Bassy - Love Vine
November 22, 2013

De love vine Turkey! Turkey! Turkey!

One ah de worse Christmas ah ever spent, was when ah went wid Major Ellis and de Salvation Army Mercy Committee to visit de Prisoners to deliver dey Christmas Gifts (soap, toilet paper, rag and sweets). {{more}}

De prisoners were lined up, young and ole, some ah knew and ah lot knew me and gave me messages for dey relatives. Talking bout “Talent Behind de Walls,” dem Prisoners sang every Christmas Carol as de Army band played. Dey kept singing long after we left, even now, ah still hearing dem beautiful voices singing “Joy to de World”. Ah held back de tears till ah got home. Life in Prisons got to be terrible.

So it was like sweet singing when ah heard Parnel Campbell QC congratulating de newly formed Prison’s Visitation Group headed by de good and faith-full servant, Jonathan (Pitto) Pitt. I was reminded of my grandfather’s last moments on earth. Ah was about nine years ole den, and was left in de room to watch him, keep his lips moist and watch foh if he made any changes foh de worse. His breathing got weaker and weaker, at anytime he was going to tek his final breath. Suddenly he returned to earth and shouted: “Turkey! Turkey! Turkey!” his voice went silent, his breathing literally stopped, and just when ah thought dah was it, he spoke again, softer though: “but look at him eh.” Ah ran down de stairs to tell my grand-mother dat Grampa was calling foh Turkey! She looked stunned, but seemed to have known who or what was dis Turkey. “Your Grand-father is travelling,” she said., “earlier today he was calling foh his mother, Tatie who is already in Heaven, and now he is calling for Turkey.”
Den she related to me dat many years ago, dey was ah murder, two fellars were gambling, playing cards, ah game ah Whappy”. An argument broke-out and den one of dem got stabbed and died. Dey was ah trial, Turkey was found guilty of murder and sentenced to hang! He was from our district, Murray Village and while he awaited his execution, he called foh my Grandfather, who was ah Preacher, ah Major in de Salvation Army and de Prison Chaplain. Every day foh de next three weeks, while construction ah de Gallows was in progress, Grampa visited Turkey and prayed with him. Turkey made ah confession to God and was saved. His last request was dat Grampa accompanied him to the Gallows. Painfully, Grampa walked him onto de Gallows and witnessed de execution. He was comforted with de belief dat Turkey had gone to meet his Jesus! Thirty years after when it was Grampa’s time to meet Jesus, Turkey was dey to receive him in Heaven!

DEY WAS ALSO MARY GRACE Mary Grace wanted to go to de dance, but every time she tried to slip out ah de house, her baby kept crying. She went to her dance alright, but de next morning, neighbours found de baby drowned in ah basin ah water at de back ah de house. Mary Grace was found guilty and sentenced to death for her baby’s murder! De day after she was hanged, de Authorities here received ah Pardon on Mary’s behalf from Queen Victoria. De death sentence was to be reduced to Life in prison. But Mary Grace was already hanged and buried in de prison yard next to Mc Kies Hill road. Ah remembered ah huge Breadfruit Tree in de Prison yard dat uses to bear Breadfruit all year round, dey uses to call it Mary Grace, dey told me de tree was planted on her grave. She died many years before Grampa’s time, but ah guess someone else witnessed to her because she went to de Gallows singing ah hymn.

So ah welcome de good news dat Pitto and company will make Prisons Visitation an official Ministry, already sanctioned by Jesus Christ. De experience visiting wid de Salvation Army Mercy Committee is dat when de folks are in Prison, dey all promise dat when dey are released, dey will fellowship at your Church. Was only one guy who got Saved in Prison dat ever kept his promise. My belief is dat Prisoners are never fully accepted or welcomed back into society by us, and interestingly, Christians, church members who should respond differently, don’t show dat warmth and welcome de ex-prisoners need and looking for. My hope is dat de newly formed “Pitto” Committee, who will have become familiar wid prison inmates, will have ah place of worship and warm fellowship to welcome dem when dey are released


Years ago, ah learned to play ah few chords on de Cuatro at de Venezuelan Embassy. Ah young Professor named Jorge Quinterro gave me some help. Presently in SVG is ah Cuatro Maestro, Professor Raul Landaeto. I have heard ah number ah good Cuatro Players, live and on Youtube, but dis guy simply makes de Cuatro talk! While hey he is doing some teaching wid ah couple schools. He is impressed wid de level ah talent our kids have, and laments de fact dat more is not being done to push these youngsters. Culture went to sleep when Rene Baptiste left! However El Maestro has asked me to invite all to his Cuatro Presentation tomorrow 5:00 p.m. Sat-dey 23 rd. at Frenches House. And wid dat is gone ah gone again.

One Love Bassy

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