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Hercules was ah proud black man

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Ah believe dat over de years ah would ah mentioned de names Charles Hercules and Tommy Saunders in my column more times dan anybody else. Dey were my Primary School Head Teachers, great men, different from de regular run-ah-de-mill head-teacher and left an indelible impression on my life; I take liberty to speak foh others like de Mighty Sheller, Sam Commissiong, Dennis Joyette, Big Bull Simmons and so may others.{{more}}

Tommy Saunders left us ah few years ago, but Teacher Hercules took his exit last week at 93 years. His brain was as sharp as ah whistle up to de end. Ah had ah way ah uses to tap in on his intellect foh his-sterical facts, ole time stories. Some time late last year when ah sought his help foh my article, he said to me: “My brain is not so hot now, I am now fifty-five percent senile and forty-five percent O.K.” Great cents ah humor. He never hesitated to chastise me foh “that rubbish you write and call it English, I never thought you dialect or creole” he would say. My greatest memory of “dis proud black man” was wuking foh him on ah land dispute he had. Apparently, his near-bars at de Medical College wanted to widen their road and indicated dat dey were going to cut along his boundary and wanted to buy ah strip of his land, this of course was going to leave a bank along his boundary. When he objected and stood up to dem, dey got rough in return. When dey couldn’t beat him down wid force, dey invited him to ah meeting and dat’s when he took me along as his add-vice-sir. Foh dat meeting de College brought in an Architect, ah local Engineer and ah local Contractor all cork-Asian. Now we not talking race, but it was significant. Before we went into de meeting, Teacher asked me: “What is our strategy”? I told him not to worry, that I had checked with Planning Authority and de College did not even apply for permission to do any work, so dey had no leg to stand on.

De College team was quite polite, de Architect outlined dey plans, basically dey wanted to cut dis road and dey’ll be ah bank along Hercules’ land but, dey will pay for any encroachment and give him ah beautiful wall with ah paved entrance wherever he wished. I should mention dat he was very ordinarily dressed, ah very insignificant look to say de least, dat no doubt had dem fooled. Dey didn’t know what dey had coming at dem, when it was his time to respond, his exact words were: “ I am a proud Black Man, everything I own in life I worked honestly and hard for it, I don’t want anything that is not my own, you may cut your road but I want no embankment along my side.” Ah member of de College team reminded us dat dey could get Guv-ah-mint to acquire de land if de need arises. Dat was when Teacher Hercules got real hot and played his trump card. “You are talking non-cents!” He shouted back at de chap: “You don’t even have permission from de Planning Board to do any work, but we will see. Dat’s all I have to say, gentlemen have ah nice day.” He den beckoned me to leave and we left.

About ah month after ah phoned him, jokingly ah asked him if de guys had finished dull-dozing his land and built his retaining wall. He laughed like ah happy man; “those fellar are jokers”, he said, “dey shifted de road as you suggested, listen to me” he continued, “as one of my former students, you would know me better that any of those guys, and you know I do not stand for non-cents, I had to put those guys in their place”. He was in his late eighties den and refused to be intimidated. Ah believe dat is de kind ah legacy he would have left his children and students, not just proud to be black, but to be fearless and achieve something worthwhile in life for which one can be proud. Dat is what ah mean wid de indelible impression he made on my life. Ah blessed soul dat has gone to meet his Jesus.

RAPE IS AH SERIOUS MATTER

De decision to give ah second chance to freedom to de three young men found guilty of raping ah twelve year ole girl, ain’t going down good at all, especially wid Lie-Za. She say de mathematics not adding up. How two weeks ago ah sixty-seven year ole man got twelve years foh raping ah eight year ole girl. De young men ages 21, 20 and 17 years, respectively, to-get-her dey ages add up to fifty-eight years and basically dey punishment is to behave dem-selves foh de next three years. Lie-Za’s problem is two fold, she can see de reasoning behind giving de youngsters ah second chance, but not so easy she says, dey should ah put dem to do some meaningful community wuk, full-time employment at de solid waste department. Now her sore point is de two young girls, destroyed foh life, mentally, emotionally and sexually. Wid ah male sex offender, after ah few days, his sexual experience is like going to de toilet and Pee, but ah woman is different, rape is like M.T-ing her Treasury foh life, she can never forget de traumatic experience of being raped. Ah lot ah disturbed adult women in our society are casualties ah rape.

We are inundated daily with appeals from de health officials, de AIDS Unit, and family planning unit, begging our young people, girls especially to abstain, keep away from sex, no need to experiment, sex can wait. In ah desperate attempt to keep de youths in line, we even scare dem to death wid de facts, about de dangers and fatal consequences awaiting dem if and when dey chose to become sexually active too early, we talk bout de many diseases, including HIV/AIDS, cervical cancer and so on. So how can society ever make it up to de hundreds ah inner-saint young children who are kidnapped and raped, some in de privacy ah dey own homes, raped by relatives. Certainly ah three year bond is no different to ah slap on de wrist.

LOCAL CUISINE

“Blondie Bird and Friends” holding on to dey record as opening batsman foh Vincy Mas. De Band will launch dis Sunday and dis year dey bringing ah appetizer, “Vincy Cuisine” ah tribute to Roy Ralph as it was all his I-dare to bring dat Mas. Blondie is ah man of great spirit, every year he promising to walk wid everyting,: King, Queen, Prince and Princess, Junior and Senior band of de year, to date he ain’t do it yet. It is about time he prove his point. Lie-Za had ah look at de drawings, some nice Vincy dishes, she said. Dey’s even ah section called Pay-low (pelau). She wants to play Mas but can’t find her fear-foh-hit dish, Pyrex Dish! Hope nobody break her up foh Carnival And wid dat is gone ah gone again

One Love Bassy

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

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