If ah had to go it all over again in Grammar School, my first choices would be Latin and History. Doctors Fraser and Care-not John must be fed up wid me nagging dem to verify Hysterical events, and Pokes Mulrain, who had ah 65th birthday last week, keeps me scribbling wid simple Latin Aphorisms and Proverbs. Foh example: “De mortuis nil nisi bonum dicendum est”, simply put means: “Say no Evil or Ill of de Dead!” Sir Vincentian Beach is dead, may his soul Rest In Peace! Ah recall when he served as Par-liar-mint-tree Set-tree and later Minister in de Ministry of Agriculture between 1975 and 1984. He had ah lot to do wid de reintroduction of Sugar and de opening of de Die-man Die-ah-rear Milk Plant. Ah lot ah Die-us-poorer folks in de UK lost money in de failed Sugar Factory. Sir Vincent had encouraged me to buy shares in de Milk Fact-tree dat was financed by de CDB. After several years, “de dance couldn’t pay foh de lights,” both factories were losing money, no profit, no bonus. Yes, de same CDB said to shut down de Die-ah-rear Plant and give us back we money. Not even Mr Milton Cato, who had boasted of his 11 seats to 1 majority, de strongest Go-venom-mint in de world, showed humility and respect foh de orders of our regional Bank. He immediately closed de milk Factory. Today 40 years after, Ralph Gone-soft ULP Go-venom-mint, de weakest in de world, wid ah one seat minority, is boasting to de effect dat: “No CDB will determine who or what is Re-lie-able Con—trct-her to Con-struck River de-fends in SVG.” Ole people say after one time is another. Let me go no further and just say “thank yuh Sir Vincentian.
MOMO IS NO MO
Ah won’t miss Sir Vincent as much as de passing of my Near-Bar, Maurene “Momo” Joyette. Ah hard and honest single parent who did every lickle thing above board to mek ah living to raise six children. Momo was like my security when ah sleeping at nights. Between sleep’n’wake, when de dogs in de Near-Bar-Hood barking, my phone would Ring, three times and stop, dat was Momo’s code, she would be brief: “Turn on yuh lights we have ah visitor (thief-man)!” De whole area would den be lit like ah Christmas Tree. Den she would call again.: “Go back to sleep, de scamp gone!” When yuh see month end, she got to catch her extra dollar. She would say to me: “Ah giving yuh notice eh, ah having ah Bar-B-Q on Friday Night, so expect ah lickle late music in yuh head, OK!” Her party would end at mid-night on de dot! She listened to de ULP “Shake Up” call-in program all day, and when ah passing, she would throw friendly heckle at me like: “Yuh friend Buns Bun-Addy nearly kill yuh on Shake Up today!” Momo loved Music, loud Music. She communicated her moods wid her musical selections. When yuh hear songs like “Only ah fool breaks his own heart” or “Butt me wid Respect”, yuh know what’s happening. But when it was elect-shun time, ah could not drive-by in peace, as long a she knows ah home, ah would be greeted with: “Me and me Near-bar voting foh Labour.”
When her son Shanon was getting married, One ah his siblings invited me to toast his Mom. Ah told him, ah would do it, but Momo had locked me off foh ah while. He said to me: “Sir B, my mother told all we, her children, dat she knows yuh since she was ah baby, and she would never disrespect you, and none of us should ever get involved when yuh and she gone ole mas!” Dat was de love and respect Momo and I shared. Ah toasted her at de wedding and she smiled all thru my toast. My Near-Bar will now take her well earned Rest in Peace.
WANT TO LIVE TO AH HUNDRED??
My villager Wilfred Dickson is like ah Registrar. He reminds me to extend Birrthday wish to Mrs Elsie Cumberbatch now living in Canada; she will be 100 years ole on Sat-dey. According to Wilfred, she is Centenarian No 7 from de village during de last ten years. He has ah list: Tanty Beatrice Smith she and her husband Cappo went to Cinema every night. Mother Beatrice English very peaceful and quiet. Mother Olive Dickson was Wilfred’s mom, she had ah good memory, she remembers dat de first Sea Plane landed in Kingstown. Aunt Liz Ambrose ah good Christian lady whose husband got killed in an accident on Murray Road many years ago. She had ah twin brother Lloyd, her opposite, love his strong rum! Aunt Hannah Dickson nee Mc lean, ah gentle soul, ah loved her like me own mother. Last, but by no means least, Sister Lydia King, mother-in-law to de miserable “Too Cool Kris! So what is so important bout these Centenarians? All are females, born again Believers, all have survived dey spouses, dey never took on stress; all hail from Richmond Hill, Paul Over and Murray Village, three adjacent communities. All drank water from Lou Lou Spring and eat organic ground food. Seems like Wilfred and I qualify foh long life, except, we are males. And wid dat is gone ah gone again.
One Love Bassy
Bassy Alexander is a land surveyor, folklorist and social commentator.