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She will mek dem laugh up dey


Just in case yuh miss de death announcement last Monday, my Mom moved on, so ah join de bunch ah motherless children. And strange enough was only sat-dey gone, ah in de Supermarket, when de wife phoned to remind me to pick up some soap powder, bleach, clorox and softener. Ah started to laugh so loud dat one ah de store attendants asked me if ah “losing it”. How well ah remember when ah was ah lickle boy and Mom told me it was time ah learn to wash me own clothes. “No woman will cut style on you” she said. In dem times, during vacation, every Mon-dey was washing day, de Rivers were clean and is like every-body went to de River to wash.{{more}} Mom would tie-up dis big bundle ah dirty clothes, put it on her head and of course I had my lickle georgie-bundle ah soiled clothes wrapped up too, and we headed foh de River below way Becks Gonsalves Warehouse is now. We never heard bout soap powder or softener or Clorox, was ah local washing soap dat came in three colours: Brown foh baby clothes and underwear; Blue foh dresses and shirts and ah vicious Black soap made wid extra caustic soda foh de wuking man’s clothes, dem pants wid all de grease and dirt. If yuh didn’t have ah juking board yuh use de surface ah one ah dem flat river stone. As fast as yuh rub ah piece ah clothes wid de soap on de stone, yuh hold it against de steady flow ah de stream, man no washing machine could ah better dat. But times have changed, in dem times people respected de stream foh its usefulness, its fish, cray-fish, laundry function, and daily bath. We later got Mom to use de soap powder, no Clorox, bleach or softener though, and no washing machine, She got herself ah small sink with ah built-in concrete juking board at de back ah de house, and dat to her was better dan any Whirlpool or Admiral washing machine.

Den when ah was able to light de coal-pot, she taught me to cook, starting wid Macaroni and egg or rice and egg. She seriously didn’t want any woman to cut style on me. Ah had to laugh when ah hear dem Vincy students come home from Cuba come-plaining dat dey fed up ah Rice’N’Egg. At one time ah was fed up ah Egg so ah lodged ah come-plain to Mom bout dis Rice’n’Egg every day, dat ah wanted ah piece ah chicken. “And where do you think de chicken come from?” she asked. Guess ah was eating premature chicken everyday and didn’t know.

One morning when she was turning senile, we had a serious exchange ah words, after she had her breakfast, ah was trying to take her home and she bluntly refused, totally out ah patience, ah told her she was stressing me out. “Look who is talking bout stressing dem out, yuh are getting too bright,” she said. Ah made ah smart reply and told her dat if ah was getting bright ah took after my mother. “No way” she lashed back, “yuh would ah been brighter”.

Ah will never forget on her seventy-fifth birthday, everybody celebrating in style, and she told my wife: “Just look how yuh so happy yuh don’t even know dat yuh pregnant. Not only was dat news to me, but also my wife who was very upset wid Mom’s unfounded remarks. Ah couple weeks passed and my wife went to collect de results ah some medicals she had done. Happily foh us every thing was fine, except of course she was pregnant. Ah guess Mom was right, ah not so bright after all; if ah had taken after her ah would ah known dat. My mother had ah great sense ah Humor and sense ah Rumor too, she was full ah sarcasm. She found her own way of cussing yuh wid ah five letter word “Juice”. Get her upset and she would put on her vex face and say “Way de Juice wrong wid yuh”? Everything was ‘way de Juice”. When she passed away, ah had ah lickle chat wid St Peter, ah asked him how he could tek way de one mother ah had. He told me some ah de folks up dey too stiff, dey need to laugh and loosen up ah bit, he thinks Mom is de right person foh dat job. Good choice St. Peter, but tell dem don’t get her upset or even up dey, dey too will certainly get ah “Way de Juice wrong wid all yuh”?


Remember last year after de in-de-pen-dance how ah did write say ah went to de Motor Cycle Fest and ah got blown away, all my life, ah never seen anything near as exciting as dem stunt bike riders in SVG and ah been around foh ah while, two more years before going into overtime. Remember how ah did say ah could’nt wait foh de next event? Well, dey back again dis year and dey going foh higher. Not just de riders going fly higher, but some 100 hundred motorcyclists and 300 camp followers coming in from around the Caribbean and USA. De US ace-rider, Joey Baker who walked away wid de belt last year, will have his hands full dis time around from Kyle and Ammar, two ah Jah-mek-her top riders, who learn dey ting in My-R-me; plus some good lads from Martinique, Sin Lucia, Bo-bathe-us and so on. Dey tell me dat de SVG motor-cycle event is wid-out ah doubt, de biggest in de region. Ah overs too dat dey have been wuking on de track, widening bends and so on, so it seems like whether is on de straight or around de bends, dey’ll be no slowing down; ah beginning to feel nervous and ah not even ah rider in de races. Ley me warn yuh if yuh plan to go down dey Sunday, check out yuh pressure first mek sure yuh drain-arlene good. Oh don’t forget to say ah Prayer foh de safety ah all de riders. And wid dat, is gone ah gone again.

One Love Bassy

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