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Lickle G’ ah faithful soul

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Ah want to share ah bit ah de life of George Trimmingham, known to all in de village as Lickle G, the big brother of Fred, former outstanding national Cricketer and Footballer. Lickle G as de name implies, was short, less dan five feet tall, and about ten years our senior. Maybe he had ah lickle complex about his height so he kept away from de seniors and teamed up wid us in every sport, pitch marbles, spin top, play cricket whatever. He always played ah fair game, never cheated but always complaining and making excuses, never bullied us except when we had to pick ah captain.{{more}} He would open de batting and de bowling. He had ah wrist problem, during practice sessions, no problem, on de morning of every match he will appear wid bandages on both wrists. If he does badly wid bat or ball he blamed de wrists, if he did well he still complain dat de wrists prevented him from doing better.

He was very musical, in de village we had two steel-bands, he owned one ah de bands, played de tenor pan and was captain. When all de ole time Bum Drum players died out it was G who revived de band in de village. His Bum Drum Band provided music foh Kong, de famous Monkey Man at Carnival. And at Christmas dat same Bum Drum band went from door to door serenading, reminding us dat it’s Christmas. Nobody, ah repeat nobody, could ah beat ah Rolling Pan like G, ask PR. He and I uses to share de services ah de Band on Christmas Day. Whe it became too hectic foh he he stopped and de tradition in de village died.

On de heavier side ah life He was de eldest of his siblings, ah father figure who went to wuk at age 14 wid Fred J De Nobriga’s Ltd and never left, sixty two years ah service, he died on de wuk. Yuh can’t be more loyal dan dat. Wid his small salary he sent all ten of his children to Secondary School that enabled dem to hold down good jobs. So we say fare well to ah good and faithful servant, enter into de kingdom.

THE DR KEN JOHN’S PRIZE

Dr Kenneth John’s head must be swell (ah physical impossibility) last week when he read dah fitting tribute to him, penned by Dr Richard Cox’s who recommended de establishment of “ The Dr Kenneth John’s Prize for Literature”. Ah beg to second de motion. Only last week in his Column “Bassy-Inspired Nicknames” Ken reminded me dat he was still “ De Grand Master” of de Pen. He was responding to my piece on Nicknames dat ah wrote ah few weeks ago. Actually Kenneth had touched on dat topic years ago; dat gave him nostalgia mek he revisited de Nicknames, and emptied his cupboards beer.

But ah refuse to give up dat easily, and would provoke Kenneth further into another cat-ah-carry ah Nicknames, De Longest Nickname and de man wid de most Nicknames. Beginning wid de ole chaps who pushed ah cart foh ah living long ago, all had Nicknames and when yuh teased dem dey would chase yuh ah mile. Top ah de list was de chap wid ah peg leg “American Beauty Haffa-foot-Jones”; we had another red skin chap Oliver, his was shorter “Pop’N’Porridge”. Yet another cart-man was Brother Porter de famous drummer at de Salvation Army, he couldn’t rest in church foh dem Pauls Lot boys when dey pass-by. His was ah serious wedding night drama “Tek yuh foot from off ah me”, and if Porter refused to respond, dey would add “Brother Porter, ah yuh me mean” den de Service mass-up. Nex was Mr Ifil who had ah passion foh pork, when he got home one day, opened de pot and saw de quantity ah Pork cooking, overjoyed he shouted “Hallelujah Pork skin”.

Wha bout Ole Meddy, “Flash Light Glory”. Service going strong one night, Meddy in church looking out de window, same time he saw ah light run up and down ah coconut tree, frightened like hell , he jump-up and said “Pastah, ah just see de Glory of de Lord Flash on de Coconut Tree.” Actually it was dem boys hunting Manicou and flashed de light up de tree.

Ah will put de topic to rest ending wid de man wid de most Nicknames, Mr Charles, he was from G-town, went to Cuba and when he returned came to de village to live wid Miss Puggy, by name and nature. Harlo ah private school at de home teaching languages including Spanish. But Boys will be Boys and dey have ah way ah spotting de odd ting, we noticed he wore boots way too big foh his foot, so at first we called out “Cuba Big Boots” and den disappear. Was one ah de older villagers who went to Cuba, told us he was ah Police Constable way back when, how he was so long and boney dat his body parts were too small foh de uniform. De folks back den poked Nicknames on him from head to foot: “ Helmet no Head, Tunic no Neck, Jacket no Back, Staff no Hand, Belt no Waist, Pants no Leg and finally ‘Boots no Foot”.

We took it from dey. At first we thought we had de wrong person, as he responded to none ah de Nicknames we called. He appeared oblivious, held his head and walked straight. One night as he was passing from Church, one ah dem boys shouted “Boots no Foot, Mr Charles ah you me mean”. Dat was de straw dat broke de camel’s back, instantly he turned mad like ah bull, stones rained down de shop way we were hiding, later some of our parents even got letters from his Lawyer, dat was his mis-take, was den he couldn’t rest foh us, we didn’t have to call out de whole phrase, just say de first word: “Boots” or “Helmet” and don’t wait, run like hell.

No doubt ah will hear from Kenneth dis weekend, he and I will pee-Kong as usual, heckle foh heckle, he not thin skin at all, but our conversation will turn sour because ah repeating what ah said previously about him, he was lucky at school not to have been given one ah dem longish Nickname like: “Head way buss-up cap, Kenneth ah yuh me mean”! And wid dat ah gone again.

One Love Bassy

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

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