(Left)BACK IN TIME: Randolph and Elna Howard and (Right) PRESENT DAY: Randolph and Elna Howard on their 75th wedding anniversary,
Bassy - Love Vine
September 2, 2022
My Grandfather’s Clock

Back in Primary School Days, de first period after lunch was Singing; mainly traditional English Folk songs, ‘member it was Colonial times eh. Verse 1 of my fair-for-it Folk Songs was: “My grandfather’s clock was too large for the shelf… So it stood ninety years on the floor…..It was taller by half than the old man himself..

though it weighed not a pennyweight more!” According to de lyrics in the eight verses, the clock was purchased on the morning of Grandfather’s birth and worked perfectly for 90 years, requiring only that it be wound at the end of the week.

Interestingly, during ah visit to de home of Randolph and Elna Howard (Rani and El), de moment ah stepped in de house, ah was greeted by the chime of ah Grandfather’s Clock hanging on de wall. ‘Mouth open an’ ‘tory jump out.” We talked ah lot ah ole story, was like ah treasure to listen to dem. In 1928/29 dey were born and bred, one year apart, in de Chauncey/Questelles community, she is from Carko Hill and he, on family lands above de Cemetery. Dey were like near-bars, not only did dey attend de same Primary School, but were “teenage boy-fen and girl-fren.” We joked ah lot and den it was news for me when ah told dem, my father was ah teacher at Questelles School. Dey looked at each other and laughed (LOL) real laugh: “Alexander? Butter Nose was your Father?” dey asked.

Ah learned dat it was in 1947, when two beautiful teenaged teachers, El and Rani “tied-de-knot” and vowed “till death do us part,” lickle did dey imagine dat seventy-five years after, dey would be still alive giving God all de Praise for life, and ah marriage Richly Blessed and Highly Favoured by Him. Dey spoke about dey Love for each other and dey four children, six grands, two great grands, all Gems. And dis week dey are celebrating dey 75th Wedding Anniversary, de Diamond Award, outnumbering Queen Elizabeth and her husband who made 73 years.

According to the myth in “My Grandfather’s Clock” story, de clock is supposed to ring 24 chimes when the grandfather brings his bride into his house. When ah last visited de Clock was still chiming. Early in de marriage, Rani transferred to de police before migrating to de USA, where he became an Attorney, registered in New York, Florida and SVG, while his dear wife Elna, chose de noble career of housewife, taking care of de family bringing dem up in de Catholic Faith.

They lived in de US for thirty years before returning to homeland St Vincent in 1987.

De Howards, now aged 93 and 94 have remained staunch Catholic Christians, faithful Stewards working in de Lord’s Vineyard. Rani himself has been ah Lector at de church for many years.

Elna ah loving soul, prefers being indoors. Rani still advises on legal matters, but his passion has been on his Vegetable Garden. Wid de help of a gardener he produces good quality green vegetables, priding himself of having greener fingers dan many.

In ah few short years Rani an El will hopefully be Centenarians, celebrating de biggest milestone.

Our prayer is dat de Good Lord will bless and keep dem while dat Grandfather’s Clock keep chiming. And wid dat is gone ah gone again.

One Love Bassy

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