Ley me ask de real question, what ever happened to Lent, 40 days set aside for Repentance thru Fasting with Prayers and reflection on Jesus Christ’s suffering and sacrifice, his life, death, burial and Resurrection all foh us? Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, immediately after jumping up non-stop on Carnival Monday and Tuesday (‘Fat Tuesday’). During Lent dey was no revelry, no Kaiso on de Radio, not even in T’n’T, all Dance Hall close till Easter SO no Fete or Dance. De Faith-fulls ate fish, no meat, no beef, pork or chicken, hurray foh de cows, pigs and chickens till Holy Sat-dey, when butchers resumed duty.
Ah feeling de peace and calm dat Holy Week brings to de spirit. It all began last Sunday, Palm Sunday, even though nobody brought de customary ‘victor palm leaf’ and dey didn’t sing and shout de Palm Sunday Anthem, Hymn No 218 “Who-is-Anna, Loud Who-is-Anna. ” De Palm Leaf was symbolic and was blessed by de Priest. Some people used it as ah book marker in de Bible, others hang on de wall till next year. Was big confusion in de Village one Palm Sunday, our stale-drunk near-bar told his common-law wife dat she better walk wid ah coconut branch to church, to cover her multitude of sins. Dat broke out into ah cussing, of course.
We got up bright and early on Holy Thursday to hear Miss Rosalie’s voice like ah trumpet shouting: “Hot Cross Bun! (big) One ah penny! (small) two ah penny! Hot Cross Bun!” Miss Rosalie was strong like an oxen, ah walking Bread Van. She balanced on her head, an XL size Bamboo basket, holding two smaller co-pee-yoh baskets with her hands, stopping at ever gate delivering fresh bread and cakes.
Holy Thursday night was an all night vigil. Church was always packed, lots ah crying and sobbing as sinners partake of de Last Supper, others sitting straight and holy, just as if ah real Passover was to happen.
Den came Good Friday, ah miss-nomer, ah pair-ah-ducks actually. What is so Good about de day when Jesus went on Trial, was crucified, died and buried? Calalloo soup wid cray fish and crab was ah delicacy, now extinct on Good Fry-dey, followed by fish, preferable Salmon or salt Mackerel and Whale if any was caught; served with roast Breadfruit or Sweet Potato, Yam, Dasheen and coconut dumpling.
As ah youth ah found dat three-hour Church Service from 12:00 noon to 3:00 p.m. on Good Friday boring. But ‘Uncle Sam’ who owned ah Rum Shop in de Village went to church once ah year; dat was on Good Friday afternoon. What is meat foh one PeterSt Paul; says every man to his own order. Easter Weekend is ah whole Article by itself, next year who lives.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRANNY
Ah have two belated Birthday wishes to send out. My dear Mother-in-Law. Elrita “Tanty Elma” or “Mother” or “Granny” Caesar, turned 90 last Sunday. Mother of eight children, survived her husband Robert Caesar. Ah true matriarch, strong woman and loving mother-in-law. She climbed breadfruit and mango tree, wuk ground, mind animals to feed her flock. She still does her own cooking, always has food left-over in de pot waiting foh any surprise visitor. She reads widout glasses, moved around freely until Chicken-go-in-yah attacked her knees ah few years ago. In 1966, she was upset when she discovered she was pregnant wid her eighth child, it was only when de Spirit told her de unborn baby girl was going to marry “ah one-dah-full man” who will be her brown eye-baby. Thirty years later, ah went and asked her foh her eighth born beautiful baby girl in marriage, she told me yes, because I look like “de one-dah-full man” dat de Spirit spoke about!
DR CARE-NOT JOHN
And dey is my faith-full Friend and Teacher Dr Care-Not John who is also 90 minus nine. SVG’s No 1 Columnist, by far de Best of SVG, who deserves an Honorary Doctorate foh his 30 years delivering close to 2, 000 Articles in de Vincentian Newspaper alone. He says what he has to say! writes what he has to write! and “Care-Not” what anybody says or write in response. Dr John’s Articles are fortified wid Axe, Cutlass, Machete, Scissors, Knife and Teeth. When dey cut dey cut deep and when dey bite dey bite hot! He celebrates 81 and might want to pre-empt me and say: “Bassy would mek ah 180 degree twist and say I am 18 years young!” Ah however want to put on record dat Dr Care-Not John is celebrating his 91st minus 10 Birthday! Happy Easter. And wid dat, is gone ah gone again.
One Love Bassy
Bassy Alexander is a land surveyor, folklorist and social commentator.