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Taxi riving ah way to start

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Firstly, ah just want to wish Anita “Tanty Nita” Snagg ah Happy belated Birthday Greetings and pray dat she enjoys many more.

Tell her is Greetings from Mister Wallace! Ah read in one ah de Newspapers dat a resident of Can-One, Anita “Tanty Nita” Snagg, celebrated her 100 th birthday last week, and dat she might be the island’s first centenarian.{{more}}

Immediately de name rang ah bell, ah couldn’t believe me ears dat de ‘Tanty Nita’ who ah ain’t see foh over forty years , is still around. Ah met Miss Nita, around 1968; ah slim, beautiful lady whom de burning Grenadines sun had done an injustice, she looked ah bit older dan her sixty or so years. Ah was sent to survey her house plot at Can-One where she lived on ah hill wid ah most beautiful view of Grenada on de south, and Sr. Vincent on de north.

She was full ah speech and humorous too, before ah could introduce me-self, she looked me over from head to toe, lowered her chin and said: “ Dey didn’t tell me was Wallace son coming to measure my land,” den she asked: “ Where is de mister Alexander, de Surveyor?” Ah decided to play de game and told her Alexander fraid sea water and vessel, so dey sent me instead. “No problem “ she said. Later in de day, ah overheard her secretly questioning one ah my assistants, asking if Mister Wallace does eat from strangers. Needless to say she treated us like VIP’s, good food, red fish boileen and French Wines. She gave me de his-story of ah ship captain name Wallace, who according to her, was my father, seems like he was ah gentleman though, like his son.

Ah don’t recall seeing ‘Tanty Nita’ after dat time dat ah wuk on her property, but every time ah reminisce on de good days in Can-One, ah does remember dat one-dah-full lady who renamed me, Wallace! God Bless you Tanty Nita.

DE TAXI MAN

Ah find it painful to move from de good ole days in Can-One to deal wid sad times. Four persons, nation builders, all males whom ah knew quite well, have gone to de great beyond. Zarrack John was among de more senior Taxi drivers in SVG, very professional and responsible operator, ah role model in de Taxi fraternity, always appropriately dressed to de code; his vehicles whether van or car were always clean and shine.

But de Zarrack ah wish to remember is de “Lodge Man,” from de Star of Eden Lodge, I think. He was always out front at Processions and Funerals, armed with his white gloves and sword. He had to be ah big man in de Lodge from de way he was robed, like ah Indian Chief or High Priest no disrespect eh. His discipline gained in de Lodge no doubt explains his exemplary conduct as ah Taxi Driver. We will see ah lot more of Zarrack as he will be driving ah Chariot back and forth taking Saints up to Heaven.

DAS WAS AH TAXI MAN TOO

Den dey’s Dennis “Das” Da Silva, ah country boy who came town to look foh wuk. Das made tremendous strides in dis country, yes, but he was not born wid ah gold spoon in his mouth. Our G.G. Sir Frederick gave me ah useful quotation he coined himself: “ People who are poor today can be rich tomorrow”. As ah youth ah remember Dennis George, Das who was Dennis too and my uncle wuking as ordinary store clerks at Corea & Co.

George and Das branched out on dey own, George in de furniture business, Das started as Taxi driver den Bus driver. Ah remember too, Das’ outlet at de Corner of Melville and Middle Street way his wife, ah young East Indian, pretty fo-so, toiling wid ah string ah lickle kids tugging at her dress, busy behind de counter, beads ah perspiration pouring off her skin, she was ah wuk-horse, no disrespect again.

Wid perspiration comes Remuneration! Reward! Money! De Da Silver enterprise grew, not from pull-it-tek-all favours and licking pull-ah-trick-hand’s boots. All hands in de family went on deck, father, mother, sons everybody wuk hard, even harder dan many to establish ah unique brand name foh demselves and dis country. Das was his own Education Rev-all-yuh-shun and his children went to University to come back to “man” de business, and dey man-in it well too. He was generous to ah good cause; he lived and operated his lick-her business next to de Salvation Army, was no problem as de older Salvation Army Officers will testify of Das’ faithful (monthly) contribution to de Feeding Program in its early stages.

Dat “Mountain Top Spring Water” business is no accident, it is ah reward foh honest hard wuk, family unity, good 20/20 vision and gin-are-us-at-tea. Going back to de G.G’s quotation. Das started out at Corea & Co at de bottom of de ladder, launched out on his own, into businesses creating gainful employment foh Vincentians, he has left us one ah de few indigenous, home grown Vincy industries, de Spring Water. Lie-za who sees everybody bank account says dat if Corea & Co were to be offered for sale today, dey’s one person she knows who will be in ah position to buy it! Das lived ah full life, never kicked down de ladder as he climb de stairs, his week-end goat cooks at Congo Valley wid his wukers and friends, is testimony of de humility of de man Das Da Silva!

Next week ah will say my bit on two other nation builders who got dey Visa to heaven too, Creech Woods and my Classmate Carl Glasgow.

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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