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Jim is my Father Christmas

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Keep yuh Carnival wid yuh Back-canal and some ah de other seasons too, but give me Christmas. De food, de carols, music, Nine Mornings, even de smell ah de air at Christmas time is different. Even our Vagrants and de Street People will tell yuh dat no other day is as full-filling as Christmas Day. Ah remember ah Christmas day some years ago, Major Ellis and I dey outside de church begging Vagrants to come inside foh ah meal.{{more}} One Vagrant who is ah regular at de kitchen throughout de year, bluntly refused every-ting we had to offer him. Under normal day to day operation, he would be at war wid de cooks in de feeding program, cussing dem foh left overs, but not on dat particular Christmas Day. We really thought we could ah tempt him, for dat particular year ah lot ah folks donated food foh de Street People Luncheon, Courts gave two 30-pound hams, one hotel gave ah turkey, others prepared baked chicken legs, stew-beef, pie, rice salad, black cake de full wuks. But our Vagrant friend couldn’t be bothered, he raised his shirt to show us de size ah he stuffed, Kingsley belly, then he gently massaged de belly and said to de Major: “Sorry Major, no room in de Inn, put up all yuh got dey foh tomorrow”.

Sharing Christmas dinner wid de Vagrants and Homeless folks is now part ah de spirit ah de Vincy Christmas. Individuals, church groups and other organizations of charity, tek great pride in searching de town looking foh de Vagrants to give dem ah decent Christmas Dinner. While some people are genuine about giving and sharing, is still those who doing dis charity ting foh de publicity and obviously the wrong reason. Some givers are bent on corporate interest, dey want promotion and would go to de limit to have de press cover these presentations; yuh only have to look thru de Newspapers, and yuh would see de size ah de space covering de event, it cost more dan de donation it self.

But is not everybody in de charity business foh imagery and personal gains. Among us are individuals and organizations who genuinely care 365 days ah year and not just on Christmas Day. Everybody would have heard about ah Catholic Nun name Mother Theresa, the First Lady of Charity, her motto was “Give till it pains yuh”. Happy to say dat de caring spirit of Mother Theresa is alive and well among Catholics in SVG who call demselves “de Ladies of Charity”. Dey operate ah soup kitchen dat feeds dozens ah vagrants wid ah hot lunch five days ah week, foh free. And on weekends, yet another Catholic Organisation, De Poores Society provides ah hot lunch every Sunday foh as many as 150 destitute brothers and sisters sometimes. Den every week day, as early as 7:30 a,m, Father Jim has Clinics way he listens and attends to de problems coming from more destitute brothers and sisters, providing whatever assistance in de form of vouchers and food stamps.

Bet yuh won’t hear d’s folks demanding dat photos of dey efforts be published foh show? Dey are involved foh de right reasons, doing it from de heart. Meking sure dat de least fortunate ones in our society enjoy Christmas all year round.

And dis is what my Christmas Greeting is all about, giving and sharing not only foh dis one day, Christmas; but all year round. Mek sacrifices and give as often as de opportunity arises. What ever we DO at Christmas, try and give it ah replay during de year, and DO it from de heart and foh de right reasons. And when we GIVE, do it privately and in secret, forget de publicity, God sees and knows what’s in de heart, and dis is what is most important. Follow de footsteps ah Saints Theresa and Jim, give and give again. Ah few mornings ago, ah drove up on Catholic Street, think we should change de name ah dat Street to Hope Avenue. Dat morning, de usual heavy crowd was dey waiting on Fr Jim. Mischievously ah asked dem what dey doing dey so early. Ah young woman, who is ah drug addict, shouted back at me and said: “We waiting pon Father Christmas”. Thinking this was de name of de new Bishop or ah new Father Priest on the block, I quickly asked: “ Father who”? she smiled and said, “Father Jim nah, yuh ain’t know dat Jim is we Father Christmas every day?”

Come to tink of it, dis is an appropriate name foh Father Jim, he’s kind, selfless, generous, too skinny and thin to be de regular fat belly Santa , maybe Jim is just in keeping wid de Wellness Rev-all-yuh-shun. So in recognition of his dedicated service to Charity and feeding de poor all year round ah nominating Fr Jim foh de title of Father Christmas, if de Vagrants say so is so! And wid dat ah gone again. Merry Christmas.

One Love Bassy.

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

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