth study, de Prime Minister and his book-keepers say dey had everyting under control, even de money to build de Airport. But dey went unearthing and dig up our ancestors, expose dey bones and wake up dey Jumbie, next ting, no money dey to finish de Airport, and like dey can’t find de Study and dem, because de Bank asking foh de same Study, got to be Jumbie move dem all out. And is like Jumbie mat-ah-mat-ticks making hell wid LIAT accounts. Air fares almost doubled over de last two years, de last official report from LIAT management was dat de Airlines showing profits and doing Well, (dey meant digging another Well). After Guv-ah-mints done pump millions pon top ah millions into LIAT, dey are about to pump more millions. Felix Da Silva ah former Airport manager got it right, he says: LIAT— “Look Immediately for Alternative Transport”. Kaisonian Poser say when Jumbie tek over, yuh got to role Boulie, Mr. PM!

Always Lie-Za must have de last say. She say she find dat de Prime Minister getting sick very often, he going all over looking foh help and nutting wuking, den she got de nerve to ask me if ah don’t’ tink is Arm-in who put one ah dem bad NDP Jumbie pon him! Ah beg she please “ley me Jumbie ‘lone”. And wid dat, ah gone again.

One Love Bassy

Bassy Alexander is a land surveyor, folklorist and social commentator.